The Best Binoculars for Safari
The Nikon Monarch is another best binoculars for safari. Nikon has a long history of producing high-quality binoculars, and the Monarch is an excellent example. Its popular design makes it ideal for a variety of activities, including birding, stargazing, hunting, wildlife viewing, and safari.
The 42mm lens diameter provides excellent low-light performance, while the body is designed for extreme use – sounds ideal for a safari, doesn’t it? With a rubber armoured body and 100% waterproof construction, this pair will withstand the elements as you venture into the wilderness.
Additionally, the Monarch features an extremely long eye relief (the distance between the viewing lens and your eye), which maximises eye comfort during extended viewing and is ideal for those who wear glasses. While these binoculars are among the more expensive compact binocular options, they are considered the gold standard due to their superior optics and build.
Our pick for the best binoculars for safari is the Bushnell 1042 Engage X Binoculars. Bushnell has a long history of producing high-quality binoculars in a variety of price ranges. Bushnell’s 1042 Engage X Binoculars offer incredible high-definition clarity and high-quality optics for less than $200.
The optics perform admirably in low light and have excellent clarity. However, with a slight vignette, the clarity diminishes slightly around the edges. While most hobbyists are unlikely to notice, when compared to a higher-end pair of binoculars side by side, the difference is noticeable. As with all Bushnell products, they are durable and feature a sealed O ring for fog-free viewing.
The nonslip rubber provides a secure grip, and the large centre focus knob allows for simple and seamless adjustments. It’s the ideal pair of binoculars for first-time safari visitors who prioritise value over performance. In general, we believe these are the best budget binoculars available.
Nature DX Celestron Binoculars
When you’re adamant about not letting any type of darkness, nook, or cranny get in the way of viewing wildlife, the Celestron 71336 is the tool for the job. With a 56mm objective lens diameter, this pair of safari binoculars collects more light than its smaller counterparts, producing an extremely bright and clear image.
However, the massive objective lens size does have a few drawbacks in terms of size and weight. These are extremely large and cumbersome binoculars. While they will produce an incredible image, carrying them around your neck and holding them up to your eyes all day will quickly become tiresome. We recommend using a tripod if you plan on viewing for an extended period of time.
Steiner 842 Safari Binoculars
These binoculars are targeted at birdwatchers. The Steiner Safari Binoculars are an exceptional pair of binoculars for birding, providing crisp, clear images of wildlife. Steiner spent considerable time optimising the colours and details found on a bird’s plumage, which in turn vividly reveals the most minute details of any animal you’re watching.
These also provide adequate brightness in low-light situations due to their 42mm objective lens diameter. While we’d like to see a higher magnification model, the waterproofing, rugged rubber armouring, and fog-proofing all contribute to these binoculars making our list of the best safari binoculars. I adored how these felt in my hands while remaining compact enough for travel.
Steiner Optics Predator Binoculars Series
The Steiner Predator Series is the ideal choice for those seeking a balance of porro-prism image quality and portability at an affordable price. The compact design makes it easy to store the binoculars almost anywhere, and the rugged construction ensures that they remain in good condition for the duration of your trip.
However, despite their small size, these binoculars are slightly heavier. Therefore, if you intend to view them for extended periods of time, it may be prudent to consider lighter options. Apart from the weight, these are an excellent choice for travel/safari binoculars without the high price tag associated with high-grade binoculars.
Leupold Bx-1 Binoculars
As we gradually increase in price and quality, we come to the Leupold Bx-1. These safari binoculars are designed for maximum magnification in low-light conditions and are on the very edge of what we recommend for handheld safari binoculars.
With a magnification factor of 12x, this pair can bring even the most distant animals into focus. This is true even when they are in the shade or in complete darkness, owing to the objective lens diameter of 50mm. Bear in mind, however, that 12x is close to the point at which any handshaking will be amplified and may interfere with your viewing.
If you’ve previously encountered wobbly images or intend to view for an extended period of time, we recommend investing in a tripod for optimal viewing.
As is the case with any pair of safari binoculars worth its salt, this model is completely waterproof and constructed with a rugged casing for maximum adventure capability.
Snypex Knight D-ED 832 Binoculars
The Snypex Knight combines the high-quality images of a full-sized pair of binoculars with a compact and rugged design that is ideal for travel. The binoculars’ travel-friendly design and water-repellent coatings on the exterior lenses further emphasise their travel-friendly nature.
These roof-prism binoculars are a force to be reckoned with due to their exceptional craftsmanship and addition of dielectric mirror coatings. While a little pricey, you’re putting yourself in a position to see some incredible animals during your safari. These are some of the best safari binoculars available, particularly for birders.
ZEISS 832 Conquest HD Binoculars
We have the Zeiss 832 to continue our trend of high-power compact binoculars. This pair is compact enough to fit in the pocket of a jacket or a small daypack, but still produces powerful images for your enjoyment. We typically recommend these binoculars to those of you who place a premium on compactness, ruggedness, and a great design.
The roof-prism design keeps them slim, while the waterproofing ensures that they can be used in all weather conditions during your travels. This means, however, that they are unable to produce images as sharp as those produced by bulkier designs with increased magnification and lens diameters. Nonetheless, these are a remarkable pair of binoculars.
Meopta MeoPro 1042 HD Binoculars
If you’re looking for a pair of safari binoculars that is a step up from the lower-grade, compact models but is still affordable, these Meopta MeoPro HD binoculars are an excellent mid-range option. The PRO HD improves on the mini HD by increasing the magnification to 10x and the objective lens diameter from 32mm to 42mm. These enhancements enable significantly improved viewing of wildlife at greater distances and in lower light conditions.
Combining excellent rubber armouring, a completely waterproof design, and fog-proofing, these safari binoculars are an excellent choice for those looking for a solid pair of binoculars for a trip but without the significant investment of a professional pair.
MEOPTA MEOPRO AVAILABLE AT B&H
Opticron Traveller BGA ED 1032 Binoculars
If you want the image quality of higher-end binoculars without sacrificing portability, the Opticron Traveller are some of the best safari binoculars. The Traveller’s multi-coated optics system ensures crystal clear images while weighing only 16oz (1lb).
As is customary, this pair is completely waterproof and armoured, making it the ideal small binocular to stash in your bag without fear of damage. As you might expect, the exceptional quality comes at a premium price. However, if you’re looking for a pair of high-quality, packable, and manageable binoculars, the price is well worth it.
Swarovski Optik EL 1042 Binoculars
If you’re looking for the best binoculars for your wildlife viewing adventures, look no further than the Swarovski EL. Swarovski has long been the brand of choice for many wildlife guides, and the EL is one of the company’s top models.
The materials, lenses, and prism systems are all manufactured to extremely high standards, which is evident in the binoculars’ crystal clear and bright images. These binoculars excel in low-light conditions and inclement weather. However, please ensure that you will utilise them fully before making such a large investment!
Consider These Factors When Purchasing Safari Binoculars
Unless you’ve looked closely at binoculars in the past, you may be unaware that there are two distinct types available – porro-prism and roof-prism.
The porro-prism design is a traditional one in which the larger objective lenses (those that face the subject) are significantly offset from the eyepiece lenses.
The roof-prism style is more contemporary, as the objective lenses are aligned directly with the eyepiece lenses, resulting in a much slimmer and more compact design.
These two designs utilise distinct methods of reflecting light from the objective lens to the eyeball, the details of which we will not discuss here, but there are significant image quality differences to be aware of.
The roof-prism concept necessitates considerable precision and craftsmanship in order to produce high-quality images while maintaining alignment of the primary lenses. On the other hand, the porro-prism produces a more robust image for the same price.
In conclusion. Porro-prism designs at a lower price point typically provide a higher image quality than roof-prism designs at the same price point. As a result, if you’re on a tight budget, the porro-prism is well worth considering.
However, keep in mind that technology and manufacturing processes are constantly evolving, resulting in exceptional roof prism designs. This is especially true as you increase your price range. This, combined with their sleek, ergonomic design, makes them the best option for those willing to pay a premium for the best binoculars available.
A pair of numbers, such as 1025, is one of the first specifications you’ll see for a pair of binoculars. The first of these numbers indicates the binoculars’ magnification. The ten indicates that the pair of binoculars will cause an object to appear ten times closer than it actually is.
While it’s natural to assume that the higher the magnification, the better the binoculars for wildlife viewing, this is not always the case. If you intend to hold the binoculars with your hands and not a tripod, look for binoculars with a magnification rating of around 10.
Magnifications greater than 12 amplify hand-shake when focusing, reduce the image’s overall brightness, and reduce the depth of field (meaning more of the object will be out of focus).
In comparison, magnifications less than 8 tend to alleviate all of these issues, but at the expense of a reduced range and image quality. To be clear, magnification of 8x or 10x is optimal; magnifications less than 8x or greater than 10x should be avoided.
Diameter of the Objective Lens
The second digit in the specification refers to the diameter of the objective lens in millimetres. Returning to the 10×25 that we used above, the 25 indicates a 25mm objective lens diameter.
Bear in mind that the objective lens is the large lens at the end of the binoculars that you point towards the subject you wish to observe. The size of this lens directly correlates to the amount of light that your binoculars can collect; larger lenses produce brighter images in low light than their smaller counterparts.
Larger lenses, of course, result in larger and more cumbersome binoculars. The trick is to choose the appropriate size for your intended use and to consider the conditions in which you will be using your binoculars. If you intend to use your binoculars exclusively in bright light during the day, a 32mm will likely suffice.
Are you interested in viewing in the early morning or late evening? Then you should consider 42mm binoculars to ensure a brighter image.
Consider the Following:
Any binocular designed for serious outdoor use is likely to encounter challenging conditions – not to mention rain. When conducting research, it is prudent to consider the binocular casing. Keep an eye out for a rubber armour that covers the entire body. This enhances grip during use and helps protect the sensitive materials contained within from accidental falls.
Furthermore, we strongly advise you to invest in waterproofing. This helps protect the delicate optics inside from fogging up in response to rapid temperature changes, as well as from dust and/or sand intrusion, which can significantly impair your viewing quality.
If you do not live in the area where you will be going on safari and must travel to Africa, you’ll want to choose a pair of binoculars that are not too heavy. The more compact and lightweight your safari binoculars are, the more easily they will travel with you.
If you’re going on a walking safari, the lighter binoculars will undoubtedly be more comfortable. Additionally, smaller binoculars are easier to hold and grip. I would advise you to keep your binoculars under 3 pounds.
Suggestions for Purchasing Safari Binoculars
There you have it, gentlemen! We’ve discussed the fundamental factors to consider when purchasing safari binoculars for your next wildlife viewing adventure and introduced you to our list of the best safari binoculars available.
You’re now ready to choose the pair that will perfectly complement your adventures! Bear in mind that binoculars are not required to enjoy your African safari. We went on several safaris without any and had an amazing time. If you are passionate about wildlife and want to get a close look at African wildlife, this is the trip for you.
I would strongly advise you to bring at least one pair for your travel party. Additionally, many African lodges will not provide safari binocular rentals; however, the majority of guides will have a pair and will lend them to you!