These are the only binoculars we have tried that are worth a look for under $100
Nikon ACULON 10X50mm Binoculars:
If you are on a very tight budget, then the Nikon ACULON Binoculars will be your best bet. For the price, you will not find anything that will give you as clear and as bright of image as these will. These are an extremely well selling binocular, so there are a lot of customer reviews to back up what I am telling you, especially at the link to Amazon.com below.
Nikon ACULON binoculars have a different look than do the others on this page due to the fact that they use porro prisms as opposed to roof prisms like the others. Porro Prisms are much easier and cheaper to get good images and light transmission out of. They also take up more space, so the design is not as streamline, but it is the best way to keep the cost low while still giving you a good view through these binoculars, even during low light conditions. Amazingly these binoculars carry Nikon’s 25 year no fault warranty.
For more Information, customer reviews, and to buy the best low light binoculars, click here:
Nikon Action 10X50mm Binoculars @ EagleOptics.com Price: $120
Nikon Action 10X50mm Binoculars @ Amazon.com Price: $84
*** Check both sites as prices change often. The sites above are trusted sites with fast shipping and great return policies.***
Best Low Light Binoculars
For many situations when binoculars are needed, some of the best times to see the animals and other objects you are looking for is at dawn and dusk when the light levels are low, and some times even at night. For this reason you may benefit from binoculars that work well in low light conditions.
What Makes Binoculars Perform Well in Low Light Conditions
There are several factors that will cause binoculars to work well in low light conditions. The amount of light that binoculars gather and retain can be attributed to many variables. Here is a list of things that will cause binoculars to shine in low light:
- Objective Lens: the bigger the objective lens, the more light will be able to enter the binoculars and into your eyes.
- Lens Quality: the higher quality glass the lenses are made out of, the more light will be able to pass through them without be diffracted by imperfections giving you a more even beam of light to your eyes.
- Prism Quality: the prisms are glass mirror like objects withing the binoculars that deflect the light and image and flip it to show it the right side up. The higher quality the glass contained in the prisms, the better light transmission from one to the other, and onto your eyes.
- Lens Coatings: Several different coatings are applied to the surface of the lenses in order to manipulate the light and to make the surface anti reflective to be sure the maximum amount of light is passed through the binoculars.
A combination of all of the components listed above will produce the best low light binoculars. The thing is though that as quality goes up, less objective lens in needed and overall size will go down as a result. Also, at a certain point in low quality, an increase in objective lens diameter can not make up for lack of quality.
Objective lens Diameter:
The size of objective lens is a huge factor in the light gathering abilities of binoculars. The larger the objective, the more light they will be able to gather. The objective lens is measured by its diameter and is usually expressed in millimeters. You can tell the size of the objective lens by looking at the numbers in the name. For instance, if a set of binoculars is a 10X50, the 10 is the magnification power and the 50 is the size of the objective lens in millimeters (mm).
For the best low light binocular performance, one should look at a minimum of a 40mm objective lens, with 50mm being even more appropriate. The problem that one faces with increases in objective lens is also a significant increase in size and weight. If the binoculars are going to be sitting in your house, then you can get away with large binoculars although you might become fatigued with prolonged use. If you are looking for something a little more mobile, then try to stay within the 40mm-60mm range.
There is no substitute for quality when it comes to binoculars. By going with quality you can decrease the overall size needed to gather the amount of light that is needed for low light conditions. Quality glass components such as the lenses and prisms are very important as they not only produce a clearer image, but the keep the light uniform which gives you the bright, crisp images clear out to the outer edges
Coatings are also put on the air to glass surfaces to help keep the light together and reduce reflection. Light that is reflected before it enters into the objective lens is lost and will play no part in giving a bright image. These lens coatings are important, as the more light that is utilized with in the binoculars, the brighter the image will appear. Lens coatings are also important to protect not only the glass from scratches, but also the the coatings underneath the top coatings from being removed and scratched. Most high quality optics have outside layer coatings that are designed to protect and make the lenses easier to clean. The cleaner the lens, the more light will be able to penetrate into the binoculars.
The amount of magnification can affect the amount of light that one can see through the binoculars. The more magnification the less bright the image will be. In the same quality, same lens diameter binoculars, if one is an 8 power and the other a 12, the 8 will appear a bit brighter. The magnification actually magnifies the lack of light making object much softer around the edges. Try to stay away high magnification binoculars if you anticipate a lot of low light glassing, unless you plan to view things at extreme long distances such as with astronomy. 10 power magnification tends to be the ideal compromise between magnification, field of view, and light gathering abilities.
The Best Low Light Binoculars You Can Afford:
The Best Low Light Binoculars for you will ultimately be the best binoculars you can afford, because as quality goes up, typically so does low light abilities. You surely get what you pay for with optics, and this is very true with binoculars. Now that you know what to look for if you are in the market for the best low light binoculars, you can be sure to buy the best low light binoculars for yourself.