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Your guide to binoculars based on how you use them.
Outdoor and Stadium - Sports
Extra-wide-angle models in 4x21, 8x25, and 10x25 sizes. All full-size 7x35, 10x50, and 12x50 sizes. Any zoom model. Compact models from 7X to 10X
Any waterproof model with a large diameter front objective and rubberized armored construction, including 7x50, 7x42, 8x42, and10x42. 8X and 10X models will benefit from image stabilization.
Theater and Concerts
4x30, 7x18, and 7x21 compacts, 5x25 and 8x25 extra-wide-angle models. Any zoom or wide-angle model.
Outdoor and Nature
Any full-size 7x35, 7x50, 7x42, 8x42 and 10x42. Compact 8x30 and 10x30 models. Waterproof models are recommended for camping and hiking.
Full-size 7x35, 8x42, 10x42, and 10x50. Most compact and wide-angle models.
Rubber-armored waterproof and fogproof models are preferable. For general hunting, any 7X to 10X models, especially those with low-light capability. For distant or small game 12X or 16X. A second pocketable compact model for active tracking.
The standard is a full-size 8x42 or 8x32, but for smaller species and/or greater distances 10x42, 10x50 or 12x50 are also popular
Many birders use compact units with a front objective diameter of 30mm or larger. Binoculars with good close-focusing ability and long eye relief are a plus.
Full size 7x50 (The classic Navy night glass). Any full-size 8x42 or 10x42.