Bird Watching: Top 6 (Introductory) Binoculars Used in India

Is bird watching starting to reel you in? This increasingly popular (and addictive!) hobby is witnessing a growth in India like never before, and more than ever, people are visiting their nearest patch of wilderness to uncover those beautiful avian treasures. However, it can be a challenging hobby first up. How do you spot those little black dots that flit in and out of the canopy for the barest of seconds?

When you first start birding, you will soon realize that having the right tools is invaluable for your long-term commitment to the hobby and therefore, it is vital to have a good set of binoculars for bird watching.  As your list of birds and the fascination to bird watch will increase, you will also be on the lookout for the best birding binoculars. 

However, before you pick any basic binocular that says ‘perfect binoculars for beginners’, you need to understand a few scary-sounding terminologies which are actually relatively simple to understand. Here’s a breakdown!

Magnification and size of the objective lens 

When you talk about the magnification power, we refer to the size of the object that will appear through the binoculars. Suppose you find ’10×42′ written in the description of the binoculars. The 10x means the magnification power is 10x. This magnification 10x would in simple terms mean you would be able to see the object ten times closer to you than you would see from the naked eye.

The ’42’ refers to the size and diameter of the objective lens in milimetres.  The objective lens is a significant part of the binoculars, the larger the objective lens, the more light will enter the lens and provide clearer imagery.

Which binocular magnification is better for bird watching?

Bird watching can be a bit more challenging that watching an animal walking on the ground. When you view these feathery folks from a distance, as they flit through trees and bushes, or fly off to a different patch unpredictably, gaining as many details as possible for identification is quite a task.

In bird watching, both 8x and 10x are suitable for bird watching but any magnification less than or more than that in binoculars could prove unsuitable. Why so?

With high magnification, image stability is compromised (more the zoom, the more shaky your image becomes when handheld) and the brightness of an image also dims down (that is, if the size of the objective lens does not increase. If it does, the binoculars become heavier which again make it unsuitable for long birding walks!) and causes inconvenience for birders lugging around that heavy weight around their neck. You need binoculars that can give you a stabilised and bright picture of the bird you are looking at, given the conditions.

Field of view is another important aspect to consider because a higher magnification would mean a more limited field of view. Rarely ever do birds sit stationery (I wish!). Spotting them easily would require a binocular which provides a wider field of view as you can see more of the scene in front of you and hence are able to pinpoint the latest position of the bird. 8x and 10x by virtue of their lower zoom range, provide a wider field of view.

Thus, both 8x and 10x  binoculars can be used in different surroundings and generate bright pictures that gives you maximum coverage to spot your favourite birds. The only difference between these two binoculars is that 8x magnification may have a slight edge for spotting birds in a forest (Lower magnification, brighter image and a wider field of view) whereas 10x gives you a great view in an open surroundings like wetlands (Slightly better magnification).

Eye relief 

Eye relief is the distance from the eyepiece to the user’s eye. The eyepiece is the optimal focal point where manufacturers also install the eyecups for the ease of the user. If you wear glasses, you need to look for binoculars that have more extended eye relief. The extra eye relief for the people who wear glasses is usually recommended to be 16 mm or more. In most binoculars, it is up to 15 mm. 

Lens Coating 

The lens coating is the kind of film that is applied to the lens to reduce the reflections. It also helps with adding light transmission. Moreover, the layer helps the user to see a clear image with vivid colours. There are three types of coatings. 

Coated: Has a coating of magnesium fluoride on at least one surface.

Fully coated: Has one anti-reflective coating on both sides of an ocular and objective lens and also has surfaced coating on the long side of the prism.

Multi-coated: Has multiple coatings of a layer on the lens on various ocular elements of the lens. This coating is to ensure that the light does not reflect through it and provides a vivid and bright image. Most modern binoculars have this.

Type of prism 

There are two types of prism that binoculars have:

Porro Prism Binoculars

Named after the Italian inventor, Ignzaio Porro, they have been the traditional design for most binoculars. These are sturdy, all-purpose binoculars both for general use and game viewing, including viewing wildlife and birds. Porro prism binoculars may look old fashioned, but they are a little less expensive.

Roof Prism Binoculars

While the roof prism design has also been around for more than a century, it is only in the last decade or so they have started to become a bit more affordable. These binoculars are lightweight and less bulky. Its optical axis is adjusted in a straight line with the eyepiece and the objective lens. When considering prices of the binocular having roof prism, these binoculars are slightly higher priced but the difference is narrowing with time.

Right! Now that you’re set with the basics, let’s dive into those popular models used in India!

Olympus 8x40 DPSI Bird Watching Binoculars

Olympus 8×40 DPSI Binoculars 


Warranty details: 1-year warranty 

Eye Relief: 12 mm

Coating: Monolayer coating 

Magnification and objective lens: 8×40

Waterproof/fog proof

Type of Prism: Porro Prism

Field of view at 1000m-143m

Weight: 710 gram

While you are looking for the perfect binoculars for bird watching that is also easy on your pocket, we have one for you. The Olympus 8×40 is a binocular for beginners, having a Porro Prism design. This prism may not make it the most compact binoculars, but it is inexpensive. This particular model of Olympus has a magnification of 8x, whereas the size of the diameter of the objective lens is 40 mm. Moreover, with the expanded field of view, this binocular lets you observe birds in a more extensive field or region. 

For the bird watchers who need something price friendly, this pair of binoculars can be the most suitable pick. These binoculars are ideal for bird watching, camping, sports, and even astronomy.

Check the latest price of this binocular here: Olympus 8×40 DPSI Binocular (Black)

The Olympus 8X40 DPS I binoculars are not currently available online, the alternative in this price range I can suggest is the Celestron 8X40 Upclose G2 Porro Prism binoculars, you can find the latest price here: Celestron 8X40 Upclose G2 Porro Prism

Nikon 8245 ACULON A211 8x42 Bird Watching Binoculars 

Nikon 8245 ACULON A211 10×42 Binoculars 


Warranty details: 1 year 

Eye Relief: 12 mm

Magnification and objective lens: 10×42

Waterproof/fog-proof: No

Coating: Multicoated

Type of Prism: Porro 

Field of view at 1000 m: 140m

Weight: 755 grams

Nikon is a well-known company for their incredible lenses and cameras, but they make great binoculars as well. These Nikon binoculars may not be the most compact binoculars, but the price of it is absolute value of money. It comes with a Porro prism, therefore, has a bulky design. The Nikon A211 Aculon binoculars will not force you to waste your hard-earned cash. These are the among the most inexpensive binoculars in the Nikon range. These binoculars are perfect for bird watching because of the broad field of view and also because of the aspherical lens that is multicoated with the BaK-4 prism glass. These binoculars have a coated lens that makes the image bright and clear. It also comes with a rubber armoured body that keeps it safe and make the grip easy and comfortable.

You can the latest price for this binocular here: Nikon 8245 ACULON A211 10×42 Binocular (Black)

Celestron 10x42 Outland X Bird Watching Binoculars

Celestron 10×42 Outland X Binoculars 


Warranty details: 1 year 

Eye Relief: 14 mm

Magnification and objective lens: 10×42

Waterproof/fog-proof: yes 

Coating: Multicoated lens 

Type of Prism: roof prism 

Field of View @1000m: 98m

Weight: 618 grams

The Celestron Outland X is no doubt one of the most suitable binocular based on the magnifications. However, this model of binoculars is not the most inexpensive one. It has a roof prism that makes it easy to grip and compact. Not only that, but it will also provide you with clear and sharp images.

Moreover, with the high magnification and the broad field of view, you can enjoy the tiniest movement of birds. The durable and ergonomic design that Celestron has, increases the life of the binoculars even more. If you are a beginner at birding and can stretch the budget a bit, I would strongly recommend these having used them myself many times.

Check the latest price of these birding binoculars here: Celestron 10×42 Outland X Binocular (Black)

Vanguard Spirit XF 8X42 Bird Watching Binoculars 

Vanguard Spirit XF 8X42 Binoculars 


Warranty details: 1 year 

Eye Relief: 20 mm

Magnification and objective lens: 8×42

Waterproof/fog-proof: yes 

Coating: Multi-coated 

Type of Prism: Roof prism 

Field of View at 1000 m: 136 m

Weight: 699 gram 

Vanguard is a long-established company and has a name in producing innovative and high-quality products at great value for money. This Vanguard Spirit is available in two magnifications. One is 10×42, whereas the other one is 8×42. Both of these are great. However, if you are a beginner in birding, the 8×42 is perfect for you. Again because they are roof prims, they are a bit more expensive, and in fact, have an edge in some of the specifications over the Celestron Outland X.

Moreover, they are lightweight and compact because of the roof prism design. So, it will not be an issue to handle it even on long walks. These binoculars are easy to hold and provide a firm grip.

You can find the latest price of the Vanguard Spirit XF binoculars here: Vanguard Spirit XF 8X42 Binocular (Black)

Update (December, 2020): This model seems to be increasingly unavailable in India. Fortunately, a similar model has come in its place, you can check out this one: Vanguard Veo ED 8420 Binocular


Bushnell 10 x 42 Powerview Roof Prism Bird Watching Binoculars

Bushnell 10 x 42 Powerview Roof Prism Binoculars


Warranty details: Limited Lifetime warranty 

Eye Relief: 17.5 mm

Magnification and objective lens: 10×42 

Waterproof/fog-proof: No

Coating: Multicoated

Type of Prism: Roof

Field of view at 1000 m: 87 m 

Weight: 685 grams 

The Bushnell Power View binoculars also come with a roof prism design. If you need binoculars that are lightweight, easy to grip, and have roof prism for better optical images, the Bushnell binoculars have it all. These are the best binoculars that provide you with the 10x magnifications.

Moreover, it comes with multiple coating. These coatings are anti-reflective. So, the quality of the image is even better, sharp, vivid, and bright. These sets of binoculars come with a limited lifetime warranty, a great advantage. So, you can claim it anytime if there are any defects or workmanship when you receive the binoculars. The ergonomic design makes it last longer.

You can find the current price of the Bushnell binoculars here: Bushnell 10X42 PowerView Binoculars

NIKON Prostaff 3S 10x42 Bird Watching Binoculars

NIKON Prostaff 3S 8×42 Binoculars


Warranty details: 1 year

Eye Relief: 15.7 mm

Magnification and objective lens: 8×42

Waterproof/fog-proof: Yes 

Coating: Multicoated

Type of Prism: Roof 

Field of View at 1000 m: 122ft

Weight: 575 grams 

While you are in search of the best binoculars, you also need to find something that is not heavy. The Nikon Prostaff 3s is your answer if you are in search of the lightweight and compact binoculars with a roof prism. Spec for spec, they compete with the Vanguard Spirit XF on many aspects.

These binoculars are perfect for beginners for bird watching, capable of providing crisp images. The Nikon Prostaff 3S is also water and fog proof. So, you can use it in any season. The wider field of view and the lighter weight compared to the other roof prisms mentioned, give it an edge. 

You can find the updated price of the Nikon Prostaff 3S 8X42 here: Nikon Prostaff 3S 8×42 Roof Prism Waterproof Binocular

In case the Nikon Prostaff 3S is not available, you can check Nikon Prostaff 5 : Nikon Prostaff 5 Roof Prism Binocular

These are some of the best binoculars for bird watching that you can pick based on the price, magnification, field of view, weight, and the clarity of the image.

You can do your own research as well to see if there are a good number of review on other brands with similar specifications, and if you are getting a good deal on them.

You would notice some of the mentioned models have similar specifications, and may not differ much except for a few small changes in specifications. This is the time you have to determine if the brand, specification and of course the prevailing price is suitable for you or not.

If bird watching is going to be at best a very occasional hobby for you and you need more of a general purpose binocular, no harm in spending a little less, and going with a porro prism design. I would always suggest to go with the binoculars with a roof prism design if you are serious about getting into bird watching, with all the mentioned models above, you would rarely go wrong because they are popularly used throughout the globe.

Hope you found the above useful. You can bookmark this page for future reference if need be. Keep watching this space for more guides on navigating the field of wildlife exploration in India.