Top 6 Best Binoculars Under 500 & 600
Who said you have to part with thousands of your hard-earned dollars to get a quality pair of binoculars? Although high quality and high-end binoculars cost upwards of $1000, you can get good binoculars for less than $600. Actually, if you ask me, $600 is a substantial amount of money to spend on a binocular given that there are some that go for as low as binoculars under $200. However, since I guess you do not want to compromise on quality, I recommend binoculars with a $500 or a $600 price tag. So which are the best Binoculars under 500 & 600?
There is no definitive answer to this question as different binoculars are designed for different purposes. All the same based on my experience with hunting binoculars, there are some factors you should consider. The most important factors to consider discussed below
Before going how to choose best binoculars under 500 and 600, I would like to bring up a quick comparison table of my best 6 picks.
Exit Pupil (mm)
Eye Relief (mm)
Vortex Viper HD 10x42
Nikon Monarch 7 10x42
Zeiss Terra ED 524206
Canon 10x30 Image Stabilization II
Vortex Optics Talon HD 10x42
Vortex Vulture HD 15x56
How To Choose the Best Binoculars Under 500 & 600
When shopping for binoculars under $500 and $600, there are some factors you should consider. The importance of these considerations will become clear in the review section. However, before I get to reviewing my Best Binoculars under 500 and 600, allow me to explain them first.
Common knowledge dictates that light reflects off glass surfaces causing glare. And if there is something I have learned in the ten years I have been hunting is that there is nothing more annoying than glare. Fortunately, binocular lenses come with coatings that reduce glare and maximize light transmission. If you find a binocular that is fully multi-coated, then go for it as it means that it has a better light transmission. However, it is important to note that most binoculars under $500 and 600 have multiple coated lenses meaning they are not fully multi-coated.
The eye relief
You probably have seen the term “eye relief” in most binocular specs but don’t know what it means. Simply eye relief is the distance between your eye and a binocular’s eyepiece. This distance is critical as it determines how comfortable a binocular is. A long eye relief is more comfortable as it allows you to hold a binocular away from your eyes. Most binoculars in the $ 500 to $ 600 price range have eye reliefs of between 15 mm to 17 mm. Naturally, for comfort go for the binocular with a 17 mm eye relief, especially if you wear glasses.
The field of view
Usually, a binocular’s field of view is measured at a distance of 1000 yards. Thus, by definition, the field of view refers to the width of the area that is visible through your eyepiece. So the larger the field of view the more you can see. It is important to note that the field of view decreases with increase in magnification. As such an 8X42 binocular will have a larger field of view than a 10X42 binocular. Ordinarily, binoculars under $ 600 have fields of view of between 200 ft and 350 ft.
Size and weight
Binoculars come in a variety of sizes ranging from full size to compact. Based on my experience, most binoculars under $600 are either full-size or mid-size. Most full-sized binoculars have a configuration of 8X42 or 10X42 while mid-sized binoculars come with a configuration of 7X35 and 10X32. Full-sized binoculars are better performers and ideal for quick hunting and bird watching trips, But on long hunting trips, you have to purchase additional tripod as they are a little bit heavier compare to mid-size. On the other hand, Mid-sized binoculars are moderately lighter than full-sized and are better for long hunting trips, and if you don't have a tripod, then you should select mid-size binoculars on that particular occasion.
Other considerations that you should put into account when shopping for a binocular are
- Magnification power, most binoculars in the under $600 price segment have magnification powers of between 8X and 10X
- Exit pupil indicates how bright an image will appear in low light transmission
- A good binocular should have a waterproof and fog proof construction
Vortex Optics Viper HD 10x42 Roof Prism Binocular
One of the several inexpensive full-sized binoculars I own is the Vortex HD 10X42. Remember how I said there are few binoculars in the under $600 price range with fully multi-coated optics? Well, the Vortex HD is one of the few. This means that this pair of binoculars performs exceptionally well early in the morning when light conditions are not so good.
What's Great In Vortex Viper HD
One of the things I appreciate about the Vortex HD is how crisp and clear images are. In regards to comfort, this binocular does not disappoint as it has a decent 16.5 mm eye relief and a 319 feet field of view. As its name suggests, its objective lens is made from high-quality HD extra-low dispersion glass. This high-quality HD extra-low dispersion glass is the same glass found in Zeiss’ high-end optics.
The Nikon Monarch 7 10x42 Binocular : Best Hunting Binoculars Under 500
Another full-size binocular that I frequently use is the Nikon Monarch 7 10X42. A successor to the Monarch 5, this binocular is as good as Nikon says it is. For starters, this binocular is, in my opinion, one of the best hunting binoculars under 500.
Why ? You ask. Well, to begin with, I found its image quality to be outstanding. Similar to the Vortex HD, the Monarch 7 fitted with an extra-low dispersion glass lens. Astonishingly, it has a wider field of view than the Vortex HD. Also, despite it being a full-size binocular, it is quite light. So compared to other binoculars in its price range, the Monarch 7 really does offer great value for money. Though there are other binoculars that have the same features and cost less, they cannot give you the kind of image quality you get with the Monarch 7.
The Zeiss Terra ED 524206 Binoculars
It would be absurd for me not to include the Zeiss Terra ED on any list of the Best Binoculars under 500. That being said, the Zeiss Terra is one of the cheapest binoculars from the German manufacturer.
In fact, when I first saw it I could not believe that it costs less than $500. Though not as big as that of the Monarch 7, the 330 ft field of view of the Terra is still quite impressive. For its price, I was expecting the Terra’s image quality to be bad, but boy was I wrong.
Thanks to the ED glass objective lens, the images are crisp and bright. Also, I have never had a problem viewing large game using this binocular at dawn or dusk. The eyecups are easy to adjust for glass and non-glass wearers. The 14 mm eye relief was not a problem for me. Interestingly, this Zeiss model is lighter than its pricier cousin the Zeiss Conquest 10X42.
The Canon 10x30 Image Stabilization II Binoculars
Another binocular whose price is too good to be true is the Canon 10X30 IS II. Although it has the standard 10X magnification, this binocular is equipped with image stabilization technology. When using this binocular, I do not experience shaky images thanks to the stabilization technology.
What Best in this Bino?
In regards to comfort, I have no problem with the 14 mm eye relief of this binocular. Also, the 314 ft field of view was not bad. What really stood out for me about this binocular is how sharp the edges of images are. Actually, I don’t think I have seen sharper image edges in a binocular within this Cannon’s price range.
Unlike the image stabilization technology of other binoculars, the Canon technology is battery powered. You must be wondering why I decided to buy this Canon image stabilizer model yet it has a standard magnification. Well, since I use full-size binoculars for lengthy periods of time, my hands get tired. To eliminate the shakiness brought on by fatigue, I decided to get image stabilization binocular and the Canon 10X30 was the best I could find for its price.
The Vortex Optics Talon HD 10x42 Roof Prism Binocular
I bought the Vortex Talon HD 10X42 to replace my aging Monarch 5 binoculars. Upon arrival of, I was impressed at the ergonomic and premium design of the binocular. Three years with this binocular and I still have zero regrets about buying them.
The image quality of this binocular is phenomenal thanks to the HD glass used to make the 42 mm objective lens. Having already tested and used both the Canon IS II and the Zeiss Terra ED, I was thoroughly impressed by the Talon’s 348 ft fields of view.
The only problem I have with the Talon is its weight. It weighs 26.5 ounces, meaning that transporting it in a backpack is not that easy. Fortunately, what it lacks in compactness it more than makes up for in comfort. The 16 mm eye relief is decent, and the smooth focusing system is great.
The Vortex Vulture HD 15x56 Binoculars : Best Binoculars For Birdwatching
Though not my favorite binocular, due to them lacking image stabilization, the Vortex Vulture HD 15X56 is still a great pair of binoculars, I mean why else would I have bought them. As you probably have already guessed the magnification power on this binocular is insane. Obviously, this binocular is not the lightest on this list. Also, its field of view is considerably smaller compared to that of the other binoculars on this list.
Nevertheless, its image quality is unrivaled, and its brightness unmatched. It's crystal clear image quality makes it worth every penny I spent on it. I usually use this binocular for bird watching, because it is not the best for backpacking.
However, I also do use them for hunting especially at dawn and dusk. The only thing I did not like about this binocular is its weight. The Vulture HD weighs a staggering 43.6 ounces almost double the weight of some other binoculars on this list.
In terms of size, it is not a small binocular as it measures 7.6 inches in height, and 5.8 inches in width. Nevertheless, this monster of a binocular is still a great performer, and you can use it on a tripod.
Finally, I have used and tested countless binocular brands and models, and the six I have reviewed above are some of the best I have ever used. Also, their reasonable prices make them ideal for almost anyone, whether you are a hunter or a bird watcher. So if you want a pair of binoculars that will not cost you your entire savings, I recommend buying any one of the six on this list.