Best Binoculars for Low Light Conditions in 2018 (Reviews & Comparison Guide)

best binoculars for low light conditions

If you hunt at night, then you definitely need one of the best low light binoculars. However, these great devices are not meant for hunters alone, but also for every binocular lover who wants to enjoy the amazing views at dawn, dusk or places with dim lightings such as dense forests, lakes enclosed in valleys and other places like that.

One thing to note is that low light binoculars differ from night vision binoculars. While the former is built to maximize light utility in low light conditions, the latter utilizes light amplifiers and infrared illuminators to provide clear visions at night.

Buying the right low light binoculars can be very easy if you know what to look out for and below we’ve highlighted discussed all the features you should give thought to.

Top 10 List of the Best Low Light Binoculars

  1. Vortex Optics Viper HD 10×50 Roof Prism Binocular
  2. Nikon ACULON A211 10×50 Binocular
  3. Canon 12×36 Image Stabilization III Binoculars
  4. Nikon PROSTAFF 5 10X50 Binocular
  5. Tsumbay 6X24 HD Military Binoculars
  6. Vortex Optics Razor HD 10×50 Roof Prism Binocular
  7. Celestron SkyMaster 25×70 Binoculars
  8. Holisouse 8×40 HD Binoculars
  9. OUTERDO Binoculars with Low Light Night Vision
  10. Bushnell PermaFocus Wide Angle Porro Prism Binocular

Factors you must consider before choosing best binoculars for low light conditions

  • Objective lens diameter

The size of the objective lenses determines how effectively a pair of binoculars would be able to gather image forming light. The larger the objectives, the more light the light they let into the binocular. Almost all binoculars are able to gather sufficient light when there is lots of it during the day, but compact binoculars with their small objectives usually between 20-25mm do not perform well at night or in low light conditions.

You’d be safer placing you bets on binoculars with 50mm objectives or more. Though quite bulky, such binoculars offer bright images in all light conditions. To get the best images at this conditions 8x magnification levels are great options but if you wish to observe details more closely, then you can opt for more magnification.

  • The exit pupil

Just like our eyes have got pupils, so does our binoculars. These can be seen as two dots that are noticeable when the binoculars are held at a distance of about 30meters away from the eyes. For the brightest and sharpest views, the value of the exit pupil and the eye pupil should be close enough.

Since the diameter of our eye pupils changes with varying light intensities (usually 2-3 mm in bright situations and about 7 mm in the dark), all binoculars perform well during the day but at night, you’d need a device with an exit pupil around 7mm.

The arithmetic behind the value of the exit pupil is quite an easy one; simply divide the diameter of the objectives by the magnification. Going by that, 7×50 binoculars are almost perfect at night.

  • Optical quality

More transmission and less or zero reflection produce the most awesome images. To achieve this, buy binoculars with lenses made of best quality glass. If it says on the description that the lenses are made from extra-low dispersion (ED) glasses, then go for it because this glass provides images that are sharp to the edges by minimizing color fringing to the barest minimum.

Anti-reflection coatings on the lenses as well as phase correction and the dielectric coating on the prisms are other elements to look out for if you wish to enjoy ultra HD images even in low light conditions.

  • Waterproof and fog proof features

These are great features to have in your binoculars. Having waterproof binoculars gives you peace of mind even when nature decides to frown at you when you are outdoors. Fogging of the lenses due to fluctuation in temperature can seriously hamper the light transmission ability of your pair of binoculars.

Manufactures purge the housing of binoculars with an inert gas usually nitrogen or argon to prevent this from happening. Fortunately, most binoculars come with these features but still double check to make sure your bins have them.

Reviews of the Recommended Top 5 Best Low Light Binoculars

1. Vortex Optics Razor HD 10×50 Roof Prism Binocular – best compact low light binoculars

Vortex Optics has made a good name for itself in the binoculars industry; and binoculars like Vortex Optics Razor HD 10×50 roof prism binoculars are great testimonies of their unfailing quality. The design features a simple roof prism system which allowed the binocular to be sleeker, less bulky and much more stylish.

Magnesium alloy was used in building the body instead of the slightly heavier aluminum frame to keep the weight as manageable as possible. The 10x magnification brings all the tiny details closer than you’d ever imagine while the large 50 mm objectives gather enough light to give you bright images even in low light conditions.

The prisms are phase-corrected BaK-4 variants while the lenses which are made of ED glass are fully multi-coated to prevent any color aberration at image edges and deliver excellent views that are vivid, bright and color true. The field of view of 315 feet at 1000 yards is quite wide for a 10x binocular.
best compact low light binoculars

 

Pros
  • Great imaging performance in all situations
  • ED glass lenses
  • Fully multicoated optics
  • Great value for your money
  • Quality accessories included in the delivery scope.
Cons
  • This binocular is slightly heavier than the standard 8×42 binoculars

2. Nikon PROSTAFF 5 10X50 Binocular – best low light binoculars under 500

Yet another 10×50 pair of binoculars but this time it is an optical marvel from Nikon. Just like the Vortex binoculars reviewed above, the 10×50 Nikon Prostaff binocular is fully multi-coated and provides bright images with sharp colors to the edges.

The Eco-glass utilized in the production of the lenses is free of harmful metals like lead and arsenic; Nikon cares about you and the environment. The ergonomics is sound and the long eye relief, as well as easily adjustable eyecups, make the binocular user-friendly for both spectacle and non-spectacle wearers.

The body is made of a fiberglass reinforced resin which ensures that the device is as light as can be. The degree of image stability is high and you can rest assured of the durability of these binoculars even when frequently used in extreme conditions as they are 100% fog proof and waterproof.
best low light binoculars under 500

 

Pros
  • Highly durable binoculars.
  • Impressive low-light performance thanks to the 5mm exit pupil.
  • Waterproof and fog proof.
  • Ergonomically sound.
  • Very versatile pair of binoculars.
  • Images are sharp across the binoculars field of view.
Cons
  • The field of view of 98 m/1000 meters leaves a lot to be desired in certain applications.

3. Bushnell PermaFocus Wide Angle Porro Prism Binocular – best binoculars for low light conditions

A pair of Bushnell binoculars are worth placing your bets on and this 12×50 Bushnell wide angle binocular wouldn’t disappoint you. It offers significantly more inters of magnification than the first two devices on our list and features a unique focus-free function which makes it ideal for observing moving targets.

Due to the higher level of magnification it offers, its field of view of 265 ft. /1000 yards is lesser than you get with 10×50 binoculars. This device is beautifully crafted and comes with a dazzling black rubber armor which enables the binoculars to absorb shock upon impact and also provides a non-slip grip.

The lenses are fully multi-coated and the prisms are top quality Porro types that increase light transmission to enhance the imaging quality of the binoculars.
best binoculars for low light conditions

 

Pros
  • High imaging performance
  • Enough magnification for observing distant objects
  • Fully multicoated optics
  • Outstanding low light performance
Cons
  • The Permafocus feature makes it difficult to focus on near objects.

4. Holisouse 8×40 HD Binoculars – best low light binoculars for the money

The Holisouse HD 8×42 binocular is a popular choice because it’s one of the best low light binocular for the money. At what seems to be a give-away fair price, you get a uniquely designed binocular with quality optics that never fails you.

The 8x magnification makes sure that you don’t have any to struggle with image stability while you observe the wonderfully bright views provided by the 40 mm HD lenses. The images are very clear, crisp and sharp; thanks to the BaK-4 Porro prism system and fully multicoated optics.

The slightly lower magnification power enables the Holisouse binocular to provide a wide field of vision of 168 meters at 1000 meters. You are guaranteed a safe and non-slip grip by the rubber armor featured on the exterior which also serves to absorb shock.

The binocular provides an excellent value for money and is very easy to use. This binocular has received and continues to receive showers of praise on numerous best low light binoculars reviews online and has an excellent average of 5 stars from 579 customers on Amazon.
best low light binoculars for the money

 

Pros
  • Great value for the money
  • High performing optical components
  • Fog and waterproof functions
  • Unique and ergonomic design
Cons
  • Hardly anything to complain about this binocular but from experience, a center focus is easier to manipulate than individual focus which is featured in this Holisouse binocular.

5. Celestron SkyMaster 25×70 Binoculars – best low light binoculars for hunting

The Celestron SkyMaster 25×70 binocular is a high powered device which can be efficiently used for celestial as well as terrestrial purposes.

Its powerful 25x lenses make very far away objects seem like they are right next to you while the 70 mm objectives gather all the light you need to view the stars and other celestial bodies bright at night. The eyecups are built with soft rubber and can be rolled down to enable eyeglass wearers enjoy obstruction-free views.

At this specifications, the binocular is quite heavy; 52 oz (1474 grams) but it comes with a tripod adapter which allows you to enjoy stable views for extended periods without tiring quickly. You can easily adjust the focus using a central wheel and corrections can be made to the differences observed in both eyes using the diopter adjustment present on the right eyepiece.

The extremely high magnification means that you only get a 141 ft. field of view at 1000 yards but that doesn’t prevent this device from being one of the best low light binocular under 500 you’d find on the market.
best low light binoculars for hunting

 

Pros
  • High powered binocular for viewing very far away objects
  • Large objectives provide very bright images in all conditions
  • Tripod adaptable for more stable views
  • The 75 ft. minimum focus distance seems far but it’s one of the closest you’d get with binoculars in this category.
  • Great binoculars for astronomy
Cons
  • The high magnification gives you a relatively narrow field of view and smaller exit pupil but these are common problems with most high powered binoculars.

 Conclusion

Binoculars are such wonderful devices, they bring objects closer to you and allow to enjoy bright views especially during the day; when the light conditions are great. But to enjoy a similar treat when the lighting conditions are not as good, for example at dawn, dusk or even at night, you’d need a binocular which can gather sufficient image forming light and then provide you crisp and vivid images even under these unfavorable conditions. Getting such a binocular is not so difficult especially now that you know all that you should look out for in the best low light binoculars.

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