Is bird watching an expensive hobby

Binoculars for bird watching

Bird watching is one of the most common uses for binoculars. Ornithologists or hobby bird lovers go into nature and try to get pretty and rare birds in front of the lens. In the following we describe what to consider when looking for binoculars for bird watching.

Special requirements for bird watching

Bird watching requires three other aspects of binoculars above all else: It must be handy, be able to focus quickly and flexibly, and have good image quality. We describe the requirements in more detail.


When looking for birds, it is important that you have the binoculars to hand quickly and that they are not heavy or unwieldy. You should therefore definitely give preference to a model that can still be easily gripped with one hand and that you can quickly pull out of your pocket when a peregrine falcon has settled nearby. For this reason, we recommend a maximum weight of 800 grams.


Birdwatching requires a lot of panning as birds tend to move - in contrast, this does not play a major role in astronomy and also in high-seat hunting. You then often have to refocus the image, as the distance often changes too. With binoculars it is therefore important that the focus can be adjusted very finely and that the controller can be turned very easily. It is best to test this directly on the binoculars to see whether you can handle it in an emergency.

The magnification also affects the focus: binoculars with 8x magnification do not have to be refocused as often as 10x or 12x glass. And the image also blurs more easily at higher magnification - a very unsightly effect when observing birds.

picture quality

A very important factor is the color fidelity, because it is nice to be able to see the colors in the plumage as they really are. Here you should pay attention to a high quality coating of the prisms.

In the case of roof prism glasses, it should be noted that the prisms do not have simple silver layers, but rather a large number of dielectric layers. In addition, the prisms should have a P-coating. This ensures that there is no phase shift in the light waves in the prism.

Recommended binoculars for bird watching

The price range for good binoculars is very large. We therefore have some recommendations for differently well-filled wallets, so that there is something for the hobbyist as well as for the ornithologist.

Test winner for bird watching

From our point of view, probably the best binoculars for bird watching is the Swarovski EL 8,5 × 42 Swarovison. It scores top marks in all 3 bird watching categories. The image quality is outstanding thanks to SWAROVISION technology and the combination of field flattener lenses, HD optics and optimized coating ensures absolutely true-to-life color reproduction. The focusing mechanism is very smooth and can focus from very close to very far with just 2 turns. Finally, the glass is compact, easy to grip and, at 795 grams, close to the optimal weight. For just over 2000 euros the premium binoculars for bird watching.

Price-performance winner for bird lovers

The Sky Hawk Pro 10 × 42 from Steiner are very good quality binoculars with a good price-performance ratio. The device can be quickly brought into focus thanks to the Steiner Fast-Close-Focus with stepless, damped focusing and enables detailed observation up to the extreme close focus range of 2m. The weight of only 725 grams is also particularly positive and the image quality is extremely good thanks to the high-contrast optics. At just over 300 euros a good, but not too expensive model for bird watching.

Binoculars for beginners in bird watching

If you are looking for an extremely affordable price, the Omegon Hunter 10 × 42 could be of interest. With a price of less than 200 euros, it is the leading model in its price class. It has a smooth center focus, is generally very robust and waterproof. With a weight of only 774 grams, it is well suited for use in the forest and nature.