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Binoculars That Are Worth a Second Look

I’ve been looking for the perfect pair of binoculars. You know, the perfect pair that will let me zoom in on a fast-moving bird, take in panoramic landscapes, and not weigh a ton. Turns out, there’s no such thing as the perfect pair of binoculars. As with everything else in life, choosing binoculars is an exercise in trade-offs, balancing quality, size, price, and durability. I haven’t made a final decision yet, but here are the ones that have really captured my attention so far.

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This Pentax 8×21 UCF R is a standard, inexpensive pocket binocular that should meet most needs. And at only 7.1 ounzes, it will certainly be easy to carry around.
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Here’s another pair of compact binoculars that would be good for carrying into the great outdoors: the Tasco Essentials 8×21 Binocular. It’s even a little more lightweight than the first one, weighing in at just 6.5 ounces.

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If you’re looking for the ultimate option in terms of portability, the Sun Company 5 in 1 Pocket Binocular is great, because it folds down flat and weighs just 2.3 ounces. In addition to being a pair of binoculars, it is also has an LED light, a magnifying glass, a luminous compass, and a mirror. But with all that multi-tasking, I have to wonder whether it will really perform as well as more traditional binoculars.

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If size, weight, and price were no obstacle, then I’d jump at the chance to buy the ATN Phantom IR Thermal Vision Binocular Thermal Vision Binocular. Of course, at more than $20,000, this is a bit beyond my budget. But just think of all the things you could see and do with this kind of night-vision capability!

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And here’s another one that caught my eye: the ATN Night Shadow-3 Gen 3 5x Magnification, Night Vision Binocular. At “only” $3,000, it seems like a bargain compared to the last one, and it has a cool proximity sensor that turns the night vision on automatically.

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Last but not least, check out the Brunton Echo Pocket Scope Monocular. This is a great tool for espionage, just 3.25″ x 1.25″ and 1.8 ounces.