Whales are fascinating creatures. The humpback whale in US waters can sing songs heard for miles. The blue whale is the biggest animal ever on the face of the Earth. It has the weight of more than 24 elephants. It’s no wonder that people want to see these whales in action.
To really see the whales, you have to have really good binoculars. Even if you’re close to the whales in the ocean, it helps to see them clearer. The right bins should be waterproof and have real clarity when viewing. These binos are some of the best out there for whale watching.
Read on to find the best binoculars for whale watching. You can get a glimpse of a majestic whale with any of these bins when the naked eye isn’t enough.
Table of Contents
- Whale Watching Binoculars Comparison Table
- Top 5 Binoculars for Whale Watching Review
Whale Watching Binoculars Comparison Table
|Nikon Monarch 5 Binoculars||10 x 42||228 Feet||Yes|
|Vortex Optics Binoculars||10 x 28||273 Feet||Yes|
|Bushnell Legend Ultra HD||10 x 42||340 Feet||Yes|
|Hooway Marine Binoculars||7 x 50||396 Feet||Yes|
|Celestron SkyMaster Binoculars||25 x 100||156 Feet||Yes|
Top 5 Binoculars for Whale Watching Review
Nikon has been making cameras and binoculars for years. All of Nikon’s binoculars are being built with extra-low dispersion glass. The binoculars have improved image clarity with great contrast. When whale watching, you’ll need high contrast and clarity to pick the whale’s image apart from the ocean.
Waterproofing is vital to any activity near the water. The boat you’re on will likely lift and plummet with the ocean’s waves. The ocean’s spray will hit you on the boat frequently. The 10 x 42 bins have o-rings to keep water out of them. They should also be fogproof. You don’t want condensation entering the lenses.
If we had to narrow down one important feature for whale watching, it would be the field of view. With the Monarch 5, it’s 288 feet at 1000 yards. You’ll be able to sweep your bins a minimal amount to see all around the water. It makes finding whales much easier.
Once you’ve seen a whale, you can increase the magnification to get up close. It’ll feel like you’ve walked across the ocean and are standing next to the whale. While the captain of the boat can bring you to whale grounds, they can’t help you focus and narrow in on the whale. These bins will do that for you.
All the features of the Monarch 5 from Nikon are meant to make your viewing easier. It has terrific lenses that are fully coated for bright images. That can be seen from the moment you place your eye to the bins.
There are rubber eyecups that turn and slide for comfort. You can wear eyeglasses or sunglasses with it easily. The ED glass also improves the image. It’ll be clearer even at a wide field of view.
The minimal focus distance is 8 feet. That’s a perfect distance for seeing whales in the water. It has a center focus and is waterproof for use on the open water.
The focus knob is hard to turn at first. It’s going to get much easier with use. I’d recommend that you spend some time moving the knob before your trip. It’ll get you ready for instant focusing when you’re looking for whales.
This is a great pair of binoculars for outdoor adventures. It’s incredibly durable and comfortable when looking for animals. It’s light enough for constant holding. It’ll easily lift every time you want to scan the water during your whale watching adventure.
It’s simple to go from the warmth of the cabin to the side railing when you’re ready to see the whales. The bins won’t fog up with condensation. They won’t be a problem when spray from the ocean hits you. It could be raining on your head, and your bins will still perform well. They have o-rings and were purged with Argon gas.
At 1000 yards, you’re getting a range of 273 feet across for your field of view. It’s an angle of 5.1 degrees. The close focus is only 6.5 feet. That’s shorter than some other bins. You can see any animal that’s close to the boat. The 10 x 28 gives you magnification of 10x and lens diameter of 28 mm.
The fully multi-coated lenses and multi-layer roof prism are giving you a ton of light. All of that light works towards a sharp, clear image. Light transmission influences the image clarity like it does in a camera. It has an eye relief of 16 mm. That’s good for people who wear glasses.
Hopping on a boat to go whale watching is such a fun adventure. You want to have the perfect tools to see the whales. They can be hard to spot beneath the waves.
With this pair of bins, you’re going to be able to see them as close as 6 feet from you. There’s a range of 1000 yards where you can see across 273 feet. That’s a generous amount of range for whale watching binoculars.
These were easy to adjust. The eye relief was great for people who wear glasses. You might want to consider good eye relief if only for your sunglasses. It helps you see better without having to take them off and on.
The diameter of the eye cups are quite wide. You’ll want to pay attention to the pupillary distance between them in the specs. If they’re too large for you, they’re going to be difficult to focus.
The company has been selling binoculars since they started in 1948. That’s decades of being involved in optics. They’ve expanded from binoculars to other products like telescopes, firearm scopes, flashlights and night-vision devices. It’s a company that knows what customers want.
The Bushnell Legend M-Series is an 8 x 42 mm set of bins. That’s 8x magnification for viewing whales in the ocean. The lens has a diameter or 42 mm. It gives you a 426-foot field of view at 1000 yards. It also has a close focus of 6.5 feet.
This lightweight bino has a weight of 26.5 ounces. The prism is a roof one that is compact and light. It’s a BaK-4. The lenses are fully multi-coated for bright images. The glass is lead free and covered with RainGuard HD lens coating.
With this set of binoculars, you’re getting a waterproof and fogproof product. It’s not just the rain coating. The water won’t get into the chassis of the bins because they will bead up and roll off the lenses. The interior is filled with nitrogen. The gas doesn’t let condensation inside.
All of the features in this binocular seem to have been created specifically for whale watching. It’s the type of activity that the company imagines when they make a binocular.
It has the water resistant coating for the lens. It’ll allow you to see everything in high definition. It’ll feel like you’re standing right next to the whale. Like you’re close enough to touch it.
The field of view is really wide at over 400 feet. You can scan the surface of the water for the whales. You might even be the first to see them and can point them out to everyone else. It’ll be impossible to miss seeing any whale on your trip.
The focusing knob moves really slow. You’ll have to work to loosen it over time. If you need to focus on a whale very quickly, it’s going to be a problem. Take some time before your trip to play with the knob.
These are unlike the binoculars featured so far. These ones are marine bins, so they are catering to the marine lifestyle. It’s fantastic for whale watching or checking out other marine life like dolphins. The bins are good for all kinds of weather conditions.
The bins have a magnification of 7x. That’s plenty of magnification for viewing whales. You’ll be able to see everything on their bodies as well as other fish swimming with them. The field of view on these binoculars is 396 feet at 1000 yards. The 50 mm lenses let in plenty of light.
With these bins, you’re getting a waterproof and fogproof device. They’re nitrogen purged, so they won’t get fogged up. Along with being completely waterproof, they will float in water. If you were to drop them, they wouldn’t sink. Instead, they will float, so you can catch them. They are waterproof with a rating of IPX7.
In these bins, you’re getting things like lens coating and rubber armor. You’re also getting something really unique. The bins have an illuminated compass built into the bins. There’s also an internal rangefinder. It measures the distance of an object as well as it’s height.
The coated lenses and BaK-4 prism are going to feature sharp images. Every time you look through the eye piece, you’ll see a clear object that isn’t fuzzy at all.
With a rubber armor shell, it’ll absorbs shocks from falls. Although, it shouldn’t fall often. The grip is non-slip on the rubber. It encourages a firm grip.
Plus, there’s the fact that the bins will float. When you’re on the water, you won’t have to worry about your bins sinking. If you drop them, they’ll float on top and wait for you to rescue them.
There’s no zoom or adjustment. You’re going to be at a certain zoom (7x) without the ability to change it. That’s a problem if you want to see something closer to you.
There’s no reason that you have to step on a boat to go whale watching. Many people live near the ocean and want to see marine life out on the water. For that, you need an incredibly powerful binocular. That’s what you’ll get with the Celestron SkyMaster. This company knows its telescopes as well as bins.
This bin isn’t waterproof, but it is water resistant. These are binoculars you can set on your balcony to see across the water. It might be boats or whales on the horizon or stars in the night sky. They are both possible with these really strong bins.
Due to the 25x magnification, the field of view is smaller than some other portable bins. It’s 156 feet at 1000 yards and 3.0 degrees. The prism is a BaK-4. It has a close distance of 80 feet. This is a strong set of binoculars with a wide aperture for long distance viewing.
There is a secure bar in the middle of the bins that reinforce the body. They’re quite heavy and will need to be mounted on a tripod. There’s an adapter for a tripod that’s very strong and stable base for your huge, new binoculars.
The SkyMaster was created to be used for sky watching. If you can see stars, imagine how clear the humpback whale in the ocean nearby will be. It’s a very large set of binoculars with a big lens diameter.
It’s easy to set up on a balcony overlooking the ocean. If you don’t live near the ocean, it is portable enough to travel with you to a resort destination. You can set it up on their balcony.
It has space for your smartphone to be attached, too. The attachment makes it simple to capture stunning images you can share with everyone. The bins are substantial and worth buying for whale watching.
It weighs 8 pounds. You’re not going to be able to take this with you on a boat unless you can use a tripod.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Binoculars for Whale Watching
You’re going to be rocking and rolling on a boat out at sea. The ocean has waves that will cause a few different things to happen. Sea spray will hit your face. It might even be very sunny outside. These are just two things you need to worry about.
Are They Waterproof?
If you drop your binoculars overboard while whale watching, waterproofing will be the least of your problems. The waterproofing will take care of the spray that will hit you each time the boat goes over a sea swell.
You binoculars might fall on the deck. They are completely waterproof, so they’ll never get ruined when you’re on the boat. Being so close to the ocean won’t ruin your bins over time, either.
Weight and Size of the Binoculars
The captain of the whale watching vessel can only bring you to a certain distance from the whales. They don’t want to intrude on the whale’s space. You’ll need binoculars that are a minimum weight and size for viewing.
The best binoculars are going to be huge and heavy. They would be the kind that requires a tripod as if they were a telescope. The binoculars should be easy to carry and not be heavy to hold.
The Power of Magnification
The first number that you’ll see on a set of binoculars is the magnification. For example, in a set of binoculars that is 10×42, 10 is the magnification amount 10x. It’s how you see something far away with more detail.
You’ll want to stay around a certain magnification depending on the boat. If you’re on a small boat that rocks with the waves, you’ll want a lower magnification around 8x. Viewing whales from the shore or a bigger boat will be steadier. You can go a bit higher in that case.
Optics: ED Glass and Lens Coating
Binoculars with ED glass are going to have clear, sharp images. Many objects viewed without ED glass will appear to have a rainbow hue around them. It’s called chromatic aberration. That won’t be a problem with ED glass.
There are binoculars with a coating on the lenses. Full, multi-coated lenses are going to give you bright images. They’ll be vivid and the colors will be realistic.
There are normally two types of prisms available in binoculars. It’s the mirror that turns the image right side up. It would normally be upside down. The roof prism is lightweight and comfortable for people to hold in the bins. They can be higher in price, though.
The Porro prism is heavier than the roof. It’s bulky and brings a certain amount of weight to the bins. They have better depth of field for viewing objects in 3D. They’re going to cost a bit less than the roof ones.
Eye Relief for Eyeglass Wearers
The distance between your eyes and the eyepiece is something that can concern you if you wear eyeglasses. You will want to have at least a 15 mm eye relief as a distance.
That distance will allow you to use the bins with your eyeglasses. It can be good if you want to stick to wearing sunglasses out on the boat. The eye relief can sometimes be adjustable, too.
After reading this review and buying guide, it should be easier to make your decision. These are all great bins that will get you close to the whales without getting soaked.It’s important to have lightweight bins with a field of view that makes sense for the distance. Any of these binos are a fantastic choice. We stand behind the choices because we want you to have the best adventure possible.