Are You Due for an Optics Upgrade?

Sarah Clark

Posted on May 07 2020

Spring is a time for starting fresh, especially when it comes to binoculars. Whether you've been using a 30-year-old model or are looking to upgrade from the budget-friendly bins you bought when you first broke into birding, we've got fresh options featuring better glass, improved lens coatings, and superior ergonomics.

Mid-Priced Binoculars

If you're ready to step up to a mid-priced model that performs far better than your old binocular, we're more than happy to help you out with that. 

Kowa BD II XD 8x42 at Redstart Birding

Kowa BD II XD 8x42

The Kowa BD II XD 8x42 saves you the frustration of missing out on seeing a lifer or rarity with its extra-wide field of view. Combine that with a close focus of only 5.9 feet plus high-resolution XD objective lenses that deliver premium-quality visuals at a fraction of the price, and you've got one excellent binocular upgrade on your hands.

Vortex Viper HD 10x42 at Redstart Birding

Vortex Viper HD 10x42

The newly redesigned Vortex Viper HD 10x42 features larger prisms that provide brighter visuals and better resolution than the previous model. It's got a build quality that feels great in the hands and a lighter weight than some other 42mm options. Vortex's lifetime, unlimited, transferable warranty seals the deal on this upgrade.

Zeiss Conquest HD 8x42 at Redstart Birding

Zeiss Conquest HD 8x42

If you want to experience German engineering without blowing your budget on a $2K binocular, the Zeiss Conquest HD 8x42 is the right choice for you. Its birder-friendly specs and ergonomics provide users with high-end experience from an industry leader, all at a more affordable price.

Swarovski SLC 8x42

Swarovski SLC 8x42

You can expect to get rich details and high color fidelity from the Swarovski SLC 8x42. You may also look forward to unparalleled durability thanks to its weather-resistant magnesium alloy chassis, two varieties of impact-resistant rubber armoring, and airtight barrels that can be safely submerged down to 13 feet. Special coatings protect the lenses from scratches, moisture, and residue as well. If you're rough on binoculars, this might be the upgrade you need.

Browse for more mid-priced birding binoculars:

Premium Binocular Upgrades

Feel like going all-out with a top-of-the-line model? You won't feel compelled to upgrade again any time soon if you get one of the options below.

Kowa Genesis XD44 8.5x44 at Redstart Birding

Kowa Genesis XD44 8.5x44

With bigger objective lenses and slightly more magnification than a standard 8x42 premium birding binocular, the Kowa Genesis XD44 8.5x44 certainly stands out from the pack. Its top-shelf Prominar ED glass and multi-coated lenses eliminate chromatic aberration, giving you extra-bright, crystal-clear views of birds. 

Vortex Razor UHD 10x42 at Redstart Birding

Vortex Razor UHD 10x42

Don't let the Vortex Razor UHD 10x42's tank-like build fool you; beneath that rugged exterior are some of the most sophisticated optics available. Edge-to-edge sharpness, incredible light transmission, and a close focus of only 4.5 feet are only a few of the stellar features this high-performance binocular offers.

Zeiss Victory SF 8x42 at Redstart Birding

Zeiss Victory SF 8x42

If you're looking for world-class performance and unparalleled engineering, the Zeiss Victory SF 8x42 is definitely your upgrade. Besides having some of the best optics in the industry, the Victory SF also features a unique balance system that tilts the barrels back toward your eyes. As a result, this feat of weight distribution helps reduce fatigue during long sessions in the field. 

Swarovski EL 8x32 Binoculars at Redstart Birding

Swarovski EL 8x32

Edge-to-edge sharpness, beautiful contrast, and oh-so-comfortable ergonomics are a few of the features that make the Swarovski EL 8x32 an excellent choice for a premium binocular upgrade. Swarovski is famous for its high standards and careful inspections at its factory in the Austrian Alps. So, if you're looking to get the best bins possible, this model just might be the way to go. 

Check out our other premium binocular recommendations:

Do you have questions about what you should expect when you upgrade your optics? Drop us a line at to get the conversation started!

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