BWD Staff Picks for Top Birding Optics

Sarah Clark

Posted on July 20 2021

As an optics company powered by Bird Watcher’s Digest, you can bet that the Redstart Birding team has more than a little experience in birding with the products we sell. We asked our staffers to share some of their favorite models, and what about them makes these optics absolute must-haves.

Kowa TSN-883 Prominar Angled Spotting Scope

“As a seasoned binocular user but spotting scope newbie, scoping with this user-friendly 883 kit is a wonderful way to augment my birding experience.

A few years ago, I invested in a Swarovski 8x32 EL, and now it’s my go-to binocular. At birding events and among fellow birders, I’d consistently heard rave reviews about Kowa’s 88mm scope. Now that I own one, I understand why. I’d wondered if I’d noticeably miss Swarovski’s Swarovision technology, but Kowa’s renowned Prominar pure fluorite crystal allows for excellent light transmission, and as with my ELs, I experience no significant chromatic aberration.” —Kelly Ball, advertising director

Zeiss 8x42 Victory SF

“I’m crazy about my Zeiss Victory SF 8x42 binocular. At dawn and dusk—I’m not kidding—they add light.

How can they make an object brighter than it is? I don’t know. They give me a superpower like no other binocular I’ve ever owned. I also appreciate their off-center of balance, which makes it more comfortable to look up into trees for warblers.” —Dawn Hewitt, editor

Kowa BD II XD 8x32

“The Kowa BD II XD 8x32 is one of the top binoculars I recommend to customers because of its convenient size, exceptionally birder-friendly specifications, and visual performance that exceeds its price point.

I’ve also sold this binocular to no fewer than three local friends (and I’m not one to purposefully let my friends down!), because it was the all-around best fit for their needs.” —Sarah Clark, digital marketing director

Vortex Diamondback HD 8x32

“As a bird photographer, I looked for a binocular that was light and had a wider field of view than my 600mm camera lens.

I chose the Vortex Diamondback 8x32, which I wear on a harness, to help find birds to photograph. I also love Vortex's unlimited lifetime warranty.” —Bruce Wunderlich, production director

Shop for Birding Optics with Industry Experts

Want more great birding optics recommendations from our knowledgeable staff? Send an email to or call 833-262-1568 to get the conversation started. We'll be happy to help you find the best products to suit your birding needs!



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