Q&A with Ben: Upgrading Your Butterfly Binoculars

Ben Lizdas

Posted on April 17 2019

What do you do when you need advice on choosing a great binocular for butterfly watching? Why, you contact the experts at Redstart Birding, of course! Get some insights on upgrading your lepidoptery optics from this recent customer inquiry.

I'm in need a good-quality, close-focusing binocular for butterfly watching. I have used the Vortex Diamondback 8x42 for more than 10 years and am looking to upgrade to a new pair of 8x42 (or 32), preferably under $800.

I've got two good choices for you depending on how/if you want to stretch your budget.

When looking under $800, most of the options will come in closer to $500. There aren't a lot of models to consider between $600 and $800.

The Vortex Viper HD 8x42 is a really nice, mid-priced binocular that features a 5' close focus and substantially upgraded glass/lens coatings from your Diamondback. As you can see from the customer reviews on our site, it's an excellent value and tends to exceed people's expectations for its price ($490).

If you want to get to the next tier of performance, where the image will be even sharper and low-light performance, color contrast, and edge clarity improve, prices start out closer to $900. This is where we see some of the "entry level" pieces from the top European manufacturers, like Leica and Zeiss. Not only do the optics get improvements at this price range, but the mechanics of the instruments themselves and executed with a bit more precision.

Among this class of binoculars, the 8x32 Leica Trinovid HD stands out as an excellent butterfly binocular with a close focus at 3.3'! There is the added benefit of its smaller size as well. 

Overall I would rate the Viper HD as being a noticeable upgrade compared to your Diamondbacks, while I would consider the Leica to be a substantial upgrade.

If you have questions about finding the right birding optics to suit your needs, feel free to contact us at 833-262-1568, or at sales@redstartbirding.com.

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