When it comes to binoculars for astronomy, there are a few different brands that are worth looking at. Although many people tend to stick to Celestron and other cheaper brands if they’re just getting started, you can get a much better pair of binoculars if you up your budget a little bit.
Bushnell are generally associated with hunting and birdwatching rather than astronomy, but some of their sets will be well suited to stargazing too. At the lower costing end you have their Prime range, which can be an excellent alternative option if you’re trying to save some cash.
Another well known brand within the photography realm is Nikon, although they do have a small selection of binoculars that would be ideal for any budding astronomer too. So, we’re going to take a quick look at both of these brands and see what models they offer.
Bushnell vs Nikon binoculars
Both Bushnell and Nikon offer some good quality options when it comes to binoculars. At lower magnifications, it’s hard to beat Bushnell, as they design all of their products to be lightweight and very resilient. When you get to higher magnifications, I’d be more inclined to go for a brand like Nikon instead. Their experience in lenses is unparalleled, and they generally have a good design too.
This is only a brief comparison between the two different binocular brands though. We’ll want to look at them both in a little more detail before making a decision.
When people think of Bushnell, they typically think of binoculars made for military or hunting use, or perhaps birdwatching too (the brand have also successfully launched themselves into the golfing industry with their high quality laser tech too). Though the truth is that many binoculars can be used for different activities, and as long as they’re powerful enough, they can be used for looking up at the night sky as well.
If you are considering a pair of Bushnell binoculars, then for a budget buy, I’d advise that you check out their Prime range. You can pick up their Bushnell Falcon binoculars for around the $150 mark, which is excellent value when you consider their power. They’re fully waterproof and lightweight enough you can be used with their harness if you’ve got a weighty telescope to carry with you.
Obviously, a small set of binoculars like the Prime 12×50 will not be suitable for anything more than getting a wide field view of your surroundings. For long range viewing, you’d likely be best to look at something like their Engage EDX 12x50 binoculars. They’re much more powerful, and will enable you to get a decent look at the moon and other sky objects.
However, the truth is that there’s not really a Bushnell set of binoculars that are suited to deep sky viewing. For this, we tend to look at other brands like Celestron or Orion if you’re on a tight budget. However, you can also look at what Nikon have to offer too.
Although maybe not the first brand you think of when it comes to astronomy, Nikon do have a pretty wide selection of binoculars to choose from as well. One of their better known ranges is the Nikon Monarch series, which come highly recommended if you’re looking for a mid-budget pair of binoculars that are portable yet sufficient for spotting stars.
Out of the Monarch series, one set that I do really like is the Nikon Monarch 5. They’re available with 8×42 specifications, which will be okay if you’re only looking for something easy to carry around with you and be able to look at the moon from a distance. Personally, I’d look at the 12×42 set, which are a little more expensive.
However, for this extra expense you’re going to be able to see a whole lot more in the night sky. The good thing about Nikon Monarch binoculars is that they’re fully waterproof – which is important – but they’re also completely fog-proof too. This can really come in useful when trying to get a good look at stars throughout the night time, especially if you’re in a chilly location.
If you’re looking for something with higher magnification, then you could think about going for the March 5 20×56 binoculars. They’re going to be much heavier than your standard set, and you will need to use a mount with them. However, the view you get of the night sky is going to be more on par with a telescope than it is a set of compact binoculars. Plus, their glass lenses work very well in low light conditions.
All in all, it’s tough to compare two different brands to each other as they both have a wide range of different binoculars to choose from. The reality is that the specifications of your binoculars are probably going to be a bigger factor in your decision than the brand that you opt to go with.
This being said, I’d still look at a set of Nikon binoculars before going for Bushnell, primarily because they tend to work in darker conditions much better (in my experience). There’s nothing wrong with Bushnell binoculars, but they’re better suited to bird-watching than they are stargazing.
So for Nikon, check out the March 5 series as previously mentioned. You can also check out some Nikon Aculon binoculars which are suited to astronomy. Remember to look at the magnification and decide how powerful you need your binoculars to be, as often a low magnification set are best paired with a telescope.