Binoculars can mean the difference between a successful hunt and a botched one. They provide ample distance between hunters and their targets so as not to spook them during the stalking process.

That said, binoculars are only as effective as their magnification setting. And Track and Pursue recommends getting this adjustment right so that you don’t end up messing up the hunt.

In that case, what binocular magnification is ideal for hunting? That’s what we will discuss today to help you finally bring home that wild game with less fuss and bother.

Magnification Settings Best For Hunting

Getting within range of wild game can be extremely difficult. It takes incredible skill and knowledge to track and stalk prey in its natural habitat. One misstep could alert these animals to your presence and all but ensure a missed chance.

Binocular selection should involve finding optics that deliver adequate magnification for viewing prey at a distance. The objective lens diameter follows the magnification number so that the label is written as such: 8×30, 10×42, 10×50, etc.

So, 8x and 10x refer to the magnification, and the numbers 30, 42, and 50 indicate the mm or objective lens diameter. The latter provides an accurate estimate of the lens’ performance in low-light settings and the wideness of an image. Basically, the larger this figure is, the better the binoculars perform in low light and the wider its viewfield.

One disadvantage of bigger lens diameter is that it could make a pair of binoculars bulky and heavy. 8x and 10x are the most common magnification adjustments for hunting. The former is ideal for hunting in the woods, while the latter is perfect for open spaces due to its zoom quality. 

Should You Go for Compact or Full-Size?

Both compact and full-sized binoculars work for hunting. Still, you’ll find that hunters go about hunting in different ways, and some might find one binocular type better suited to their needs than the other.

Compact Binoculars

Managing all the gear required for hunting can be difficult, especially if one expects the hunt to extend. You have to make sure that each piece is essential and not heavy-handed. Your pair of binoculars shouldn’t be overbearing. It should be lightweight and easy to use, with optic specifications that are just right for your particular hunt.

We’re describing a pair of compact binoculars. Weighing a pound or less, it earns a double-check for being lightweight. It also falls within the 32mm viewfield or smaller, which shouldn’t matter if it suits your specific hunting style.

That said, the smaller objective lens could hinder its low-light performance. Its field of view might also be too narrow for your liking. Not to worry, though, as full-sized binoculars are here to fill in for this one’s inadequacies.

Full-Sized Binoculars

Weighing more than a pound and having a 42mm or greater objective lens diameter has its advantages, too. Full-sized binoculars have the edge performance-wise over their more compact counterparts due to their wider areas of application.

Unlike compact binoculars, they have broader viewfields and can still deliver clear images in low-light conditions. They are also likely to come with additional features. Sure, they are on the heavier and bulkier side, but their stellar features should more than make up for that.

Factors To Consider When Choosing Hunting Binoculars

Selecting a pair of binoculars correctly means looking at a few technical aspects at varying price points. 


This feature determines how much larger an object appears within the lens. An 8x label would mean the subject appears eight times larger. If you want to position yourself a little bit farther away from your target, binoculars with a 10x magnification should be an excellent choice. 

Objective Lens Size

Appearing right next to the magnification label, the objective lens size determines a pair of binoculars’ performance in low-light settings and the wideness of its field of view. 

Lens Coating

The lens coating both enhances an image and protects the glass of the lens. As such, multi-coating technology is something you want for your lens. Some high-end binoculars even feature specialized coating for resisting scratches and repelling moisture. 

Field of View

This is a crucial feature you can’t overlook. Getting this part right means getting a wide field of view that makes stalking prey easier. You also won’t feel too much shaking and see a bigger area surrounding your subject. A FOV of 300 feet from a thousand yards away is a good indication that you are holding a pair that’s good enough for hunting.

Hunting Binoculars That Meet Your Needs

If you’re dead serious about hunting and don’t just consider it a pastime, go for full-sized binoculars from the get-go. This pair allows you to get things done in record time with its wide field of view and excellent performance in low-light conditions. Only hunting for fun and aren’t looking to capture challenging game any time soon? A pair of compact binoculars should suffice for your expedition.

Then again, if you’re the type whose hunting mood shifts from one time to the next, get both. After all, both these units come in price points that should allow one to afford both.