Full-size. No, we’re not talking about upgrading your fries order here, we’re talking about the big, bright, and low-light champs of the binocular world.
Where compact designs and slim profiles just don’t cut it for the hunt or bird watching, full-size binos will bring maximum performance to the field.
But, how do full-size binos compare to their mid and compact-sized counterparts? Let’s give you the inside scoop on when size really does matter!
The Best Full-Size, Large Objective Lens Binoculars
We define full-size binoculars by its size in terms of length and width dimensions also including weight. They tend to be heavy optics that hunters might pass up because it’s not always practical or convenient for carrying around in the field. There’s also no denying that every hunter is attracted to something with the same high power and light transmission that a mid-size bino can provide without the weight and bulk of a full-size one.
But, there is a demand for full-size binos because they typically mean high power and larger objective lenses to capture more light and provide ultimate performance in low-light conditions. Some common, full-size bino specs are 10×42, 10×50, 12×50, and 15×56.
However, more often these days, many 10×42 binoculars are being made with more compact, slim, and lightweight profiles than ever before. For the sake of our reviews and to not let any stone go unturned, we will leave that type of bino to the mid-size category and focus on larger binoculars.
Prices can vary significantly just as it does with any other type of binocular. Brand, glass quality, and overall construction and workmanship all play a role in where that optic lands in the budget range. So, we’ll cover some of the most expensive full-size binos available to the cheapest ones that you can land without effort or strain on your bank account. But, don’t be surprised to see some of the world’s best binos rated low in this list. Sometimes, the extreme prices may be its downfall. Ready or not, here’s our lineup!
|Product||Prism Type||Glass||Price Range|
|Vortex Razor HD 12X50||Roof||BaK-4||Under $1200||View on Amazon|
|Meopta MeoStar B1 15X56 HD||Schmidt-Pechan||Schott Glass||Under $1500||View on Amazon|
|Swarovski SLC 15X56 HD||Schmidt-Pechan||Swarovski Glass||Under $2500||View on Amazon|
|Zeiss Specialist 20X60||Porro||Schott Glass||Over $5000||View on Amazon|
|Nikon Action Extreme 10X50 ATB||Porro||BaK-4||Under $200||View on Amazon|
|Simmons ProSport 12X50||Roof||BaK-4||Under $200||View on Amazon|
|BFULL 12X50||Porro||BK7||Under $50||View on Amazon|
|SkyGenius 10X50||Porro||BK7||Under $50||View on Amazon|
|Celestron SkyMaster 15X70||Porro||BaK-4||Under $100||View on Amazon|
Our 9 Top Full-Sized Binoculars for Hunting, Birding & Star Gazing
Vortex Razor HD 12X50
Surprised to see a Vortex top the lineup when we’ve got world-known brands here too? That’s because Vortex always does it well. The optical quality, design and aesthetics, and of course, price of this Razor has all been packaged together to present a binocular more practical and affordable for the everyday bino user. Granted, a thousand bucks is not affordable, but compared to its competition, it’s a steal!
It was a toss-up between the Vortex Vulture 15×56 (highly-praised!) and this Razor, but in the end, we went with Vortex’s most prized, high-end series. It’s dimensions are more in line with what a hunter could use in a practical manner in the field for a full-size bino.
Vortex didn’t leave anything behind on this Razor. It’s been preened and primped with a lightweight magnesium chassis, APO glass, and the True Open Hinge design. If there’s a brand that caters to all the needs of a hunter and wildlife watcher, it’s Vortex!
Meopta MeoStar B1 15X56 HD
Don’t want to pay Swaro and Zeiss prices for a high-powered, full-size bino? You can get A-class quality from Meopta without having to pay A-class prices. Gray’s Sporting Journal recognizes the value and quality in this MeoStar, and if you know what’s good for you, you will too!
The MeoStar is large and heavy, but no larger or heavier than the following Swaro bino. And, like its competitor, it also features world-renown glass with HD quality and ED elements. Seeing further and longer is the MeoStar’s expertise.
Extreme long range hunters are going to appreciate the pure usability of this exceptional bino that’s more price attractive than any of its challengers in its class. For full size and full performance, it’s got our full recommendation!
Swarovski SLC 15X56 HD
Of course we expected to see this swanky brand make the lineup. They don’t discriminate when it comes to size. The SLC bino is definitely not for those with shallow pockets either. It’s a heifer in price for good reason.
With a high bino power and large 56mm apertures combined with Swarovski glass, you can bet this optic is right up there with the absolute best in the world. Top this baby off with HD image quality and Swaro’s patented external lens coatings, and you couldn’t want for anything more.
While it weighs upwards of two pounds, it has a relatively slim profile for a full-size binocular. Thanks to its weight-balanced frame and extended depressions, holding this bino will come naturally and with ease.
Zeiss Specialist 20X60
There’s no typo here, and the specs are exactly as written. This is a high-powered and large aperture binocular that can get it done plus some! With 20x power and 60 mm objective lenses, you’ll be glassing way longer than anyone else in your troop.
But, with 20x power, how do you expect to see a darn thing? The reason this particular bino has such a ridiculous, jaw-dropping price tag is because of its image stabilization feature. That’s right! With just a press of a button, you’ll have steady and usable images without having to mount up to a tripod. Just think of range use with this bino – it couldn’t be more perfect. It might be time to upgrade your optics with genuine German glass.
The stabilization is an extremely convenient feature for many types of bino users, but deer-goers might want to re-evaluate their hunting style before going all gung-ho on this once-in-a-lifetime buy!
Nikon Action Extreme 10X50 ATB
Nikon makes the lineup as it does many lineups all over the web. This particular Action Extreme ATB optic is a Best Seller Binocular, because it’s simply one of the best. With a 10X50 platform, it’s going to be a low-light champ with a 5mm exit pupil combined with eco-glass and BaK-4 prism glass.
It’s a Porro prism binocular, but it’s fully weatherproof. You have a green light for outdoor use in any condition, and we literally mean any condition. Rough and harsh terrain are within your limits since the Action Extreme bino has been built with an All-Terrain body.
It’s pretty heavy for a 10×50 bino, but that shouldn’t stop you from considering it. Full-size optics typically have weight behind them, but the high power, extended distance ranging, and the ability for more light gathering quickly makes up for the heft. Besides, it’s a Nikon. They often hit the Top Seller’s List for good reason!
Simmons ProSport 12X50
As the top-of-the-line binocular for the brand, this optic has definitely earned its place in this lineup. The fully weatherproof, roof prism, and high-powered bino has BaK-4 prism glass, is tripod adaptable, and it has a raving fan base that overwhelms the feedback on other Simmons binoculars.
A lot of the time, you’ll find Porro prism binoculars in this budget class with a high-powered and large aperture platform. But, if you prefer the sleek design of the roof prism bino, the ProSport definitely turns heads.
With 12x magnification, long distance glassing can be done, and with 50mm apertures, it can be done for much longer. In terms of size, it’s definitely got some length, but weight is right in line for its platform coming in just under two pounds. Can the Simmons bino tout performance weight in the field? You be the judge.
Finally, we hit a price point well below $100, but don’t be discouraged. This BFULL binocular has outdone itself with its Best Seller in Binoculars status with an online retail vendor. With such an excellent review base and a super-cheap price tag to its reputation, what can you expect from these glasses?
It’s a Porro prism bino that’s actually lighter in weight than some roof prism binos with the same specs. With 20mm eyepieces, you have larger than normal oculars for added comfort. They’re easy to use even between family members from young to old.
With a 12×50 platform, you’ll have long ranging distance glassing available at your convenience. Hunting, bird watching, wildlife observation while on a boat, its practicality versatile enough for any situation. Besides, you just won’t be able to get past the low price!
Once again, another low-budget binocular hits the lineup for its price point and quality. The SkyGenius binocular is the largest in its series with a very impressive, wide field of view of 367 feet at 1,000 yards!
It’s definitely a little on the larger end for a 10×50 bino, but it’s no bigger than what you would expect for an actual full-size optic. However, kids that want a bino that doesn’t feel like a toy will be very pleased with this set, the same way that an adult can benefit from these binos. The design makes it perfect for users of all ages to hold with one hand with its wide barrels.
This bino made it very high on the Best Seller in Binoculars list. Maybe, it’s because of its low price. Maybe, it’s because it’s just a decent pair of binoculars suited for many needs. Maybe, you just need to check out the full review!
Celestron SkyMaster 15X70
Big or small, Celestron has the inventory of binoculars with various magnification and aperture platforms to literally suit anyone’s needs. The Celestron SkyMaster 15X70 binoculars have BaK-4 prisms, protective rubber armor, and long eye relief, but you’ve also got ultra sharp focus across the entire field of view for extended glassing sessions.
You can bet that these pair of glasses have made a name for themselves as a Choice product for their Best Seller status. You can’t deny that thousands of users have made practical use of their Celestron bino. Perhaps, you can too!
What to Look For in a Full-Size Binocular
Intentionally shopping full-size binoculars typically means you’re looking for high power and large apertures. These may not be your palm-sized optics, but the performance upgrade often outweighs the drawbacks of large sizes and heavy weights. However, “upgrades” should always be in the glass if you’re expecting more from your full-size optic.
Here’s a general idea of factors you should consider if you’re full of ideas for your full-size bino!
- Size: Typically, full-size binos can be anything larger than 6″ in length and width. Height will usually be around 2-3″. If you like the larger size, be sure to see if the design is comfortable to hold, has a weight-balanced frame, is easy to carry, and convenient to stow.
- Weight: Full-size binos can weigh up to 2 lbs and more. Usually, the larger it is, the heavier it will be. If weight isn’t an issue, consider a high-quality tripod. Otherwise, look for binos with lightweight chassis and ensure you consider quality straps to distribute weight while wearing them.
- High power 10X50+: You want to make sure you get accurate distances with these binoculars by being brand-specific. Going higher-powered without the glass quality to support it may result in poor image quality.
- Glass: The higher the quality, the better.
- Coatings: The more, the better. Additional prism-specific coatings should also be expected the higher the power range and larger the aperture size.
- Eye relief 13-18mm: Ensure your investment is comfortable to glass with.
- Exit pupil 3-5mm: Smaller than 3mm? Expect to lose out on a lot of light-gathering potential.
- Quality Warranty: If you’re spending the best of what you can afford, ensure you have a warranty to match the quality of your investment.
Full Size With Full Performance!
Going larger can be beneficial for use if you know how, when, and where you want to integrate your binocular. With full size optics, you typically get more glass. When there’s more glass, you usually have more performance.
So, get full of it, and size up for maximum potential in your hunt, star gazing, range use, and bird watching!