8 of the Best Mid-Size Binoculars of 2018 (Top 8X42 and 10X42 Optics for Hunting, Birding & Viewing)

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List of Medium Sized BinocularsIf you’re like the majority of hunters or bino users out there, you want something that can get you clarity and distance without being a burden to use.

Our mid-size binos ditch the weight and the bulk, but they retain the optical specs and quality for you to achieve your glassing goals.

There are countless binoculars on the market that we can recommend for you. They will get the job done for the skies, open fields, or the thick timber – no matter what your price range may be.

This class size of binos happens to be in high demand, and you’re about to see why. But, let’s go over a few ranking details first.

 

The Best Medium Sized Hunting Binoculars

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS
tt-table__imageVortex Diamondback 10X42
  • Prism Type: Roof Prism
  • Glass: BaK-4
  • Price Range: Under $300
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tt-table__imageLeupold BX-2 Tioga HD 8X42
  • Prism Type: Roof Prism
  • Glass: BaK-4
  • Price Range: Under $300
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tt-table__imageNikon Monarch 5 8X42
  • Prism Type: Roof Prism
  • Glass: BaK-4
  • Price Range: Under $300
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tt-table__imageCarson 3D ED 10X42
  • Prism Type: Roof Prism
  • Glass: BaK-4
  • Price Range: Under $350
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tt-table__imageBushnell Legacy WP 8×42
  • Prism Type: Porro Prism
  • Glass: BaK-4
  • Price Range: Under $100
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tt-table__imageCelestron Outland X 10X42
  • Prism Type: Roof Prism
  • Glass: BaK-4
  • Price Range: Under $100
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tt-table__imageZeiss Terra 10X42
  • Prism Type: Schmidt-Pechan Prism
  • Glass: Schott ED
  • Price Range: Under $500
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tt-table__imageSwarovski El 8.5X42
  • Prism Type: Roof Prism
  • Glass: Swarovski Glass
  • Price Range: Under $3000
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Our 8 Top Mid-Size Binoculars

This isn’t your mediocre mid-size binoculars list. We have to clarify how we define mid-size, and this list takes into consideration optical specs with weight and size into account. We’re talking about 8×42, 10×42, and other similar binoculars with a weight in and around 1 lb and dimensions of 5 inches generally round about.

As far as performance, these binoculars, especially the 10×42, are definitely what you would consider full-size ones. However, it’s becoming harder to distinguish these terms since more full-size binoculars are being designed to be slimmer, more compact, and lightweight than ever before. Due to the demand for more compact, full-size binos, we’ve redefined this size to be the new “mid-size” in terms of the most wanted magnification, aperture, and dimensions that hunters and Glassers are looking for.

Without getting too hung-up on the size debate, we also considered popularity status, price and value, and features since there are endless binos that can qualify for a spot in this lineup. But, as we have to filter out the best according to all our rating factors, you might be surprised to find that some don’t come from the high-end series.

Keep your eyes peeled as our lineup will provide you with superior binos from highly-reputable brands to cheaper binos that consistently sell out on the charts. They’re lightweight to hold comfortably in the hand or to wear on a neck strap and forget it’s even there. These are the binos that bring maximum performance to the field without weighing you down or being a hassle to tote. Here’s mid-size done the Target Tamer’s way!

 

1

New Vortex Diamondback 10X42

vortex optics diamondback 10x42 2016Redesigned to be better than ever, the Diamondback 10×42 perfectly met our requirements making it the #1 bino in our lineup. Weighing barely over a pound and dimensions of 5.8 x 5.1 inches, it’s an ideal bino for any glassing in any terrain.

The magnesium chassis, argon-purged chambers, and dielectric coatings means this is a tough optic with extra sharp clarity that the Diamondbacks have never been able to dish out before until now.

While everyone knows we love Vortex, the Diamondback legitimately earned its spot with the cheapest price tag among its competitors while still being equal in features and quality. Vortex doesn’t disappoint, and we’re not the only ones that think so. It has also impressed the masses earning a Best Seller’s rating with a solid review base.

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2

Leupold BX-2 Tioga HD 8X42

Leupold BX-2 Tioga HD 8X42Brand new to 2017, Leupold has done away with the Cascades BX-2 and brought in the Tiogas – and they are already proving to be popular. The 8×42 platform is a little bit of a welcome change from the standard 10×42 we see almost all the time. It’s excellent for fast and moving targets, has an extremely wide field of view of 394 ft at 1,000 yards, and it has a new Shadow Gray finish.

This Tioga also met our requirements for size and weight weighing in at almost a pound and a half with almost an exact six inches in length. This is a mid-level optic for the brand, and it matches its quality for price.

The glass also has calcium-fluoride elements to provide HD image quality. This is indicative of ED glass to ensure clarity, sharpness, contrast, and color fidelity across the entire field of view. You also gain phase-coated roof prisms, the Xtended Twilight Lens System, and lead/arsenic-free glass. You can tell that Leupold has really gone above and beyond for optical supremacy.

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3

Nikon Monarch 5 8X42

Nikon Monarch 5 8x42Hitting it out of the ballpark, the Monarch 5 lands within the Top 50 Best Seller’s list as an awesome binocular for hunters and birders. It should be no surprise since Nikon optics almost always lands within the Top 100 rankings.

We can see why this Monarch does so well – price point is excellent, optical quality is exceptional, and its dimensions are ideal for a user who wants something mid-size without bulk and cumbersome heft. Weighing in at barely over a pound and measuring 5.7 x 5.1 inches, it fits right within our scales as an athletic, all-purpose, low-light binocular for all conditions and terrains.

As a “Choice” product, its price range fits its quality very well, although it might be a little expensive compared to a 10×42 bino in this budget category. But, with all its perks, you’re only gaining in quality with the few extra bucks you’ll spend on this 8×42 trophy.

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4

Carson 3D ED 10X42

Carson 3D ED 10x42 Binoculars Mossy OakRight up there with all the other exceptional binoculars are the Carson 3D High-Definition Series 10×42 binos. Full-size in performance, and yet, it’s still lightweight at only 23.2 ounces with 5.6 x 5.0 inches of length and width.

Target Tamers can speak to weatherproofness and excellent image quality of these ED binoculars with phase-correction lenses. The field test proved the bino’s fogproof and waterproofness with a rigorous test that put it to its limits.

The extra accessories included are well worth the purchase. You won’t get a bino case like this one with any other brand. For a “mid-size” bino, it certainly goes far beyond your expectations. Expect full-size performance from this full-size binocular!

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5

Bushnell Legacy WP 8×42

Bushnell Legacy WP Porro Prism BinocularNot all Bushnell optics make it into the Top Best Seller’s List, but this Legacy WP 8×42 bino did! It’s an extremely popular Bushnell optic evident by its huge fan base. Perhaps, it’s because of its 4.9 x 2.5 x 6.2 inch dimensions, weatherproof Porro prism body, or it’s fantastic price?

You can be the judge of that as you look through its huge 430 feet field of view. Even though it’s a Porro prism bino under $100, it’s still sporting BaK-4 glass, a waterproof body, and fully multi-coated optics on a 1.6 lb body. These are pretty impressive specs for a cheap Porro prism binocular.

You might be surprised that a budget buy made this lineup, but it met all our requirements as a mid-size bino with features to vie with the full-size ones. Well done Bushnell!

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6

Celestron Outland 10X42

outland-x-10x42Here, you have a brand that knows its optics, especially its telescopic sights. The Outland 10×42 binos made it into the under Top 50 Best Seller’s List, has hundreds of real buyers, and you literally can’t beat the price for the quality – all the reasons why it made it into this lineup.

You have a one pound bino with 5.7 x 4.9 inches in size with full-size capabilities. As an entry-level binocular, it has everything you need for a first-time buy. With multi-coated optics, full weatherproof body, and easy focusing, a first-timer will quickly see the value.

The performance of the roof prism Outland bino shouldn’t be underestimated, but if you wear glasses, there is something you need to know before you buy. Check it out today!

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7

Zeiss Terra ED 10X42

Zeiss Terra 10x42 ED BinocularsIt’s about time we see a Zeiss bino in this lineup. However, we opted with one of the cheapest options there are from Zeiss’s entry class (if approx $400 is cheap), the Terra 10×42. Of course, there are better Zeiss binos in the market with price tags sporting extra zeros, but this happens to be one of the most popular because potential buyers find it more affordable.

It also doesn’t rank very high since there’s a few more complaints about it versus the other high-performing binos. Despite this, you have that excellent Schott glass that you should expect, so image quality is on par for the brand. To be upfront, the Terras are manufactured in China, hence the significant price drop for the brand.

As expected for the magnification and aperture platform, you have dimensions that are consistent with similar binoculars – 5.5 inches in length and a weight of 1.5 lbs. Zeiss may pump out this full-size binocular, but it definitely has a price tag that’s mid-size in the market.

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8

Swarovski El 8.5X42

Swarovski EL42 8.5X42Who would figure? A world-known brand coming last in our lineup? Don’t get us wrong, this is a very practical and luxurious pair of binos to own, and there’s no complaints about the 8.5×42 among any owners and users. However, its deserving but very expensive price makes it more of a dream optic versus something the average hunter can ever afford to buy.

But, there’s no harm in giving it a once-over to see what you could buy if you ever won the Lotto. Despite the low magnification, this bino is actually a full-size one with a length and height of 6.3 x 5.2 inches. It also weighs a lot heavier than other binos in this lineup coming in just shy of 2 lbs. However, the sleek open bridge design gives it a slimming profile that’s inconsequential to carry comfortably.

Since it’s a Swarovski optic, you can be assured you’re getting superior glass with SwaroVision that includes fluoride-containing HD lenses, field flattener lenses, and SwaroBright and SwaroClean technologies. It sure is a binocular worth drooling over!

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What to Look For in a Mid-Size Binocular

Mid-size binoculars are typically those with mid-range magnification with a smaller objective lens versus the larger ones regardless of quality. Common specs are 8×32, 8×42, 10×42, and still there are more varieties.

However, mid-size binos can also be categorized as full-size optics. Just look for the dimensions and weight that suits your needs, and as an outdoorsman, we guess it’s going to be something light enough to carry without bulk, high-performing, and compact in design to ensure comfortable use for long glassing sessions. Here’s the additional things you should look out for!

  • Size: Typically, mid-size binos can be anything smaller 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: Mid-size binos can weigh up to 2 lbs and less. It’s this class of binos that are extremely popular for their compact and lightweight build with high magnification and mid to large objective lenses.
  • 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.

 

Mid-Size with High-End Quality

There’s a myth that mid-size binos are considered entry-level optics. Let’s set the record straight by saying this isn’t true. The mid-size class of binos are typically desired for their versatile and multi-purpose capabilities. Full-size binos provide a larger optic typically with more magnification and larger apertures but they too can be entry-level or premium optics.

Quality is judged by the optical elements and user experience including glass and coatings. You also have to take into consideration bino construction, features, and functionality of the binocular. Just like any other binocular size, mid-range ones can be entry-level, but they can also be very high-end, high-quality binos that can cost more than 20 times for your basic full-size one. They may be middle range in size, but they’re still big on performance!

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