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What are mid-size binos?
8x42 and 10x42 offer reasonable full-size performance in a lightweight and compact form factor.
I hunted down the best mid-size binoculars that ditch the weight and the bulk, but they retain the configuration and quality to achieve your glassing goals.
I compare the optics, configuration, eye relief, FOV, and dimension specifications to highlight these essential features.
QUICK LIST: 10 Best Mid Size Binoculars In 2023
- Maven B1.2 10x42
- Leupold BX-2 Alpine HD 10x42
- Vortex Diamondback 10X42
- Maven C.1 8x42
- Carson 3D ED 10X42
- Primary Arms SLx 10x42
- Celestron Outland X 10X42
- Zeiss Terra 10X42
- Swarovski El 8.5X42
- Nikon Monarch 5 8X42
The Best Medium Sized Hunting Binoculars
|Maven B1.2 10x42||CHECK PRICE|
|Leupold BX-2 Alpine HD 10x42||CHECK PRICE|
|Vortex Diamondback 10X42||CHECK PRICE|
|Maven C.1 8x42||CHECK PRICE|
|Carson 3D ED 10X42||CHECK PRICE|
|Primary Arms Slx 10x42||CHECK PRICE|
|Celestron Outland X 10X42||CHECK PRICE|
|Zeiss Terra 10X42||CHECK PRICE|
|Swarovski El 8.5X42||CHECK PRICE|
|Nikon Monarch 5 8X42||CHECK PRICE|
Our 9 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 8x42, 10x42, 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 10x42, 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 binoculars 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 binoculars from highly-reputable brands to cheaper binoculars 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 binoculars 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. Maven B1.2 10x42 – Best Overall
The B1.2 binoculars are from Maven’s high-end B Series of optics. As one of the priciest binos in this mid-size lineup, it’s also one of the highest performing for any task you have in mind be it hunting, birdwatching, wildlife viewing, and LE operations. We should know, we have tested it for all of these applications!
- ED Japanese glass
- WA Schmidt-Pechan prisms
- Wide FOV
- Excellent specs
- Assembled in USA
- Small tripod cap
There is very little to complain about the new and improved B1 series of binoculars, the B1.2. The 10x42 model is made from the same mold as the 8x42 model, so they’re identical in size at 5.2 x 5.7 x 2.2” and weight at 26.8 oz.
The only change that we didn’t like from our hands-on field test is the small tripod cap that’s on the tedious side to grab and remove. Given that it’s the only complaint, it’s fair to say that the Maven binoculars qualify as a mid-size pair with excellent performance against similar configurations for its price point.
We love the wide-angle Schmidt-Pechan prisms with ED glass and 3 groups and 4 elements in the objective optics. The new prism design also allows for an impressively wide FOV with 362 feet that is more than the 341 ft average for 10x42 alternatives.
Great specs continue to lend itself for hunting, wildlife observation, and birdwatching with eye relief of 17.8mm, close focus distance of 4.9 ft, and light transmission rate of 94.5%. It has a magnesium chassis, is submersible and fogproof, and the multi-position eyecups completely twist-off for cleaning and replacement if need be.
With Japanese glass, a newly designed WA prism system, ultra-smooth focusing knob, and having been assembled in the USA, the B1.2 is a welcome binocular series to buyers who demand the best and who are especially picky about certain features.
2. Leupold BX-2 Alpine HD 10x42 – Best Value
The BX-2 Alpine HD binoculars fall right in line with today’s standard of mid-size binoculars. Although the 10x42 configuration is full-size, it offers high magnification and all-purpose performance without compromising on weight.
- HD Optics
- Extreme climate exposure
- Accessories included
- Focus & eyecup play
The Alpine HD binoculars offer great quality for its low price point for binoculars under $300. While complaints are few, this particular model has reports of minor amounts of play in the focus knob and twist-up eyecups.
The optics have been made with Leupold’s Advanced Optical System with high-definition that Leupold states was made with calcium-fluoride lenses, i.e., ED glass. The optical quality can’t be compared to their higher end models, but it is representative of its price point and is one of the better ones in the market for being so cheap.
It’s completely outfitted for tough hunting conditions having been climate tested to perform in -40 to 160-degree F temperatures. It’s both fog and waterproof, but the objectives lack Leupold’s Guard-ion Lens Coating treatment.
As far as size and weight, the BX-2 10x42 binocular is 5.5” in length and weighs 28 oz. This is within today’s standard for mid-size binoculars and is a fine pair for wildlife/safari tours, backpacking, and hiking.
Thanks to the included GO Afield binocular harness, lifetime warranty, and cheap price point, hunters will find them to be a practical option for the hunt.
3. Vortex Diamondback 10X42 - Best Vortex
- 10x magnification and 42mm objective lenses, these Diamondback binoculars are the workhorse of Vortex lineup; known for impressive optical quality and durability.
- Dielectric, fully multi-coated lenses transmit more light and clearer, brighter images. A field of view that is one of the largest in its class helps you efficiently...
- A sleek, short hinge design with rubber armor and thumb indents leaves more room for your hands creating an easier, secure, non-slip grip.
Redesigned to be better than ever, the Diamondback 10x42 perfectly met our requirements making it the #3 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.
4. Maven C.1 8x42 - Best Mid-Range
There is no question that the Maven C.1 8x42 fits our definition of a mid-size binocular. But what makes it so impressive compared to the rest of the lineup? We tested it to find out...
- ED glass
- Dielectric coatings
- Optical quality
- Fully weatherproof
- Narrow FOV
Getting right into it, the 341 feet at 1000 yards FOV isn’t all that impressive compared to some other 8x binoculars in the lineup, but what good is a wide FOV if you can’t utilize it?
Having looked through the C.1 binoculars, I can say that they have optical quality that many alternatives would shatter themselves for. What is it about Maven glass? Substantiated rumor has it that the C series have some Japanese materials. Fact has it that the C series has dielectric coatings on Schmidt-Pechan prisms and ED glass.
With a quality optical foundation, utilizing almost the entire FOV with high contrast and sharp resolution is more than possible. Eye strain is kept at bay. You can follow the fleeing flock easily or stalk into the woods for bow hunting.
Having field tested the Maven C.1 8x42, they proved essential for multiple types of activities as versatility from one unit is key to how often a pair of binoculars are used. From hunting to bird watching and backpacking, the 8x42s are ready and willing to be taken along, and most importantly, perform.
5. Carson 3D ED 10X42 - Best Lightweight
Right up there with all the other exceptional binoculars are the Carson 3D High-Definition Series 10x42 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!
6. Primary Arms SLx 10x42
The Primary Arms SLx 10x42 binoculars may not have ED glass to boast about like many of these mid-size binoculars, but it does have size and weight on its side to adequately compete in this category.
- Excellent optics
- Multiple uses
- Eye relief for glasses
The eye relief is okay at 16 mm, but based on my experience with wearing glasses, the eyepieces fit snug up against my frames. For quick spotting, I can get away with this, but for long sessions of glassing, it won’t work me. Fortunately, I can correct for my vision for the diopter and can go without my glasses.
Other than that, the SLx binoculars are 5.6 x 5 x 2” in size and weighs an ultra-light 20.7 ounces. As such, it’s one of the most compact and lightweight binoculars in this lineup. It comes with a neoprene neck strap and Velcro soft carry pouch. I gave the pouch a spin, but most of the time I didn’t use it, but it will prove good for storage.
I used the SLx binos to glass prairie dogs, ducks, birds, and antelope. I even spotted .22 cal groupings at 50 yards or so which is much better than the 3x of a magnifier and red dot combo.
My favorite feature is the optics. I am floored by the color rendition and sharpness of the non-ED optics. For the money at under $150, it has to be the best 10x42 binoculars for quality and performance that can be found.
I think Primary Arms entered the binocular market with the right idea in mind – quality optics that we can afford. I recommend the SLx 10x42 binos for everything from hiking and sightseeing to bird watching and hunting if you’re on a budget.
7. Celestron Outland 10X42 - Best Budget
Here, you have a brand that knows its optics, especially its telescopic sights. The Outland 10x42 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!
8. Zeiss Terra ED 10X42 - Cheapest Zeiss
- 88% LIGHT TRANSMISSION - SCHOTT ED - glass with a hydrophobic multi-coating provides optical clarity and precision in all situations.
- COMFORTABLE, FAST FOCUSING - The large, smooth and easy-to-grip focus wheel makes focusing particularly easy and, most of all, quick on a ZEISS Terra ED....
It'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 10x42.
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.
9. Swarovski El 8.5X42 - Best High-End
- This item includes Swarovski optic EL 8 5x42 binocular - field bag - Eyepiece cover - Objective Lens cover - lift carrying strap - Swarovski optic Lifetime limited for...
- Magnification 8 5x
Who would figure? A world-known brand coming second to 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 8.5x42 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 binocular 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 binoculars 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!
10. Nikon Monarch 5 8X42 - Best 8x42
- All Monarch 5 binoculars are now built with Nikon's premium ED (Extra low dispersion); Glass for a sharper, clearer and more brilliant field of view
- Almost an ounce lighter than its predecessor, the new Monarch 5 is even easier to bring along on your next adventure
- Fully multicoated eco glass lenses provide a high light transmittance across the entire visible light spectrum
Hitting 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 10x42 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 8x42 trophy.
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 8x32, 8x42, 10x42, and still there are more varieties.
Overall, the optical quality will vary between mid-sized binoculars largely due to the manufacturer. Glass sources, coating formulas, and prism types are optical features that set binoculars apart.
|Binocular||Power||Prism Type||Glass Type|
|Maven B1.2||10x42||Wide Angle Schmidt-Pechan||ED Glass|
|Leupold BX-2 Alpine HD||10x42||Roof Prism||HD Glass|
|Vortex Diamondback||10x42||Roof Prism||Bak-4|
|Maven C.1||8x42||Schmidt-Pecan Prism||ED Glass|
|Carson 3D ED||10x42||Roof Prism||Bak-4|
|Primary Arms SLx||10x42||Roof Prism||Non-ED|
|Celestron Outland X||10x42||Roof Prism||Bak-4|
|Zeiss Terra||10x42||Schmidt-Pecan Prism||Schott ED|
|Nikon Monarch 5||8x42||Roof Prism||Bak-4|
Eye Relief & Exit Pupil
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.
|Binocular||Power||Eye Relief||Exit Pupil|
|Maven B1.2||10x42||17.8 mm||4.2 mm|
|Leupold BX-2 Alpine HD||10x42||15 mm||4.2 mm|
|Vortex Diamondback||10x42||15 mm||4.2 mm|
|Maven C.1||8x42||19.5 mm||5.25 mm|
|Carson 3D ED||10x42||16 mm||4.2 mm|
|Primary Arms SLx||10x42||16 mm||4.2 mm|
|Celestron Outland X||10x42||14 mm||4.2 mm|
|Zeiss Terra||10x42||14 mm||4.2 mm|
|Swarovski EL||8.5x42||20 mm||4.9 mm|
|Nikon Monarch 5||8x42||19.5 mm||5.25 mm|
Field of View
Depending on what your goals are with your binoculars, often field of view is a useful component to take into account.
This specification can provide an idea of how much of an area can be seen through the sight picture. This can be helpful for knowing if you can adequately follow moving targets or watch birds in flight.
|Binocular||Power||Field of View|
|Maven B1.2||10x42||362 ft @ 1000 yards|
|Leupold BX-2 Alpine HD||10x42||342 ft @ 1000 yards|
|Vortex Diamondback||10x42||330 ft @ 1000 yards|
|Maven C.1||8x42||341 ft @ 1000 yards|
|Carson 3D ED||10x42||314 ft @ 1000 yards|
|Primary Arms SLx||10x42||309 ft @ 1000 yards|
|Celestron Outland X||10x42||294 ft @ 1000 yards|
|Zeiss Terra||10x42||330 ft @ 1000 yards|
|Swarovski EL||8.5x42||399 ft @ 1000 yards|
|Nikon Monarch 5||8x42||330 ft @ 1000 yards|
Configuration & Budget
Everybody has a different budget so we have compared the configuration (magnification & objective lens) and price range of these mid size binoculars for your convenience below.
I recommend keeping in mind that although many mid-size binoculars share the same configuration, they vary in quality and performance. Manufacturer specifics may also influence overall cost. For example: Swarovski uses secret glass sources, processes, and coatings. Their prices are high with premium quality and performance.
|Maven B1.2||10x42||Under $1000|
|Leupold BX-2 Alpine HD||10x42||Under $300|
|Vortex Diamondback||10x42||Under $300|
|Maven C.1||8x42||Under $350|
|Carson 3D ED||10x42||Under $350|
|Primary Arms SLx||10x42||Under $150|
|Celestron Outland X||10x42||Under $100|
|Zeiss Terra||10x42||Under $500|
|Swarovski EL||8.5x42||Under $2000|
|Nikon Monarch 5||8x42||Under $300|
Size & Weight
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.
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.
|Maven B1.2||5.7 x 5.2 x 2.2”||26.8 oz||Yes|
|Leupold BX-2 Alpine HD||6.2” (L)||28 oz||Yes|
|Vortex Diamondback||5.8 x 5.1”||21.4 oz||Yes|
|Maven C.1||5 x 5.7 x 2.1”||24 oz||Yes|
|Carson 3D ED||5.6 x 5.0”||23.2 oz||Yes|
|Primary Arms SLx||5.6 x 5 x 2"||20.7 oz||Yes|
|Celestron Outland X||5.75 x 4.96 x 2.08”||21.8 oz||Yes|
|Zeiss Terra||5.5” (L)||25.5 oz||Yes|
|Swarovski EL||6.3 x 5.2 x 2.4”||29.4 oz||No|
|Nikon Monarch 5||5.7 x 5.1”||20.8 oz||Yes|
Mid-Size with High-End Quality
There's a myth that mid-size binoculars are considered entry-level optics. Let's set the record straight by saying this isn't true. The mid-size class of binoculars are typically desired for their versatile and multi-purpose capabilities.
Full-size binoculars 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 binocular 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!