Best 12×50 Binoculars – Big and Powerful Optics

Whether birding, gazing at the stars, or just enjoying nature, a good pair of binoculars can provide you a view to a brand new world hidden right in front of your eyes. Of course, it always helps to make sure that the binoculars offer the proper ranges for your particular activity, but some work better for general purposes than others.

That is why we put together a list of the 10 best 12×50 binoculars, highlighting what each does well and focusing on a wide range of different price points and brands. We also provide a helpful buyer’s guide, so you can make sure to get the right pair of binoculars for your next outdoor adventure.

Buyer’s Guide

Prism

  • Porro – Porro prisms are a less expensive type of prism design, but they also require far more precise manufacturing to get right. Because the prisms are offset and reflect the light on an angular path, small flaws in the alignment can create major optical problems. That said, high-end binoculars with accurate Porro prisms can be nearly every bit as good as those with roof prisms.
  • Roof – Roof prisms utilize a linear design to ensure that the most light reaches the viewer’s without creating optical artifacts, decreasing the brightness, or obscuring the clarity. It is worth remembering that binoculars using a roof prism design tend to cost more than those with Porro prisms. On top of that, a roof prism alignment alone cannot correct for poor glass quality, though that tends to be less of an issue for binoculars the employ roof prisms.

Glass

  • BK-7 – This is the lowest grade of glass used for binoculars worth mentioning as anything lower is not worth your time. Keep in mind, BK-7 glass is still considered “optical quality” and can be quite effective if the manufacturer takes the time to make sure it comes without flaws. This type of glass is more common and less expensive, though less common on our list.
  • Bak-4 – Bak-4 is generally considered one of the best types of optical glass with only real crystal superseding it in terms of optical quality. While it tends to be a bit more expensive than BK-7 glass, the difference is not so much that it is not well-worth its value. When combined with a roof prism design, Bak-4 glass transmits more light through the lenses than virtually any other configuration.
  • ED/HD –

Best 12×50 Binoculars

Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Binoculars

As is common in the 12×50 binocular category, Vortex Optics is an outdooring company with a focus on hunting but makes it a point to provide high-quality HD glass for exceptional clarity. Granted, you get what you pay for and the Vortex Optics Diamondback HD binoculars are not cheap.

However, like many other high-end entries, these 12×50 binoculars come with fully multi-coated lenses that increase the overall brightness and provide crystal clarity– even at the edges. It is also worth remembering that the Vortex Optics Diamondback HD binoculars employ the superior roof prism design, even if they can be a bit difficult to adjust.

Pros

  • Has roof prisms
  • Excellent fully multi-coated lenses
  • Has HD glass

Cons

  • Is more expensive
  • Finicky to adjust

Bushnell Powerview Binoculars

Bushnell might be better known as a company specializing in hunting optics, but the 12×50 binocular category is one of the most popular and common for that purpose. As such, it should come as little surprise that the experienced company makes an inexpensive pair of 12×50 binoculars great for many occasions.

It is worth noting that the Bushnell Powerview binoculars have a small field of view at only 268’, but they are some of the easiest binoculars on our list to adjust. While these 12×50 binoculars might be the only on our list to use BK-7 glass, they make up for it with high-quality multi-coated lenses that offer bright, clear images.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Multi-coated lenses
  • Is less expensive

Cons

  • Has a small FoV
  • Uses BK-7 glass

BFULL Binoculars

BFULL is one of the few companies on our list that does not already have an extensive history and reputation, but that means they have to offer their products at cheap prices to compete with more established brands. Even so, these 12×50 binoculars employ solid Bak-4 glass to provide a clear view.

On top of that, the Porro prisms may not transfer light directly, but the arrangement provides for one of the larger fields of view on our list at 286’. That said, these cheap 12×50 binoculars are not the most durable and may suffer from some quality control issues, but they are waterproof, allowing you to use them in many different environments.

Pros

  • Has a 286’ FoV
  • Is waterproof binoculars
  • Is less expensive

Cons

  • Not the most durable
  • Not the best QC

Pentax 65794 XCF Binoculars

Pentax might be more well-known for its cameras and video products, but they also put their extensive optics specialization towards making inexpensive binoculars as well. With an eye to quality, the Pentax 65794 XCF offers superior fully multi-coated lenses to ensure a high degree of brightness and clarity.

Though it is worth noting that the clarity can blur a bit around the edges, these 12×50 binoculars also provide one of the widest fields of view at 294’ despite just an average angle of view of 5.6°. One thing to consider is that the blurred edges some people report may simply be a result of the difficult adjustment knobs.

Pros

  • Has a 294’ FoV
  • Has fully multi-coated lenses
  • Is less expensive

Cons

  • Not the easiest to focus
  • Has blurred edges

Simmons ProSport Binoculars

Simmons is another company that got its start specializing in hunting optics, though the company now offers optical products for a wide range of purposes and generally at a reasonable price. A great example of this is how cheap the Simmons ProSport binoculars are while still using the superior roof prism design.

That said, these 12×50 binoculars are more compact than some and can be a bit difficult to adjust while holding them which can make focusing a bit tricky. On the other hand, the company’s history in hunting inspires it to make durable binoculars from military-grade aluminum while also sealing them from water and fog.

Pros

  • Has roof prisms
  • Are water and fogproof
  • More durable than most

Cons

  • Has a small FoV
  • Not the easiest to use

Nikon 7246 Binoculars

Nikon is another company on our list more well-known for cameras and video equipment than binoculars that still produce high-end general optics. That said, the Nikon 7246 binoculars are better understood as generalist options with a design made to allow for easy adjustments while in use.

Though, not everything about these 12×50 binoculars is easy as the individual lens caps are not only a pain to keep track of but also tend to come off without much force. Still, the water and fogproof design allows you to use the Nikon 7246 binoculars virtually anywhere, though their heavier weight can feel cumbersome on long hikes.

Pros

  • Has a 288’ FoV
  • Is water and fogproof
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Are heavy binoculars
  • Has individual lens caps

Leupold BX-1 McKenzie Binocular

Leupold is one of the more unusual companies on our list that started making scientific instruments but moved on to optical products of high quality. That said, the company still makes it a point to appeal to the budget-friendly enthusiast and makes a moderately priced pair of roof prism binoculars with fully multi-coated lenses.

However, the roof prism design is only the beginning as the Leupold BX-1 McKenzie binoculars come with a Twilight Management System that makes them especially good in low-light conditions. While these 12×50 binoculars might have a smaller field of view, they are also water and fogproof.

Pros

  • Has roof prisms
  • Has Twilight Management System
  • Is water and fogproof

Cons

  • Is more expensive
  • Has a small FoV

Celestron 71376 Binoculars

Celestron is one of the few companies on our list to focus more on long-range optics than general or outdooring ones, but this only ensures that you get the most out of the Celestron 71376’s roof prism design. Granted, you will have to pay a fair amount for high-quality binoculars from a specialist.

That said, not only do the Celestron 71376 binoculars come with the better prism design, but they also come with ED Bak-4 glass to make sure that the image is exceedingly clear and free from light distortion. The only real issue with these 12×50 binoculars is that the eyepieces are not the most durable, though they are easy to fix.

Pros

  • Has a 280’ FoV
  • Has roof prisms
  • Has ED Bak-4 lenses

Cons

  • Is more expensive
  • Not the best eyepieces

Sig Sauer Zulu5 Binoculars

While some companies may flirt with an outdooring focus, Sig Sauer is the only company that specializes more in firearms than hunting optics. However, the company still prides itself on producing high-quality products regardless of the category, and the Sig Sauer Zulu5 roof prism binoculars are a great example of this.

To be fair, the main draw of these 12×50 binoculars is their rugged durability with IPX7 water and fogproofing combined with the lightest and most portable design on our list at only 24 ½ oz. As the Sig Sauer Zulu5 binoculars are designed for hunting, you can forgive the smaller field of view, and the durability more than justifies the high cost.

Pros

  • Only weighs 24 ½ oz
  • Has roof prisms
  • Is IPX7 water and fogproof

Cons

  • Is more expensive
  • Has a smaller FoV

Swarovski EL Binoculars

While Swarovski Optik might be associated with outdooring optics today, the company got its start manufacturing the best crystal over a century ago. This experience goes into the Swarovski EL binoculars in the form of numerous coatings that cover everything from brightness to clarity to color accuracy and everything in between.

The roof prism design ensures the best light transfer, and these 12×50 binoculars boast the widest field of view on our list at 300’. Granted, as arguably the best binoculars we reviewed, you should expect to pay a pretty penny for them, and the Swarovski EL binoculars are also some of the heaviest binoculars we included.

Pros

  • Has a 300’ FoV
  • Has numerous lens coatings
  • Has roof prisms

Cons

  • Is more expensive
  • Are heavy binoculars

Conclusion

As we can see, the best 12×50 binoculars will mean different things depending on your activity, though there is a clear progression in quality as you move up the price range. That said, this does not mean you needed to go out and spend big bucks on binoculars to get a good value.

So long as you are not worried about minor optical artifacts and inaccuracies, inexpensive 12×50 binoculars are more than capable of providing a whole new view while outdoors. On top of that, you can find durable options at pretty much every price point, able to work in humid, foggy, or dark conditions.