Best Binoculars for Concerts
Enjoy Your Favorite Artists Without the Crush of the Crowds
We’ve all been there. We see a truly epic festival lineup and impulse buy a ticket on the spot. In the flurry of excitement, we don’t anticipate the hundreds of thousands of other fans that are going to squeeze between us and the stage.
I used to trudge my way through the crowds and battle my way through the pits in order to get front and center, but after very nearly getting crushed a few years back, I don’t fancy doing it again. Besides, with a pair of trusty binoculars, I’m still able to get up close and personal with my favorite musicians from a safe distance.
But before you buy any old pair of binos, it’s important to bear in mind that they’re not all fit for the job. Having already done the research when buying a pair for my own gig days, I know exactly which ones you should be looking for.
These are the best five binoculars for use at concerts!
Best Binoculars for Concerts – Reviews
I see no merit in burying the lead here, friend. Let’s dive right into some reviews.
With 8x magnification power, these awesome binoculars are right in the 7-10x sweet spot for concerts. Granted, 10x will be better for ultra long-range viewing, but the higher the magnification, the shakier the image will be. 8x offers the perfect balance between power and image stasis.
The FieldView binoculars also bring breathtaking clarity to the table, allowing us to take in all the finer details of a performance, right down to the badges on the singer’s lapel and the tear of sweat dripping from the drummer’s nose.
As you’ve probably surmised by their name, these things are nice and compact and only weigh 15.2 ounces, so you can carry them around all day with ease, and tuck them in a bag or pocket quick as a flash.
The lenses are completely moisture-proof, so no matter how bad the weather is, image quality will be unaffected. And to put the cherry on top of the concert cake, they’re drop-proof too, which means they’re ready for the rough and tumble of festival life!
- Moisture-Proof – Don’t sweat the bad weather or beer splashes.
- Drop-Proof – Robust, rugged, and ready for a good time.
- Compact – They’re no burden.
- 8×32 – Good power/stillness balance and decent light transmission.
- Tripod Compatible – Give your arms a rest.
- Price – It’s not ridiculous, but they ain’t cheap either.
Completely waterproof, these Bushnell H2O binoculars are ready for action in the great outdoors. Combine that with their 10x magnification, and you’ve got some of the best binoculars you can buy for large concerts and festivals. Plus, if you’d prefer image stability over magnification, you can opt for 8x instead.
The standout feature of these Bushnell binos for me is light transmission. Their 42mm aperture and multiple prism coatings practically devour light, ensuring you always have a crisp, bright image when the headliner hits the stage.
A special rubber coating protects them from impacts as well as facilitates a strong grip, preventing accidental drops when you get caught in the thick of it.
I’m not too keen on the eyepieces as they’re quite hard, but they also have a 17mm eye relief, meaning you don’t actually have to hold them to your face in order to use them — perfect!
- Moisture Proof – Not scared of smoke machines or rain.
- Durable – Rubber coating offers impact protection.
- 42mm Aperture – Brightens low light conditions.
- 17mm Eye Relief – No need to make facial contact.
- Hard Eyepieces – Not too comfortable.
- Price – They don’t come cheap.
Festivals are expensive enough to begin with, so it’s possible you’re looking for an absolute steal when it comes to your binoculars. Well, I’m happy to report that these Aurosports binos offer the best quality to dollar ratio of any others on my list.
Capable of magnifying an image 10 times the size it is when viewed with the naked eye, it really doesn’t matter how far back from the stage you like to be; you’ll always have good visuals. So, hang back, get comfortable, and enjoy the show.
They’re also amazingly compact, lightweight, foldable, and durable, making them the perfect visual aid to toss in your backpack and explore the festival grounds.
You have to have realistic expectations about image quality at this price point. It’s never going to compare with the big, expensive names. Having said that, with waterproof lenses and reasonable light transmission, you’re already being utterly spoiled here.
- Price – Simply unbeatable.
- Waterproof – Don’t mind a drizzle or two.
- Foldable – No portability issues here.
- 10x Magnification – Leave the hustle and bustle behind (or in front, anyway).
- Image Quality – Less clarity than others on my list.
They may only have a 25mm aperture, but Nikon have fitted these Trailblazer binoculars out with the highest quality components in order to maximize light transmission, which is precisely the innovation we concert-goers are looking for.
The small aperture keeps them nice and portable, while the high-quality light-trap components keep visuals clear when the evening washes over the stage and ambient light dwindles.
Possibly one of the most comfortable pairs of binoculars I’ve ever had the pleasure of using, you can watch whole sets through them with no problems whatsoever. My only real gripe is that they don’t feel all that durable, so if you want them to keep on blazing trails, keep a firm hold on them.
- 25mm Aperture and Optimized Light Capture – Compact, yet great in low light conditions.
- Waterproof – Perfect for outdoor concerts.
- Cozy Eyepieces – Extremely eye-friendly for long-scale viewing.
- Eco-Glass – No lead or arsenic in sight.
- Durability – They’re rubber armored, but the general structure doesn’t seem that tough.
The Spectators aren’t exactly compact. They’re actually quite chunky, but we may be willing to make that size sacrifice for the benefits they bring to our concert experience.
Designed to offer an awesomely wide field of view, you’ll be able to take in the whole stage, ensuring you don’t miss a beat — literally!
What’s more, the optics have been treated with a specialized coating to improve image acuity. You may only get 4x magnification, but that 4x image is going to be crystal clear and still as a lake.
The important thing to bear in mind about the Spectators is that they’re designed specifically for event viewing, which is ideal for us, but the lack of versatility is definitely a drawback. With no focusing mechanism, they can’t be adjusted for any other application.
- Wide Field of View – Take in the whole stage.
- Pristine Image Clarity – Lenses don’t detract from the experience.
- Foldable – Increases portability (still quite chunky, though).
- Price – Not bad at all!
- Dimensions – These things are beefy!
- Lack of Versatility – Definitely a one-trick pony.
Best Binoculars for Concerts – Buyer’s Guide
If you’re not exactly sure what makes a pair of binoculars suitable for a rugged life on the road following your favorite bands, don’t worry about it. I’ve composed this brief yet informative concert binoculars buyer’s guide to nudge you in the right direction.
If by concert you mean a night at the opera, you can go ahead and disregard this subheading. Somehow I don’t think things are going to get too rowdy in the mezzanine.
On the other hand, if by concert you mean gigs and festivals where you’ll be standing for long periods of time, jostling for position, and weathering the elements, a durable pair of binoculars is essential.
There’s every chance that they’re going to get dropped in the mud, stuffed into backpacks, and if we’re being honest, have a fair amount of beer spilled on them. If they’re to come out of all this alive, they need to be as robust as possible. This ain’t no bird watching expedition!
Next on the agenda is portability. I’m talking lightweight, and I’m talking minimal dimensions. Some sort of fold-away function would be great too.
It’s no use bringing a big honking pair of binos when you’re living in a tent that barely fits in you and your booze. Besides, you’ll be walking them around the festival all day long, so unless you plan on hitting the gym before heading out, they’ll need to be nice and light.
I don’t know what it is about the nighttime that makes musical performances so much more impactful. Maybe it’s the prominence of the light show cutting through the dark like butter, perhaps it’s something to do with forgetting ourselves a bit, or maybe just that the best bands are saved till last.
Either way, you’re going to need binoculars that offer fantastic visibility in low light conditions!
The key terms to look for when it comes to binoculars and light transmission are “exit pupil” and “aperture”. The exit pupils are the little, bright disks you can see through in the middle of each eyepiece, while the aperture is the diameter of the lenses.
The maximum size exit pupil we humans can take advantage of is 7mm, so binoculars that offer anything close to that should perform exceedingly well in low light.
Finding an appropriate aperture is tricky in our concert scenario. On the one hand, the larger the aperture, the more light your binoculars will gather, but on the other, the smaller the aperture is, the more portable your binoculars will be. It’s all about finding a suitable balance.
Of course, the quality of components does also plays a huge role, so it’s important not to…focus (pun definitely intended) on exit pupil diameter and aperture exclusively.
The magnification power you need for your concert binoculars depends on the scale of the concerts you’ve got penciled into your diary.
If you’re looking to enjoy a night at the theater without paying the house seat premium, you’ll be fine with a pair of 3-5x binoculars.
For stadium concerts, you’re probably going to need something more to the tune of 7x, but for full-blown festivals, where you could be watching from nearing a mile away, 10x is the only way to go.
You can think of fog-proof lenses as the security guards that line the stage at a concert, but it’s not sweaty, swooning mega fans they’re keeping back, it’s tiny particles of moisture.
As you’re going to be out in the elements, fog-proof lenses are a must, especially as bands tend to have a lot of smoke machines on stage. Granted, this fake fog isn’t quite as deadly as the stuff rolling down the mountain on your morning hikes, but it can still play havoc with your binos.
No one wants to watch a show through a hazy filter of fog, so it’s best to play it safe and fork out for fog-proof lenses.
If you want to give your arms a rest every now and again, why not look for a pair of binoculars that are tripod mountable?
Generally speaking, binoculars are short-use magnification devices. You hold them to your eyes for, I don’t know, say…20 seconds at a time, max. You glass what you need to, then let them slump back to your chest.
It’s a different kettle of fish at a concert. You’re going to be looking through your binoculars for extended periods of time, whole sets even. Considering the average headline set runs well over an hour, comfort is key!
The easiest way to add a bit of comfort to the concert equation is to choose some with a neck strap. Beyond that, it’s all about the eye feel. Any that feel comfortable against your face and don’t make you squint like crazy are a winner.
In regard to budget, we’ve got ourselves another tricky situation. The better quality binos you buy, the more chance they have of surviving concerts, but do you really want to put them at risk? Should they break, you’re out of pocket.
If we reduce our budget, there’s more of a chance they’ll break, but at least our bank accounts won’t suffer quite as much…that is until we have to replace them every year.
Once again, it’s all about finding balance, this time, between affordability and quality.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before we go our separate ways and you start packing for your epic concert adventure, I thought it’d be good to answer some common concert binocular queries.
If any handy tidbits fell through the cracks of my buyer’s guide, you’ll find them here!
Q: What do the numbers on binoculars mean?
A: The numbers on binoculars refer to their magnification strength and aperture (objective lens size). Take 10×25, for example. The 10 tells you that an object viewed through the binoculars will be 10 times larger than it is when viewed by the naked eye.
The 25 is a measure of the lens diameter. Generally speaking, the larger they are, the more light they’ll gather, which is why telescopes with particularly large lenses are known as light buckets.
Q: What is the best magnification power for binoculars?
A: The best magnification power for binoculars depends on your intended application. In most situations, anything between 7 and 10x should do just fine.
Q: Which is better: 8×42 or 10×42 binoculars?
A: Both these magnifications have their benefits and drawbacks. The 10×42 pair will show images close up, but they’ll be harder to keep steady. The 8×42 pair of binoculars won’t magnify images quite as much, but the image will be less susceptible to jitters.
Q: Are expensive binoculars worth it?
A: Expensive binoculars definitely can be worth it, but you don’t have to remortgage your house and sell your car to afford some good binoculars. There are plenty of high-quality yet affordable options on the market.
Q: What are the best binoculars for long-distance viewing?
A: For long-distance viewing, you should prioritize binoculars with expansive magnification power, perhaps 10x or above.
Q: What are the best binoculars for concerts and festivals?
A: The best binoculars for concerts and festivals will be durable, lightweight, small-ish, have between 7 and 10x magnification, decent light capture, and of course be comfortable, so you can look through them for long periods of time.
That’s all from me, fellow gig-goers. As you can see, the concert world is actually pretty well catered for by the binocular industry; you just have to know what you’re looking for, and now you do — hurray!
If you can afford it, I’d absolutely choose the Wingspan Optics FieldView Binoculars. They cover literally everything we discussed in the buyer’s guide, so they’re without a doubt my top pick.
For a more wallet-friendly festival experience, I can’t speak highly enough of the Aurosports Compact Binoculars, especially if you’re going to be sharing the view with your kids.
Finally, if you’re looking for binos designed specifically for event viewing, Bushnell Spectator Binoculars are as refined as they come.
Ultimately, though, I’d be over the moon with any of these binoculars, and I’d probably be able to see it pretty up close too!