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Best Optics 2021

The One Stop Nature Shop's Best Optics of 2021

Binoculars and Spotting Scopes are very much a personal choice. Below we have summarised some of our favourites to help you when choosing your next binocular or spotting scope. As an independent business we are able to try all makes and models so you can be confident that you are getting the best advice.

All the optics we have chosen are what we class as the best value in each category, even if they are not the highest priced. We have not considered the high end optics as they are already well reviewed elsewhere and wanted to focus on optics that everyone from a beginner to an experienced wildlife observer might consider purchasing.

Click the products image to visit the product page of each binocular or spotting scope.

Best Binocular

German Precision Optics (GPO) Passion ED 8×32
Price as reviewed – £329

GPO Passion ED 32mm Sand

Why we love it – “The GPO Passion ED 8×32 is a left field choice to more traditional brands. However, the presentation, choice of colours, optical quality, fit and finish, and ergonomics are of frankly remarkable quality for a binocular of this price point. That’s why its our binocular of the year”

Best Spotting Scope

Hawke Endurance ED 25-75x85mm spotting scope
Price as reviewed – £729

 Hawke Endurance ED 85mm Spotting Scope

Why we love it – “Its hard to argue against the 85mm version of the Hawke Endurance ED spotting scope. Despite its huge objective this is a fairly lightweight scope and the 25-75x zoom is a huge plus. With Hawke’s unlimited lifetime warranty this scope is a winner all round.”

Best compact (21/25mm) binocular

Swarovski Optik CL Curio 7×21
Price as reviewed – £630

Swarovski Optik CL Curio 7x21 burnt orange binoculars

Why we love it – “Compact binoculars often tend to be a bit samey. Enter the Swarovski Optik Curio. Not only is this binocular beautifully designed it also packs amazing optics into a tiny and lightweight frame. Yes its pricey but its worth every penny”

Best travel (30/32mm) binocular

Kite Lynx HD+ 8×30
Price as reviewed – £549

Kite Lynx HD+ 30mm binocular

Why we love it – “There are so many great 30/32mm binoculars now available, and as a result this was the hardest binocular to choose. Arguably our overall binocular of the year should win this category too, however not wanting to repeat ourselves we have gone for the Kite Lynx HD+ 8×30. The lightweight, compact body houses excellent optical quality and a massive field of view. Backed up by a 30 year warranty and excellent after sales care makes the Lynx a rare species indeed.”

Best standard(42mm) binocular

Opticron Aurora BGA VHD 8×42
Price as reviewed – £799

Opticron Aurora VHD 42mm binocular

Why we love it – “Another category with a huge number of options. Special mentions must go to the GPO Passion HD 8×42, Viking Peregrine ED 8×42, and our long term favourite Hawke Endurance ED 8×42. However, the Opticron Aurora 8×42 is a game changing binocular at its price point and that is why it wins this category. Lightweight, solidly built, sharp optics, and a massive field of view make the Aurora every bit as good as binoculars costing twice as much. It really is hard to fault.” 

Best Travel Spotting Scope

Hawke Endurance ED 15-45x60mm spotting scope
Price as reviewed – £499

Hawke Endurance ED 60mm Spotting Scope

Why we love it – “Another win for Hawke in the spotting scope category. The Opticron MM3 60mm ran it really close but Hawke’s warranty and value just trump it. A really flexible and useable zoom range, fantastic build quality, and sharp optics make this scope a great option for travel.” 

Best Value Spotting Scope

Viking Swallow ED 20-60x80mm spotting scope
Price as reviewed – £499

Viking Swallow ED 80mm Spotting Scope

Why we love it – “We considered the Viking Swallow ED for out spotting scope of the year, however we felt that its value for money was really worth highlighting separately. ED glass, dual focusing, a great zoom range, and excellent build quality make the Viking Swallow ED really worth considering for a “do it all” spotting scope.” 

The best binoculars you may have never heard of

Cambridge Optics range
Price as reviewed – from £99

Cambridge Optics Pioneer ED 8x42 binocular

Why we love it – “Its very easy to go for mainstream choices when choosing any product. But looking at alternatives can be very productive. Cambridge Optics are a small British company based near Newmarket and their range of binoculars are brilliant for both beginner and experienced nature watcher alike. From the entry level 8×34 to the high end Pioneer ED with its compact design and 1.4 metre close focus, there is a binocular in their range for everyone. “

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