Binocular Price – What do you pay for?


How is binocular price determined? How can a Nikon Aculon 8×42 only cost R1899 but a Swarovski 8.5X42 EL costs R52799?

Here is what you pay for when buying a pair of Binoculars.


Binoculars come in two designs, Roof prism and Porro prism.

The glass elements in a roof prism binocular are in line with one another. They have two straight tubes, making them smaller and more compact.

With porro prism Binoculars, the lens and the eyepiece are not aligned. The images are transported via an N-shaped bend. This makes the housing of this type of binoculars wider.

Roof prism binoculars cost more to make due to the more complicated manufacturing process.

Optic Quality and Coating

High-quality optics work better in low-light conditions as they transmit more light. Coatings help reduce light reflection and colour aberrations. The higher the quality of the optics the more the binocular price.


Binoculars filled with nitrogen are dust and waterproof. Binoculars filled with nitrogen cost more to manufacture.

Build Quality

Higher quality binoculars like Swarovski have solid focus wheels and thick quality rubber grips around the barrels. The better a binocular is built the more it will cost. However, a quality pair of binoculars will last a lifetime.

Other Things to Consider When Choosing Binoculars

Eye Relief – Eye relief is the distance from the outer surface of the eyepiece lens to the position where the exit pupil is formed. Binoculars with longer eye relief are especially useful for glass wearers.

Comfort – Your binoculars must feel comfortable in your hand and mustn’t be too heavy if you are planning to use them for extended periods.

Intended Use – Different magnifications and objective lens diameters are better for different uses. Birdwatchers would normally prefer 8x magnification, while stargazers would want as much as 20x magnification.