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2014 Binocular Awards

Binocular of the Year proudly presents the 2014 Binocular of the Year Awards. We're always excited assess and examine the top-of-the-top optics from the finest manufacturers and provide our feedback as today's optics industry is nothing short of amazing. As our eyes are opened to the best of 2014, we've recognized the most significant achievements here.

As always, we brought in a slew of binoculars and put them through casual and rigorous testing. We use them to gaze out our office windows, take them out into the field, and monitor their performance when up against the elements. When we get down to it, our decisions are based on how they're manufactured and judge their performance at both a macro and micro scales. This year, the awards include 8 categories and we are excited to announce our favorites in each. You'll find binoculars for everyday use, specialty binoculars, spotting scopes, and so much more. So, without further ado - here are the 2014 Binocular of the Year Award winners!

See the 2010 winners | See the 2011 winners | See the 2012 winners

Binocular of the Year

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x42 Binoculars

Four-time winner! Once again Binocular of the Year, the Legend Ultra HD provides a level of light transmission and clarity that’s otherwise unseen in an attainable class and category. With high-quality ED glass coated with proprietary Ultra-Wide Custom Band Coating, viewers are treated to high-definition lines and accurately defined colors, even at tough times of day.

Nearly perfect down to the smallest detail, all the little things are provided with this pair along with Bushnell manufacturer's guarantee. Permanent RainGuard HD water-repellant coating, a super-comfortable lightweight rubberized body, and a premium case round out the extras included with the Legend Ultra HD. We've never named a binocular the overall winner 4 years in a row, but there's just so much to love here. The price is right, the views are bright - we'll gladly take the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x42 Binoculars out into the field anytime, anywhere.

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Best of the Best

Zeiss 10x42 Victory HT Binocular

It's hard to get a crisper, more clear image than the Zeiss Victory 10x42 HT offers. This year's Best of the Best binocular boasts unheard-of specifications like 95% light transmission and a slew of incredible proprietary elements. With Schott HT high-transmission glass, Carl Zeiss T* multi-layer coating, and the Abbe-Konig prism system, the views are brighter and better than literally anything else we've looked through this year. In a uniquely elegant and effortless ergonomic body design dubbed Comfort-Focus-Concept, the Victory HTs are more than a deserving victor this year.

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Best Birding Binocular

Nikon 8x42 Monarch 5 Binoculars

Flock leader, the Nikon 8x42 Monarch 5 Binoculars leads this year's flight. These birding binocs are prepared to go from in your hand or around your neck to on your eyes and in action with a fast focus and easy turn-and-click eyecups. The rubber-armored waterproof body can handle the morning dew or an afternoon shower, and the lightweight build won't cause a sore neck. They're no dodo in the optics department, either, with Nikon Eco-Glass lens and prism elements with dielectric high-reflective multi-layer coatings.

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Reviewer's Choice

Zhumell 10x42 Short Barrel

Thanks to our customers' enthusiastic and positive responses, the Zhumell 10x42 Short Barrel binoculars are now back-to-back winners of our Reviewer's Choice award. Nearly unanimously, people who've bought these unique binocs tell us they love their strength, quality, compact size, and high value. At just under 24 ounces, they're super lightweight and able to take 42mm multi-coated lenses, a waterproof body, and easy comfortable eyecups just about anywhere. For the enthusiast, hunter, birder, bleacher bum, traveler and many others, the Short Barrels are an easy and affordable way to get closer to the action.

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Best Compact Binocular

Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 8x22 Binoculars

The Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 8x22 takes the cake for this year's Best Compact Binocular. The Safaris fold up and fit easily into a jacket or cargo pocket, but offer super-crisp 8X magnification in action. They're waterproof and fogproof, and offer super-fast focus and comfortable eyecups, making them great for watching sports, spotting birds, or scanning the coastline. All of this is housed in the super-rugged, extra-grippy famous Safari body

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Best Marine Binocular

Steiner 7x50 Marine Binoculars

All aboard! The moment we had the Steiner 7x50 Marine Binoculars out on the water, we were so impressed we had to award it the Best Marine Binocular. These darn-near-indestructible waterproof binoculars bring German engineering and optics onto the water without a yacht-class price tag. Against the wetness, they wield black rubber armor throughout, eyepieces with rain and spray guards, lens caps, and a web strap. On the eyes, they impress fully multi-coated lenses, BaK4 prisms, and Steiner's signature Sports-AutoFocus system. With it, just set your binoculars for your eyes once and view everything in focus from 20 yards to infinity.

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Monocular of the Year

Vortex Solo 10x36 Waterproof Monocular

Compact, convenient, and versatile, this rugged monocular is built to function as a valuable piece of any kit, ready to attach to straps, belts, or webbing with a simple clip. It boasts fully multi-coated anti-reflective lenses, an all-weather waterproof and fogproof rubberized body, and an adjustable twist-up eyecup. Lightweight and ready-to-go, this Vortex monocular provides clear, quick views at 10x magnification, great for bird spotters, hunters, hikers, tactical missions, and more.

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Spotting Scope of the Year

Swarovski Modular Spotting Scopes

Unsurpassed in optical quality, image detail, and construction, the Swarovski Modular Spotting Scope wins Spotting Scope of the Year. These state-of-the-art pieces work independently and together in a seamless design that leaves you ready for anything. You'll get state-of-the-art 65mm, 85mm, and 95mm objective lenses and both the ATX and STX eyepieces. Each has one-hand zoom, HD optics with maximum contrast, proprietary lens coatings, and other features designed to make sure you don't miss a thing. We're not going to pretend they're cheap, but we've never seen better.

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Innovation of the Year

Leica Geovid 10x42 HD-B Laser Rangefinder Binocular

The Leica Geovid 10x42 HD-B Laser Rangefinder Binocular's Advanced Ballistic Compensation has continually been upping the ante in high-tech optics, and therefore dawns the crown of 2014 Innovation of the Year. ABC, as it's called, allows hunters to upload ballistics data for their equipment and accurately calculate their shot based on ballistics curves and real-time distance, angle, temperature, and air pressure calculations, all within .2 seconds. This incredible technology is paired, of course, with state-of-the-art optics from Leica, with a new Perger Porro prism system and unparalleled optical performance.

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