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Ideal for birdwatchers—but great for anyone who prefers seeing things afar in high definition—these palm-size Leicas fold down compactly. And at 9.6 ounces, they’re the lightest binocs we tested. 10×25; leica-camera.com…

Great glass on the cheap. The Echo’s clarity and color ren-dition are impressive in all light conditions. But we especially like these all-purpose binocs for the grippy, rubber-coated housing and ergonomic feel. 10×42; brunton.com…

The single-hinge design makes for a comfortable grip on these backcountry-ready binocs. And with a wide field of view and excellent clarity at dawn or dusk, they’re ideal for viewing wildlife. 10.5×45; leupold.com…

Let there be light transmission! Kowa’s new 44mm lenses use patented multi-coating technology to enhance brightness. Ideal for glassing wildlife at twilight, this brute produces exceptional color and detail. 10.5×44; kowa-usa.com…

These “green” binocs use lead-free glass and non-chloride rubber, plus the case is made with eucalyptus pulp. And they’re both water- and fog-proof, a claim verified after we dropped them in a stream. 10×25; nikonecobins.com…

These nimble, pocket-friendly field glasses delivered surprisingly crisp images for their size (and bargain-basement price), and they also performed well in the wet. 8×26; carsonoptical.com…

The fold-up design of the DCF saves space and weight. At 2.5 inches wide, it’s the smallest here. One nit: We weren’t crazy about the forward placement of the focus wheel. But tight, clean images make up for it. 8×25; pentaxsportoptics.com…

Whether you’re spying landmarks while at sea or just finding your bearings, the Navigator’s compass leads the way. This 20-ounce marine binoc took on stream dunks and foggy conditions with aplomb. 7×30; steiner-binoculars.com…

Ideal for backcountry scoping, the Infinity features rugged, powerful optics. With a durable yet light-weight chassis, it’s primed for all conditions. 8.5×45; bushnell.com…

This little Napoleon (think small but powerful) packs high-performance optics into a lightweight, compact package that feels balanced and substantial in hand. 10×25; minox.com…

An upgrade to Minox’s proven, staff-favorite HG line, the powerful APOs deliver great edge-to-edge color quality in a tough but lightweight magnesium package. But that don’t come cheap! 8.5×43; minox.com…

This versatile polycarbonate binoc has an upgraded, open-bridge design, creating a grip more comfortable than on previous Excursion models. The 400-foot-plus field of view is ideal for spotting game out in the wide open. 8×36; bushnell.com…