There is a lot of effort that goes into dolphin-watching; first, you must travel to a sea-side or ride on a boat or cruise to get close enough, and then you wait for a fleeting glance of these wild animals. Depending on whether you will be watching dolphins from the shore or from a boat, the type of binoculars you need for the optimal view will vary. But, there are some common features that you should look for in any binocular you decide to purchase; these include: powerful magnification, image stabilization (especially when viewing from the choppy waters of the sea), waterproofing (for inclement weather), the lens size, portability, and a wide field of view.
There are two numbers that define a binocular; the first number is the binocular’s magnification and the second is the diameter of its objective/outer lenses. For example, a 7×50 specification indicates that it can magnify objects and make them 7x bigger in the binocular view than the naked eye view. The “50” (measured in mm) indicates that the binocular is of a “full-size” and that it will allow in more light, since bigger lenses brighten images. Full-size lenses also enable usage at night while offering a wider field of view as well. Smaller lenses such as 25 mm ones are usually found in compact binoculars and obscure the images in low light situations.
For the purposes of dolphin-watching, full-size or medium-sized binoculars are ideal. If you are hoping to catch sight of dolphins or whales from the shore then a long-range lens in a full-sized binocular will offer the best view while a medium-size one would work best on a boat (provided it offers image stabilization). Getting a waterproof and fogproof one becomes more important when ocean viewing on a boat of course.
Compact binoculars with their smaller lenses would not be a good fit for dolphin-watching, but one major reason to consider them is their low cost. You might ask yourself if it is worth purchasing a binocular and whether you might have use for it afterwards. If you think they will not be useful for you afterwards then it is perfectly plausible to make a cheaper purchase. Anything is better than nothing in this case, and you would be getting a better view with a compact one than through the naked eye. Also, another bonus is that these binoculars are lighter to carry than their more advanced counterparts.
Here are the two binoculars for dolphin watching that are highly recommended:
This binocular is an Amazon best-seller and it easy to see why. It is a mid-ranged priced full-size binocular offering HD quality optics. It has superb build-quality with a premium BaK-4 prism glass, water resistant coating and LCD read-out for image stabilization. There is also a built-in compass and a TILT feature. This binocular is designed specifically for marine situations and is even used by the US Marine Corps! It weighs in at the heavier side at about 2.3 lbs but you could pair it with a tripod if viewing from the shore. Definitely a great choice if you’re looking for the best binoculars for dolphin watching and well worth the money.
This binocular is priced in the same range as the Bushnell and is another bonafide product that is packed with nifty features. It is a bit more lightweight than the Bushnell at 1.3 lbs and comes with the Nikon premium ED glass for crisper and wider views. It is also waterproof with a very intuitive design.