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Best binoculars for plane spotting – 2024 Reviews & comparison

Last Updated: 15.07.24


Top Binoculars for Plane Spotting Reviewed & Buying Guide


If you are interested in buying the best binoculars for plane spotting available, but you are running short on time, and you cannot research the topic, we can help. To be of assistance, we did the legwork on your behalf by looking at what the specialists had to say on the subject, and we have read feedback comments left by current users. As a result, we have determined that the Canon 18×50 is the model that you should invest in. This device has a magnification ratio of 18x and an objective size of 50mm. As a plus, the item has built-in optical image stabilization and lenses that have been multi-coated so that the user is provided with clear, bright images. Furthermore, this choice is shock and weather-resistant. If this option is out of stock, feel free to check out the Celestron 71376 as you might also like it.



Comparison table


The Good
The Bad



Finding cheap binoculars for plane spotting is not easy, especially if you are a novice when it comes to purchasing optical devices. Because we know just how challenging this task can be, we took it upon ourselves to put together a list of features that are considered a must-have in a product of this type.

Magnification is key

Similarly to when purchasing inexpensive binoculars for birding, the magnification of the product is significant. Most available options have a ratio between 8x and 20x. Because you are interested in a device that can help you view planes that are rather far up in the sky, you should purchase a model that has high magnification. This way, you’ll be able to see the details easily.

However, according to reviews of binoculars for plane spotting, a model that has too much magnification can provide an unstable image. To avoid this issue, it is recommended that you select a model that has built-in image stabilization.

Even more so, you could invest in a binocular tripod adapter, as these accessories can help you use high magnification units without any type of image shake. Tripods should be used with any model that has a magnification ratio of more than 10x or 12x, depending on how steady your hands are


Size and weight

Usually, the size and the weight of good binoculars for plane spotting is determined by the dimensions of the objective lens. If you want a small binocular, you should pick a device that has a smaller objective of 20 or 25mm. Still, it has been argued that these models are not particularly suitable for plane spotting because the size of the lens is not wide enough to allow sufficient light to go through it.

Consequently, the images that they produce are rather dark. So, you won’t be able to tell apart details that could help you identify the kind of plane that you are looking at. Because of this, if you intend to spot highflying planes, it is recommended that you select a device that has an objective lens that measures 42 to 50mm.


Additional aspects worth considering

Before you pick the first model that you can find for sale, you should also think about the field of view that that particular option can supply you with. To put it simply, a pair of binoculars that has a high magnification and narrow objective lenses will have a reduced field of view.

The FOV is essential because you will use the binoculars to follow planes over wide areas. As a result, if you have to choose between two otherwise similar models, go for the one with the wider FOV as it will be easier to use it to locate and follow a plane, especially when utilizing a tripod.

The brightness of the image is also an aspect that should not be overlooked. From this point of view, it is best that you select a unit that has lenses with a high ratio of light transmission. Therefore, the coatings used to cover the optics of the model are crucial. If you are not afraid of spending a few extra dollars to get the best device out there, you should pick a unit that has fully multi-coated optics.

Binoculars of this type can deliver bright images that have color-fidelity and that are very useful especially when it comes to identifying small details on planes. Last but not least, it is often suggested that interested buyers purchase a device that is water and shock-resistant. This way, they will be capable of using it no matter the weather conditions.

If you want your experience of using a product of this kind to be perfect, you should also take a good look at this informative article on how to pick binocular accessories. Also, be sure to check out this article on buying a quality binocular strap.



5 Best Binoculars for Plane Spotting (Reviews) in 2024


Selecting a reliable unit form this line of products is not easy. If you are still not sure that you know what models are worth your attention, go ahead and start examining these following models that we have gathered for you. These items are spoken highly of by previous users, and they have received excellent ratings from the specialists.



1. Canon 18×50 Image Stabilization All-Weather Binoculars


If you don’t like using a tripod, but you still want to buy a model that has great image stabilization, the Canon 18×50 might be just what you need. This choice includes high-quality lenses that measure 50 mm and a magnification ratio of 18x.

What is more, this option has a broad and extra-bright field of view that will allow you to see planes in great detail and lenses that have been fully multi-coated for contrast, color fidelity, and clarity. Also, to make this model durable, the manufacturer has built it to be water and shock-resistant.

Previous users of this choice have said that the model is worth the investment mainly because of the image stabilization technology that was used in making it. However, it has been noted that the model is a bit bulky and thus, difficult to transport when on the go. Yet, users were happy with its overall performance.



With these binoculars you won’t need a tripod because they got image stabilization, allowing you to see things clearly.

The lenses have an impressive magnification ratio of 18x and they also measure 50mm, so they should be capable of offering good images.

These binoculars are good for plane spotting because they offer a broad field of view, which is essential, and the images are also extra bright, so you can spot planes in difficult light as well.

The lenses are fully multi-coated and they offer improved contrast, better colors, and they are overall of good quality.

The model is a durable one and that’s because it has been made to be resistant against water and shocks.

You will be able to see at great distances with these binoculars.


One of the downsides of this performant product is that it’s bulky and it’s hard to carry around everywhere.

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2. Celestron 71376 12 x 50 Granite Series Binocular


Another model that should not be ignored is the Celestron 71376. This alternative has a magnification ratio of 12x, and lenses that measure 50mm. Even more so, the lenses that it comes fitted with are made from high index ED Glass, a type of glass that is well known for delivering true color rendition images.

As a plus, the item includes fully multi-coated lenses that can provide the user with the highest levels of contrast so that he/she is supplied with views that have vivid color saturation. Moreover, this choice has phase-coated BaK-4 prisms that have been covered in dielectric high reflectivity substances.

On top of that, this model has been nitrogen purged and, thus, it is waterproof and fog proof. The rubber armor that the item features is highly protective, and it guarantees that this option won’t break easily. Lastly, the body of the device has an ergonomic design that includes thumb indentations for a better grip.



The lenses of these binoculars measure 50mm meaning that they will be able to offer you the field of view you need.

With a magnification ratio of 12x, this model is capable of letting you see all the smallest details from far away.

The glass that makes the lenses is high-index ED Glass, which is known for offering a very pleasant and natural color.

The quality of the lenses is ensured by the fact that they are fully multi-coated, and that provides great contrast, ideal when spotting airplanes.

Due to the binoculars being nitrogen purged, they are waterproof and fog proof, so you can take them in the most unforgiving places and they will still work.

Just in case you’ll ever drop them, the binoculars come well-protected by a thick layer of rubber armor.


The focuser could be better, as getting the right focus is often difficult with it due to how soft it is.

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3. Nikon 7247 Action 16×50 EX Extreme All Terrain Binocular


If you are in need of a model that can be used in all types of terrains, give the Nikon 7247 a good look. This choice has a magnification ratio of 16x and an objective that measures 50mm. The product also features a rugged, waterproof and fog proof construction and bright, multi-coated optics that can deliver quality views of the surroundings.

If you happen to wear glasses, you should also know that this choice includes long eye relief that makes this unit convenient for buyers like you. Additionally, this choice is tripod-adaptable, and it incorporates BaK 4 high-index roof prisms.

Although this model is considered to have a field of view that is a tad tighter than some of the other available counterparts, most buyers were content with what they got. The most appreciated feature of the item is its high-quality optics that can deliver, no matter the weather conditions.



Ideal for those wearing glasses, these binoculars have a long eye relief that will make it easy for everyone to look through them.

The objective measures 50 mm, meaning that the binoculars will offer a large enough field of view for spotting planes.

They also come with a magnification ratio of 16, and that means you will see everything at long distances.

You shouldn’t worry about ruining the binoculars because they come treated to hold well against water and fog, and they are also covered in a strong protective layer of rubber.

The optics are bright, they offer good images in almost any light condition, and the lenses are also multi-coated, to make the images better.

You don’t have to use a tripod with these binoculars, but they can also be attached to one, so that’s a plus.


Some users complain that for what they offer, these binoculars are a bit too heavy.

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4. Pentax SP 12 x 50 WP Binocular


Another choice that is worth your attention is the Pentax SP 12×50. This alternative has large objective lens elements that measure 50mm, and that have extraordinary light gathering capabilities. Because of this, these binoculars can be easily used in low light conditions.

Furthermore, the choice features multi-layer coatings that ensure that sufficient light is transmitted through the binoculars. Consequently, you will be provided with bright, true-to-life images in an array of viewing conditions

As a plus, the protective coatings that cover the lenses are said to repel dust, water, and grease and to keep the optics clean at all times. Additionally, the body of the device is rugged as it was built to maintain a precise optical alignment. Consequently, you will be provided with a comfortable viewing experience. Even more so, the product is nitrogen-filled, waterproof and, it can even be used when submerged in water.



With objective lens measuring 50mm in diameter, it’s clear that these binoculars have the means to gather the required light and offer you great images.

That is why they are good for spotting planes, and they’re also great if you want to use them in low-light conditions for different activities.

The lenses are multi-layer coated, and that helps them show better images, even when the weather doesn’t help.

There is a protective coating that has been sprayed on the binoculars and that helps keep dust and grease away, but it’s also something that makes the model waterproof.

The body is rugged and it has an ergonomic construction meaning that you won’t drop it, and even if you do, it will still be well-protected.


The case that they come with isn’t of much use, because it’s flimsy, it doesn’t have any strap and it doesn’t feel durable enough.

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5. Bushnell Perma Focus 12×50 Wide Angle Binocular


If you want a model that has a Porro prism, you should take a good look at this following option sold by Bushnell. Among the features that recommend it are its fully coated optics that ensure brightness and superior light transmission, and its unique focus-free function that makes it ideal when used for sporting events.

Additionally, this alternative comes fitted with a non-slip rubber armor that can actively absorb shocks and provide the user with a firm grip. Also, this model is fog proof and waterproof and, thus, it can be used no matter the weather.

Still, it should be mentioned that this device does not come supplied with a binocular case. Even more so, previous reviewers remarked that this option does not have a tripod feature. Hence, it can only be handheld. Still, most of its current users are happy with its autofocus option and the fact that it is effortless to use.



The optics are fully-coated, and that should ensure good light transmission and good images.

These binoculars are good for tracking moving objects such as planes, but they’re also good for some other activities like sports events, and that is due to their unique “Focus-Free” feature.

They come covered in a non-slip rubber armor which will ensure you don’t drop them and furthermore, protect them in case of bumps.

With lenses that are 50mm in diameter, you’re ensured to have bright images and a good field of view.

They offer a magnification ratio of 10x, which is great, taking into account the low price that you have to pay for them.


These binoculars don’t come with a case, so if you want to keep them protected you need to buy one.

They also can’t be used with a tripod as they don’t have any attachment point for that.

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Ioana Moldovan

Ioana’s professional experience in the optics field has helped her understand the value of passing her knowledge forward. Her curious personality helps her gather useful information for her readers and her goal is to make technical information fun and accessible to everyone.

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