Welcome to Better View Desired Online. For many years, BVD Online has been the independent internet journal of birding optics reviews and the pursuit of the better view. However, we have temporarily suspended the addition of new reviews and this site will be active solely as an archive of past reviews for a period of time. Our "how to" articles still remain relevant sources of useful and unbiased information on choosing and using birding optics and are well worth investigating. If you want the best possible view of the bird that your money (and your time) can buy, we can help.

BVD Online has specialized in comprehensive field tests and comparative reviews of the best in birding optics . . . plus informative, clear, concise explanations of what separates the “bird-worthy” optics from the rest. We accept no manufacturers’ advertising, so our reviews have been unbiased and objective. We have played no favorites and pulled no punches. Our reviews have discussed at length the good, the bad, and the so-so about each product we have tested – so you can pick the optics that best fit your needs and your budget. We intend to continue that review philosophy when we resume regular optics testing.

Check out our BVD Reference Set to the right.. It lists the Reference Standard, the Best Buys, and the Products of Special Merit in each optical category – those binoculars or spotting scopes that our reviewers feel clearly outperform the others in their respective categories. Keep in mind, however, that the Reference Set is not current and represents whet was the best at the time the reviews were published. Our Basic Education Articles discuss how to choose birding optics and basic birding techniques for everyone, beginner to expert. These articles remain a valuable resource for the optics buyer and beginning birder. BVD Online provides everything you need to get the better view you desire.

Recent Reviews...

Leupold Golden Ring 8x42 - Reviewed 5/06

Let’s start with a prediction. When you look at these binoculars you will not be tempted to buy them. They are – well – plain looking. They need to go on a diet. But -- and here’s the “but” -- when you look through these binoculars you will want them. Don’t trust me on this. Go look through them!


Swift Ultra Lites 8x42 - Reviewed 12/05

I began my birding career with a pair of WWII Navy binoculars that I bought in a surplus store in downtown Manhattan. They had independently focusing eyepieces and must have weighed 3 or 4 pounds. The focus was so slow that I was forced to concentrate on things that didn’t move much, so I really learned to identify waterfowl and wading birds. I never really believed that anyone could reliably identify anything that moved as fast as a warbler.


Nikon LX L 8x42 - Reviewed 10/05

When Nikon introduced the Venturer LX in 1998, they set a new standard for brightness and resolution in birding binoculars. At that time it had been several years since the introduction a significant new birding binocular, and the Venturer was named as a“reference standard” by my colleague, Steve Ingraham, at Better View Desired. The Venturer should have captured a huge portion of the high end binocular market.


Zeiss Victory 8x42 T*FL Binocular - Reviewed 11/05

Every so often there is a rumor in the industry that a company has produced a new line of binoculars that is supposed to redifine the state-of the art in sports optics. To be state-of-the art, a binocular must have exceptional image clarity and resolution; superior brightness; a wide field of view, and true color accuracy, free of aberrations.


Pentax 65 mm Spotting Scope - Reviewed 11/05

Anyone who has spent hours trudging around the bush carrying an 80mm spotting scope and heavy-duty tripod on their shoulder knows how tiring the experience can be and how sore their shoulders can get after awhile. Yet, given the prevailing wisdom, many naturalists still choose to endure the extra weight in favor of the superior optics that 80mm scopes are supposed to provide over the smaller 60-65mm scopes.


Swift HHS Audubon 8.5x44 - Reviewed 10/05

The HHS is the latest incarnation of a series of binoculars which have carried the "Audubon" designation. The Audubon line has always been well received by birders and critics, with each new version offering significant improvements over its predecessors. (As with the UltraLite, Swift offers an Audubon poro prism model which was reviewed by my colleague, Steve Ingraham, a few years ago.)