Binoculars + iPhone Mount – Handy or Gimmicky?

I’m planning to purchase some binoculars to get a closer look at all of the beautiful birds that soar the sky here in British Columbia. I’m not looking to become a serious birder, but want some gear of reasonable quality that will give me about a 10x magnification.

I notice that some binoculars (e.g. Gosky 10x42 Roof Prism Binoculars) include a smartphone attachment.

If you’ve ever attached an iPhone to binoculars, I’d be curious to hear if it yielded some reasonably good iPhone photos or if it was more trouble than it was worth. Recommendations for specific mounts and/or kits are also welcome and appreciated.

Three of my hobbies are very optics intensive: Astronomy, Photography, and Birding.

And there is a truism for all three, buy the best optics you can afford. Good optics will last a long time.

My bins cost me US$1000. I’m still using them fifteen plus years on.

The Audubon Society has an excellent online Guid to Binoculars with recommendations at a number of price ranges. You can’t go wrong with any of the binoculars on this list.

If there are groups which lead birding field trips in your area I suggest joining one or more of these trips to see and tryout the bins folks on the trip are using. Seeing how different models feel in your hands, how much they weigh, how close they focus, and how easy they are to focus will help you decide the best model for you.

As to your specific question, I’d answer gimmick. I have a Celestron phone adapter that I use with my telescopes. I’ve attempted it with binoculars with poor results. Unless you are going to have the bins on a mount of some sort it is highly unlikely you will be able to hold them steady enough while using the phone as a camera.

Good luck and have fun!


Buy quality, cry once.


@MevetS – Thanks very much for your detailed and thoughtful response! I’ll likely go with some compact, light-weight bins to start with (the Audubon Society’s Guide to Binoculars looks like a great resource) and will consider upgrading in the future. And it doesn’t look like using the bins with an iPhone is worth the trouble. Good to know!

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But, as stated above, if you can mount your binoculars securely, it can work well…
Pictures tend to be cloudy and underwhelming.
If you think this sort of thing is worth the hassle, the gimmick might work for you.

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I have a slightly different set of hobbies, but a lot of time looking through magnified optics has brought me to the same conclusion. Good glass is expensive, but you can absolutely get what you pay for.


Thanks to everyone who shared their advice and experience!

After doing a fair amount of research I decided to go with the Athlon Optics Midas ED, which WireCutter recommended as the “the best binoculars for nearly everyone”.

I took my new “bins” on their first field trip earlier today and am impressed with both the quality of the build and the clarity of the optics. They’re relatively light and compact and add an amazing dimension to outdoor adventures.

I abandoned plans of trying to take iPhone photos through my bins. I came to the conclusion that it’s more trouble than it’s worth and instead have set my sights on a new mirrorless camera and telephoto lens at some point in the future.


Great! Have fun with them.

Are those Snow Geese?

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I believe these are Snow Geese. There were hundreds of them in a farmer’s field. It was quite a sight to see them take flight (especially when viewing them through my fancy new bins).

Binoculars + iPhone Mount + Tripod would be my pick. Otherwise you’re not going to be able to keep the camera steady enough to take advantage of the larger magnification. This also applies to whatever new mirrorless camera you may get.

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Thanks, @dfay. That makes sense. I’ll also likely invest in a light, high-quality tripod at some point.