You have given us no budget guidance so I presume money is no object. You are prepared to spend $$$$ to get the very best.
I started in astronomy with binoculars. $20 10X50s from Harbor Freight. Not the best but they got me started.
Then I got into telescopes but I keep adding binoculars too. They are two different tools, each of which has its place. I start many of my observing sessions with binoculars, then go to the scope.
And, as you suggested, they are great for those quick sessions.
7X35, 8X40/42, 7X50, 10X50 are the sizes I suggest for hand held use. For many people, when you go higher than 8X, hand shake becomes a problem. And anything above 10X really should be mounted. I have all of those sizes plus a 15X70 that is used on a monopod but which would be better on a binocular mount or a tripod.
The benefit of binoculars is their wide field of view compared to most telescopes. You can scan a large part of the sky and some things just look better in binoculars than in a telescope. The Pleiades, for example, looks great in binos but leaves me unimpressed in my telescopes.
My favorite way to use binos to view the sky is in a reclining chair where I can brace my arms to help me hold them steady.
Binos are also a great way to learn star hopping to find things you can't see with your eyes. 8X binos provide a similar view to a finder scope on many telescopes so you do your star hops with the binos first.
And, of course, you can use them for daytime activities too.
If you have the budget, you want Bak4/BAK4/BAK-4 (essentially the same things) prisms rather than BK7 which are usually found in the cheapest models. The BAK4 provide a brighter, sharper image.
You want coated lenses and preferably multi-coated lenses
Waterproof is more important for daytime use than astronomy but it is nice to have.
You want them to have a spot to put a tripod adapter so you can mount them if you wish. This is normally at the front of the hinge.
In general, avoid zoom binoculars. They have a fairly narrow field of view and many feel they are more prone to getting out of collimation, the alignment of left and right.
ED glass adds value in that it helps to minimize any CA, chromatic aberration or false color. Nice to have if you have the budget, but not required.
After that it is a matter of your budget. You can get fairly capable binoculars for $50 to $100. After that you can start looking at the better stuff going up into the hundreds. And then there are the top of the line that are in the thousands.
Hope that helps.
I keep a 8X40 in the car for daytime bird watching and night time star gazing. And I have a bucket of binoculars that I take to outreach events so I can take people on binocular sky tours.
Edited by aeajr, 27 September 2020 - 08:57 AM.