Binoculars are one of those purchases you may not know you need, but they can make your experiences more enjoyable. For those who enjoy stargazing or bird watching, owning a pair of the best binoculars will help make your day outdoors even more enjoyable. You may not know where to start in your search but don’t be afraid, we are here to help. Learn all about How to Choose Binoculars in this article updated 2021.
Contrary to what you might think, the best binoculars for bird watching are not necessarily as good if you plan to do stargazing. For that reason, it is best to know the ins and outs of what makes binoculars ideal for your specific needs.
Table of Contents
How to Choose Binoculars – Guide
Before you go too far in your search for the best binoculars to buy, it is important to have a thorough understanding of the technology that goes into making them. Since binoculars are a relatively old invention, you probably have some idea about aesthetics.
Like all technologies, there have been some advances in recent years that make it more important than ever that you understand what you are buying. Knowing the terminology to lookup will help you make sure you get the right binoculars for the use you are intended.
What do the Numbers on Binoculars Mean?
This is why you buy binoculars – to see beyond what you can see with the naked eye. When you read the description of your binoculars you will see a score of 10×35. The number 10 refers to the magnification force. If there are different variations of binoculars, they will be displayed in this numerical style.
A higher number means that the binoculars will be able to see further without distorting the image. The number 10 means that you will be able to see the object 10 times larger than you would if you simply looked without using the binoculars. Essentially, if an object is 300 yards away, you’ll see it as if it were only 30 yards through the lens.
You can see how this would be great for hunters, bird watchers, and even stargazers. Being able to see objects as if they are closer gives you the ability to feel as if you are next to the bird or the deer. This also allows you to follow sports games in great detail.
When you look at your binoculars, the lens refers to the one that does not go against your eye, but rather the one that captures the image. As mentioned earlier, when you look at your binoculars you will see two numbers, like 10 x 42. That second number is the objective diameter of the lens. That second number is the target diameter of the lens. 42 would then refer to the diameter of your target lens.
Now that you know how to find the size of your target lens, you should know why this is important. There are some advantages to having a wide objective lens, as well as some disadvantages. When looking for your next binoculars, we recommend that you find a compromise between size and function.
The diameter size of your objective lens is where the light will enter your lens. Just like your camera, the more light that can enter your lens, the brighter and clearer your image will be. For those looking to go stargazing or use their binoculars for other nighttime activities, a lens with a larger diameter becomes even more important. This is because the wider lens will allow more light into your binoculars and allow the image to be truly visible.
Choosing Binoculars for Bird Watching
Magnification usually ranges from 7 to 12x in most binoculars, and the diameter usually varies between 25 and 56mm. For birds, 8 and 10x magnification is usually recommended:
7x and 8x magnification binoculars: These are recommended for close-range sighting sites, such as forests and jungles, with sub-optimal light conditions. They are also usually recommended as first binoculars, since they have a lower magnification, making it easier to stabilize the image and obtain more detail of the birds. In addition, they generally have a wider field of view, which allows us to find birds in adverse conditions and follow them more easily.
10x magnification binoculars: These are recommended for long-distance sightings, such as wetlands and lagoons, with optimal light conditions. Because they have a higher magnification, trepidation (involuntary movement) is greater and it is difficult to obtain more details of the birds.
Closer than 10x is not recommended, since the image tends to trepidation too much, making it more difficult to obtain details of the birds. However, there are binoculars with image stabilization, which allow you to control the trepidation and recover details.
There are also binoculars with variable magnification or “zoom”, which allow changing the magnification with a wheel, usually indicated with numbers such as 7-12×50 (Magnification between 7 and 12, with 50mm diameter), they are not recommended because they usually suffer from optical compromises to deliver the zoom.
How to Choose Binoculars: Field of View
If the amount of magnification is too focused, you will not have a wide field of vision. For example, if you are looking at an object that is 1000 yards away, your field of vision would be about 400 feet. This is the amount of area you can see around the object without moving the binoculars.
Both the intensity of the magnification and the size of the lens will play an important role in determining the field of vision. A higher amount of magnification will mean a smaller field of vision, but a larger piece of magnifier will mean a larger area of vision.
Understanding these factors will help you determine the correct binocular settings. If you are looking for the largest field of vision, you should look for the largest lens diameter while limiting the magnification. Or if you need the magnification, you will need to look for the largest lens diameter you can find.
How to Choose Binoculars: Lens Coating
The lens coating will help distinguish higher quality binoculars from their inexpensive counterparts. This is because cheap binoculars often have no film or coating on their lenses. This is much less desirable as it makes the binoculars much less durable. This means that any scratches or stains will directly affect the quality of the image for the rest of its life.
Bird-watching and hunting are the activities that stand out the most in binoculars. Being able to see your prey or a rare bird will be your goal and with a set of 8×30 binoculars, you will achieve that goal. This configuration will give you sufficient magnification and a large field of view that will allow you to fix your eyes on the subject. You can expect to see about 400 feet with ease. We strongly recommend that you look for a pair of waterproof binoculars, especially for hunters. Not having to worry about your gear getting wet will ensure that you see your target. How to Choose Binoculars.