Choosing the Right Binoculars

Why use binoculars?

Binoculars are useful for different recreational activities such as boatingastronomynatureviewinghuntingsporting events, and hiking etc. One of the most popular among these is bird watching.Choosing the Right Binoculars

Can specific binoculars be used for another kind of activity? For instance, if I buy hunting binoculars, can I also use them for boating?

There are different kinds of binoculars available for specific purposes. For star gazing, boating and bird watching, you need more specialized types of binoculars to really enjoy the view. But for purposes of sightseeing or viewing sports events, buying an expensive binocular with specialized features isn’t a must.

What if I wear eye glasses? What features should I look for?

If you wear eye glasses and you don’t want to remove them while using your binoculars, then you should look for models with longer eye relief.  A longer eye relief means the eye is farther away from the eye piece, enabling a person to still have a larger field of view. When you use binoculars with long eye relief, you don’t have to hold the binoculars as close to the eye, so you will still be comfortable when you use them even with your glasses on.

What does “7×50” in lens magnification mean?

“7×50” in lens magnification means that it has a magnification of 7 times. This means it makes the object in focus appear 7 times closer. If you are watching a bird 70 feet away, you will see the bird as if it is only 10 feet away.

Do boating binoculars really need to be waterproof?

boating binoculars

Yes, a binocular for boating needs to be waterproof. Obviously, they need to be protected from elements like spray and rain. Certain conditions like damp marine environments and changes in temperature can also cause interior lenses of non-waterproof binoculars to fog. So, if you intend to use your binoculars out near the water or even in the rain, choose waterproof binoculars.

Does the color of fully multi-coated optics matter?

Generally, no, because most manufacturers have different coatings for their models which produce different color lenses. Some use purple while others use green, etc. But be conscious of lenses that are ruby colored as this can be a sign of low-grade optics.

Which is better for star gazing: hand held binoculars or mounted binoculars?

If you choose binoculars that you’ll hold, pick a lighter model. Even though they’ll have less magnification, they’ll have a larger field of view that lets you see a larger span of the sky.

Mounted binoculars (binoculars using a tripod) usually have larger objective lenses, which means they have greater magnification and weigh more. But, the tradeoff is a smaller field of view.

One advantage of mounted binoculars is that they provide greater image detail than hand-held binoculars that can wobbly while constantly trying to maintain focus on distant objects. So if you plan to spend long hours doing star gazing, then a mounted binocular is a better choice.

How important is the lens objective size?

The larger the objective size is, the heavier the optics will be. So consider first how you intend to use the binocular. If you’ll hold or carry them for several hours, then you should consider the added weight.

You should also consider the time of the day you will mostly use them. If you intend to use them mostly for low light viewing like dusk or dawn, then larger objective lenses will be more useful since they has higher light gathering ability.

What are the features that I should look for when choosing a hunting binocular?

Hunting is a rugged activity that puts demands on your equipment. One of the most important features that you should look for when buying a best hunting binoculars is that they should have a rubberized exterior. This feature will protect the binocular from damage if you drop them or they are otherwise knocked around during the course of your hunting activities.

What is the difference between roof prism and porro prism binoculars?

Porro prisms have a narrower eye-piece than the objective lens. This type of prism is the traditional design. The eye pieces are skewed to the barrels while in roof prism, the eye-pieces are aligned with the objective lenses which makes them more compact. Roof prism binoculars are usually more expensive too.

Is using zoom binoculars better than fixed binoculars when bird watching?

Though zoom binoculars can be a great to have, they can still have their downsides. Yes, you can easily scan any area, and then zoom in on an object to see more detail, which is how the zoom feature works. But this can result in darker, fuzzy and distorted images. You’ll also get a smaller field of view than normal. That’s why most birders prefer to use a fixed binocular.

How do I fix the focus of my binocular?

First, adjust the distance of the eye pieces to the same distance between your eyes. After this, use the central focus control to focus both lenses on an object. If your vision in each eye differs, then it’ll be necessary to make an additional correction with the diopter, if the binoculars have this feature.

Cover the right objective lens with your left hand. Be careful not to touch the glass. Then focus with the central focus control on an object some 80 – 100 meters distant until the image is sharp. Do the same with the left objective lens, but this time turn the individual diopter until the image is sharp.

If you are looking for the best binoculars for birding, visit for more information.

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