Factors to Consider Before Buying a Pair of Binoculars


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Binoculars may all look the same but the similarities are only on the surface. When choosing the best pair, you have to consider how you plan to use them. For instance, hunters, birders, boaters and baseball fans require different styles of binoculars. To help you determine which pair is suitable for you, you first need to understand some basic terminology:

Factors to Consider Before Buying a Pair of Binoculars

Factors to Consider Before Buying a Pair of Binoculars

1. The Numbers on Binoculars

You may see a binocular with a technical specification like “10x42mm”. This means that the pair has a magnification power of x10; meaning, objects will appear to be ten times closer to your eyes. The “42mm” refers to the diameter of the objective lense on the binoculars. The objective lens is the one that’s located at the end of your binoculars and furthest away from your eyes when viewing.

The bigger the lense size, the more the amount of light that enters your binoculars. So if you are going to use your binoculars at night, for example, you will need a pair with bigger lenses.

2. Field of View

When you see a field of view of 290’, it simply means that the width of what you will be viewing will be 290 feet at a distance of 1000 yards. Keep in mind that the higher the magnification on your binoculars, the lower your field of view will be. This is because field of view is determined by the focal length of the eyepiece and objective lense and magnification.

3. Twilight Performance

Twilight performance is simply a measure of how well your binoculars perform in low light. Even though the diameter of the objective lens and magnification determine twilight performance, other components such as the quality of glass and overall design are also major contributing factors.

To calculate twilight performance, you only need to multiply the objective lens diameter by the magnification power. The higher the number, the higher the twilight performance.

Points to Consider When Buying Sporting and Recreation Binoculars

1. Full Size vs Compact Binoculars

Compact binoculars are easy to carry because they are not as heavy but they may not be the best for you if you are looking for high performing binoculars. Full sized binoculars have better performance and since they are heavy (approximately a little over 1.5 pounds), you might consider purchasing a carrier that will help you distribute the weight evenly across your back instead of slinging them over your shoulder.

2. How Far Will You Be from the Object You are Viewing?

The further away the object will be, the higher the magnification power on your binoculars will need to be. If, for example, you want to go bird watching or to watch a football match, a low powered binocular will be enough but if you want to watch the stars at night, you will need a much higher-powered binocular.

3. You Might Need Accessories

If you purchase a pair of binoculars with a magnification power that’s more than 1ox, it will be difficult for you to hold it steady. This can be particularly tiresome and annoying if, for example, you are trying to view distant mountains or the night sky. A great solution for this problem would be to get a tripod to help hold the binoculars steady. But before you purchase a tripod, ensure that the binoculars do not have a stability feature.

4. Consider Waterproof Binoculars

If you plan to use your binoculars outdoors, they will get a lot of moisture especially if you plan to use them for birding, hunting, marine and other nature related activities.

5. Eye-cups

Eyecups make wearing binoculars a comfortable experience especially if you wear them for long periods of time. It also helps to prevent stray light from getting into the optical system through the rear optical end of your binoculars.

The best quality eyecups usually lock in place. If you wear glasses, you should buy eyecups that can either be locked down, twisted or folded. You should also purchase ones that have eye relief of 15mm+ to sustain a wide field of view.

6. Image Stabilization

Binoculars with this technology are excellent for people who have less steady hands and want to view shake-free images and for those who want to use higher magnification. Image stabilization uses small electromagnets to reposition lens elements shielding them from external vibrations.

Binoculars with this type of technology, however, are expensive and are much heavier. Additionally, you might need to keep replacing the batteries often.

7. You Get What You Pay For

You can get binocular glasses for $10 and you can also get others that cost $3000. If you really want high quality binoculars, you have to be prepared to spend at least $250.

Binocular Accessories Worth Buying

1. Binocular Cases

When you are not using your binoculars, you can put them in a case inside a drawer or around your neck.

2. Lens Covers

Protect your lenses from scratches and weather elements by using lens covers.

3. Anti-fog Eyepieces, Extenders, Wide Angle Eyepieces

Extenders extend your binoculars magnification. This will help you view objects much clearer from a distant. Anti-fog pieces will protect your lenses from mist. They usually come with an eye guard which prevents moisture from appearing on your lenses. The eye shields also suppress wind and light. The wide-angle pieces provide a bigger area of vision. This makes it more pleasurable and fascinating to watch because you can see more objects from a distance.

4. Car Window Mount

Very few mounting accessories are currently available in the market. Most accessories are created to help you mount your binoculars on your head or any other surface. If you are a birdwatcher, you might consider purchasing straps and harness to help you carry your binoculars around while you are chasing birds.

5. Polarized Filters

If you need to cut down the glare because you have issues with glare, polarized filters can cut down the glare by two shades. The filters come in different colors to extend contract.

Pair of Binoculars – Videos

We hope the above information will help you choose the right pair of binoculars whether you are a first-time buyer or just looking for a pair that’s better than what you have.

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