How Choose Binoculars for Hunting, Shooting, and Birding
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Binoculars are one of the most used optical instruments, other than eyeglasses. They are popular amongst individuals who love hunting, shooting, birding and people who engage in other outdoor activities but you need to choose the right pair of binoculars for your needs.
What are Binoculars?
Binoculars are magnification instruments that are made of two telescopes mounted on a plastic or metal frame so that the user can view images as if they were much closer to their eyes.
Binoculars utilize curved glass lens and multiple lenses within a curved a frame. The light passes through the lens, with each set magnifying the image before it is passed to the next lens. However, as the light pass from one lens to another, some amount of light is lost. More often than not, manufacturers utilize prisms which help to bend and reflect the light entering the objective lens.
Most of the modern binoculars utilize prisms which bend the light as it enters the lenses and helps to magnify an image as it passes through the frame. This technology helps in the manufacture of binoculars that are smaller and more powerful.
Types of Binoculars
Binoculars cab he put into two broad categories based on design: Porro prism and roof prism. Roof prism binocular is H-shaped, with the eyepiece and binocular tubes set in a single line. Roof prism binoculars are more compact compared to the Porro prism binoculars.
Porro prism binoculars, on the other hand, have an M-shape design where the eyepiece and the lens are not aligned in a single line.
Binoculars are specified by a set of numbers such as 8×40 or? x35 where the first number indicates the binoculars magnification and the second number represents the size of the objective lens, often measured in millimeters.
The higher the magnification number, the larger the lens of the binoculars. Binoculars with a larger objective lens allow more light to pass through thereby producing a brighter image and offering an excellent viewing experience.
Binoculars with larger lenses are usually bigger, and they may require a tripod stand to support them when in use. On the other hand, binoculars with smaller lenses are more compact and hence more portable.
Magnification number refers to the number of times an image appears bigger compared to when it is observed by the naked eye. Binocular magnification will, therefore, tell you how many times larger an image will appear when it is magnified by the lens. A magnification of 7x means that the image will be seven times bigger than the object when observed with the binoculars.
The amount of magnification that you need for your binocular depends on with the type of activities you are engaged in. If it is bird-watching for instance, you will need a binocular with a larger field of view, rather than a binocular with greater magnification.
Diameter of the Objective Lens
The second number refers to the diameter of the objective lens, usually measured in millimeters. Light passes through the objective lens, where it is then transmitted through the frame of the binoculars to the eyes.
The bigger the diameter of an objective lens, the brighter the image will appear holding all other factors constant. However, the bigger the objective lens, the heavier the binoculars.
Generally, binoculars with an objective lens greater than 30mm are classified as full-sized binoculars. The objective lens that is less than 30mm is classified as compact binoculars.
How to Choose the Best Binoculars
Ideally, binoculars are long-time investments, and therefore the following guidelines will help you to make your choice wisely. When possible, it is always great to try out binoculars before purchasing them, as this is the best way you can get binoculars with the right combination of comfort, weight, size, performance and ease of use.
Another way is by checking out customer reviews so you can see which models of binoculars scored well with various users and had been recommended as best buys.
Hunting and Shooting Binoculars
Hunting and shooting hobbies have been made more fun while using binoculars. Binoculars with a magnification of between 7x and 1ox are the best for hunting. For long range shooting, a binocular with a magnification of 12x and 16x is considered the best.
When using binoculars with larger magnification, you will need a tripod stand to stabilize the binoculars as the image will very shaky when employed in a standing position. The shaking of the hands is amplified by a larger magnification.
Bird Watching Binoculars
A binocular with a magnification of between 7x and 8x is ideal for birding. An 8×42 binocular is considered the best for bird watching. If you are considering a wider field of view, then you may opt for a binocular with a magnification of x10 or x12 with a 42 or 50-millimeter objective.
Things to consider when choosing Binoculars
Consider the following things before buying binoculars for your outdoor activities.
As illustrated earlier, different binoculars are designed for different uses. If your intention is to watch several things at a time, such as race horses, or race tracks, then a binocular with a wide field of view is recommended.
On the other hand, if you intend to look at one thing such as a bird flight, then a binocular with a larger magnification would be the best.
2. Time of the day:
If you intend to use your binoculars from sunrise to sunset, then it would be great if you consider factors such as objective lens diameter, light transmission, and exit pupil properties.
Binoculars with a larger objective diameter allow more light into the lens, making the image to appear brighter. Binoculars exit pupil properties will determine the amount of light sent to the eye through the binoculars. It is obtained by finding the ratio of the size of the objective lens by the magnification. Binoculars with a higher exit pupil ratio and larger objective lens are ideal for low light usage.
If you plan to use your binoculars outdoors, then consider acquiring a waterproof pair of binoculars. This will help to protect your binoculars from the unexpected downpour and to prevent any moisture from getting inside.
How to choose binoculars – from Which? – Video
4. Whether you put on glasses:
The binoculars’ eye relief determines the furthest distance the eye can be from the eyepiece. If you wear glasses, consider binocular with an eye relief of more than 14mm.