Binoculars are the world’s most used optical instruments. They can be used for a lot of different activities which include Hiking, Fishing, Hunting, Paddling, Camping, wildlife observations to name a few. The first thing you need to know is how to choose a binocular that will suit your specific needs.
Manufacturers produce many varieties based on specific needs so it can be a challenge as there so many brands, models, etc. available. To select one, consider when, where, and how often you plan to use it as this will help you choose the correct combination of features that suit your needs best.
What are Binoculars?
They are gadgets that comprise of telescopes placed alongside each other. These two scopes each consist of a pair of lenses that allow a user to view distant objects with ease so you can enjoy watching birds, observing wildlife, astronomy, and other outdoor activities.
Choosing the right pair can make all the difference when it comes to using them for your pastime enjoyments. In this buying guide, we will help you understand how to read binocular specifications so hopefully, you will know how to pick the right binocular for you
1. Understanding Your Device
What do the numbers mean on binoculars? These devices are classified with 2 digits for example; 10 x 50 or 7 x 35. “x” means magnification power. For example, if your device is 7 x 35, it means that objects will be 7 times more magnified. In this example, 35 refers to the lens diameter measured in millimeters.
Higher magnification concludes with dimmer images but your image will appear clearer and with a narrower area of view. You will have a bit of trouble keeping a particular image-focused when you opt for higher magnification and it is best to choose a device that accepts a tripod. This way, you can use it to mount and hold your gadget without tiring your arms. If you are looking for an item with a wide area of view, then opt for one with lower magnification.
An objective lens that is larger will give you more light and this feature is very important if you are going to use your item for activities such as night hunting. Larger lenses add weight to the overall weight of the binocular which needs to be considered if you are carrying them around.
Choose a device that matches the width your eyes dilate too. For example, the human eye tends to dilate from 2 to 7 millimeters so go for a device with a large exit pupil and this way more light will reach your eyes giving you a clearer view.
Most are made with glass lenses because they have high-quality images. However, you can still find plastic lenses with almost the same high-quality imaging. For better light reflection, manufacturers tend to coat lenses.
Lens coating is classified into 4 main codes:
C – This means that a single layer coat has been applied to just a part of your lens.
FC – all the glass lens surface is coated
MC – means layer multiple coats have been applied to just part of its surfaces.
FMC – All glass surfaces have been multi-coated
Multi-coating reflects more light, but items with this feature are more expensive than single coated ones.
The quality of plastic lens images is lower however they are more durable and are best suited for outdoor activities that require sturdy equipment such as hiking.
3. Eye Relief and Focus
Eye relief refers to the distance between your eye and the rear of the scope. It ensures you get a clear view without any dark rings around your eyes. If you find a device with rubber eyecups then consider purchasing them as they will help the eyepiece rest comfortably.
Before making your purchase test to see how much you can zoom in and focus on them. You should also test how wide a distance is between you and whatever you focused on.
Your binocular can either have:
Center-post focus – Here, one eye will see clearer than the other. This way, you can focus and see clearly with one eye but not both.
Individual focus – Most waterproof gadgets use this setting. Here, you can control the focus of each lens.
Note: Some of them have a “focus-free” setting which means that a user is unable to adjust the focus.
Weight – Before purchase, measure your gadget’s weight. As mentioned above, if your device’s magnification is high and your lens larger, this will add to the overall weight. If they are too heavy you can opt to buy a tripod to mount them or use a strap.
Waterproof- They are best suited for activities such as skiing or water rafting activities
Water-resistant – Best suited for situations where they may get wet often due to inclement weather.
5. Past Reviews and Manufacturer’s Reputation
Customer Reviews – You can learn a great deal about the quality of a particular model from previous customers. Take time to read what they have to say.
Manufacturer’s History – You need to know if that brand is reputable. How do they handle complaints? What should you do if your device is not operating as it should? How do they handle situations where a gadget is damaged?
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the best binocular for bird watching?
A Standard gadget for this activity is an 8 x 42 binocular. However, if you want to see more details on smaller birds that are at a greater distance, you can go for a 10 x 42 or a 12 x 50 and look for binoculars with a longer eye relief and a close focus.
2. What should I use for theater activities?
Look for compact ones with a wide angle. Go for 4 x 30, 5×25, 7×18, or 7×21 as these magnifications will be perfect for venues such as music concerts, opera, or theater.
3. What gadget do I use for boating or marine?
Because you are in the water, steer clear of high magnification devices. Look for features such as a large objective lens, rubber armoring, and waterproof features. You can use magnifications of 7x, 8x, or 10x.
4. What are the best hunting binoculars?
For long-range shooting, a 12x to 16x magnification will be good. For other hunting activities, opt for a 7x to a 10x magnification.
5. What’s the most common prism design?
Well, less expensive binoculars tend to use BK-7 prisms – these tend to blur off one side of an image. More expensive ones use BAK-4 prisms as they tend to deliver sharper, clearer, and rounder images.
Hunting for the perfect pair of binoculars can be a daunting task but when you find the perfect gadget that suits your specific hobby, your experience will be well worth the effort. Do not buy a device just because it is cheap as you can always research some more and sooner or later you are bound to find one that suits your needs.
We hope our tips for buying binoculars that suit your needs will help you understand how to choose binoculars better