Standing atop the hill, you breathe in deep and exhale. Oh boy! It’s a hawk. Wow! It is a magnificent sight to see. You do not see those too often. Before you got there though, you chose the right binoculars, but how did you do that? This article, How to Choose Powerful Binoculars – a Buyer’s Guide, will explain all of that to you, so you can head off on your way to experience nature like you never have before. Can you just imagine the majestic wildlife you will see? The mountain’s summit looks much better in greater detail.
Anyway, let’s get started.
5 Easy Steps to Find the Binoculars Perfect for You
1. Settle on a Price Range to Save Headache Down the Road.
It might be easy to just head off to the car dealership and start looking at cars, but the salesman will pretty soon talk you into a crazy deal. You need to step back for a moment and think. Binoculars can be expensive if you just buy their version of the Ferrari. If you are a college student like me, you probably cannot afford too much. When looking at binoculars, you need to know what you can afford beforehand, so you do not get talked into something astronomical.
2. Try a Variety of Different Models.
Not all binoculars are created equally (sorry founding fathers). There is quite the variety. On that vein, make sure you try before you buy. It gives you a sense of what to expect long term. Unless you plan to break them, a good set of binoculars will last for decades, providing you with joy well into your 80s. It is almost like marriage, so make sure you get a good pair since it will pay you dividends over the ensuing years.
3. Think about the Primary Activities You Plan to use Your Binoculars For.
Since I spend most of my time backpacking and hiking, I do not want to carry some heavy-duty binoculars along with me, but rather something smaller to ease the load. If you plan to do a lot of safaris in Africa, then you might want something bigger to see the animals from far away in a crystal clear image. If you just want to birdwatch, then a smaller pair will do just the trick. Each set of binoculars is designed for a different purpose. Some are an all around champ while others are only for one particular purpose.
4. Of all the Factors, Image Quality Matters the Most.
The point of binoculars is to see mountains, animals, forests, and plains in high detail. You do not want to be left squinting when you put your binoculars up to your face. High quality imaging on a solid pair of binoculars sets the men from the boys.
5. Consider the Extras Like Warranties and Features.
Some binoculars will come with binocular eye relief (which I will discuss later), night vision, or even hook ups to your smart phone. Some may have ten-year warranties while others only last for one year. All of these extras culminate into a holistic idea of the binoculars you plan to get.
Once you have worked through each of these five basic steps, you should be ready to make your decision.
What follows for the rest of the article are important factors to consider when looking at binoculars.
For Binocular Sizing, You Have Three Main Options
Like the sizing system at your local Starbucks, binoculars come in three basic sizes: small, medium, and large.
Full Size is Great When You Have the Room and Weight
If you are looking at animals on a safari in Africa, then some full size binoculars will be splendid to help you see giraffes, lions, and elephants in all their majestic details.
Often they come in these sizes, 8 x 42 and 10 x 50. In low light situations, larger binoculars perform better, providing you with a crisp image even though the sun has set. They also are steadier. You can move the binoculars a bit and the bird or animal you are viewing won’t jump out of focus.
At the same time though, I do not recommend you bring with you on a backpacking trip. They are just too heavy, so they will slow you down. They also are more expensive because of their size.
Medium Size is the Best All Around
Medium sized binoculars are the jack of all trades, providing you with plenty of versatility. Often times, they come in 7 x 35 and 10 x 32 sizing arrangements. At the same time though, they are master of none. You get a compromise between full size and compact binoculars instead of diving full body into one or the other. They are above average for compact binoculars in terms of light absorption.
Compact Size is Splendid for Backpackers
If you want a light load and to see images from far away, then compact binoculars are a splendid way to go. If you are a hiker or backpacker, you will barely notice the extra weight you have to carry. They also tend to run lower in price, saving your pocket book. I do not recommend using them for an extended period. They are just not all that comfortable.
The best part about compact size binoculars is their weight. You hardly notice it.
Pay Attention to Two Different Numbers
In the previous section, you probably noticed that I mentioned two number sets like 10 x 32 or 7 x 35. The first number is the magnification power level and the second number is the lens diameter.
What Does the Magnification Number Mean?
If, for example, we have a pair of binoculars with a set of numbers that read 7 x 35. Objects in these binoculars will appear 7 times larger than they actually are. The higher you go up in magnification number, the more temperamental the binoculars are. In other words, when you move slightly, the image moves a lot more. Higher numbers make steady viewing more difficult. At the same time though, you get a bigger image.
The Diameter Determines How Much Light You Gather
The diameter of binoculars is measured in mm. With a bigger lens in hand, you can see better in lower light conditions. If I am trying to look at zebras by the pond at dusk, it is going to be easier for me to see them with an 8 x 42 than an 8 x 25. The image will be clearer on the lens. Bigger lenses absorb more light, creating a clearer image.
I Recommend Binocular Eye Relief if You Wear Glasses
If you have less than perfect vision, you probably wear glasses or contacts. They help get you through the day, providing you with crystal clear imaging that you would otherwise not have. When you do not have them on, you cannot see, so you always have to wear them. For binoculars users, the developers came up with a solution, binocular eye relief. This is the distance between your eye and the binoculars themselves. If you wear glasses, then this is an important factor to consider. You want the binoculars to rest 14 to 15 mm away from your face when wearing glasses.
Eye relief makes for a more comfortable viewing experience.
Common Questions and Answers about Binoculars
What is the Binocular Field of View?
It tells you how wide your image will be when you stand 1,000 ft away. If you are trying to find a small animal or object from a distance like a bird or pebble, then you want a wider field of view. Otherwise, a lesser field of view should be just fine.
What is that Adjustable Thing in the Middle of My Binoculars?
That ‘thing’ is called the diopter ring. It adjusts each binocular at the same time to allow your image to come into focus. Many binoculars also allow you adjust each binocular independently of the other. Both your eyes do not see the world the same. One eye may see better than the other.
Do They Do Anything to the Lenses to Make them Last Longer?
Many lenses feature multiple layers of coating to ensure their longevity. It helps to protect them. The more expensive the binoculars, the more coating they put on them. Some coatings reflect light to allow images to be seen more clearly by making them darker. Coatings help your image become clearer.
What is the Difference Between Plastic and Glass Lenses?
Plastic lenses are more rugged than their glass counterparts, holding up to rougher conditions and making binoculars quite durable. If you want the image quality of glass and the high durability of plastic, you will have to pay more for the plastic equivalent.
With glass lenses, you get higher quality images. Glass lenses also partially reflect the sun that hits them, but this can be overcome with coatings. They do tend to be more expensive than plastic.
Binocular Prisms Turn Images Rightside Up for You
There are two main types of prisms you can expect to find in the world of binoculars, porro and roof prisms.
Porro Prisms Provide Good, Inexpensive Optics, but are Bulky.
If you want inexpensive binoculars, then porro prisms are the way to go. They deliver high quality images at a low price. At the same time though, I do not recommend them for backpackers and hikers. They take up a lot of space.
Roof Prisms Deliver High Quality, but are Expensive.
If price is not an issue for you, roof prisms deliver. They are slim and compact, giving you high quality with little to no weight. These prisms take more time and detail to produce and you see that in the price. They are more expensive than porro prisms. Roof prism binoculars have binoculars that are cylindrical.
Are You Going to Get Outside This Week?
Well, you should be all set to go and make your decision. Now it is time to get outside and enjoy all of that nature. I have included a link to AllTrails.com below. If you want to live a better life, then I suggest you click on the link. It will be a great way to test out binoculars. You can find any trail near you today and plan out a hike for the week. For everything I hike, it is my go to source. You can read reviews and benefit a lot. So what do you say? Are you going to get outside this week?
If you are wondering why you should even go hiking in the first place, then I suggest you check out my article, The Mental Health Benefits of Hiking, Stress Alievation and Anxiety Relief. It will put you in the right mood to look at AllTrails.com and it will certainly be a wonderful read since you got this far in this article.
If you have any thoughts, questions, or think I missed anything, do not hesitate to comment below and please share the article. Thank you so much and I hope you make it a great day!