Best Binoculars – How to Buy Binoculars – 4 Buying Tips

How to Buy the Best Binoculars for You

There are so many types of binoculars available on the market that it’s quite difficult to choose the best binoculars so we have compiled some tips to help you start choosing the most suitable for your needs. It does depend on what you plan to watch with your binoculars so these tips are quite general.

Tip 1. Price

As with anything, you need to set a budget as binoculars and monoculars vary tremendously in price.

Tip 2. Magnification

Binoculars are designated magnification x diameter of objective lens e.g. 8 x 40, so the first number means that an object will appear to be that many times nearer than it would if you were not using binoculars. In other words, using 8 x 40 binoculars an object at a distance of 80 feet will seem to be only 10 feet away.

The disadvantage of high magnification binoculars is that they are heavy and are difficult to hold steady in order to focus properly. In fact you would normally need a tripod.

However, if you want binoculars for watching birds a long distance away or for identifying aircraft you will need a high magnification so if you want more than 10 x then a telescope will be more useful as you won’t be able to hold binoculars of a higher magnification steady enough to see anything.

Tip 3. Objective Lens

The objective lens (second number) is important because this is where the light comes in so the wider the lens, the more light you get and the more clearly you will see what you’re looking at.

The only problem with this is that the wider your lens, the bulkier and heavier your binoculars and this will be a problem if you want to move around whilst using your binoculars.

Tip 4. Exit Pupil

This sounds complex but again it’s just a measurement; the diameter of light in millimetres which you can see through the eyepiece. It is measured by a simple sum; you just divide the diameter of the objective lens by the magnification so our 8 x 40 binoculars will have an exit pupil of 5mm. The larger the exit pupil, the better you’ll be able to see when the natural light is poor.

The human pupil has a diameter of between 4 to 7mm so the nearer the size of the exit pupil to our own pupils the more difficult it is to determine objects. For example, the smaller, more portable binoculars may have an exit pupil of 2.6 but in bright light, our own pupils will contract to much the same size and will be need to be exactly centered over the exit pupil to see anything small clearly.


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