Binoculars - What To Look For When You Buy

By: Jerry Shepard

At some time in your life, you are going to want to purchase a pair of binoculars. You might need them for bird-watching or perhaps watching a sporting event. But before you decide to walk into store which sells them you should take the time to gain as much information as possible about binoculars. You will find that this time will be well-spent when your binoculars are well matched to you.

Every description for binoculars indicates two numbers (i.e.- 7x35). The first number indicates the binoculars Magnification. The number, in our examples case, represents that the object viewed will appear to be 7 times closer than it really is. The average user should aim to purchase binoculars that have between 7x and 9x Magnification. More is not always better hoever. As the Magnification increases, so does the susceptibility of the binocular to shaking. With this in mind it is generally advised that for binoculars over 10x that they be used on a tripod to eliminate the "shaking" issue.

The second number is the Aperture (or objective lens). The objective lens determines how bright the image in your binoculars will be. It accomplishes this by letting the outside light in. The number itself is the size of the diameter of the lens. As the number gets larger, the image will be brighter. Bigger is not always better however as the larger the Aperture, the heavier the binoculars. The average user should look to have an Aperture which is 5x the Magnification (i.e. - 7x35)

The coating of the lens is also of great importance. The coating reduces the amount of unfocused light which bounces around inside the binoculars. This is called fragmenting. There are four different types of lens coating. The least effective is Coating. The next effective is Multi Coated. The Fully Coated and Fully Multi Coated type round out the different options for lens coating (Fully Multi Coated is the best). As the coating increases in quality, the picture quality improves and your enjoyment will increase.

Another factor to pay attention to is the Field of View. The Field of View refers to the measurement of the viewing area which lies 1000 yards from where you are located. One thing to consider is that with most binoculars, the Magnification and the Field of View are inverse to each other. So if you have a binocular that has high Magnification, the Field of View will be lower.

These are some of the technical factors one must understand when considering a specific model of binocular.

Good luck and happy viewing!

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