How to choose binoculars
Nowadays, smartphones have replaced cameras as the most popular and commonly used everyday imaging devices. But for many hobbyists, binoculars – proven devices with centuries of history – simply cannot be replaced. Despite technological changes, binoculars remain a popular device for many outdoor activities, from stargazing to bird watching, hunting and more. If you are planning to indulge in a serene outdoor hobby, a good pair of binoculars is sure to enhance your experience.
But before you jump head first into a new hobby, make sure you find the right binoculars for your hobby. While they all look the same, it’s what they contain that matters and can make all the difference.
Common uses of binoculars
Binoculars are a great accessory for a number of activities and hobbies. The parameters to consider are the magnification, represented by the first number in the specifications, and the objective diameter, the second number. For example, a pair of binoculars with the 10 × 42 specification represents a magnification of 10 times the human eye and a lens diameter of 42 mm.
Bird watching, or bird watching, is one of the most popular applications of using binoculars. One of the most old-fashioned hobbies, birdwatching is more popular today than ever, inspiring clubs across America and around the world dedicated to spotting our flying friends. Books like the Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America, as well as many area-specific field guides, are a great companion in identifying all types of wild avian creatures. Binoculars with 8x and 10x magnification factors are ideal for bird watching.
While a hunter’s primary equipment is their rifle or other ranged weapons, an excellent pair of binoculars is essential for spotting game. Whether for food or sport hunting, binoculars can be used to find targets on land, in the air and sometimes even in water. Binoculars with a magnification between 7x and 10x are common, with 10x being the most popular among hunters.
Although telescopes are more commonly associated with stargazing, many find the use of binoculars to be equally useful for observing the night sky. With their greater portability and ease of use, binoculars are preferred by some amateur astronomers. However, finding a pair that performs well in low light situations is crucial, and stargazing requires a minimum magnification factor of 10x. Higher magnification, 12x to 20x, is even better, but binoculars cannot replace a telescope when it comes to scanning deeper into space.
Sports events, theater and shows
No one likes cheap seats, but if you want to get the most of the experience, binoculars can bring you closer to the action. Whether it’s a long summer afternoon baseball game, a night at the opera, or an outdoor music festival, any magnification between 4x and 10x can improve your live event experience.
Much like bird watching, casually admiring your natural surroundings can be a serene and peaceful pastime. In addition to looking at the sky, hiking, hiking, climbing and other outdoor activities benefit from the use of a good pair of binoculars. For this type of general use, a magnification of 8x-10x is more than sufficient, and with an objective diameter of between 35mm and 50mm, you will find a balanced field of view to admire all the natural wonders.
What to consider when buying binoculars
Before you break the bank for a large investment, know that the price range for good to great binoculars is wide, ranging from $ 25 to $ 500. If you want to commit to an investment of $ 100 to $ 300, there are more than enough models from trusted brands that will meet your needs. However, for those with the cash to spare, high-tech binoculars can range from $ 600 to $ 3,000, with high-end luxury binoculars falling in the price range of over $ 2,500.
Roof prism vs Porro prism
The prisms in binoculars are simple blocks of glass that act like mirrors to amplify images from objectives to eye lenses, where you see the images up close. Porro prisms have been the standard for modern binoculars since their invention over 150 years ago. They offer a clearer 3D image and a superior field of view, while the roof prism binoculars streamline the device, making it lighter and more durable. If you plan to use your “binos” on the move or in the elements, the roof prism is ideal; if clarity is your goal, stick to the Porro lens.
Several special features come with some specialized binos, such as night vision, waterproofing, low light vision, adjustable eye relief, and image stabilization. These features are usually directly related to price, so it’s important to consider your primary use before splurging on the extras.
The best binoculars
Best general purpose binoculars
Nikon ProStaff 3S 10 × 42 Binoculars
This is one of the best binos on the market, with waterproof, anti-fog lenses, long eye relief and more. They are compact and light, especially compared to other Nikon models in the same line, and their price is more than reasonable.
Available at: Dick’s Sporting Goods
The best binoculars for bird watching
Nikon Aculon A211 10 × 42 Binoculars
The Nikon Aculon range is excellent for beginners and bird watchers alike, offering a superior viewing experience at an affordable price. The fast and smooth center focus knob allows for quick adjustments and the eco-friendly ECO-GLASS lenses deliver crisp, clear images.
Available at: Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods
The best binoculars for hunting
Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binoculars
Lightweight, compact, waterproof and anti-fog, the Viper HD are made for hunting. Seasoned hunters praise this pair for its high-density optical system and anti-reflective lens coating, which provides enhanced image quality in the field.
Available at: Amazon
The best binoculars for stargazing
Celestron Skymaster 25 × 100 Astro Binoculars
This powerful pair of Astro-binos are designed for stargazing. High magnification meets the widest aperture available to deliver high-quality images in low-light situations, and a built-in tripod adapter makes the Skymaster ready for still exploration.
Available at: Amazon
The best binoculars for live events
Bushnell Spectator 4 × 30 Extra-Large Compact Binoculars
These stylish binoculars offer a triple field of view like most standard pairs, and the Perma Focus feature keeps images clear without the need for manual adjustment. They’re also lightweight, making them perfect for long events like operas and baseball games.
Available at: Amazon
The best binoculars for observing nature
Celestron Nature DX 12 × 56 Binoculars
The highly rated optics are provided by BAK-4 prisms, considered the highest quality glass in any pair of binoculars. They are perfect for low-light nature viewing, providing bright, clear and detailed views of distant subjects.
Available at: Amazon
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Matt Fleming written for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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