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A Guide to Choosing Binoculars

What Do the Numbers Mean?

Binoculars are always represented by two numbers. The first number is the magnification and the second number is the diameter of the objective lens. 10×50, for example,means 10x magnification and 50mm lens objective. The 10 means the subject is 10 times closer than seeing the subject with only your own eyesight

What is the Ideal Magnification?

The higher the magnification the closer you will be able to bring the subject. For general use and travel binoculars 7x 8x or 10x will be plenty. With more than 10x magnification every little hand movement or shake will be magnified by the same amount resulting in an unstable image. This can only be resolved by using a tripod so make sure there is a tripod thread so you can attach to a tripod(using optional adapter).

What is the Best Lens Objective size?

The larger the objective, the more light coming in so the brighter the image.  If you will only be using your binoculars at daytime then this is not an issue. Small objectives mean compact and lighter binoculars that are easy to carry around. If you intend to use your binoculars at dawn or dusk or in the bush then you will want to choose 42mm or 50mm binoculars. The image will be brighter but the binoculars will be heavier and bulkier. The most common binocular choice for a good balance between power and size is 8×42 or 10×42.

What Other Features Should I Consider?

If the binoculars will be used at the beach or near water then look for a waterproof pair. Waterproof binoculars are more expensive than water resistant binoculars but if you are going to using them in demanding situations where they will be in prolonged contact with water, they are essential.

If you’ll be wearing your glasses or sunglasses while using the binoculars look for long-eye relief.

Field of View is the width of the area seen at a distance of 1,000 metres and is often printed on the binoculars - if you want to watch a race and take in as much the action as possible you would look at a wide field of view. If you wanted closely examine small objects from a distance you would look at a narrower FOV. The larger the magnification, the narrower the field of view

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