Binoculars are an effective tool to bring the images of distant objects closer so that you can see them more clearly. This happens because 2 small “telescopes” have been placed side-by-side, giving you the opportunity to go birdwatching, enjoy astronomy, or catch all of the action at a sporting event no matter how high up your seats happen to be.
To get the best long-distance viewing experience, you need to be able to choose the right binoculars.
It all begins with a greater understanding of what the numbers on the binoculars are. Binoculars have two numbers: the first is the magnification factor and the second is the diameter of the primary lens. If you have binoculars that are 10×35, therefore, you have a tool that will give you 10 times magnification through a 35mm lens.
Know Your Lenses
1. Glass lenses provide a better image quality than plastic lenses do. Knowing this is important because as your magnification levels increase, the levels of light that you receive through the binoculars actually decrease. Long-range magnification is generally better through a glass lens.
Know Your Coatings
2. If you use a glass lens, you will need to know how that lens has been coated. There are codes that are used to tell customers what coatings have been placed on the glass lens.
- C = A single coating layer on some of the lenses.
- FC = All glass lens surfaces have been coated.
- MC = There is a multiple layer coating on some of the surfaces.
- FMC = All glass lens surfaces have multiple layer coatings.
Is Plastic Better?
3. Plastic lenses are typically more rugged than glass lenses. If you plan on going into situations where durability is important, then plastic lenses are superior to glass lenses. Plastic lenses don’t have coatings either because the light doesn’t partially reflect on them as it does with glass.
Eye Relief Is Important
4. The eyepiece lenses of your binoculars should be able to rest at a comfortable distance away from your eyes. Wearing glasses should not impact the way you use binoculars. The measurement used to determine this is called “eye relief.” Eye relief is generally 5-20mm on modern binoculars. For users who wear glasses, a minimum eye relief of 14 mm is usually necessary.
Be Aware of Prism Design
5. Binoculars generally come with two different designs of prisms. Affordable binoculars tend to use BK-7 prisms, but this squares off part of the image. The alternative, a BAK-4 prism, creates a more authentic image, but delivers a higher price tag in return.
Water Resistant or Waterproof?
6. Water resistant binoculars can still be affected by water. If you plan on using your binoculars extensively in the outdoors, then waterproof binoculars are a better option.
7. Today’s binoculars will focus one of two ways. You can either have a center post mechanism with a diopter corrector or have individual focusing for each lens as focusing tools. This allows users to be able to get crisp images. Some binoculars don’t have any manual focus options at all, meaning that you just look through the lens and get the image provided. These binoculars are easy to use, but it can cause eyestrain in return.
Selecting the right binoculars means knowing what the binoculars are trying to tell you with its description. Use this information to select the best pair binoculars to meet your needs today.