Things to Look for When Buying a Binocular
If you are planning to buy binoculars, the wide range of similar-looking options can make the decision challenging. Understanding the basics can help you make a better decision. Read this post to know five things that you should check before making the purchase.
Be it hiking, camping, astronomy, bird-watching, or just watching a live match at a stadium, binoculars have several applications. To keep up with the different needs of the users, manufacturers now offer a wide range of options. Unfortunately, most of them look almost the same.
When you are out looking for binoculars, it is very common to come across two almost similar looking products to have a significantly different price. Why this huge difference? Knowing the basics of binoculars can help you understand this difference and make the right buying decision. Here are 5 of the most important things you should check before the purchase-
- Magnification and Aperture
Check any binocular and you’ll see two numbers written on its body like 7×35. The number before the multiplication sign is the magnification power of the binocular and the number after it is the aperture or lens diameter.
If you are looking for a binocular for general use, you can prefer options with a magnification range of 7x to 10x. For other activities like bird watching, prefer options with a magnification of 8x to 12x and higher lens diameter or aperture.
- FOV (Field of View)
The next important consideration is the FOV. The FOV is the measurement of the viewing field of the binocular. As the magnification increases, the FOV falls in measurement. For instance, a binocular with 10x magnification will provide higher magnification but lower FOV as compared to a binocular with 8x magnification.
The eyepiece design also impacts the FOV. Binoculars with wide-angle eyepieces are generally expensive. Most of the binoculars also feature a knob for adjusting the magnification and FOV.
- Build Quality
Once you are done with the important specs, check the build quality of the binocular. Modern binoculars are made from many different types of materials like plastics, polycarbonate resins, alloys and more. Affordable binoculars for general use are mostly made from plastic and polycarbonate resins. They are generally tough but heavy in weight.
Professional-grade, expensive models are mostly made from alloys like magnesium alloys. They are far more durable than cheaper models and are light in weight too. Based on your budget, select the build quality but ensure that you choose one that is at least weatherproof or all-weather.
- Size and Weight
If you are an outdoor enthusiast, the size and weight of the binocular is also an important factor as you’ll be required to carry it around. Most models with larger object lenses which offer clearer images are generally large and heavy. If you go with a compact option, the image clarity might not be very impressive.
So, try to focus on your requirements and how you will be using the binoculars to find the right size and weight balance.
If you plan to use your binoculars for long durations, you also need to check the eyecups. Apart from making the binocular more comfortable, the eyecups also help in eliminating the stray light from getting into the optical system. Most of the models feature adjustable eyecups to accommodate different preferences.
If you wear glasses, ensure that the model you select has eyecups that can be locked down, twisted, or folded. If you like wearing the glasses when using the binoculars, prefer a model with eye relief of at least 15mm for maintaining the FOV.
Making the Right Binocular Buying Decision
If this is the first time that you are buying binoculars, the selection will undoubtedly be challenging. Rather than making a haphazard decision, try first to educate yourself and understand the basics to select a pair that perfectly suits your requirement and budget.