Whether you enjoy birdwatching, hunting, or stargazing, a pair of well-made binoculars is essential to have. In this article, you’re going to learn about the best binoculars on offer right now, and how they can take your favorite activity to a whole new level.
Binoculars are a lot more sophisticated than it might seem at first glance – they use intricate optics and very precise construction to deliver the image quality we’re all expecting. If you want to learn more about everything that goes into making high-quality binoculars, don’t miss out on the buying guide after reading the reviews.
How To Choose The Best Binoculars – Buying Guide
Magnification is the reason you are buying a binocular – to see farther than you’re able to with just a naked eye. A higher number means that the binocular will be able to see at a greater distance without distorting the image.
For example, the rating of 10 times means you’ll be able to see the object 10 times larger than you would if you were to simply look without using the binocular.
Objective Lens Diameter
An objective lens is the place where light enters your binoculars. Logically, the more light that can enter, the clearer and brighter your image will be.
For those looking to go stargazing or use their binoculars for other nighttime activities, a lens with a bigger diameter is better because it allows more sunlight in and gives a wide field of view. However, it also makes the binocular bulky, so the best binoculars are those that find a balance between size and functionality.
The optics of a set of binoculars will have an exit pupil measurement, also referred to as a diameter. It is essentially the amount of light that reaches your eyes through the lens.
To get this measurement the company divides the lens size by its magnification. A higher exit pupil diameter means objects will appear brighter as more light will travel through the binoculars.
Eye relief is an especially important consideration for those of you who wear glasses. It refers to the distance in which you can hold the binocular away from your eyes. A larger eye relief allows you to hold the binoculars farther away from the face while still seeing the image, which greatly improves comfort.
Field Of View
This parameter represents the width of an area you can see around the object without moving the binocular, at a distance of 1000 yards.
Both the magnification strength and the lens size play significant roles in determining the field of view (FOV). A higher amount of magnification will mean a smaller FOV, while a larger lens means a larger area of sight.
The coating on the lens will help distinguish higher-quality binoculars from the cheap competition. Lens coatings are applied for two reasons – to improve the way the binoculars handle daylight, and to improve the durability of the objective lenses (especially scratch resistance). If you can, you should always get a model with multi-coated lenses.
Rubber Coating And Waterproofing
Since you’ll be using the binocular outdoors, a certain degree of ruggedness and durability is to be expected. Having a waterproof pair is very useful, as the water won’t leak into the optics inside if you get caught in the rain. As for the rubber coating, it will help improve your grip and, more importantly, it will protect the binocular from shocks and drops.
Even though binoculars are all about magnifying far away objects, you’ll sometimes also want to look at things that are close to you. Close focus refers to how closely you can observe something while still having it in focus. This parameter varies greatly from one model to the next, and we advise you to pay close attention if this is important to you.
The lenses on a pair of binoculars are highly susceptible to fogging between the optic pieces. Companies have spent lots of time and money ensuring their products don’t do this, as it renders binoculars useless. This can be a problem with some cheap models, so pay attention when buying.
Care, Maintenance, Use
Lenses need to be cared for and maintained properly if you want a clear image. Luckily, this is very easy to do. The manufacturers usually provide a cleaning cloth with the product, so you can easily clean the debris and smudges off the lens. Be careful not to use other cloths as it could scratch and permanently damage the lens.
While they won’t give you the detail that a telescope would bring, binoculars can still give you a fantastic image of the stars. The issue with stargazing is the low light environment, as binoculars usually need a high amount of sunshine to work well. A 10×40 binocular (or larger) is generally accepted as a great configuration for gazing at the stars.
Bird Watching And Hunting
Bird watching and hunting are where binoculars excel. A set of 8×30 binoculars will give you enough magnification and a wide field of view, allowing you to easily set your eyes on your subject. In relation to this, we strongly suggest looking for a waterproof pair binoculars, especially for hunters.
Q: What’s The Difference Between A Porro Prism And A Roof Prism?
The main difference between the two systems is how the optical path is constructed. In a Porro Prism the pieces are placed in a Z-shape, meaning that the objective and eyepiece are not in line. While the image is good, this results in a larger binocular size.
On the other hand, a Roof Prism has the pieces in a straight line, so the objective and the eyepiece are in line with each other. These models are usually much narrower and can often be folded, so it’s a good option if you’re looking for portability.
Q: What Type Of Binoculars Should I Buy?
To know the type of binoculars that are best suited for you, you should first be able to decode how these are classified. When shopping for a binocular, you’ll often see two numbers presented as 10x42 (for example).
The first number represents the level of magnification that the lenses have, in our example 10x magnification. This means that your picture will be enlarged 8 times its perceived size. The second number shows the objective lens diameter (42mm in our example).
But how does this help you? Well, higher magnification power will be very handy for stargazing, but won’t be needed if you’re looking at closer objects. Similarly, a wider lens will is required for low light conditions, but it isn’t necessary if you’ll only be using the binoculars during the day.
Q: What Is The Best Magnification Level For Bird Watching?
For bird watching, we typically recommend going for a magnification of 8 times. This is because this degree of magnification offers a broad field of view, while still holding a relatively stable picture. Higher magnifications are better suited for stargazing because the shaking of the image won’t be noticeable.
Q: What Are The Benefits Of Buying Binoculars With Bigger Lenses?
The main benefit of getting bigger lenses is improved image quality. Similar to a camera lens, a larger binocular lens allows more light to get inside, resulting in a clearer image that is bright enough to see all the details. For standard binoculars, we recommend a 42mm objective, while somewhere between 25 and 32mm is ideal for compact models.
Q: Should I Care About Features Such As Prism Types Or ED Glass?
While these shouldn’t be the main factors in your decision, it’s certainly good to understand them and how you can benefit from them. Like we’ve said earlier, the prism type represents the way that the optic pieces inside are put together, with direct consequences on the binocular size and shape. As for ED glass, it improves the clarity and sharpness, and it’s a nice feature to have.
Globo Surf Overview
From stargazing and birdwatching to enjoying games and concerts, a good pair of binoculars will make your experience a lot better. Whether you want binoculars with camera or you need a simple pocket model, we hope that our binoculars reviews pointed you in the right direction. With some searching and comparing, you can find a fantastic pair for a great price.
More Camping Reviews:
- Backpack Cooler
- Pop Up Tent
- Family Tent
- Multi Tool
- Portable Radio
- 4 Season Tent
- Camping Gear
- Camping Table
- Camping Games
Have you ever tried using any binocular from our list? Tell us about your experience with them in the comment section below.