For real nature lovers it is a constant companion: binoculars. But what should you look out for when buying binoculars? Why are certain binoculars so much more expensive with the same magnification and light intensity? We answer the most important questions so that you too can find the right binoculars for you.
Area of Application
As in so many areas, there is no perfect product for every application when it comes to binoculars. First of all, you should be clear about what you want to use your binoculars for, how often and under what conditions. If you take a trip up a mountain by train once a year, the requirements are different than if you are out and about on foot in nature almost every weekend and in all weathers with a camouflage tent in your luggage. You should clarify the following questions for yourself:
- How often will I use the binoculars?
- Do I also want to observe in poor light conditions?
- Do I observe over a longer period of time and do I want to enjoy what I see, or am I more concerned with being able to briefly take a better look at a distant detail?
- Am I also out and about in bad weather and would I like to be able to observe in the rain, cold or even snow?
- Am I trekking longer distances, so are weight and size important factors?
After you have given some initial thought to the above questions, we will now take a look at the technical aspects of binoculars and link them to your needs.
Magnification and Lens Diameter
Each pair of binoculars is labeled with a combination of numbers, such as 10×42. The “x” stands for “times” and in connection with the first number gives an indication of the enlargement. Our example binoculars magnify the object by a factor of 10 when you look at it. So if you are observing a bird 100 meters away, when you are observing it through these glasses, it will appear as large as if it were only 10 meters away from you. Common magnification levels are 7x, 8x, 10x, 12x and 15x, although there are also intermediate levels such as 8.5x.One might think that the vast majority of users would like to have the greatest possible magnification and that lenses with 12x or 15x should therefore be the first choice. Unfortunately, large enlargements do not only bring advantages. Due to the smaller viewing angle, vibrations significantly impair the enjoyment of observation. Especially if you are slightly out of breath during a hike and cannot support the binoculars, a pleasant observation is hardly possible. Therefore, binoculars with a magnification of 8x or 10x are usually ideal for the most universal use possible. A special possibility to be able to observe with larger magnifications from the hand should not go unmentioned here. Canon offers binoculars with built-in optical image stabilization. This means that you can observe longer with more magnification. However, due to the additional stabilization unit, the binoculars are considerably larger than comparable binoculars without a stabilizer. The second number corresponds to the diameter of the front lens. In our example binoculars, the diameter corresponds to 42mm. The larger the diameter, the more light can be guided to the eye. Thus, glasses with a relatively large diameter of 40mm and more are particularly suitable for observation in less light, such as at dusk. Understandably, the diameter also has an influence on the size of the binoculars. This means that binoculars with high light intensity are less compact. If the size of the binoculars is your absolute top priority and you only observe during the day, a pair of 20-25mm binoculars will be a good choice. Due to the small entrance and exit openings, however, you have to make compromises in terms of viewing pleasure with very small binoculars. Therefore, one should think carefully Binoculars with a diameter of approx. 30mm are often a good compromise between size, weight and light intensity.
The Field of View
The field of view shows what area you can see at a distance of 1000 meters. High-quality binoculars have a relatively larger field of view than cheaper models. The field of view is certainly one of the most important factors that distinguish high-quality binoculars from cheaper models. The high-quality Swarovski CL Companion 10×30, for example, has a field of view of 132m at a distance of 1000 meters. The much cheaper Nikon Pro staff 7S 8×30 has a smaller field of view at 114m. It is therefore possible to survey a wider area with the Swarovski at the same magnification.
Lens Quality, Coating and Sealing
The quality of the glasses used has a decisive influence on the viewing experience. These differences can often only be experienced during testing and are difficult to read from technical data. Basically, of course, more expensive binoculars are equipped with better types of glass. The coating is another important quality factor of binoculars. The lenses are coated with several fine layers. The main task of these layers is to minimize stray light. This means that more light reaches the exit pupil and the image is brighter and therefore more pleasant. In addition, high-quality binoculars have special coatings that prevent fogging in the event of temperature and humidity fluctuations and simplify cleaning. In addition, top binoculars are usually waterproof and the moving parts can be adjusted gently even in extreme temperatures.
Binoculars that, due to their size and weight, remain in the closet on almost every hike make little sense. Therefore, one should think carefully about where the personal “pain limit” lies in terms of dimensions. With a view to the observation quality, you should then venture as close as possible to this limit. As already mentioned, binoculars with a lens diameter of around 30mm are often a good compromise. If you mainly observe in low light, you will be happier with a larger lens diameter. The pocket models with diameters of 20-25mm are the ideal companions for everyone who is looking for binoculars that are as compact as possible to “always have with them” and only observe briefly. When it comes to magnification, the all-round lenses with 8x or 10x are a good choice. With smaller lens diameters, the smaller magnification is recommended. A larger glass sits a little more steadily in the hand and can be held more stably with a higher magnification. Once you’ve decided on magnification and lens diameter, price range is the next decision to make. Of course, the personal budget should not be overstrained here. But what needs to be considered: high-quality binoculars accompany you throughout your life. It is therefore often worth investing a few francs more. Here at Uscamel Binoculars are some purchase recommendations for you. Of course you are always welcome to test the binoculars extensively. We are convinced that you first have to “experience” binoculars.
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