Binocular Buying Considerations - Part 2

Part 2 - The Continuation of Tips

As we discussed in Part 1 of this saga, choosing the right pair of binoculars for your own specific needs can be a daunting task. Indeed, binocular shopping is not for the faint-of-heart. With the variety of offerings and features available, you will need plenty of time to make the decision to buy. The most import thing is to avoid being pressured into buying something that isn't right for you. Be informed and have a good basic understanding of how binoculars work before you head off into the optics jungle.

Magnification and Types of Glass Make a Difference

We've discussed objective lens size, coatings, and prisms. Now we need to teach you a little bit about magnifications. A word of warning - don't buy into the line that the higher the magnification, the better. That may not be the best for you and your specific needs. Note that the higher the magnification is, the smaller the area you are able to view at one time and, if you happen to shake at all, the image is distorted. Magnifications of 8X or 10X is just fine for normal use and are actually preferred by hunters who want to get closer to their game. Types of glass used in binoculars is another tidbit of data you should be aware of. Depending upon whether the binoculars you are going to buy are a quality investment or a starter set for the kids, you should know that there are two types of glass most commonly used in binoculars - BK-7 and BAK-4. BK-7 is the lower grade glass and the kind that would be in the less pricey models. BAK-4 is the cream and you'll find it being used in the higher end models.

Make Sure They're Comfortable

One thing we don't often associate with binoculars is comfort - but believe us when we tell you that it should be number one on your list of "must be..." If they hurt your eyes after a few minutes, don't feel comfortable in your hands, or are so heavy you need a prop to hold them up, then you're probably not going to use them much, if at all. Try the binoculars in the store and don't stop until you find the ones that feel good to your eyes and fit well in your hands in a weight that is comfortable for you. Focusing is subjective, which means you choose whether you want center focusing or independent eye focusing. Check out how the focusing works in the store. Try both types out and find out if the focusing is easy to understand and easy to use - and - decide if you're going to use it. If your use is going to be rather casual, then you may not need this feature. However, if you need to manage quick focusing (such as is the case in the military use or bird counting) then you'll want to have this feature on your binoculars.

Of course, more advanced features are also available on binoculars. Night vision technology for surveillance, and extra wide lenses for daytime observation are just a couple of out-of-the-ordinary features you'll find when looking for binoculars. People who are into astronomy may want to use telescopic binoculars while others prefer monoculars for starry nights.

Added features always mean added costs, but if they meet your specific needs, then the investment is worth it.