Today, manufacturers are developing many models tailored to everyone’s needs, and choosing the right binoculars for you is certainly no easy task. That being said, it is important for you to be familiar with certain technical aspects related to the field of optics.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best binoculars in the market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about binoculars
- 3.1 What are binoculars exactly?
- 3.2 What are the different parts of binoculars?
- 3.3 What are the main uses for binoculars?
- 3.4 What are the advantages and disadvantages of binoculars?
- 3.5 How should I use my binoculars?
- 3.6 For whom are binoculars tailored?
- 3.7 What types of binoculars are available out there?
- 3.8 How are magnifications and diameter measured?
- 3.9 What treatments are applied to optical lenses and prisms?
- 3.10 What care do binoculars require?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- Binoculars are optical devices designed to enlarge distant objects.
- There are essentially two types of binoculars: Roof prism and Porro prism binoculars.
- Binoculars are mainly used for surveillance, navigation and nature observation, and more particularly birdwatching.
Ranking: The best binoculars in the market
Here is. our ranking of the five best binoculars available on the Australian market today. We have chosen each one for standing out in some particular aspect, and all offer great value for money. You’ll therefore be able to choose the one that best suits your specific needs.
No. 1: Beileshi Binoculars (10×25)[amazon box=”B079FGMQ51″ description_items=”0″]
Amazon’s Choice for binoculars is this product by Beileshi, which offers 10x magnification and an objective diameter of 25 mm at a very affordable price. Weighing in at only 340 grams, these are also the lightest binoculars on this list, making them ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking and birdwatching. They come delivered with a portable bag and a lanyard for easier transportation.
These compact binoculars are truly polyvalent and also great for shows and sporting events. With a Porro BAK-4 prism, this product is fully multi-coated and waterproof. With a minimum focus distance of 2.5 metres, these binoculars offer a genuine high quality at a fantastic price, and past customers have been very satisfied with this purchase.
No. 2: Nikon Aculon A211 (8×42)[amazon box=”B00BF8G7BW” description_items=”0″]
Japanese company Nikon is a world leader in optical products, so it is no wonder two of their products are present on our list. This first model is a versatile, all-weather pair of binoculars, with 8x magnification and an objective diameter of 25 mm. This heavy-duty product also presents fully multi-coated lenses and a close focus distance of approximately 4.5 metres.
The turn-and-slide rubber eyecups provide added comfort for extended use, while the central focusing wheel is large and easy to use. The ergonomic design of the hand grip greatly reduces hand shaking. This pair of binoculars is equipped with a Porro prism. Note that no carrying strap is provided.
No. 3: Emmabin Black Panther (12×42)[amazon box=”B07G91ZKLF” description_items=”0″]
While Chinese brand Emmabin offers entry-level binoculars, this doesn’t mean that their Black Panther model lacks in quality if you listen to past buyers. These 12×42 binoculars with Roof BAK-4 prism present a minimum focus length of 2 metres and are fully multi-coated. They are delivered with a transportation bag and a strap for easy carry.
The silica gel protection on the binoculars enhance their durability and makes them particularly suitable for tough weather conditions; they are both water and fog resistant. The Black Panther are made from metal and natural rubber. Customers have praised the value for money of these binoculars, for which Emmabin offers a 1-year warranty.
No. 4: Gosky Binoculars (10×42)[amazon box=”B072QWD8GB” description_items=”0″]
Those 10×25 binoculars by Chinese brand Gosky are fully multi-coated, and its universal thread allows you to use them with a tripod for added stability. This product comes with several useful accessories: a carrying case, lens protection covers and a neck strap to attach through the hang rope design of the binoculars.
An interesting feature that particularly pleased customers is the quick alignment smartphone mount that will let you take great photos and videos with your new binoculars. This Gosky product is versatile and can be used for birdwatching and nature expeditions as well as for concerts or sporting events.
No. 5: Nikon ProStaff 5 (12×50)[amazon box=”B00DXMRGHM” description_items=”0″]
The second pair of Nikon binoculars on our list comes at a steeper price than the rest of our selection, but it is also the most advanced model. So if you’re not shopping on a budget, you should seriously consider these: the 12x magnification is the most powerful on this list, while customers have been impressed by their light weight for 12×50 binoculars.
Waterproof and fogproof, the Nikon ProStaff 5 are easily adjustable with their multi-click turn-and-slide rubber eyecups. The lenses are fully multi-coated, providing optimal vision to the binoculars. The field of vision and the overall value for money have also both been praised by past purchasers.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about binoculars
There are a number of important aspects that you should consider upon buying your very own binoculars. Remember that each of the many models available comes with specific characteristics. This is why we will now address the most common questions asked by buyers.
What are binoculars exactly?
Binoculars are an optical device designed to enlarge images of distant objects. They consist of a pair of cylindrical tubes inside of which a set of lenses and a prism enlarge the image for each eye, therefore producing a phenomenon known as stereoscopy.
What are the different parts of binoculars?
The internal mechanism of binoculars is comprised of the following elements: a pair of ocular lenses or eyepieces, through which the images are observed, a pair of objective lenses located at the front of the device, and a prism, which is located between the two pairs of lenses mentioned above.
Binoculars also feature a wheel with which the image can be focused. Allowing you to set a different dioptre in each eyepiece, the dioptre adjustment is another part commonly found in binoculars. Certain binoculars also come with a universal thread to attach a tripod to the device.
What are the main uses for binoculars?
Binoculars can be used in many different areas, mainly in surveillance, navigation and observation of nature. Nature lovers use them often for birdwatching. Binoculars with shorter ranges are often useful in theatres or circuses to feel closer to the action.
Binoculars are also very valuable for astronomical observations. In fact, many experts recommend using binoculars to make your first observations, rather than starting immediately with a telescope. You can even use them during sporting events such as horse racing.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of binoculars?
Binoculars present a number of advantages that make them irreplaceable for certain tasks. These lightweight and easily transportable devices offer a wide field of vision and can be used in a variety of different activities. Their main downside is that they are limited by their low zooming capacity.
How should I use my binoculars?
To start using your binoculars, align your eyes with the exit pupils and properly adjust the eye cups. These can be loosened or tightened to encompass most of the eye, giving you a wider field of vision.
When using your binoculars, it is important to properly focus on the object you wish.
In order to do so, close your right eye and adjust the focus with the centre wheel until you see the image clearly. Then close your left eye and adjust the dioptre wheel with your right eye open.
For whom are binoculars tailored?
Having binoculars may interest you if you often go to the countryside and want to observe birds more closely, or if you navigate and need to see far across the waters. Binoculars are also helpful during surveillance tasks in open ground, or even to for leisure activities such as theatre or opera.
What types of binoculars are available out there?
Two types of binoculars can be identified based on their prism system. As mentioned above, these are Roof prism and Porro prism. The choice you’ll make will be decisive in the performance of your binoculars. The following table introduces you to the most important characteristics of each of these prisms.
|Roof prism||Porro prism|
|Prism||Their prism is not aligned linearly.||The lenses and prism are aligned.|
|Size and weight||Smaller and lighter, they are easier to handle.||They are heavier and larger.|
|Clarity||The images are sharper and offer a greater contrast.||Less sharpness and contrast.|
|Price||Their price is usually higher.||They tend to be more affordable.|
How are magnifications and diameter measured?
A series of numbers are used to express the magnifications and diameter of the binoculars with the following format: 10×50. The first figure represents the magnification – how much the target observed is enlarged. A greater value therefore means a more magnified image.
On the other hand, the second value expresses the diameter of the objective lenses in millimetres (mm). This value defines the amount of light the lenses let through. A larger lens therefore means brighter images with higher quality. Zoom binoculars with varying degrees of magnification are also available, with values written as follows: 10 – 30×40.
What treatments are applied to optical lenses and prisms?
When entering through the binoculars’ objectives, the light passes through elements and changes its medium. This causes unwanted reflections to appear, subtracting luminosity and distorting colours. To avoid this, the lenses and prism of binoculars are coated with magnesium fluoride.
The different coatings used are the following: coated when the layer does not cover the entire surface; fully coated when the layer covers the entire surface; multi-coated when at least one of the surfaces has several treatment layers; or fully multi-coated when all surfaces are treated with multiple layers.
What care do binoculars require?
The first thing we encourage you to do is to buy waterproof binoculars. Otherwise, you absolutely must avoid water or dust getting inside them. It is also recommended to change the tape with which they come for a thicker one. This will offer you greater comfort and security by avoiding any unexpected fall.
Let’s analyse a series of important criteria. We believe you should take them into account before purchasing your very own pair of binoculars. Some of them are common aspects to making any purchase, while others are specific to binoculars and are often unknown to the average user.
- Personal use
- Weight and size
- Lens diameter
- Angular field of vision
- Relative brightness
- Exit pupil
This is the first question you should ask yourself. You won’t need the same binoculars to go to the opera or to go on ornithological excursions to the countryside on weekends, nor to make basic astronomical observations. Each model offers certain specifications that will suit you depending on your interests.
Binoculars used for birdwatching usually come with magnifications between 7x and 10x. For opera, theatre or any other type of show, 3×10 lenses are typically chosen. 7×50 and 10×50 binoculars are ideal for simple astronomical observations, while binoculars up to 20×50 are the go-to for reconnaissance.
The design of the frame will greatly influence the resistance of your binoculars to different environmental factors. It will also considerably affect the comfort of the equipment of choice. The most comfortable frames are made of rubber. Higher quality binoculars are waterproof and dust-tight.
Weight and size
You shouldn’t overlook this criterion as you may have to carry your binoculars regularly. Remember that weight and size depend on the type of binoculars you choose. Porro prism binoculars tend to be heavier and larger than Roof binoculars. We also recommend you to opt for a model with an ergonomic design.
It is important that you choose binoculars with mineral (glass) prisms. Organic prisms are usually made of low quality plastics, so avoid them if possible. There are currently two types of mineral prisms available: BK-7 (borosilicate) and BAK-4 (barium).
BK-7 prisms tend to be cheaper, but are less efficient in terms of light transmission. BAK-4 prisms offer a higher quality, with images presenting greater sharpness and contrast. Due to their higher refractive index, the images are also brighter.
There is no doubt that magnification is a factor of great importance. Magnification values below eight are usually considered low values, while standard magnifications range from eight to ten. Values between 10 and 16 are considered high, while binoculars with magnification capacities above 16 are very powerful.
A higher magnification means that the images has a greater tendency to vibrate. The use of a tripod is therefore recommended for magnifications above 12, while it is considered absolutely mandatory for values above 16. Models with mechanical or electronic stabilisation systems are the only exception to this rule.
The objective lenses are located on the front of the binoculars. Defined by the second number of binocular values, these lenses have the largest diameter. A larger diameter means a sharper and brighter image. This aspect is fundamental in low-luminosity conditions or during nighttime.
The resolution of the image is also directly related to the size of your objective lenses. A very common mistake you should avoid falling into is thinking that a higher value necessarily means better binoculars. Don’t forget that other factors also affect the quality of the equipment.
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Angular field of vision
The angular field of vision is usually indicated in degrees on the outside of the binoculars. A larger field of vision implies a larger observed area. It is indirectly related to the magnification: the greater the magnification, the smaller the field of vision.
The exit pupil is the cone of light coming out of the eyepiece. This aspect is important to consider because a higher value increases the brightness of the binoculars. The exit pupil’s diameter is obtained by dividing the diameter of the lens by the magnification value. For example, the exit pupil for 20×50 binoculars is 2.5 mm.
The following diameter values are standards for the pupil of the human eye: 1.5 mm in bright light, 5 mm in normal conditions and 8 mm in dark environments. If the diameter of the exit pupil is too small, you will have the sensation of looking through a peephole. If it is too large, you won’t be able to take full advantage of the light captured by the objectives.
We define relative brightness as the binoculars’ ability to capture and transmit enough light to provide sharp, well-contrasted images. You will obtain brighter images if the relative brightness is higher. This value is calculated by squaring the diameter of the exit pupil.
Usually located in the middle of the binoculars, a wheel or cylinder helps you adjust the focus of your binoculars. Certain binoculars can even allow individual focusing for each eyepiece. You should always check both the minimum and infinity focus before buying a specific model.
The minimum focus is defined as the minimum distance at which it is possible to focus on an object. Five to eight metres are considered good value, while a minimum focus of two metres is excellent. On the other hand, a good infinity focus allows you to focus on a very distant rectilinear object.
Carrying straps, rain covers and tripods are amongst the most common accessories for binoculars. The strap is used to carry the binoculars while walking, while the lids are designed to protect them from the rain and other elements when not in use. As mentioned previously, the function of a tripod is to prevent image vibration.
Binoculars are optical equipment that allow us to zoom in on distant objects, making them ideal for a wide variety of uses. However, not all models are the same and their performance can greatly vary. This is why it is important for you to be clear about what particular use you need them for, as well as the specific characteristics you expect of them.
You won’t need the same binoculars for Friday night opera as for your first astronomical observations. Choosing the right model may not be an easy task, and this is why you should take into account certain technical criteria with which you may not be so familiar.
We hope this guide has helped you choose just the right binoculars for your needs. If so, we would appreciate you sharing it on your social media and leaving us a positive comment!
(Source of featured image: Martnez: 43293816/ 123rf.com)