How to Purchase Binoculars: What Binoculars to Buy

With the many sizes, styles, and price ranges available for binoculars, it is difficult to know how to purchase binoculars that are right for you. There are many variables as to what binoculars to buy that need to be taken into account regardless of whether you plan to use binoculars for bird watching, wildlife viewing, hunting, sports games, or astronomy. Here we are going to talk about how to purchase binoculars and help you as to what binoculars to buy.

Price and Quality:

There are several factors to consider when buying binoculars that you want to take into account. The first and foremost will be price and quality.

Binoculars range in price from as little as $25 all the way up to $3,000 and more. There is a huge difference in quality between the top and bottom as well. That is not saying that you have to spend a lot of money to purchase quality binoculars, but it is advised you spend at least $300 if you want to buy binoculars that will perform well in all conditions and will last a while.

Purchase the best binoculars you can afford: Like I said, the quality difference between low end and top end binoculars is huge. One thing to keep in mind though is that there is a law of diminishing returns that applies to binoculars and optics in general. What I mean by this is that a $250 binocular will be much better than a $100 binocular, and a $500 binocular might be twice as the $250 set. But eventually, as you go up in price, you will be spending a lot more money on only slightly better quality. For instance, if you put a $1,000 binocular next to a $2,000 binocular, you will notice a difference in quality, but the $2,000 binoculars will most likely not be twice as good while the difference between a $250 binoculars and $500 binoculars can and will usually be quite great. That is why it is best to go with the best you can afford, because you get what you pay for.

Magnification and Field of View:

The amount of times a binocular magnifies the view is known as power. Binoculars typically range from 6 power to 15 power, with a few available with more or less magnification that are used for specialty purposes. One thing to remember is that the more power that a binocular has, the less field of view, or area, you can see while using them. The more field of view you have the easier it will be to find the intended object and to stay on it. That is why it is important to find a happy medium and to choose with regard to what you will be viewing through the binoculars.

Here is a list of activities and the ideal magnification range that is best:

* Sport Spectating 8-10 power
* Bird Watching 8-10 power
* Open Hunting 10 power
* Forest Hunting 8-10 power
* Astronomy 10 + power

Of course, many people will have different opinions, but for a person that can learn easily and has a decent level of coordination, I have found 10 power binoculars to have a good combination of magnification and field of view for most activities, especially the higher quality ones on the market.

Light Gathering

The light gathering capabilities of binoculars will depend on the overall quality of the optics and the size of the objective lens. Light gathering is an important part in how to purchase binoculars because it will determine not only how well you can see in low light conditions, but also it will affect the crispness and quality of the image.

The objective lens is the lens that is opposite the end you view through, and is also the bigger end. This is the first lens the light will pass through and will determine how bright the image is. The size of the objective lens will affect the overall size of the binoculars themselves, but so will quality. The higher quality binoculars can get away with a smaller objective lens while keeping images bright due to their high quality glass. For less expensive binoculars, it is a good idea to buy binoculars with a little bigger object lens if you are planning on trying to save some money and size is not a huge factor.

42 mm (give or take a few) objective lenses seem to be about right for most applications giving you a happy medium between size and light gathering capabilities. 42 mm is also perfect in overall size giving you binoculars that fit well in most hands and are a comfortable weight. 50 mm is about as big as you will find in an objective lens and might be a good idea if you are going to go with cheap binoculars. Binoculars with an objective lens of 30mm or less will do if you aren’t relying on them often and plan on stuffing them in your pocket most of the time.

Overall Suggestion:

I have been using binoculars for over 30 years now on a regular basis, and am happy to share what I have learned in my years of using binoculars. The most ideal binoculars for what I use them for (everything) are definitely 10 power magnification with a 42 mm objective lens. This is written in binocular terms like this: 10X42 Binoculars. You will most likely be happy with this size in the best quality you can afford.

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