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Last updated by Craig McInally 3 days ago
Choosing the right pair of binoculars can be confusing, especially if you’ve never bought them before. With so many uses for binoculars ranging from astronomy to wildlife spotting, it’s important to get a pair that is ideally suited for the activity you’re intending to use it for. We have developed this guide specifically to detail what to consider when looking for binoculars to take bird watching along with our Top 10 recommendations of the year. You’ll notice that all binoculars have a set of two numbers, which can help you determine whether they are right for your needs. The first number denotes the magnification (sometimes referred to as the power or zoom). The second number refers to the size of the objective lens. For example, 8x32 binoculars means that they come with 32mm lens with 8x magnification.
The prospect of a very large magnification might be attractive, however, there are a number of reasons why opting for the most powerful binoculars might not be the best idea for bird watching. For starters, using binoculars that have extremely high magnification (e.g. 16x or more) will require a tripod to help you gain a steady image, which may not be convenient. Also, the field of view when using more powerful binoculars won’t be as wide so it can be hard to focus on a moving subject. Our preference is for 8x magnification as it affords a wider field of view, comfort, and image stability. They tend to offer greater eye relief as well so are better suited for glasses wearers. A higher 10x magnification can still be used handheld and might be a good compromise if you don’t use a telescope or mind the extra weight then are more suitable for use in hides or for viewing estuaries, reservoirs or other large, expansive areas. We wouldn’t recommend purchasing inexpensive binoculars with a high magnification as the performance was significantly inferior in our tests for image quality, clarity and durability.
A decent pair of binoculars will be okay to use in light rain and humidity. However, you really should think about getting a good pair of waterproofed binoculars, even if you are not the type who likes to look at your subjects while out in the rain. Make sure that your binocular choice is not only waterproofed but also fog proof. If the binoculars have been sealed with O-rings, then they will be moisture proof. Not only will this seal stop moisture from getting inside, but it will also deter dust and other debris from getting onto the lens and messing up your vision. Also, look for binoculars that Nitrogen filled, as this means that the inside air has been substituted with dry gas and prevents your binoculars from fogging up from the inside. Binoculars that are fully waterproof are also less susceptible to corrosion so are likely to last you a lot longer.
We conduct an extensive survey of our customers throughout the year to learn more about how their Binoculars perform in practice. This enables us to discover exactly what real customers think of their Binoculars and identify the top brands that you can rely on, and report on those whose standards are slipping so that you can make the right choice before parting with your hard-earned cash. Viking Optical are our top pick when it comes to Binoculars for Bird Watching, striking the perfect balance between quality and value for money with a range of models to suit varying budgets, which is why they feature so prominently on our Top 10 list.
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