Binoculars are one of those instruments that never go out of style. Depending on the use you make of them, they can be the perfect companions for a picnic, the allies that you cannot miss in your surveillance tasks, and even the companion that never fails you on your evenings at the opera or the theater.
Currently, many manufacturers are multiplying the number of models available. In this way, choosing the right binoculars is not an easy task at all. And even more so, taking into account that for this, it is essential to be familiar with certain technical aspects specific to the field of optics.
Most important things about Binoculars
- Binoculars, also known as binoculars or twins, are an optical instrument used to enlarge images of faraway objects.
- Mainly two types of binoculars can be distinguished: those of ceiling or roof and those of joint.
- Binoculars are primarily used for surveillance, nautical, and nature observation, especially birds.
The best binoculars
Next, we present the ranking that we have drawn up with the five best binoculars available on the market today. We have chosen each of them to stand out in some particular aspect. Of course, they all offer great value for money. Thus, you can choose which is the one that best suits your needs.
- The best folding binoculars
- The lightest binoculars
- The best binoculars for outdoor activities
- The best binoculars according to their value for money
- The best image quality binoculars
The best folding binoculars
Folding binoculars in a compact, lightweight, and small size design. They are equipped with FMC-type green coating lenses to offer a clear vision. Besides, they have an adjustable width and a straightforward focusing system with a central wheel. They are designed to be comfortable and easy to use binoculars.
They are equipped with 12x magnification, the diameter of the objective is 25 mm. It is very economical, ideal for ornithology fans, field trips, or attending sports or cultural events. Besides, they are designed for both adults and children.
The lightest binoculars
Magnificent binoculars from the Spanish brand Smokey. These are incredibly light folding binoculars, but at the same time, they offer ample power. They feature BaK4 Full Multi Coating (FMC) prisms to deliver a high-quality image even in low light.
They come in a compact, non-slip, waterproof, and dustproof design. Besides, they come with a mobile adapter compatible with all devices so you can take pictures and share them with your friends. And they have a 5-year warranty that can even be extended for an extra year. With them, you will have binoculars for many years.
The best binoculars for outdoor activities
Ideal binoculars for outdoor activities and astronomical observation. These are water-resistant binoculars, so much so that they can even be submerged. Besides, thanks to their nitrogen filling, they are also protected against fog and mist. They come with multi-coated lenses.
They offer perfect vision even in low light conditions. They have a UV coating to provide a safer vision. They are presented in a new ergonomic design in which the non-slip rubberized coating stands out. They include a neoprene sleeve, strap, and eyepiece caps.
The best binoculars according to their value for money
These are compact and light binoculars, but at the same time with outstanding optical characteristics. They stand out, especially for their magnificent value for money. They have a minimum focusing distance of 2 m and a field of view at 1000 m of 129 m. They come with BaK-4 glass lenses.
They come in an attractive ergonomic design with a strong and durable polycarbonate frame. Also, you can use these binoculars both with and without glasses. Of course, they do not offer the quality of professional equipment, but their benefits are high for the price they have.
The best image quality binoculars
Binoculars are designed to offer excellent performance, even in low light situations. They are designed to combine resistance, ergonomics, and comfort. They offer sharp and clear images. For this, they have a total multilayer coating. Furthermore, its minimum focusing distance is just 2.5m.
Nikon Monarch 5 binoculars are water and fog-resistant binoculars. This must be added that they have a rubber exterior that gives them a safe and comfortable grip. In short, these are magnificent mid-range binoculars, especially recommended for bird watching.
Shopping Guide: What You Should Know About Binoculars
When buying binoculars, you must take into account several vital issues. Do not forget that there are many models of binoculars, each with specific characteristics. Therefore, in this section, we address the most common questions from buyers.
What exactly are binoculars?
Binoculars are optical instruments used to magnify images of objects at a distance. They are made up of a pair of cylindrical tubes, inside which there is a set of lenses and a prism, which magnify the image for each eye, producing what is known as stereoscopy.
What elements makeup binoculars?
Regarding their internal part, binoculars are made up of the following elements: a pair of ocular lenses, through which the images are observed, a couple of objective lenses, which are located on the front, and a prism, which is located between the two pairs of anterior lenses. Besides, they have a focus wheel, with which the image can be focused. Another common element of binoculars is the diopter correction ring that allows a different diopter to be available in each eyepiece. Specific binoculars also come with a universal thread for attaching a tripod.
What are the main applications of binoculars?
Binoculars have many applications, mainly in surveillance, nautical, and nature observation. Specifically, nature lovers use them to observe birds. Also, shorter range binoculars are often used in theaters or circuses to get a closer look at the image. They are also often used for astronomical observations. Experts often recommend making the first astronomical observations with binoculars rather than starting directly with a telescope. And, there are even cases of use of binoculars in sporting events.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of binoculars?
Binoculars have a series of advantages for which they are irreplaceable instruments for specific tasks. For starters, they are light and easily transportable. Besides, they offer a wide field of vision and can be used in different activities. On the contrary, they are limited by their reduced magnification capacity.
- Easy to transport
- Wide field of view
- Wide variety of uses
- Limited magnification capacity
How to use binoculars?
The first thing to do when using binoculars is to align your pupils with the exit pupils. Also, it would be best if you fit the eyepiece cups properly. You can unscrew these a bit to encompass most of the eye. In this way, you will enjoy a wide field of vision. Of course, you must focus correctly on the object you want to see once you have put on the binoculars. To do this, close your right eye and adjust the focus with the central wheel until you see the image with sharpness and clarity. Then you must close the left eye, open the right, and adjust the diopter wheel.
For whom is it advisable to buy binoculars?
You may be interested in buying binoculars if you go out into the country and observe the birds more closely if you dedicate yourself to nautical activities and face the great distances from the sea. Or if you perform surveillance tasks in the open field. And even to attend leisure activities such as the theater or the opera.
What types of binoculars are there?
Two types of binoculars are distinguished depending on the system of prisms they have. In this way, there are those with a ceiling or roof and those made of joint. The choice between one and the other will be decisive in the performance of the binoculars you buy. In the following table, we present the essential characteristics of each type.
|Roof or Roof||Joint|
|Prism||Your prism is not linearly aligned.||They have the prism aligned with the lenses.|
|Size and weight||They are heavier and larger.||They are smaller and lighter and therefore more manageable.|
|Sharpness||They offer sharper and higher contrast images.||Less sharpness and contrast.|
|Price||They are usually cheaper.||Its price is usually higher.|
How are magnification and diameter measured?
To express the magnification and the binoculars’ diameter, a series of numbers expressed in the following way are used: 10 x 50. The first figure represents the magnification, or the observed objective was enlarged. In this way, the higher this value, the greater we will see reality. For its part, the second expresses the diameter of the objective lenses in millimeters (mm). This value influences the amount of light they let through. Thus, a larger lens implies more excellent brightness and a higher quality image. Also, there are zoom type binoculars: 10 – 30 x 40. These have a degree of magnification that varies.
What are the optical lens and prism treatments?
As the light enters through the binoculars’ objectives, it passes through elements and changes the medium. This causes unwanted reflections to appear, reducing lightness and distorting colors. To avoid this, the lenses and prisms of binoculars are coated with magnesium fluoride. These coatings can be: partial or “coated” when the layer does not cover the entire surface. Full when the layer covers the whole body. Multiple when at least one of the surfaces has several layers of treatment. Or complete multiple if all surfaces are multi-coated
What care do binoculars require?
First of all, we would like to recommend that you buy some raincoats. If not, you must avoid getting water or dust inside. On the other hand, you should change the tape with which they come for a thicker one. Thus, you will gain comfort and also in safety by avoiding unexpected falls.
Binocular Purchase criteria
Next, we will analyze a series of essential criteria that we think you should take into account before purchasing binoculars. Some requirements are ignored when we make any purchase. Others, however, are specific to binoculars and are often unfamiliar to the average user.
- Use that you are going to give
- Weight and size
- Lens diameter
- Angular field of view
- Relative brightness
- Exit pupil
Use that you are going to give
This is the first question to ask yourself. You do not need the same binoculars to go to the opera as you do to go out every weekend to the country to do ornithology activities. Not for making necessary astronomical observations. Depending on your interests, you will need a model with some specifications or others.
Binoculars with magnifications between 7x and 10x are usually used to observe birds. For opera, theater, or other types of entertainment, 3 x 10 lenses are typically used. 7 x 50 and 10 x 50 binoculars are used to make simple astronomical observations. For exploration, binoculars of up to 20 x 50 are usually used.
The frame’s design has a significant influence on the resistance of the binoculars to different environmental factors. Similarly, it is a crucial factor in the comfort of the equipment you decide to buy. In that sense, rubber saddles are usually more comfortable. The highest-quality binoculars are waterproof and dust-tight.
Weight and size
Since you will have to carry them regularly, you should not ignore this criterion. Remember that the weight and size depend on the type of binoculars you choose. The roof or roof are heavier and larger than the joint. Also, it would be best if you decided on ones with an ergonomic design.
When choosing binoculars, you must opt for ones with mineral (glass) prisms. If possible, avoid organic prisms. They are made of low-quality plastics. There are currently two types of mineral prisms: BK-7 (borosilicate) and BAK-4 (barium).
In general, BK-7 prisms are usually cheaper, although less efficient at transmitting light. BAK-4 prisms, on the other hand, are of higher quality. In this way, they offer images with more outstanding sharpness and higher contrast. Besides, they are more luminous since they have a higher refractive index.
Undoubtedly, the increase is a factor of great importance. In general, magnification values below eight can be taken as low values. Increases between eight and ten are considered normal. Values between 10 and 16 are considered relatively high, while those with magnification capabilities above 16 are very powerful.
The higher the magnification capacity, the higher the tendency for the image to vibrate. Thus, for magnifications more outstanding than 12, it is advisable to use a tripod. For values above 16, it is considered entirely mandatory. This is so, except in the models that have mechanical or electronic stabilization systems.
The objective lenses of the binoculars are located on the front of the binoculars. They are the lenses with the largest diameter, and, as we have already explained, they are their second characteristic number. Besides, the larger the diameter, the sharper and brighter the image is obtained. This aspect is essential in low light conditions or at night.
Furthermore, the resolution is also directly related to the size of the objective lenses. However, it would be best if you did not fall into the widespread mistake of thinking that the higher this number, the better the binoculars will be. Keep in mind that the quality of these depends on other factors as well.
Angular field of view
In general, the angular field of view of binoculars is indicated in degrees on the outside of them. A larger field of view implies a larger observed area. It is indirectly related to the increase. In this way, the higher the magnification, the smaller the field of view and vice versa.
The cone of light that comes out from the eyepiece is called the exit pupil. The higher the value, the brighter the binoculars will be. Hence, its importance. Its diameter is obtained by dividing the diameter of the objective by the number of magnifications.
Thus, in 20 × 50 binoculars, the exit pupil is 2.5 mm.
The diameter of the pupil of the human eye usually varies between 1.5 mm in bright light, 5 mm in normal conditions, and 8 mm in dark environments. If the exit pupil diameter is smaller, you will have the sensation of looking through a door peephole. If you are older, you will not take advantage of all the light captured by the lenses.
Relative brightness is defined as binoculars’ ability to capture and transmit a sufficient level of light to provide sharp images with adequate contrast. The higher the relative brightness, the brighter the pictures you get. It is calculated by squaring the diameter of the exit pupil.
Focusing, or adjustment of sharpness, is carried out utilizing a wheel or cylinder located in the central part. However, some binoculars allow independent focusing of each eyepiece. When choosing binoculars, you must check both the minimum focus and the infinity focus.
Minimum focus is defined as the minimum distance at which it is possible to focus on an object. A good value is around five or eight meters. If it approaches two meters, it can be considered excellent. On the other hand, to check if the focus to infinity is adequate, you can focus on a rectilinear object very far away.
Some of the most common accessories for binoculars are the carrying strap, the rain caps, and the tripod. The belt is used to carry binoculars while walking. The caps are used to protect them from the rain while they are hanging. The tripod is used to prevent image shake.
Binoculars are optical instruments that allow us to bring distant objects closer. This makes them ideal for a wide variety of uses. However, not all are the same, nor do they offer the same benefits. In that sense, you must be clear about what particular help you need and what characteristics you want them to have.
You will not buy the same binoculars for going to the opera on Friday nights as for making astronomical observations. Hence, choosing the right ones may not be an easy task. Not surprisingly, when choosing, you must consider specific technical criteria that you may not be familiar.