How to choose the right binoculars for bird watching?
If you want to choose a binoculars for bird watching, the first question to ask yourself is, what are you actually looking for in a binocular. Binoculars for bird watching have to meet certain requirements if you are to be truly satisfied with them, and these may be slightly different to what you might already think.
The correct choice of a binocular for bird watching depends on many factors:
Power: the amount of magnification a binocular has.
The power you decide on is important. There are so many different options out there that it is hard for a person to know what power is best for their situation. For the most part, most people will be happy with a 10 power. This gets you a good combination of power, clarity, and field of view. The more power you have, the less field of view you will have, as well as less clear. This becomes more noticeable with inexpensive binoculars and less noticeable with expensive binoculars. If you are determined to buy cheap binoculars you may want to think about going with an 8 power as to not magnify the downfalls.
Most people select either a 7x, 8x or 10x magnification, and I would say that an 8x is probably the most popular choice. The size of the objective lens also has a great deal of influence on the overall size, handling and brightness of the binocular. Most popular full sized binoculars will have either a 40 or 42mm diameter objective lens, but some people prefer the slightly more compact 32 or 36mm sizes which can be a good compromise between size and brightness. So investigating a selection of 8x42 models would make a good starting point for your search.
Check for features like field of view (the wider the better), relative brightness, eye relief for spectacle wearers, weight and accessories provided. Of course, budget will also be a very important issue. Usable binoculars range from around $50 right up to in excess of $2000. If water proofing and a more robust construction are important features to you, then it may be better to save the extra for a slightly more expensive roof prism binocular.
Objective Lens: the optical element that gathers light from the object being observed and focuses the light rays to produce a real image.
The optical lens is the larger lens of the binoculars that is opposite of the side looked through. The main thing that you need to know about the objective lens is that the bigger it is, the more light it will capture, thus giving off a sharper image. Of course quality of glass has a lot to do with light gathering and image sharpness as well, but this is the main job of the objective lens. For the most part, an objective lens of 20 mm is not going to capture as much light as a lens of 40mm, and so on.
Ease of Use: A binocular has to be user friendly to be functional. When you grip it, does it fit your hands well. Is the focus easy to find, comfortably located, and easy to adjust? Be sure the binocular barrels fold close enough to suit the distance between your eyes. If the fit and operation of the binoculars feels awkward or clumsy, time to consider a different model.
Budget: Perhaps the most important factor when choosing a set of binoculars is the price you are willing to pay. This is so important because it will directly affect the type of quality you will be getting. If you are willing to spend a lot of money (upwards of $1000) then you can expect the best binoculars money can buy and you will be able to enjoy extremely clear images and a great feel. Unfortunately, for most of us, spending this kind of cash is far from realistic, so these will not be the best binoculars for everyone. The key is to go with the best binoculars you can afford. That way you will not wish you had gone with a better pair or wish you would not have spent so much, because you went with the best you could.
Build quality and durability: Build quality is another one of those crucial areas when it comes to a precision optical system. High performance optics require painstaking manufacture within extremely tight tolerance limits to deliver consistent levels of quality in the finished product. The slightest misalignment of any component in the construction can seriously affect the performance of the binocular.
Again, you tend to get what you pay for here to some degree, and optics from established top-flight brands are usually incredibly well made. That said there are plenty of very well made binoculars in the low-to-mid range from manufacturers who take quality every bit as seriously as the premium brands.
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