Types of Binoculars [What to Look for When Buying Binoculars] – Nov, 2022

Trying to purchase yourself an ideal binocular that suits your needs might prove to be a challenge if you do not know there are different types of binoculars in the market. The need to create the best binoculars for each task has forced manufactures to create different types of types of binoculars. Each type is designed to meet various viewing needs of different users. Read on to find out more about the various types of binoculars you can by.

Binoculars for General Use: Stadium Sport, Hiking, Outdoor

Wide angle and compact binoculars are the best for these outdoor activities. This is because they are able to bring action closer and are best for watching moving actions like bird watching and sports event. Compact binoculars ranges between the magnifications of 7x to 10x.compact binocular are the best as they are easily strapped around the neck or even put in the pockets. The wide angle works by providing a great field of view.

  1. Hunting binocular

Hunting requires a good binocular with a good quality optic feature that will be able to sport an animal from a distance. Binoculars with magnification of range between 7x to 10x are considered best for hunting application. For hunters who do long range shooting like varmint hunting, a more powerful magnification might be required, the ideal magnification for this will range between 12x to 16x.

Binoculars with high magnification might be shaky when held on hands because the movement of shaking hands is amplified. A tripod may be required here to be fixed with the binocular, this will help in stabilizing the image and eliminating blurry or shaky images. It’s always good to look for quality optics as they will greatly help during the hunting expedition.

  1. Birding binoculars

Deciding the best birding binocular comes to individual choice and preference. One thing to note is that, one need more than a good binocular to enjoy watching the birds as they cannot be easily spotted like elephants. The standard binocular that is recommended for bird watching is an 8×42 kind of binocular. But if you want to enjoy a more detailed image of birds at long distances, you may opt to go for binoculars with a magnification of 10x or 12x with an objective diameter of 42 or 50mm

It’s good also to consider features such as long eye relief and close focus on your binocular as they will help you in your bird watching experience.

  1. Marine and boating binocular

Using binoculars in water does not require high magnification. The recommended magnification that works best here is the 7x, but having an 8x or a 10x magnification can work well as they are loved by some boating and mariner’s enthusiast. The objective lens ideal for this binocular should be a 42 or 50mm in diameter.

Since these binoculars are mostly used in water, it’s good to ensure that the binocular is waterproof and contain rubber armor. This will help you to get a good grip when using it. Also, consider a binocular with a large objective lens.

  1. Theatre/concert binocular

With people flooding in concert and theatre nowadays, having a pair of binoculars will help you catch every moment. The good thing here is that one does not require a high power magnification binocular to catch the action. The recommended binoculars are 4×30, 5×25, 7×21 and 7×18 or 8×25.this binoculars are cheap and affordable.

2 Types of Binoculars based on their Prism Design

There are two types of prism systems used in a binoculars, that is Porro Prism and Roof Prism.

1. Porro Prism

The Porro prism binoculars are made in a way that the objective lens is offset from the eyepiece. These provide a wider field of view and a greater depth perception.

2. Roof Prism

Roof prism binoculars, on the other hand, are known to closely overlap and allow the objective lens to line up with the eyepiece directly. This results into a slim streamlined shape where the prism and lenses are in straight line.

Most of the optical prisms are made using borosilicate (BK-7) barium crown or glass (BAK-4) glass, this is a high-quality glass that yields brighter images and high edge sharpness.

9 Types of Binoculars Based on Usage and Design

  1. Compact binoculars: this kind of binoculars are smaller and have a lightweight. They are great for walking around with and can be used in hikes, concert etc.
  2. Standard size binoculars: these are versatile kind of binoculars as they can be used in almost everything, from Spector sport to nature viewing.
  3. Wide-angle binoculars: these kinds of binoculars offers a wide field of view. They perform best in tracking action that are fast moving and are in wide areas, they can be used in racetracks, sporting field, and wilderness terrain.
  4. Zoom binoculars: this kind of binocular allows the user to increase the magnification of the binocular to have a more detailed view of the image. It can perform in both near view to distant view.
  5. Waterproof binocular: this kind of binoculars are known for their clarity of images even in bad weather such as rain and fog. They are O-ring sealed and purged with nitrogen for reliable performance.
  6. Armored binocular: these are binoculars where the housing is fully covered by rubber or other synthetics materials; this helps in comfortably holding the binocular. The rubber armor protects the binocular from cracks in case of fall.
  7. Center focus binocular: this kind of binocular are known to use a single wheel to focus on an image. They are ideal for close and long distance focusing making them versatile and most common used focusing system.
  8. Individual eyepiece focus binocular: these kind of binocular require one to focus each of the eyepieces when observing an image. Once focused, the object that appears above 40 yards are always on focus and doesn’t require any focusing. This device performs best in medium and long ranges object.
  9. Focus free binoculars: this is said to be an economy version of individual eyepiece focus. This is because the eyepieces in these binoculars are locked in a way that they can’t be adjusted. Focusing on objects that are below 40 yards using this binocular is impossible, also one cannot adjust the strength between each eyepiece.

 

How Do Binoculars Work [Binocular Prisms and Coating]

Optical coating of lenses is among the most important features of a modern binoculars because they determine how much light a binoculars is going to absorb. That is why quality optic lenses are expensive for any optical device. When the light hits the lens, some of it is reflected and therefore lost, which impacts negatively on the final image observed.

To counter this and achieve maximum transmission of light, special chemicals are coated to the lens. The main purpose of optics lenses is to ensure that there is a greater amount of light passing through the  to the eyes.
That is why every binocular device is designated as coated, fully coated, multi-coated, and fully multi-coated.

The designation helps you to decide which binocular will meet your viewing needs fully. In the next section, we are going to look at how the different coatings enhance the performance of a binocular

1. Coated lenses- This is where the coating is applied on a single layer or at least on one surface of the lens.
2. Fully coated lenses- These are coated on the air-to-glass surface of the lens.
3. Multi-coated lenses-These are optics where multiple coating has been done at least on one surface of the lens.
4. Fully multi coated- These are optics with a multi-layer coating on  all air-to-glass surfaces.

Optics that are fully multi-coated has high chances of achieving almost 95% of light. This implies that 95% of the light that is coming through the objective lens reaches the eye. The image is of high contrast and appears clear. Good quality optics delivers quality resolution and has the ability to differentiate between retained clarity and fine detail.

 

What to Look For When Buying Binoculars

1. Weight of binocular
It’s common that anything that is more than 35 ounces will be uncomfortable to carry on and move around with especially on the neck. Having binocular that weigh below 30 ounces is the best, this is because they are comfortable to move around with on neck as they are light.

It’s good to always understand that objective lenses contribute a lot to the weight of the binocular. Having a large objective lens will make the binocular heavier while small objective lens makes the binocular lighter. If your binoculars weigh more than 35 ounces, you can look for a strip and support your binocular on your shoulder

2.  Binocular tripod mounting
Binoculars with high magnification power are known to be shaky when held on hands, this can be corrected by mounting the binocular to a tripod for steady images. Also, heavy binocular with objective lens of more than 70mm should be mounted on a tripod, this will help in supporting the weight. A tripod can also be mounted if the binocular is listed as a tripod or threaded for tripod adaptable.

3. Cleaning the lenses
When you want to clean the lens surface of the binocular, it’s good to use microfiber clothing that is included in the unit. Wipe the lens in a circular motion; this will protect the coating from wearing out. Using hands or sharp object is cautioned, this will remove chemicals that are on the lens layer and also give scratches to the lens

Choosing the Best Binoculars

We hope that you found this guide on type of binoculars to be informative. Overall, when choosing your binoculars, you should focus on usage, and important factors such as magnification, eye relief, field of view among others. Together, the above factors will help you to choose the best binoculars.