1. Understand the Numbers
Two numbers are used for the reference of binoculars with an example being 10 x 50 or 7 x 35. The number preceding “x” is referred to as the magnification factor or rather the power. This means that the 7 x 35 makes the object to appear 7 times larger or rather closer than when you use your naked eyes. Similarly, the 10 x 50 shows that the object will be projected 10 times closer than when using naked eyes.
The number that precedes the “x” is the main objective lens’s diameter in millimeters. This means 10 x 50 lenses measure 50mm in their diameter. Similarly, 7 x 35 means that the diameter of its objective lenses are 35mm. the exit pupil value is gotten by dividing the second number by the first. The pupil value is also the diameter of that light beam that will reach your eye. The units are in millimeters. For the two examples above, the pupil value is 35/7=5mm and 50/10= 5mm.
The higher the magnification power, the dimmer the ultimate image will be. The field of view is narrow; the image seen is large and consequently harder to keep your image in focus. Choosing a pair of binoculars that are having a magnification 10 x or greater will require you to also get a tripod stand for the mounting of the binoculars to enhance steadiness when needed. If you are interested in a wider field of view, the lower magnification lenses will do.
The larger objective lenses are able to gather more light. Such are important in places with low light activities that include hunting at either dawn or at dust and in astronomy. The downside is that the larger the size of the lenses, the heavier it will weigh. In general, a majority of binoculars have their objective lenses ranging from between 30mm to 50mm. compact devices however 25mm as the diameter of their lenses have while the lenses of astronomical binoculars are more than 50mm.
The larger the size of the exit pupil, lighter will reach the eyes of the user. Depending with the little availability of light, the human eye is able to dilate from 2mm to 7mm. ideally one should go for an exit pupil with a value which will match with the width your eye is able to dilate.
2. Objective Lens Size
Most of the hunters will always leave for the fields early before dawn and come back late in the afternoon or even in the evening. For this reason, the ability to gather light and make the image to become bright and visible is very critical. In a nutshell, the best objective lenses should be as large as possible. The quality of the lens together with the coatings not forgetting the prisms also have a pivotal role to play in your choice. This is because they have a part to play in transferring the most possible amount of light to your eyes. The only two cons associated with these big objective lenses is the fact that they make the binoculars to be heavy and quite expensive. Modern ones however are relatively lighter than the old ones.
Just like a majority of things, there is need of striking a compromise for one to get the best hunting binoculars for their money. Most of the full size binoculars have an objective lens of 42mm diameter while compact ones tend to have between 22mm and 26mm. The 42mm is the best but a good compromise if you want a light travel is to go for the medium sized ones having 32mm diameter of objective lenses.
3. Magnification & Field of View
It is an imagination by many that the best binoculars for hunting are those having a higher magnification. This is however not very true since it’s quite difficult for the image being viewed to be kept still through the optics. Any slight movements are always further magnified by the higher magnifications. In addition to this, the field of view is largely reduced by higher magnification. It is very difficult to spot the game whenever the field of view is narrow. When you are especially scanning through large areas, this becomes difficult.
The tracking of faster-moving animals such as the rattlesnake is also very difficult with large magnifications. For this reason, your terrain will determine the type of magnification to go for. If your hunting terrain is majorly the forests and the woods, low magnification is the best choice for you as this has a very wide field of view together with the ability of gathering plenty of light. An 8×42 binocular will be ideal or even the 8×32 and 8×30 for those interested in a more compact one.
4. High Powered Binoculars for Hunting
For those doing their hunting expeditions on the mountains together with other wide areas, the larger magnification binoculars are the most ideal. This is because the obviously will need to observe animals at very long distances. However, it is worth keeping in mind that narrower the field of view, the more hampered you will be when searching the areas. A 10x, 12x and even greater ones in some occasions are the best for such areas.
5. Binocular Durability & Design – Waterproof together with Fog proof
When you are spending time in the wilderness, you definitely expect to experience all the sorts of weather conditions. You expect to experience both extremities. However, the most challenging weather conditions that affect the functionality of binoculars are water and fog. You, therefore, need to go for sealed binoculars as these prevent moisture, debris, and dust from coming in hence longer lasting. Looking out for fog proof binoculars is also a plus for you. These are filled with either nitrogen or argon gas so as to inhibit the internal fogging that’s caused by extreme temperatures.
Going for binoculars that have tough rubber armor helps you to be sure your binoculars are safe from knocks, scratches, and drops. A camouflage exterior is at times quite helpful although not very necessary or rather essential. This helps in keeping you out of sight. There are many color variations and other manufactures even include camo-versions in their design hence keeping you out of sight.
6. Prism design
A good number of binoculars have been designed with the spacing between their main lenses being much wider than that between the eyepieces. This is credited to the use of Porro prisms that’s employed in their design. Although this makes the devices to appear much larger, the nearby objects being focused are projected in more 3-D form. Other binoculars use roof prisms which aligns the main lenses with the eyepiece. This design makes the binoculars to be more compact, unfortunately at the expense of your image quality. For these devices to be made to produce images of the same quality as those of the Porro prisms, one has to spend some extra hundreds of dollars.
BK-7 prisms are used for the less expensive binoculars. These binoculars do tend to square off an image side while the BAK-4 prism binoculars, that are more expensive delivers rounder, sharper images as well as more light.
7. Eye Cups
These are very much related to the eye reliefs since they are meant to keep that distance from your eyes to the Oculars as they also help to keep any stray light away from interfering with your eyes as you use the binoculars. Most of the eye cups are rubber made and can be rolled up or down while other types slide instead of rolling. The latter can be very hard to keep in position hence you’d rather go for the former.
Eyecups that twist are the most commonly used versions today. These can be twisted up and down and left in a given position, rather than all way up or even all way down. Some have even been designed with clicks to stop regular with the eye relief distance since each stop has been marked on the cup making it easy for you to get the perfect eye relief for that vision of yours.
Among the best hunting designs of eyecups have shades/flaps on their sides. These prevent light from entering through the sides as well as stopping any distractions from the sides and the periphery of the hunter’s view. If your binoculars didn’t come with these, it’s important you look for those that can fit your eye cup.
8. Weight of Hunting Binoculars
The weight of a pair of binoculars is primarily determined by the magnification of the objective lenses. This is because the magnification of the lenses is always directly proportional to their corresponding sizes. This means that the higher the magnification power, the larger the lenses and by extension, the heavier the binoculars. Mounting the binoculars on a tripod stand is the best way of compensating this weight. However, the use of straps can also be employed though this is not as effective as the former. However, if you are planning for long distance travels, it’s advisable that you consider the less powerful and lighter binoculars.
9. Binocular Manufacturer Brand and Selling Stores
When you come across a high-tech pair of binoculars being advertised but the brand is new in the market, do not make haste to buy the product. Let others buy it and test it before they can recommend others to go for it or not. It’s very discouraging to spend your $200 on binoculars that you thought was a high-performance one only to realize that you have been given a run for your hardly earned money. Instead, go for the more established company brands such as Vanguard, Nikon, Vortex, Bushnell and Celestron that have a good reputation. In addition to the brand, buy your binoculars from only reliable dealers such as the official company websites and Amazon among others.
Price is a very important factor when it comes to choosing binoculars. It’s not worth it spending too much, say over $500 yet there are cheaper binoculars that are durable and able to perform even better than the expensive ones. However, let the price not be the primary guiding factor. Look for the cameras that have the best specifications before you can start eliminating the expensive ones and landing on the best cheapest binoculars. Do not do a mistake of buying the spotting scopes as these are not as durable as the binoculars. Still within the binoculars, look for those having warranties that are decades long.