Friday, May 4, 2012
HOW TO BUY BINOCULARS
Spring is finally here and birders new and old are anxious to get outdoors and have some fun. Here is some advice, along with recommendations, on buying a good pair of binoculars that will make bird watching a great experience.
Shopping for binoculars can be an overwhelming experience.
There is an almost endless variety to choose from and the prices range from the sublime to the ridiculous. Also, unfortuntely, many sales people know little about binoculars and will often give you wrong information.
Knowing what you need and what you don't need will save you a lot of frustration and a lot of money.
Binoculars with seven times or eight times magnification are perfect for most bird watchers. Binoculars with higher magnifications tend to be heavier, something that becomes a big deal if you are using them all day, and are harder to hold steadily making the image you are looking at bounce around. Higher-powered binoculars often have narrow fields of view. That is, the area your binoculars can take in. The wider the field of view the better for bird watching.
The amount of light your binoculars can gather and send to your eyes the brighter and more distinct the object you are looking at will appear. How do you know if your binoculars are giving you enough light to make the image of that hawk you are looking at really bright and crisp?
There is an easy formula you can use. The diameter of the binoculars' objective lenses, the big ones at their front, should measure in millimeters five times the power of the binoculars. A seven powered pair should have objective lenses with diameters of at least 35 millimeters. Eight powered binoculars should have objective lenses of 40 millimeters. These numbers are usually printed on the binoculars such as 7X35 or 8X40. Stay away from zoom binoculars. You can increase their power but the objective lenses stay the same size.
Also, the lenses should be coated. Almost all modern binoculars have lenses with some sort of coating on them. The coating will make them look blue, orange, yellow, or some other color. The coating helps your binoculars focus the light coming into them and also gather any extra light bouncing around in them. Binoculars with good light gathering capabilities also help if you are bird watching on cloudy days or at twilight.
Ok, you now know how to go out and buy a pair of binoculars that will make your bird watching enjoyable.