Best Travel Binoculars

8)

What are the best binoculars for a child?

Just like adults, children have different needs when it comes to binoculars. The age of the child will play a role in what size binoculars will be best. If the child is young enough that you plan on carrying them around in your hand most of the time, then a smaller pair would be best. Children at this age may also get bored easily, so having a compact pair will keep them interested in using the binoculars for a longer period of time. If the child is older or will be using the binoculars without an adult, then a slightly larger pair will work better so their hands don’t feel too cramped when trying to hold them up to their eyes.

9)

What are the best binoculars for small hands?

If you have small hands and are having a difficult time holding regular size binoculars steady enough to see something, then you’ll need a smaller size pair that are lightweight and have a good grip. If the binoculars you’re using don’t fit in your hands comfortably or you can’t hold them still enough to see something properly, then they’re not going to be of much use to you. If you have small hands, make sure to look for binoculars with a size listed in the product description that includes your hand size in inches.

10)

What are the best travel binoculars for kids?

If you’re looking to buy binoculars for a kid to take on vacation so they can see things up close, then you’ll need a smaller pair that is easy for them to carry around and use by themselves. If you’re buying these for a school project, then you’ll need to make sure that the magnification isn’t going to be so high that they can’t see what they’re looking at. You’ll also want to look for a pair that doesn’t have a lot of weight to them so the child can hold them up to their eyes easily without getting tired.

11)

What are the best lightweight binoculars?

If you’re looking to save weight and don’t need a high level of magnification, then you’ll want to get a smaller pair of binoculars that don’t weigh much. You can also cut down on the weight by choosing a pair that doesn’t have as much metal in them.

12)

What are the best marine binoculars?

When looking for marine binoculars, you’ll want to make sure they are sealed and able to stand up to water or moisture in general. This will ensure that they last longer and can be used while out on a boat, around the water or at the beach. You’ll also want to look for one with good grip so you don’t drop them overboard.

13)

What are the best hunting binoculars?

When looking for a pair of hunting binoculars, you’ll want to get one that magnifies well so you can see your target well but doesn’t weigh too much. You’ll also want to look for one with good eye relief so you don’t have the eyepieces bump against your face every time you try to look through them. Hunters also prefer models that are water-resistant or waterproof since they may end up in contact with moisture on a regular basis.

14)

What are the best binoculars for the money?

When looking for the best binoculars for your money, you’ll want to find a pair that has good reviews and meets your needs. There are many models out there, so it’s best to do your research before spending your money so you know what you’re getting. It’s also a good idea to set a budget for yourself before looking since these can vary in price quite a bit.

15)

What makes binoculars expensive?

An often asked question is, what makes binoculars so expensive?

The price can vary quite a bit, but the main factors are:

Magnification – Higher magnification leads to a higher price. You typically pay more for 7x than you would for 10x.

Size of objective lenses (also known as front lenses) – The size of the front lens (in millimeters) has a large impact on the price. Binoculars with larger objective lenses allow you to gather more light, which means you’ll be able to see better in low-light situations like when it first starts to get dark or in the evening.

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This can also help you see things at a distance since you’ll be able to see further. If you’re looking for a pair of binoculars to use when it’s dark, then you should look for a pair with at least a 35mm or larger objective lens.

Maksimum magnification – Higher maximum magnification means you can see things closer, but won’t be able to see as much overall. This is why sets with higher maximum magnification tend to be more expensive.

Waterproofing – If you’re going to be using your binoculars outdoors or in various conditions, then you may want to look for a pair that is waterproof or water-resistant. This will allow you to use them in the rain or even in water if you drop them overboard by accident.

Other Features – Binoculars with features like porro prism systems, roof prisms, multicoated lenses and close-range focusing are going to be more expensive. These are nice to have, but not necessary and don’t always increase the quality of the image you see.

16)

Do binoculars with larger objective lenses gather more light?

Yes, binoculars with larger objective lenses do allow you to see better at dusk or in dark conditions since they let in more light. This is because they have larger holes (the openings where light enters) on the front ends of the instruments. The bigger these holes, the more light that enters into the binoculars and the brighter your image will be. This works the same for cameras as well.

In low-light conditions, you want to make sure that your binoculars have objective lenses that are at least 35mm or larger. Anything smaller and you won’t be able to see as well in the evening or in dark places.

Ideally, you want the front lenses (also known as objectives) to be 50mm or larger if you’re looking for the best low-light performance.

17)

Which is better: Porro prisms or roof prisms?

This is a common question that many people have a hard time answering, but really the difference is quite simple. The basic answer is that roof prism binoculars tend to be more compact and are often lighter in weight than their porro prism counterparts. Roof prisms also offer better optical performance, but this usually comes at a higher cost.

Porro prisms were the original type of prisms used in the design of binoculars. Many budget-priced binoculars still use this prism design, but even mid-priced and higher-end models now tend to use roof prisms since they are smaller and lighter.

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Roof prisms were introduced in 1986 by the German optics company named Leica. They give you a more compact design since their sides are at a 90 degree angle rather than the slanted design of the porro prism (they look like a triangle when you look at them from the front).

This allows roof prisms to have a smaller width and depth.

If you can afford them, then roof prism binoculars will be lighter in weight and slightly more compact. This is why most high-end binoculars tend to use this design.

You can also get premium models with both porro prisms and roof prisms like the Steiner Binocs 8X32 which give you the best of both worlds.

While the optical performance of roof prisms is usually better, some models that use this prism system don’t give you as wide of a field of view. This can sometimes make it a little harder to follow fast-moving objects when compared with porro prism models.

Porro prisms have a slightly wider field of view (on some models), but they tend to be heavier and not as compact.

So, which one is better?

Honestly, it really just boils down to personal preference. Roof prisms give you a more compact instrument for the same price as a porro prism binocular. They also have better optical quality. If you want a mid-priced pair of binoculars that are compact and of good quality, then get a pair that uses roof prisms.

If you want a mid-priced pair that won’t break your bank and you’re not as concerned about weight and compactness, then go with porro prism binoculars. If you want the best performance and aren’t worried about the extra weight or a slightly less compact instrument, then you might want to consider the Steiner 8X32 Genesis HD Binoculars which give you both roof and porro prism designs for the ultimate in both quality and choice.

Whichever you decide on, a good pair of binoculars will give you a lifetime of enjoyment!

18)

What is the minimum magnification that I should get?

This really depends on what you plan to view and how close you can get to your subject. A good general rule is the higher the power (i.e. 10X vs. 7X), the shorter the minimum distance you can be to your subject, but the less wide the field of view.

Let’s look at a couple of examples…

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You are in a zoo and you want to look at the faces of the animals through your binoculars. For this you would want a high power so you can get close to the cage.

However, you still need to be able to see the entire face of the animal, so a high power with a narrow field of view wouldn’t work well in this situation.

You are sitting at a football stadium and you want to be able to see the players on the field, but you also want to be able to see them from the highest point of the stadium. For this you would want a lower power since you can be far away and still have the entire field in view at once.

However, you still need to be able to see the players faces clearly, so a low power with a wide field of view would not be good in this situation.

So, as you can see, there is really no minimum or maximum power. The only real rules are that the higher the power, the closer you can get and the lower the power, the further away you can be.

19)

What is the best lens material?

The lens material of binoculars doesn’t really matter, they all use various types of glass (most often regular glass or “ED” or “extra low dispersion” glass) in their lenses. So the differences are only in coatings and design.

There are basically only three coatings that are used on optics: magnesium fluoride, titanium dioxide and sodium fluoride. The magnesium and sodium fluoride provide superior protection against water (rain or spray) and ultraviolet light.

Titanium dioxide provides the best protection against reflected light (such as from a bright sun).

There are basically two lens designs: standard aplanatic design and porro prism design. Porro prism based designs typically have a wider field of view, but aren’t as compact.

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20)

What is the best design?

This really is a matter of personal preference.

Porro prism binoculars are smaller and lighter but have a narrower field of view and cost more to make. The minimum specifications for each design are:

Minimum Optical specifications: Porro Prism Binoculars: 7.5X per barrel, Standard 25mm objective lenses, 12 degree field of view.

Roof Prism Binoculars: 10X per barrel, Large 42mm or 50mm objective lenses, 7 degree field of view.

The field of view and the size of the objective lens (the ones at the front) determine how wide the image is. The magnification determines how big everything looks.

Let’s compare two binoculars with a 7x magnification. One has standard 25mm lenses with a 12 degree field of view and the other has larger 40mm lenses with a 7 degree field of view.

The 40mm lenses give you a much wider image, but the magnification is lower, which makes everything appear a lot smaller.

Now let’s compare roof and porro prism binoculars with 10x magnification. The roof prism binoculars would have large 50mm lenses and a 7 degree field of view and porro prism binoculars would have standard 25mm lenses and a 12 degree field of view.

As you can see, there are many combinations that work.

21)

Why do I need to recalibrate my binoculars sometimes?

Binoculars aren’t perfect. The two tubes that make up the body don’t always stay perfectly aligned. This is because they are held together with molding and glue, not with screws and washers like most cameras and binoculars.

Even if the binoculars are perfect when you first get them, the temperature and humidity changes can cause the tubes to shift inside the body. This is one of the reasons why high end binoculars are made with a lot of metal.

Metal doesn’t change size like plastic and rubber, so it helps keep the binoculars aligned.

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The more you use your binoculars, the more you shake them, the more likely they are to slowly lose alignment. This is why you need to occasionally realign the internal mirrors and lenses.

If your binoculars are extremely out of whack, you’ll be unable to see anything but a blurry mass.

If you notice your binoculars getting a little more fuzzy, try the following:

1) Turn the focus knob (on the right barrel) back and forth quickly several times in each direction.

This shifts the mirror inside and might get it aligned again.

2) If the binoculars are extremely out of whack, you can carefully (and I mean really carefully) open up the two barrels.

This is easier to do on roof prism binoculars, but it can be done on porros as well.

To open up a roof prism binocular, look at the front and back ends of the barrels. You’ll see a plastic ring slightly below the center.

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Inside this ring are two metal pins. These pins hold the barrels together. Give the barrels a firm, but gentle squeeze and pull them apart. You don’t need to open them up more than a few centimeters.

Now you can look through the barrels from the front and back ends and realign the mirrors. Be extra careful when looking through the back end of the barrels because your fingers are very close to the inside of the objective lens.

It’s possible to accidentally poke yourself in the eye if you aren’t being careful.

3) Look into the front of the binoculars and notice the two small metal pins sticking up on either side of the center post.

Now look into the back of the binoculars and you’ll see two metal pins next to the hinges. These four pins hold the two tubes together.

Again, be gentle but firm as you push the tubes back into alignment.

You need to make sure the two metal pins on the front side are directly above the two pins in the back. Once they are aligned, you can push the barrels together and lock the pins into place.

If the binoculars are extremely out of whack, this process won’t help as much and you might have to take it to be fixed by a professional.

22)

What is eye relief and why is it important?

Eye relief is the distance you can hold a pair of binoculars or a telescope away from your eye and still have a full, clear picture. Eye relief is an important specification to consider when buying a pair of high end binoculars or a spotting scope. Eye relief is less critical on cameras because most camera eyes are very close to the lens, so there isn’t much difference if you have 10 feet of eye relief or not.

If you have a small eye relief, it can be very uncomfortable to use if you aren’t very skilled at holding the binoculars very close to your face. If you have a large eye relief, then it is much more comfortable to view with for long periods of time because you can easily grab the binoculars and hold them up to your eyes without breaking your form.

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But high amounts of eye relief come with a price. In order to have long eye relief, the lenses have to be very deeply set inside the body of the binocular.

This reduces the amount of light per square inch that gets to your eyes and therefore requires more light to see things better. Manufacturers try to get the best of both worlds by offering different models with different eye reliefs.

When looking at eye relief, always make sure you are comparing apples to apples because eye relief can vary greatly from brand to brand and model to model even if the numbers seem similar. Thankfully most manufacturers have their own lines of binoculars and scopes so you can compare models from the same maker easily.

23)

Why do I see a blurry circle around bright lights when using my binoculars or rifle scope at night?

You are experiencing something called “ghosting”. Your eyes are detecting excess light that is bouncing around inside the tubes of your device. It can be caused by several things.

A) If you have just acquired your device, be sure you are looking at something that is actually there. Your eyes and brain need time to adapt to the darkness so any movement you detect doesn’t register immediately in your mind.

This is why animals can easily sneak up on you at night. They don’t show up immediately so you don’t see them until they are right on top of you!

B) If you are looking at something far away like a radio tower, then it is possible that your device isn’t collecting all of the light that is bouncing off of it. This is why most devices have an adjustable focus.

Usually, all you need to do is adjust the focus knob and the image will clear up.

C) You may have something on the lenses of your device. Humidity and other elements can cause stuff to get deposited on your lenses.

Try taking the device apart and carefully clean the lens with a soft cloth. Don’t use any solvents, polish, grease or any other chemical because you will damage the coatings that are on there to help you see better!

D) If all else fails, then it is possible that your device is malfunctioning or defective. Try borrowing a friend’s device to see if the problem is with your device or something else.

As technology advances, these devices are becoming smaller and having less bulk. This is all well and good until you have a piece of dirt or droppings of water that causes a short.

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It is very rare, but it does happen.

This is one of the reasons that manufacturers offer warranties. Usually the only time you will need it is if you drop your device and it doesn’t work anymore.

Always be sure to read all of the fine print before buying anything.

24) I’m going hunting and need a better way to see at night than my flashlight.

What options do I have?

a) You can try to illuminate your prey with a flash modifier. These are usually mounted on your rifle in place of your scope. A powerful burst of light will ensure that your prey is blinded long enough for you to take the shot.

b) Another option is a weaponmounted flashlight like the one used by law enforcement. This will free up your hands but may not have the reach that a larger flashlight will have.

Models with a powerful incandescent light will work at shorter ranges but will not work at longer distances like a spotlight would.

c) A spotlight can give you illumination over a large area. Most are fueled by propane, some are electric and a few are sunlight powered.

These are good for illuminating large fields or thickets. If your prey is close enough to be lit up by one of these, you have the option of taking the shot using the bright light as your guide. Just make sure no friends or neighbors are in the area first!

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d) Night vision devices can be used to see in the dark. These can be monocular or binocular and are made by attaching a small video camera to a screen that you look through.

The image the camera sees is transmitted to the screen. The screen will appear as if it is showing what the camera is seeing even though the only light being emitted is from the screen itself.

Sources & references used in this article:

Have binoculars, will travel: In pursuit of rarities, bird-watchers boost tourism by L Miller – The Wall Street Journal, 1995 – denix.osd.mil

Dragonflies through binoculars: a field guide to dragonflies of North America by SW Dunkle – 2000 – books.google.com

Butterflies through binoculars by J Glassberg, MC Minno, JV Calhoun – 2000 – books.google.com

Butterflies through binoculars: the East by J Glassberg – 1999 – books.google.com

Optical systems, telescopes and binoculars by MH Freeman – US Patent 5,652,679, 1997 – Google Patents

A mysid shrimp carrying a pair of binoculars by DE Nilsson, R Modlin – Journal of Experimental Biology, 1994 – jeb.biologists.org