Bird watching requires binoculars that can give you details. Remember, some birds are highly mobile while other birds have colours that match their surroundings. For that reason, a birding binoculars should offer more than an average one.
Do Binocular Features Matter?
Modern binoculars for bird watching have numerous features and specifications. But you need to be critical about these features.
Let’s look at some essential specs.
Is a bigger magnification better?
It is a common belief that larger magnification brings the image into focus with clarity. But what does it sacrifice?
Look, each binocular comes with a number, e.g., 7×35.
The first number stands for magnification, i.e., the number of times an image will appear bigger than without being magnified. In this case, it is 7. Typically, if you are standing 100 feet from the object, it will look as if it is 14 feet away.
Binoculars for bird watching fit 7, 8, or 10 magnification profile. As much as higher magnification gives a detailed and closer look, it comes with disadvantages like:
- A smaller field of view
- Dull images because of less light
- Exaggerates shaking
- Takes longer to focus
In this case, a magnification of 7 is better than 10. But most birders settle on 8X.
Size Of the Objective Lens
The second number on your binoculars is usually the objective lens diameter and is often is given in millimetre. In the case of 7 X 35, 35 is the diameter.
Light enters through the lens.
So the bigger the lens, the more the light that enters into your binoculars. This translates to brighter images. All the colours will be brilliant.
However, bigger lenses mean heavier binoculars. For instance, a 10×50 gives brighter images, but it will be bulkier to carry it around.
On average, getting a lens diameter of between 30-50mm is sufficient for birding.
What About The Exit Pupil?
Oftentimes we overlook this feature. Essentially, it is the diameter of light visible through the eyepiece. You arrive at that size by dividing the diameter of the objective lens and the magnifying power.
Try holding your binoculars up with eyepiece facing you against the light. The two little holes you see are exit pupils. An exit pupil diameter of between 4 and 7 mm is ideal for bird watching.
Such diameters gather enough light, thus making your image brighter.
Design Of The Prism
Is it roof or Porto prism?
- Porto prism: their optical path is Z-shaped – the objective lenses are offset from the eyepiece. This results in wider binoculars.
- Roof prism: here, prisms closely overlap, while the objective lenses are in line with an eyepiece. The result, a slim and streamlines binoculars.
Roof binoculars are pricier than the Porto because of their sophisticated technology. So if you have to buy such binoculars, it means you have to pay more.
Birding binoculars shouldn’t be hard to use. They must offer an easy way of getting a sharp focus. Complicated binoculars can make it challenging to get clear or stable images. So, it is essential that you do thorough research before setting on any particular pair of binoculars.