The most frustrating aspect of buying a pair of quality binoculars is the number of choices you have. There are many models made for a specific sport or activity such as hunting or birding. On the other hand, some binoculars are suitable for hunting, birding, boating, and viewing spectator sports all in one. Each binocular has its’ own unique set of technical attributes, such as ‘Field of View’, ‘Aperture’, or ‘Exit Pupil’, to name just a few. Each attribute will have to be examined when trying to find the binocular that is best suited for the activities or sport you intend to use it for. And of course, the prices of binoculars are far ranging as well. In fact, there are so many things to consider that people do not know where to begin. If you were to narrow your search down to one brand, Nikon would certainly be a good choice.
The Nikon binoculars line alone has over 50 different models to choose from, with prices ranging from $ 50 to nearly $ 1,200. Unfortunately, with so many choices people end up frustrated and make a purchasing decision based solely on price. While price is important, it cannot be the only thing that determines a decision. Even if you determine a price range, there are still a lot of binoculars that will fall into that range. Also consider, you get what you pay for. If you purchase cheap binoculars you will end up with, well, cheap binoculars.
Think about how you are going to be using your binoculars. If you are using them for sporting events or bird watching you probably will not need as much magnification as if you were going to use them for astronomy or to view distant objects like mountains or the Grand Canyon. You also need to think about the lighting conditions. If you will be using your binoculars during the day you will not need the same size lens as a hunter or an astronomer.
Two numbers that you will you have to pay attention to describe the magnification and the size of the objective lens, respectively. Binoculars are listed as 8×25 or 12×42. In the example of the 8×25 binoculars the 8 refers to how many times an object can be magnified. The 8 indicates that these binoculars can magnify an object up to 8 times. The 25 refers to the diameter of the objective lens, or the lens that is furthest from your eye. So, 8×25 binoculars have a lens diameter of 25mm.
The reason objective lens size is important is that the larger the lens, the more light that will be allowed in; which means less light is required to see objects. If you were a hunter you would probably want a larger lens; given the typically less than ideal lighting conditions hunters deal with. On the other hand a larger lens would not be as important if you were using you binoculars to watch sporting events.
Here are a couple of things to remember about magnification- one, the stronger the magnification, the smaller the field of view will be. If you are watching a rapidly moving sport it will be harder to keep object in view if you have too much magnification. Also, the more magnification you use, the harder it is to hold the image steady. If you are using binoculars with a 16 magnification you would either need to use a tripod or a god image stabilization system in order to keep the image from jumping all over the place.
With a little thought and planning it is relatively easy to find the right binoculars to fit your needs. Even with a product line as wide as the Nikon binoculars it is possible to narrow your choices, and to get the ones that fit you best.
Vincent Saponar lives in North Western New Jersey, and has been an avid birder and outdoorsman for many years. He owns many different binoculars and has considerable knowledge and expertise around not only binoculars, but other sports optics instruments as well, i.e., night vision devices and rangefinders. For more helpful information on binoculars and other sports optics instruments, I recommend visiting http://www.onesourceoptics.com
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