You enjoy hiking in the wild, and would like to get a better view of the landscapes, fauna and flora you come across during your walks? Find out our advice to help you choose binoculars that match your needs!
1. Understanding the Number of Binoculars: [magnification] X [aperture]
When choosing binoculars, the first characteristic to understand is the combination of these two numbers that are often written on them. The numbers 8X25 you can often read on children and adult binoculars, such as Fix Kids Binoculars 8x25, refers to the magnification factor and the diameter (aperture) of the lenses.
Magnification (8x): The zoom lens of hiking binoculars It is the most important number! Magnification is what gives you the possibility to observe a subject from afar by enlarging this subject. It is similar to the zoom system in cameras. If you look at a tree through binoculars with 8X magnification, the image will be appear 8 times closer than when viewed with the naked eye. Be aware that with higher magnifications, the shaking effect will be increased, making observation more difficult. As from 12x magnifications, you should consider using a tripod to get a steady image.
Lens diameter (x25): image brightness Given in millimetres, the diameter of lenses (the two lenses that let the image in) defines the light gathering ability of the binoculars and affects the depth of field. Bigger lens diameters will increase the amount of light and the field of vision. The drawback of larger diameters is their larger size. Find the right balance, particularly for hiking conditions where small binoculars are more convenient!
Binoculars Adjust 10x32 and Binoculars Adjust 12x32 are bigger than 8x25 binoculars, but they produce images with superior magnification. It's up to you to choose between ultra-lightweight binoculars and binoculars allowing far observation.
2. Fix Focus or Adjustable?
This very effective system is often used on small binoculars such as Fix Binoculars 10x25.
The lack of control wheel and mobile parts makes these binoculars very solid over time. Easy to use, they are ideal for family hikes with kids.
For better accuracy, you can choose adjustable binoculars that feature
This adjustment is particularly useful to observe small animals at a short distance.
3. Two Types of Binoculars: With Porro Prism or Roof Prism
There are two types of binocular constructions:
The Porro prism construction is the most common on the market because of its solidity and the brightness of observed images.
The Roof prism construction is a more recent technology making for waterproof, more compact, lighter, but also more expensive binoculars. They are recommended for frequent hiking.
4. Compare the Weight and Consider the Transport of Binoculars
If you are used to long hikes over one, or even several days, you know how important it can be to decrease the weight of your backpack by 100 or 200 grams. So you need to find binoculars that provide the right compromise between your desire for observation and your need to reduce your load. With the Fix Focus 8x25 or 10x25 binoculars, you opt for a very low weight: 185 g and 212 g respectively. If you care less about the weight, and favour the accuracy of your observations, or if you do shorter hikes, opt for 10x32 or 12x32 binoculars with adjustment. Their weight approximates 300 g, but the control wheel makes for more detailed observation. You should also consider the transport of your binoculars.
Keep them at hand to be react immediately when an animal appears. A lanyard and a case will help you walk with your binoculars unhampered and without having to store them in your backpack every time! You probably got it, you need to choose your binoculars based on your usual practice.
To learn or teach your kids how to observe the surrounding wildlife, start with an easy-to-use, very lightweight Fix Focus model. If you want accuracy and visual comfort, choose a bigger model with an adjustment wheel. now, you just need to wait patiently for your first "encounters"!!
5. Binoculars for Spectacle Wearers
It is quite possible to use binoculars when you wear prescription glasses. But it may be difficult to position the eye comfortably in the binoculars eyecups.
However, there are retractable or sliding eyecups, allowing spectacle wearers to put their eyes at an appropriate distance for proper observation.