If binoculars aren’t 100% indispensable to bird watching, they’re pretty close. For every bird that crosses your path, the best binoculars will highlight fine details, make colors pop out of shadows, and improve your potential for identifying what you’ve seen. For most birdwatchers, binoculars soon become almost an extension of the bodies.
But binoculars are expensive. Argue that you should stretch your finances to choose the best binoculars you can afford.
Factored out over 20 or more many years of bird watching, that’s an excellent deal.
Just how do you choose? Follow these six stepsand then check the full binocular review to figure out where to start.
Choose your price range
The best binoculars give you a pristine image in an appropriate, durable package. Lower price ranges also offer some very nice options, thanks to technological advances within the last decade. See the chart of Performance vs. Quality Index to consider your best value. Remember that we provide MSRP (from October 2013), but many retailers sell binoculars at below this price.
Pick a magnification
Deciding between 8x and 10x binoculars is a personal choice. In general, 10x are better at distance birding. Nonetheless, it usually does mean a narrower field of view, a slightly darker image in low light, and more noticeable hand-shake. An 8x gives you an inferior image that’s wider, brighter, and easier for finding and following birds. Learn more.
Test a lot of models.
No two birders look over binoculars a similar way. Size of hands, thecondition of theface, the way you focus, how you will carry the bins when you’re not using them–all matter. So pick up as many pairs since you can to obtain a feel for what suits you.
Look for bright, crisp, true color.
Image quality has overriding importance.
- How bright are the bins?
- How sharp?
- How will true be the colors?
- How well do they resolve details in a backlit image?
Most optics stores are better lit than your average forest–find somewhere dark to compare low-light performance. Note that because of poor image quality, we don’t recommend any compact-style binoculars with objective lenses smaller than about 30 mm.
Check the attention relief.
The best binoculars have eyecups that retract to accommodate eyeglass wearers or extend to provide shading for those without. Look for durable, multi-adjustable eyecups. If you wear glasses, adjust the eyecups to their minimum position and make sure there’s enough eye relief–you shouldn’t see black rings about the image. The Eyeglass Friendliness score helps indicate this.
Review additional features and warranties.
Focus on thefield of view and close focus, two measures that affect how much you’ll see. See the report on thefield of view and narrowcenter to understand how these factor into your choice. Also pay attention to durability, waterproofing, and warranty–many major optics companies now offer excellent warranties. Check the full review spreadsheet for the best binoculars for bird watching. Learn more details at: http://thatbinocularguy.com/5-best-binoculars-for-bird-watching-revealed/