Binoculars and Monoculars
Binoculars and monoculars give you a closer view of a subject without moving closer. This makes them an excellent tool for everyone from sports fans to wildlife watchers. Top brands like Nikon, Leupold and Zeiss make a wide range of binoculars and monoculars to suit different users.
How Much Magnification Do I Need?
Binoculars and monoculars are often described using a pair of numbers like 10x50. The first number in this pair is the amount of magnification that the binoculars provide.
● The most popular binoculars typically have magnification of between 7x and 10x. More powerful magnification can be useful for more specialist purposes, like going on safari.
● Magnification of 10x or more may be difficult to use unless you have steady hands. The greater the magnification, the more difficult it becomes to handle. Very powerful binoculars and monoculars are best used with a tripod.
● Zoom lens binoculars and monoculars can be used at a range of different magnifications. This makes them more versatile, but also typically bulkier than fixed-magnification designs.
What Do the Other Numbers Mean?
Magnification is often the main consideration when choosing binoculars or monoculars, but other specifications are also important. Here are some to watch out for:
● The second number in a binocular specification like 10x50 is the diameter of the objective lens, which is the one at the front. A bigger objective provides a brighter image and better low-light performance but also makes the whole design heavier.
● The exit pupil is the diameter of the image that actually reaches the eye. This should be bigger than the pupil in your eye to prevent a peephole effect.
● Eye relief is the ideal distance between your eye and the rear lens. This measurement is especially important for users who wear eyeglasses, who should look for a longer eye relief to accommodate them.
What Other Features Should I Look For?
Two monoculars with the same magnification and objective size can still produce quite different images. Manufacturers have come up with innovations to enhance optical performance.
● Magnifying an image can also change it by introducing color aberrations and distortions. Extra-low Dispersion or ED glass lenses reduce this effect to produce a truer image.
● More advanced lenses often feature anti-reflective coatings. Fully coated optics have at least coating on every glass surface, while multi-coated optics have more than one coating on at least one surface. Professional binoculars and monoculars tend to be fully multi-coated.
● If you want to use your binoculars in all weathers, weather sealing is vital. Rubber armor and O-ring sealing protect the optics from water intrusion. Many binoculars and monoculars are also filled with inert gas to prevent them from fogging. Image stabilization reduces the effect of hand shake, making it great for using more powerful binoculars without a tripod. Binoculars and monoculars with image stabilisation are typically more advanced models