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Binoculars: A Buyer's Guide to Specs and Features

Binoculars open up a whole new way of viewing the everyday world. From stargazing to athletic events to birding and other outdoor activities, using them can enhance your visual perception and capture fine details that the naked eye might miss. With the wide range in types and power, there is an option available on eBay for you.

What are some common brands?

There are several available on the market, including:

  • Zeiss
  • Leica
  • Nikon
  • Bushnell
  • Steiner
What are the different prisms types that companies are selling?

It's important to find the right optics for your binoculars, and prisms are typically constructed in one of two ways, with a roof system or a Porro system. Both types represent a wide price range from entry-level to advanced, and the ways in which they differ include:

  • Roof construction types are made such that the lenses are in a straight alignment with the viewing eyepieces. These compact binoculars are a good choice for outdoor enthusiasts, birding, and sporting event spectators.
  • Porro construction types are made such that the lenses are offset in alignment from the viewing pieces. With greater internal moving parts, these are better suited for stationary viewing.
What do the numbers on binocular models mean?

There are two numbers referred to when considering magnification properties. An example would be 10 x 50. The first number in this example refers to the magnification of the visual field when viewing through the eyepieces. Thus, your view would be magnified by a power of 10. The second number in this example refers to the size of the objective lens and is a measurement of the lens in millimeters.

What are marine binoculars?

These specialized types of lenses are constructed to deal with the challenging conditions associated with long-distance viewing over open water. Some of the different conditions that these tools address include:

  • Fog: Marine conditions often include foggy weather which reduces visibility.
  • High sun glare: The intensity of sun glare off the surface of open water creates difficulty for the viewer.
  • Motion: Even at anchor, a boat moves with the water making it challenging to fix a focal point in the distance.
  • Motion compensation: The motion of a boat can make it hard to see through standard binoculars. Marine binoculars maintain a clear image in all but the roughest seas.
What features should you look for in binoculars?

Finding a good pair for sale with a wide field is an investment. Taking time to consider how you will use them as well as the ideal features will help you make a sound choice. Typical features to look for in a good pair include:

  • Power: A higher first number in the two number sequence such as 10 x 50 will give you greater magnifying power.
  • Objective lens diameter and lens quality: The second number refers to the lens diameter. High-quality lenses will hold up over time.
  • Weight: Lightweight construction allows you to carry and use the pair without fatigue.
  • Waterproof: For use outdoors, consider a pair with waterproof construction to protect from water damage from the elements or from marine conditions.
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