Hunting Binocular Basics
What are binoculars?
Binoculars may seem to be a very simple device, but they are more complicated that it looks. As a matter of fact, it is a parallel pair of telescopes for viewing distant objects with both eyes. Binoculars give more detailed and deeper three-dimensional images, which is essential for hunting and military purposes.
Binoculars come in many different versions with different optical parameters. This set of parameters is what you need to research before purchasing a pair. In addition to that, mechanical design, optical coating and lenses are just as important. Consequently, you get yourself a rather difficult equation on how to choose the best binocular. And here are all the parameters you should consider.
Factors when choosing binoculars:
Magnification is always given as the first number of a binocular description (ex. 7×10). It is a ratio of the apparent size of an object in comparison with what a viewer sees with its own eyes. In simple words, if you have magnification factor of 7, it means that binocular gives an image 7 times larger than it is seen with a naked eye. Therefore, by knowing the modification you will know how close the objects will appear through the lenses.
However, you should also remember that the higher modification, the lower the image steadiness. If you are going on an active hunt, it might be wise to settle upon a lower modification factor as hands tend to treble after a brisk walk or even a run. With higher modification image would be very blurry. Thus, aim for the 7x-10x modification.
Objective Lens Size
Second factor and second number in the description (7×10) shows the objective lens size. Objective lens determines the resolution and the amount of light the lens gathers. Thus, the larger the number, the greater the light-collecting power. You would want to go with a higher resolution if you are planning to hunt in the evenings. However, large number also means that the lens itself will be bigger, heavier and more expensive. When choosing a binocular, do consider how much extra weight you are able to carry. And yet, it is not recommended going lower than 30mm, as it would make binoculars rather useless, especially in low light conditions.
Field of View (FOV)
FOV represents the area that you’ll be able to visualise using binoculars at a distance of 1000 yards. The FOV depends on the modification. The higher modification is, the smaller the picture becomes. Thus, if you intend to hunt in open-space, you might want to choose the lower modification, as it will give you bigger FOV. If you are hunting in a forest, smaller and more precise image would be beneficial. Therefore, higher modification might be more suitable.
Waterproof and fog proof coating
Waterproofing is particularly important for hunting binoculars, as hunting is very challenging and not the cleanest endeavour. You are most likely to walk through dirt, dust, wetlands and creeks, and even lay on the ground for hours during rain. Your binoculars must be able to endure it all. Waterproofing and fog proof technologies are important features that keeps your binoculars from leaking and fogging up. Changing lenses is very costly, so if you wouldn’t want to spend extra cash on repair, you might want to invest in a pair with 100% water-resistance and fog proofed.
Lenses and weight
As it’s been mentioned earlier, the size of the lens has a direct effect on the binoculars size, just like with cameras. You should always consider how much you intend to move and at what time you will hunt to identify the determining factor: portability or better view.
If you are going for portability, your choice is 30-32mm resolution. It is smaller and lighter, which gives wider range of motion, but be prepared that you won’t see clearly in the evenings. Large sizes lenses with 50mm resolution provide better view in low light conditions and even at night hunting, but at the cost of portability. Full sized lenses in the 40-42mm, however, would be a golden middle.
In simple words, eye relief means the distance that you can hold the binoculars between your eyes and the eyepiece to see the image correctly. It is particularly important for those wearing eyeglasses, as you will need some extra space in between. If the space is not big enough, an image in front of you will be significantly reduced.
Some advanced binoculars have an image-stabilisation, which reduces shake at higher modification. Therefore, you will be able to see clear, detailed image at modification higher than 10x. While it eliminates blurriness, these binoculars come at a higher price. They also tend to be way heavier, and every gram matters, when you are chasing your prey.
Binoculars have been around for such a long time, it feels like there is no simpler object that this and anyone can choose a great hunting binocular in an instant. However, it is a pretty difficult task. There are various types of binoculars; some are only good for daytime use and open spaces; others are great for rainy weather and bleak twilights; and some are made for hunting, but useless in daily life. However, by reading this review, you’ll be able to find the perfect pair for yourself, or your fellow hunters.