The most important piece of equipment for every bird watcher is a good pair of bird watching binoculars. Whether you are watching birds at your bird feeder or hiking along a trail, here are a few things to consider when purchasing bird watching binoculars.
The main components of bird watching binoculars are the following: the eyepieces (the end that goes up to the eye), the objective lens (the larger end of the glasses), the prisms (the glass inside the binoculars that receives the light) and the focus wheel (usually between the eyepieces).
Bird watching binoculars come with many different numbers attached to them. But, what do all these numbers (i.e. 7×35, 8×42, 10×50) mean? It’s not as complicated as it sounds. The first number (i.e. 7, 8, 10) in the group of numbers is the magnification. All that means is the objects that you are viewing through your bird watching binoculars will be 7x closer, 8x closer, or 10x closer. The choice is yours. For example, you have a pair of 8×42 bird watching binoculars and a bird is perched in a tree 80 feet away. The object will appear 8 times closer (80/8=10ft.). So, it will look like the object is only 10 ft. away from you. Picking the right magnification depends on the way that you will be using your binoculars for birding, but remember that the higher the magnification the steadier you need to hold the binoculars.
The second number attached to that group of numbers on your bird watching binoculars is the objective lens diameter. The objective lens is the far lens or larger lens on the binoculars. The objective lens diameter is the size in millimeters (i.e. 35, 42, 50) of the lens. This just simply means that a larger objective lens will let more light into the binoculars. The more light that enters the objective lens, the better the details and the brighter the image. If you are planning to use your bird watching binoculars more towards dusk or in the dark then the 50mm lens will be a better choice.
Bird watching binoculars have one of two types of prism designs. The two types are porro and roof prism systems. The porro prism system has a z-shaped optic path. What does this mean to you? Bird watching binoculars employing this system are bigger, bulkier and heavier, probably not a choice if you do alot of walking and hiking to watch birds. On the other hand, a couple of advantages of the porro prism is that they will have a wider field of view and they will cost less.
The roof prism system uses prisms that overlap closely, resulting in a slimmer and more compact shape. This makes the roof prism binoculars more lightweight. The drawback with the roof prism is that the field of view will be narrower and they are a more expensive bird watching binocular.
Another very important feature to consider when purchasing bird watching binoculars is the ease of focusing the binoculars. With birds constantly in motion, look for a pair of bird watching binoculars that has a quick and sharp focus wheel. Look for the focus mechanism on the binoculars to focus from far to close in one or less revolution. You want your binoculars to feel comfortable in your hands.
Remember, it is an individual preference and you should buy the best bird watching binoculars that you can afford.
Click The Three Models You Need To Check Out to see a review of binoculars that I recommend.