Did you know? Some binoculars are fitted out with digital magnification, and also allow you to take photos and record videos. These are called ‘binocams.’
Brightness - As for brightness (the second number), a larger objective lens lets in more light and detail, so you’ll see a crisper, clearer image through your binoculars.
Interpupillary distance, dioptre adjustment and eye relief - This is a lot of jargon, so let’s break it down:
- Interpupillary distance is the space between your two eyes. To use your binoculars comfortably, you want to make sure they can be adjusted to sit on the bridge of your nose.
- Every pair of binoculars offers a degree of dioptre adjustment. This means you can adjust the lenses according to your eyesight in your left and right eye to get a crisp, sharp image. If you have one eye with better sight than the other, you’re not alone!
- Finally, eye relief refers to the distance between the eyepiece lens and the eyepoint (aka the surface you press your eye against). If you wear glasses, look for binoculars with a longer eye relief. That way, you won’t be restricted to a smaller field of view.
Field of view (FOV) and range finding -The field of view is the width of the scenery you can see through your binoculars. It’s measured in degrees, and the larger the number, the wider the FOV. Binoculars with wide FOVs are good for scanning scenery, and observing quick movements (like a fast-paced sports game, or animals chasing each on safari). Many binoculars are also equipped with a rangefinder. This superimposes a scale on your image, so that you can estimate your distance to the object. The feature comes in handy if you’re hunting or golfing.
Optical quality and lens types - The optical quality is all about clarity. High-quality lenses can optimise the available light, and eliminate glare – leaving you with a superior image. They can also perform well in all lighting conditions, and help to colour-correct and offset imperfections. As you may have guessed, binoculars with extremely high optical quality are often more expensive.
Image stabilisation - Found mostly in Canon binoculars, this feature auto-corrects any jitters or shakes that can easily happen when you’re using a high magnification – especially if you’re holding your binoculars or sitting in a moving vehicle.