Best Bird Watching Binoculars
Summary: If you ever hope to see birds in action you need to have the right kind of binoculars for bird watching. This article gives you all the variables so you can find the best bird watching binoculars.
Bird watching is becoming more and more popular. As we age we may have to put away our sports gear, but we don't have to give up our enjoyment of the outdoors. Taking a walk in the woods can be healthy and fun, especially if you are properly equipped to get close to nature.
A good set of binoculars is essential and you need to follow some basic rules about finding the right pair for your viewing pleasure. Take your time. Birding glasses can run from the Nikon Action 7x35 binoculars at $60, to the Zeiss Victory 8x42 T*FL at a cool $1,800. Here are some guidelines.
Everyone wants power. At least, they think they want power. The more powerful your binoculars are, the better the magnification. The more magnification the larger objects will appear giving you the ability to see more details. But, all that magnification also means it will be harder to hold a steady view. It also means that you will be seeing a more narrow view, rather than a wide and encompassing view. So, before you get binoculars with a 10X power you had best think about those aforementioned points.
Let's talk about the field of view. The wider the field of view, the easier it will be to find an object as you look through the lens. It's also a lot easier on your eyes, but you do lose the close-up details. It's all about tradeoffs.
Lots of us wear glasses, so your search for the perfect set of binoculars has to include eye relief. Discuss things about long eye relief and eyecups which keep light from leaking into the lenses as you peer into the binoculars.
It's pretty easy to find a pair of binoculars that focus on things that are far away, but what if you are standing only ten feet away and still want to take a close-up look? Most off-the-shelf binoculars can achieve a close focus from no closer than 20 to 25 feet from the target. But, better birding binoculars can get in focus from as close as 10 feet, or less. You'll want that capability when the opportunity arises.
Here's something pretty basic you need to consider. You spot a bird and bring the lenses to your eyes, but you have to fiddle around with the focus so long that the bird has flown before you can finish fiddling. You need to be able to see the entire range of focus by turning the dial one turn or less. You don't want to stand there turning and turning the focus. The slower the gear ratio the more difficult it will be to focus on long distance targets. Vice versa is also true. If the focus is too fast you won't be able to focus on close-up targets. My suggestion is to look for a set of glasses with a variable speed control. It goes slower for close-ups and faster for targets that are far away.
As you really get into the hunt for your binoculars you should deal with someone who really knows his/her stuff. Ask them about prism glass and coatings and size of lens. If your salesperson gives you a blank look, its time to find another salesperson or another binocular store.
Now, remember that you have to carry your binoculars around with you. High power and big lenses means more weight. So, weight can be an issue, but even more important than weight is balance. You want a balanced set of field glasses to avoid straining your hands, wrists and arms. That's why you need the help of an experienced birder when making your purchase.
Last, but not least, you need to consider how to protect your not-so-inexpensive birding binoculars if it starts to rain while you are out searching for an elusive bird. Waterproofing is achieved with rubber œO rings and is available at all levels, but we recommend nitrogen purged waterproofing. It not only keeps out moisture, but it also blocks sand and dust.