Buying a good pair of binoculars: what makes them 'good'?
We understand that it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees. And you might think to yourself: which pair of binoculars is right for me? No worries, finding the right binoculars is not that at all difficult. There are a few things to keep in mind, depending on what you intend to use your binoculars for. Will you go bird watching, for example? Then you probably don't need a super high magnification factor, because that would make it difficult to follow a bird in flight. In the text below you'll find more advice on which binoculars to choose for which purpose. For most purposes, simple binoculars with 8x or 10x magnification factor and a front lens diameter of 42 mm are sufficient.
Features: which binoculars for which activity?
With every pair of binoculars, you'll find a long list of specifications, but the most important numbers are the ones that come right after the name, like 8x42 for example. The first number refers to the magnification factor, the second number refers to the size of the front lens. The larger the first number, the closer the binoculars bring the image. However, it also makes it more difficult to keep the image still. The larger the second number, the more light hits the lens. It also means that the binoculars will be a bit bigger. There are many types of binoculars, and different specifications will be important for different activities.
Binoculars for bird watching
When you're looking for binoculars to go bird watching, you'll need to keep a few things in mind. You'll want relatively small binoculars, because you'll want to take it with you on your excursions. If you're regularly going bird watching at dusk, you'll want a relatively large front lens, so there's enough light hitting the lens. A magnification of 8x or 10x is perfect for binoculars for bird watching.
A compact pair of binoculars is really great for on the go. If you're going for a walk or hike, or if you're traveling. Compact binoculars are easy to take with you. And you'll be able to grab them really quickly if you spot something! Many compact binoculars fit in your coat pocket. If you want a compact pair of binoculars, you might also consider a monocular. Binoculars are for two eyes, a monocular is for just one eye. Monoculars are very small and easy to take with you.
Binoculars with camera
Binoculars with a camera are perfect if you want to take a picture of what you're looking at. Before you know it, that bird will have flown away or that fox will have retreated back into its den. Moreover, with these kinds of binoculars, you don't need to carry two devices. One disadvantage of such a pair of binoculars is that they don't come cheap.
Binoculars with night vision
Binoculars with night vision are perfect if you often go out to spot nocturnal animals. Binoculars with night vision are more sensitive to light, so you're able to see perfectly fine in the dark. Perfect for fishing, hunting or camping.
Binoculars for those who wear glasses
These days, there are many binoculars for people with glasses! The eye relief needs to be at least 15 mm, so you can look through the binoculars while wearing your glasses. Most binoculars have adjustable eye-cups, so you can adjust the eye relief as needed. You can also use them when you're not wearing glasses, then you can simply use the dioptric correction.
Binoculars for astronomy
Binoculars for astronomy are a good choice for novice astronomers. They are cheaper than telescopes and can be used for many things. If you want to use your binoculars for astronomy, we recommend a high magnification factor and a front lens with a large diameter, so the lens will catch as much light as possible.
As a water sportsman or in wet conditions, you naturally want your binoculars to be waterproof. All nitrogen-filled binoculars are waterproof. Very practical!
High quality and affordable: great binoculars for competitive prices
Of course, you want a high-quality yet cheap pair of binoculars. You'll be looking for the best price-quality ratio. On this page you'll find affordable binoculars. But also more expensive binoculars from high-end brands. In short, something for everyone!
If you're wearing glasses, you can either choose a pair of binoculars with a larger eye relief, or you could use dioptric correction. This compensates for the refractive error of your eyes. Not all binoculars have this option, and binoculars with this feature are usually more expensive.
Weight and size: a compromise between image quality, weight and size.
Will you choose a large or a smaller pair of binoculars? It's good to consider how much exposure to light you require, how good the image quality should be, and the size and weight that you want your binoculars to be. A large pair of binoculars usually has a better image quality, because there is more exposure to light. However, that does make the binoculars heavier and less comfortable to carry around everywhere.
Which magnification factor will you choose? Again, the activity for which you're buying your binoculars is important to consider. Will you go bird watching, for example? With a higher magnification factor it might be harder to follow a bird in flight. It's also more difficult to keep the image still. Of course, personal preference also plays a role. Some people simply prefer a higher magnification factor, because it gets the image 'closer' to you.
Brands: design and quality
Are you looking for an affordable pair of binoculars? Make sure to choose the right brand. Our own brand Eden offers quality binoculars for reasonable prices. You'll get the quality you're used to from more expensive brands, but cheaper! There's a suitable pair of Eden binoculars for both novice and experienced binoculars-users. Examples of more expensive brands are Steiner and Swarovski.
There are different types of focus technology. Most binoculars allow you to adjust at which distance you'll focus the image. Usually, the smallest distance is around 2 meters. However, autofocus binoculars also exist. Autofocus binoculars are also called fixed focus binoculars. This does not mean that the binoculars adjust the focus on their own, but rather that the focus is fixed at a distance of about 15 meters. No moving parts, so they're very dependable. But they are not that suitable for bird watchers or bug spotters.
You purchase binoculars at the online binoculars shop Knivesandtools! We're experts when it comes to binoculars. Do you have any questions, or are you unsure which binoculars are right for you? Feel free to contact us!