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Compact Binoculars

Updated on October 29, 2010

How to Choose Compact Binoculars

Many people find buying compact binoculars confusing. As soon as you set out to make a purchase you are inevitably faced with numbers like 8x42 which you have to be clear on in order to get the right pair. You are going to have to consider any special features or any of the specialized types like night binoculars or waterproof binoculars. The main thing to making the best decision is to consider how you intend to use them, and then everything else should fall into line nicely.

By far the two most important things that you have to keep in mind when you are picking compact binoculars are the magnification and the lens diameter. These are clearly labeled on all binoculars you will see a number like 7x35 or something similar. Magnification is shown by the number that comes first and that is just how much closer an object will look. The number that comes second will let you know the size of the lens in millimeters. The larger the lens the wider your field of view will be. It isn’t simply about picking the binoculars that have biggest numbers, that would be way too easy. It is difficult to pick up moving objects if you have a lot of magnification, so that might be something you want to avoid for a lot of uses.  A big lens diameter will give you an excellent field of view but it comes at the price of big and heavy binoculars, not a good idea if you are going to be carrying them a long way.

The next big thing in buying binoculars is the brightness, the size of the exit pupil will determine this. If you lens diameter and divide it by the magnification you will find the size of the exit pupil. More light will reach your eye if this is a large number. This is a good thing if you are using your binoculars at night but it isn’t such a good thing if you use them when the sun is shining. For use in the daytime or general purpose binoculars an exit pupil size of 3 to 5 mm is a good choice but for use at night you are going to want an exit pupil of at least 7 mm.

There are a few other factors that you are going to have to consider but they are mainly a matter of what you feel comfortable with. A few buyers consider something like the prism or how the binoculars are focused are major issues while other people could care less. You will want to keep in mind any of the specialized types of binoculars that may need like compact binoculars or stabilized binoculars. Keeping how you want to use the compact binoculars in mind should help to make certain that you make the right choice for your needs.


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