While you can purchase binoculars at many strengths, it doesn’t mean they are ideal to meet your purpose.
Although you can have several high-power magnification levels, there are many things to be wary of before you buy a pair of binoculars of a certain strength.
An oversight often is that one inch when using your binoculars can equate to a couple of hundred yards, and trying to track objects can be nearly impossible.
Instead of looking at the most powerful binoculars and thinking, they are suitable. You can go through this guide to find the best long-distance pair of binoculars that suit your needs. (Read Best Mini Binoculars)
No matter if you are hunting, star gazing, or want a decent pair for bird watching, you can find information here that can help you decide which path you should take.
What Does 20×50 Mean on Binoculars?
The first number or the 20 in this question is the binoculars powers of magnification. Using this shows the number of times larger an object will be through the lenses rather than by your naked eye.
Remember, the more your image is magnified, the harder it is to stay steady. One inch of shake means 20 inches on the viewing end. Using a pair of binoculars with 20x magnification would probably require a tripod or other form of stabilization.
The second number is the binocular’s objective lens diameter, and this shows the width of your front lens.
Lenses collect light photons, and the wider it is, the more light it can gather. You often see this measurement listed in mm.
We use light photons to see, and these objective lens will gather this light to provide a clearer image at higher magnification, although with this comes bulk and weight. Two pieces of 50mm glass will be large, and the binoculars’ housing will grow in size and weight.
Your 20×50 binoculars will then magnify 20 times and use objective lenses of 50 mm. You also have your exit pupil diameter of 2.5 mm, which is the objective lens divided by the magnification.
They will deliver plenty of daylight power and also decent cloudy or late-afternoon light-gathering power, as long as you support them for clarity, such as you would a spotting scope.
What Does 30×60 Mean in Binoculars?
As we have seen, 30 is the power of your binoculars. For this, you may find this high power in a niche product, such as for someone who may use a Celestron Skymaster to watch the stars.
You could also find field observers who can erect stationary platforms for their work.
High powered binoculars of this magnification are unusual, but with support, they are a favored strength for astronomy and long-distance viewing, although you may not see them in use.
30x power is incredibly hard to stabilize by hand alone, and it would be mounted on a tripod with a tripod adapter like a binocular parallelogram mount.
You could also find such optics come with image-stabilization and use accelerometers to detect motion.
What is Better 7×50 or 10×50 Binoculars?
Many individuals buy binoculars for bird watching, and to a certain degree, the image quality isn’t so much a decision-maker as long as they can spot as many different birds as they want.
However, things change if you want to get started in astronomy. Many consider binoculars a necessity as much as it is learning which stars make up which constellation. A set of binoculars can also be a step toward buying a telescope.
Even then, once you have a pair of the best high power binoculars, you have an extended wider field of view.
Binoculars sold at department stores aren’t suited for night-sky viewing. The best all-round for astronomy are 7×50 or 10×50.
- 7×50 offers an exit pupil of 7 mm, which should be the largest to use.
- 10×50 binoculars deliver a 5mm exit pupil, which is even better.
Age can play a part, and if you are over 40 years old, your dilated pupils maximum size in the night is more likely to be around 5 mm. Thus the 10×50 will be better.
When an exit pupil is smaller, the brighter the image, but the nearer to the eyepiece your eye has to be, it can make it harder to use.
Which is the Best Magnification for Binoculars?
To determine the best magnification from your binoculars, you also need to look at many other areas that make up these.
While the lenses do much of the work, they are not just clear glass lenses.
Here you can find a quick run-through of areas and terms you need to know.
- Backpacking: 8×25, 10×25, or 8×28 and 10×28 good options.
- Bird Watching: Midsize to full-size models of 8×42 or 8×32.
- Safari or Whale Watching: 8×32, 8×42, 10×32, and 10×42. Use the 10’s if you know you will be further away.
Most common sizes are either 8 or 10
- Binoculars with 8-power: Deliver a wider field of view
- Binoculars with 10-power: Deliver a narrower, closer, detailed loo
Field of View (FOV)
There is more than just magnification and long-range viewing.
Higher magnification delivers a narrow field of view, while a lower magnification has a wider FOV.
You find these measured at 1, 000 yards. Measure from the extremes of left to right of your viewpoint at 1000 yards, and you can determine any extra or less angle of view.
Tracking flying birds is much easier with a lower magnification binocular than a high powered pair. Spotting scopes a good example as you can’t track, and can only use spotting scopes to zero in on a narrow point.
Light gathering capability. Night vision will be improved, yet better optics such as high-quality Nikon Eco-Glass can also help. Many night vision binoculars don’t work in the same way as a regular pair. (Read Best Hiking Compass)
The bigger the number, the brighter the image. You will have better viewing in low light, and it can be easier to track or watch subjects while shaking.
Low-light situations: Exit pupils of 5mm or above is ideal. In the dawn, dusk, or thick tree cover, using high exit pupil numbers make viewing easier.
Bright daylight situations: Exit pupil sizes are less vital because nearly all binoculars will deliver exit pupils over 2mm.
Your binoculars will have a rubber eyepiece. Eye relief is the distance from your eyes to the full FOV. Spectacle wearers are aware of this, and many good binoculars allow you to change settings for this.
Prisms are what directs the light from the image to your eye. Older models used ‘porro prisms.’
Newer models use more efficient ‘roof prisms.’ A roof prism has aligned eyepieces and objective lenses.
You will find high power binoculars or zoom binoculars offer fully multi-coated optics and lens coatings along with extra-low dispersion that offers minimal lens distortion.
Besides this, you can find they now include waterproof and fog proof to deliver the best image quality in all conditions.
Fully multi-coated binocular lenses such as those in the Nikon Monarch 5 with Bak 4 high index Porro prisms.
Or, if you wanted to move up the price range to one of the highest power binoculars best binoculars you can buy, the Aculon A211.
All in, you can see the best binoculars will be a mix of the best multi-coated lenses, best high-quality prisms over magnification unless you have a suitable tripod.
Read more: Best Hiking Watch