If you’re keen on birding, a reliable pair of birding binoculars should prove a valuable accessory to help you focus on the many and varied visiting birds that can be observed during the changing seasons of the year.
Bird watching is a popular hobby that combines the benefits of light outdoor exercise with the fascination of discovering a wide range of colorful and intriguing wildlife. And because the bird population tends to change with the weather and the time of year, there are always new sightings and studies to be made.
If you enjoy country walks, your local nature conservation center may offer the opportunity to participate in group outings to watch the movement and behavior of birds in their natural habitat. Having your own set of binoculars suitable for bird watching is a must, as you’ll want to be able to zoom in on interesting specimens as they fly into view.
So how are you to go about choosing the best birding binoculars to suit your budget? Perhaps one of the most important factors in selecting the right pair for your needs is to understand the way that binoculars are rated and to know which features will matter most for your hobby. Take account of the way you will be using your equipment to decide on the most important criteria for you:
- Portability: You’re likely to be carrying them around for extended periods — maybe all day. So you need to have binoculars that are sufficiently light, without sacrificing performance or sturdiness.
- Magnification Power: Binoculars are normally given a designation of two numbers (for example, 8×40). The first number shows the magnification, while the second gives the objective lens diameter, or aperture. A magnification power of 7 or 8 may be sufficient for observation in woodland, unless you also intend to do long distance viewing or have a special need or interest in seeing detail.
- Width of Field: The width of viewing area is important for several purposes, such as catching sight of fast moving birds or large flocks. In general, the width of field diminishes at greater magnification, but it is also dependent on the features of the optical system inside the scopes.
- Coatings on Optics: Many models offer a multi-coating feature which can help to minimize light loss as the image is transmitted through the lenses and prisms inside the equipment.
- Eye Relief: Anyone who wears glasses will be grateful not to have to remove them in order to see into an eyepiece! The eye relief figure indicates how far behind the eyepiece the field of view stays visible. This measurement can be used to compare different models and their suitability for those who normally wear spectacles or sunglasses.
A field guide and a good pair of binoculars can greatly enhance your enjoyment of birdwatching as a relaxing and diverting hobby.