When you are thinking about purchasing binoculars – for any reason – there is one thing to remember. Not all binoculars are the same. Just like other products, there are some that are better than others. Knowing more about them will allow you to get the best binoculars. Whether you are an avid bird watcher, a sports fan who likes to get close to the action, or have other uses for seeing things that are far away, our guide will help make sure you can make an informed decision.


Understanding the Numbers

You may have seen 8×32, 10×32 or other numbers used with binoculars. Basically, these numbers are the magnification and the objective lens diameter (the size of the lens.)

  • Magnification – Sometimes referred to as power, the magnification number describes how many times larger a distant object will appear. So, with 10 power binoculars, you will be able to see things 10 times larger than you normally would be able to see them. For example, if you have something that is 100 yards away, and you look through 10x magnification binoculars, it will appear as if it were only 10 yards away.
  • Objective Lens Diameter – The second number refers to the size of the outer lens, in millimeters. The size has an effect on how much you can see when looking through the binoculars. So, for instance, if you are a birdwatcher, you want a large lens diameter so that you don’t have to move the binoculars around to keep following the action. In addition to a wider field of view, a larger lens can bring in more light, making the image you see through them brighter.

As you can see, both numbers are important for different reasons. Beyond these two common numbers, however, there are other things you should take into consideration before you start browsing IntelliReview for the best binocular deals. Next, we are going to dive into some of the other important features you should think about before you purchase a pair of binoculars.


Features to Consider

  • Size – Binoculars come in all shapes and sizes – from ultra-compact to big and bulky. What you need to realize is that bigger isn’t necessarily better in all cases. Of course, a bigger lens is going to allow for a brighter, clearer image, but size is not the only determining factor for image quality. That said, if you are going to be carrying them around a lot, you want to make sure that you get something light weight that is easy to carry while still having the power (magnification) that you want.
  • Water Resistant or Water Proof – If you are hunting, bird watching, or using your binoculars near water, you are going to want to look into water resistant or water proof binoculars. Basically, the difference is in the protection offered. In general, water resistant binoculars will keep a little bit of water out while water proof binoculars will be able to be submerged in water completely – to varying depths. You want to make sure you protect the internal optics as much as you can.
  • Eye Relief – Looking through a little (or even a large) view finder can get uncomfortable after a while. If you’re going to be using your binoculars a lot, you want to make sure you find a pair that have a good eye relief rating. Basically, this is a number that tells you how far of a distance you can have between your eye and the lens. Most are in the 9 to 13 mm range, although you can get binoculars that have a longer eye relief range. If you wear eyeglasses, you will want to make sure you have enough space to see the whole image through the viewfinder.
  • Image Stabilization – Magnifying an image that is really far away enhances every shake and jiggle of the hands holding the binoculars. Because of this, some pairs have image stabilization built in. Basically, a software program adjusts for shaking to ‘stabilize’ the image. Sensors are used to detect movement and then the optics are adjusted slightly to make up for the shaking. This can dramatically improve the stability of images. If you have really powerful magnification or even slightly shaky hands, you want to get a pair of binoculars with image stabilization.
  • Coated Lenses – Lenses that are coated hold up better over time. However, better optics are going to cost more money. So, the lower end binoculars may save you a few bucks in the short run, but if you plan on using the binoculars for months or years to come, you are going to want to invest in a pair with coated lenses. They can really help with image contrast and overall quality, giving you a better image when using the binoculars.
  • Range Finder – Some binoculars include a laser that can calculate the distance of objects you are viewing. This is a feature that will be important for golfers who are playing an unfamiliar course. There are other uses, of course, but this may not be a feature that you want or need. Keeping this in mind as you browse around IntelliReview looking for the best deal may help you save a bit of money.
  • Exit Pupil Diameter – This is a number that measures low light performance. The bigger the number, the brighter the image, and the more detail you will be able to see. The number is calculated by dividing the objective lens diameter by the magnification of the binoculars.

Depending on your intended use for the binoculars, some or all of these features may be important to you. The more you know, the better decision you will be able to make as you look at all the deals and recommendations at IntelliReview.