Choosing the Right Pair of Binoculars

Binoculars are an excellent choice when it comes to selecting gifts. Irrespective of the recipient’s interests or pastimes, a high-quality pair of binoculars can be cherished and utilised by almost anyone. Considering how frequently we all yearn for a closer look at things in our surroundings, binoculars have universal appeal.

As I have successfully persuaded you to consider purchasing a magnificent set of binoculars, you will proceed to the binoculars section on the B&H website. However, you may feel a slight apprehension as you encounter an overwhelming selection of over 1,000 options from more than 40 different brands.

Why do binoculars vary in price? Are there differences between various pairs of binoculars? Can they be categorised based on their functionality? What factors contribute to the pricing of binoculars? Do certain types of binoculars cater to specific viewing preferences?

If you’re looking to buy Vortex binoculars and seeking answers to the above questions as well as some guidance in buying a good pair of binoculars, you’re in the right place.

Let’s take a look at our comprehensive guide on choosing the perfect pair of binoculars.

Price Point

Now, let’s begin by discussing the aspect of pricing. As previously stated, there are binoculars available at a price lower than that of an extravagant cup of coffee, while others can exceed the cost of many pre-owned cars. It is interesting to note that even when comparing seemingly similar pairs of binoculars, the price disparity can be as high as 100 times. Upon observing the specifications of inexpensive and expensive binoculars, one may notice a striking resemblance. So, what exactly accounts for this discrepancy in pricing?

I categorize medium-sized binoculars into three different price ranges: high, midrange, and inexpensive. Typically, high-priced binoculars cost in the four-figure range or close to it. The midrange binoculars fall within the lower to middle three-digit range, while the inexpensive ones are priced in the two-digit realm. When it comes to choosing a gift for someone, particularly in the midrange to inexpensive categories, I often find myself deliberating over which option to select. (In fact, my father-in-law might be reading this and wondering how much the pair I purchased for him a few years ago cost me.)

Mid-sized binoculars, commonly used for activities such as hunting, birdwatching, and general viewing, are primarily discussed in the previous paragraph. Compact or travel binoculars, on the other hand, tend to have smaller glass elements and are generally more affordable. Conversely, larger binoculars designed for astronomy can often carry a hefty price tag, although there are also more reasonably priced options available.

While exploring various stores, you may observe that numerous manufacturers offer binoculars across a wide range of prices. Among these, renowned brands like ZEISS produce models that fall into both the high-priced and midrange categories.

If you possess the financial means to present high-end binoculars as gifts, and/or if your friends and family have a preference for luxurious items, then feel free to proceed. Furthermore, If you have the opportunity, I wouldn’t mind receiving a pair as well!

As ordinary people, it is important for us to consider our financial limitations when purchasing gifts for our loved ones. Therefore, I would like to share my insights and offer some advice in this regard.

There is a notable contrast in quality and performance between binoculars of varying prices. While the distinction between a $2,000 and a $200 pair may not be as significant as that between a $200 and a $20 pair, it is still observable to those who are knowledgeable about binoculars. Most people will likely struggle to discern the disparities in viewing capability and construction between high-end and midrange binoculars. However, the disparities between the $200 pair and the $20 pair will undoubtedly be noticeable for almost everyone.

The importance of a quality midrange binocular cannot be underestimated. In my experience, even when compared to high-end models, certain mid-priced binoculars offer nearly identical viewing capabilities. On the other hand, cheaper binoculars can significantly fall short in terms of performance when compared to midrange options.

What benefits do you gain from spending extra money? Typically, you can expect improved optical quality, including clearer, brighter, and sharper visuals. Additionally, there will be fewer instances of internal reflections, lens flare, and colour fringing. Furthermore, you may also benefit from enhanced sealing, ensuring reliable waterproof and fog-proof performance. For the majority of individuals, the experience of using a moderately priced pair of binoculars will be highly enjoyable.

In situations where you anticipate that younger users will not properly maintain or may misplace their binoculars, it is advisable to consider purchasing binoculars from the more affordable range. However, for all other circumstances, it is recommended to invest in higher-quality options.

Essential Discussion on Specifications

In each binocular listing on the B&H website, there are two numbers presented with an “X” as a separator. These numbers indicate the magnification power and the size of the objective lenses. To illustrate, a pair of binoculars labelled as 8×42 means it has 8 times magnification and 42mm objective lenses.

Is higher magnification always preferable? Not necessarily. Although higher magnification allows for a closer view, it also amplifies any movements of the image. Personally, I have relatively steady hands, but I struggle to maintain a stable, shake-free view when using magnifications greater than 8x.

Are bigger goals always superior? That’s not necessarily the case. One benefit of bigger objectives is the increased amount of light that enters the binoculars, resulting in a brighter view. However, larger objectives also come with drawbacks such as increased weight and reduced portability due to their larger lenses.

If you wish to acquire in-depth knowledge on the subject, there are various online resources available that can provide extensive information on specifications.

In the context of this article, we will continue moving forward.

Things to Avoid

I would advise against purchasing inexpensive binoculars unless they are intended for a young child who is new to birding or hunting. It is better to invest in a higher-quality pair once they are older and have learned to take better care of their possessions.

I would recommend steering clear of “zoom binoculars” when it comes to the binocular world. Although zoom lenses have made significant advancements in terms of image quality for cameras, the same cannot be said for zoom binoculars. At first glance, it may seem appealing to have the flexibility of adjusting the magnification level and getting a closer view of objects. However, the truth is that these binoculars generally have poorer optical quality compared to those with fixed magnifications.