Binoculars FAQ – 56 Most Commonly Questions Answered

May 9, 2019 4 Comments


Binoculars FAQ


In this FAQ you will find short answers to 56 most commonly asked questions about binoculars.



Question: I want to buy a pair of binoculars. Which one would you recommend?

Answer: It depends on the purpose of your buy and your budget. Multipurpose binoculars don’t exist. You have to decide why you want to have binocular. For general use, for theatre, sport events, for astronomic observations. But you can always find binocular that fits your budget. Pricey binoculars are always superior to cheap optics in terms of overall quality and especially image quality produced by binoculars.


Question: Do you recommend branded binoculars or non branded?

Answer: There are some quality Chinese manufacturers that produce quality binoculars at a reasonable price. But most of them are not good. We recommend branded binoculars that will cost you a little more but will meet most of your expectations in terms of overall quality and user experience.


Question: Do you recommend zoom binoculars?

Answer: Most well known manufactures of optics don’t manufacture zoom binoculars for well known reasons. Zoom binoculars are always inferior to standard binoculars with fixed magnification. That’s why most branded manufacturers such as Nikon, Wingspan, Carson, Canon, Meopta, Zeiss, Vanguard never manufacture zoom binoculars. In short, we don’t recommend zoom binoculars.


Question: Why binoculars have different forms?

Answer: There are two types of binoculars existing on the market. Porro prism and roof prism binoculars. Generally speaking, porro binoculars produce more interesting image than roof prism binoculars. Porro binoculars are less compact than roof binoculars and cheaper. Roof binoculars are more expensive and lightweight. Two binoculars that produce image of the same quality will have different prices where roof prism binoculars will almost always be more expensive.


Question: Are there any binoculars you recommend to avoid?

Answer: Yes, there are many fake binoculars available on the market that I recommend to avoid. I tried some of them and don’t recommend them. Some binoculars I don’t recommend without purchasing them. I base my recommendation on my experience and knowledge in the field of optics. I really don’t need to buy every pair and waste my money.


Question: Which magnification do you recommend for general use purposes?

Answer: For general use purposes I recommend to choose binoculars with magnification 8x, 10x or 12x. Such binoculars have a wide field of view and meet requirements of most people.


Question: What do high power binoculars mean?

Answer: High power binoculars or astronomic binoculars start from magnification 15x and up to 100x. High power binoculars are heavy and should be used using tripod only.


Question: I want a high power binocular but lightweight. I want to use it without a tripod. Which one do you recommend?

Answer: There are some binoculars that can meet your needs:

  • Pentax SP 16×50 Binoculars
  • Nikon 7247 Action 16×50 EX Extreme All-Terrain Binocular
  • Levenhuk Karma PRO 16×42 Waterproof Fogproof Binoculars
  • Nikon 8250 ACULON A211 16×50 Binocular

You can find them here


Question: Which brand do you recommend in terms of quality and reasonable price?

Answer: In terms of quality and price I can recommend these brands:

  • Bushnell
  • Wingspan
  • Nikon
  • Levenhuk
  • Carson
  • Celestron
  • Leupold
  • Vortex

You can find all these brands and binoculars here


Question: Do you recommend BAK-4 or BK-7 prism binoculars?

Answer: I recommend BAK-4. Binoculars with such a prism produce high quality image at a reasonable price. BK-7 is inferior to BAK-4 and recommended ONLY if you are on a tight budget. For more info about this topic read here


Question: Are image stabilization binoculars any good?

Answer: Yes, they are good. Manufactured by Canon. They stabilize the image so you can enjoy looking through binoculars without any fear of hand movements. They are a little pricey and heavier than traditional binoculars but worth your money. For more info read here.


Question: Are ED glass binoculars better than standard BAK-4 binoculars?

Answer: There is no huge difference in the quality of the image produced by binoculars but there is some difference. ED glass binoculars have less chromatic aberration than BAK-4 binoculars and that’s why they are a little expensive.


Question: Is exit pupil important when choosing binoculars?

Answer: Yes, it should be at least 3mm so you can get a wide field of view. The bigger the exit pupil the wider the field of view of the binoculars.


Question: Does the image quality produced by binoculars depend on the diameter of binoculars objective?

Answer: Yes, Image quality depends on several factors, such as diameter of binoculars objective, lens coatings and overall optics quality used in the binoculars. The bigger the objective lens the brighter the image.


Question: Is lens coating an important factor when choosing binoculars?

Answer: Yes, it’s important. There are different types of lens coatings used in the optics. Fully coated, multi coated, fully multi coated. Fully multi coated is the best one that gives you the best image quality.


Question: Is image in porro different from roof binoculars?

Answer: I can’t say the difference is huge. There is some difference though. In good porro binoculars image has a stereoscopic, 3D effect and looks more interesting. This applies to pricey, well-made porro binoculars only. In roof well made binoculars the same effect can be achieved but the price will be higher.


Question: What do the numbers mean?

Answer: Let’s see an example of binoculars 10×50. 10x is the magnification power. 50 is the diameter of objective lens.


Question: Does field of view depend on magnification?

Answer: Yes, The higher the magnification the narrower field of view. For more detailed info about field of view read here.


Question: What does quality image mean in the binocular?

Answer: Quality image means it must be clear and sharp as if you are looking without binocular. Binoculars that produce poor image will not be comfortable to use and you will feel tired after 5 minutes of using such binoculars. Is it harmful for your eyes? Yes.



Question: What is the meaning of 10×50, 20×50 or 30×60 in a pair of binoculars?

Answer: The first number is the magnification power of the binocular and second number is the the size of objective lens (front lens) in mm. This means a binocular 10×50 has magnification power 10x and the objective lens 50mm. The bigger the objective lens the brighter the image that you see when looking through binoculars.



Question: What is a powerful binocular?

Answer: Powerful or power binocular also means astronomic binoculars with magnification 15x and above. These binoculars have narrower field of view compared to less powerful binoculars that have magnification up to 12. Power binocular is an excellent optical instrument for astronomic observations or for watching distant objects.



Question: What are the best binoculars for the money?

Answer: It’s a big question. The best binocular is one that serves you for years. One that is durable and produce high quality image. With this in mind branded binoculars would be your best buy. Branded binoculars are always made of high quality BAK-4 prism, have fully multi coated lenses, are fog proof, waterproof and durable.



Question: What is better 8×42 or 10×42 binoculars?

Answer: Generally speaking both binoculars are good and in fact they are the best selling optical instruments. 8×42 has a wider field of view while offering a powerful magnification. Though 10×42 binoculars is the most selling one in my opinion 8×42 is the winner because it combines two main features: powerful magnification and wider field of view.



Question: What is the best brand for binoculars?

Answer: There are many brands you can trust, such as Steiner, Bresser, Vortex, Pentax, Bushnell, Carson. Full list is here. You can choose any of them. They all produce high-end products. If you want branded pair of binoculars of high quality at a reasonable price then choose one of these brands, Bresser, Carson, Vortex, Celestron, Bushnell, Nikon, Levenhuk, Wingspan, Pentax.



Question: What should I look for when buying binoculars?

Answer: Main thing to look for is defining the purpose of your buy. Do you plan to buy binocular for sporting events, theatre, stadiums, hunting, star gazing, general use? Depending on that you can choose the right pair of binoculars. In this article you can find binoculars by magnification and use.



Question: Are 10×50 binoculars good?

Answer: Yes, they are great binoculars that deliver high quality, bright and crystal clear image. But the objective lens in these binoculars is 50mm which makes them a little heavy. This causes hand shaking when looking through binoculars. If you are a woman you better choose a binocular 10×42. If you are a man you can choose 10×50. Generally speaking there is no huge difference in the image quality between these two binoculars.



Question: What magnification binoculars is best for bird watching?

Answer: The most used binoculars for bird watching are 8×42 and 10×42 binoculars. 8×42 has two advantageous: they have wider field of view and lightweight. I would recommend 8×42.



Question: Are zoom binoculars any good?

Answer: Generally speaking zoom binoculars are not recommended. It’s always better to buy binoculars with a fixed magnification. If you though decide to choose a zoom binocular then choose branded products. For more details about zoom binoculars read here.



Question: What are the best Vortex binoculars?

Answer: It’s really hard to answer which Vortex binoculars are the best ones. It depend on many aspects and the purpose of your buy. The most affordable ones are Vortex Diamondback, Vortex Crossfire, Vortex Raptor and Vortex Vanquish. For more info read here.



Question: What are good cheap binoculars?

Answer: Good cheap binoculars are the ones that deliver high quality image and are cheap. In this article I recommend good binoculars under $60. If you have more money to spend and want to buy branded binocular at a reasonable price then you can choose one from this page.



Question: Are Swarovski binoculars worth the money?

Answer: Swarovski binoculars are very expensive. As I know, the cheapest one is Swarovski 46211 CL Pocket 10×25 Binoculars ($879). Their products are made of high quality materials, have a great design and are very easy to use. When it comes to image quality I can’t say they outperform binoculars that cost $200-$300. Swarovski is a brand. If it’s important for you then you will not be disappointed. Otherwise look for cheaper alternatives.



Question: Are binoculars expensive?

Answer: No, they are not expensive. There are though expensive models available for a few hundred dollars or even for $1.000 or even $2.000. But you don’t actually need them. There are branded binoculars that deliver high quality image that you can buy for under $100.



Question: What is the best magnification for binoculars?

Answer: It’s hard to tell what magnification is the best. Generally speaking, it depends on the purpose of your buy. First, you need to determine why you need binoculars. For hunting, for general use, for bird watching, for marine purposes, for sport events. The most used one is the magnification 8x and 10x. In my opinion, these two are the best magnification for binoculars.



Question: What are the best binoculars for the money?

Answer: I think the best binoculars for the money are those that have a reasonable price tag and meet quality requirements. For around $150 you can buy brand binoculars, such as Levenhuk, Celestron, Nikon, Carson, Wingspan, Leupold, Vortex, Bushnell. All these models produce high quality image and are very easy to use. In my opinion, these are the best binoculars for the money you spend in terms of reasonable price and good quality.



Question: What are the best binoculars for kids?

Answer: Best binoculars for kids are the ones produced by brand companies. When you buy branded optics you protect your children ‘s eyesight from low quality optics. My favorite brand is Bresser (German optics). Some quality kids binoculars are listed here.



Question: What is better telescope or binoculars?

Answer: In my opinion, binocular is better than telescope. Because binoculars produce 3d image while telescopes can offer only a flat image. Plus looking through binoculars is way more comfortable than through telescopes because you use two eyes instead of one with telescopes. In my opinion, binoculars are better than telescopes. Though telescopes offer a greater magnification you can buy high power binoculars with magnification up to 100x. They cost around $2.500



Question: Which zoom binoculars are best?

Answer: In general I don’t recommend zoom binoculars because of the poor image quality they produce. If anyway you want to get a pair of zoom binoculars I recommend choosing from brand companies, such as Bushnell, Nikon, Bresser, Celestron, Olympus. I did an in-depth research here.



Question: What are the best high powered binoculars?

Answer: The best high power binoculars are those with magnification 40x, 48x, 64x, 94x. They are not just high power, they are astronomical binoculars. If you need less powerful binoculars I highly recommend magnification 15x or 16x. These binoculars are lightweight and can be used without a tripod. Any other binoculars with magnification higher than 16x need a tripod.



Question: What are the best compact binoculars to buy?

Answer: The best compact binoculars are those with magnification 7x, 8x or 10x with objective lenses 21mm, 25mm, 40mm or 42mm. Any other binoculars with higher magnification are not compact, especially with objective lenses 50mm and above. Here are some of the best configurations: 7×35, 8×21, 8×25, 8×32, 8×42, 10×25, 10×28, 10×42,



Question: How far can the most powerful binoculars see?

Answer: The most powerful binoculars that I know are the products of Oberwerk. They offer the following magnifications: 40, 48, 64, 94. These are very powerful binoculars that you can use to watch distant objects, 20km, 30km, 50km from you. These are the perfect fit for astronomical observations as well.



Question: What can you do with binoculars?

Answer: You can do a lot of things with binoculars, such as watching distant objects, astronomical observations, watching sporting events, for stadiums, bird or animal watching, when traveling etc. It’s amazing when you can see something that is far from you thanks to binoculars that bring things closer to you.



Question: Should I wear glasses with binoculars or What binoculars would you recommend for glasses wearers?

Answer: Not always. Because binoculars have focus mechanism and you can use it to get clear and sharp image. This mechanism will correct your vision in most cases. If you have astigmatism then you need to wear glasses when using binoculars. Almost all binoculars have twisted eye-cups to help you comfortably use optical instrument even if you ware glasses. Look for binoculars that have at least 15mm eye relief. In most cases it will be enough for glasses wearers. Finally, if you buy a binocular make sure to ask if your desired model is suitable for glass wearers.



Question: Why do I get double vision with binoculars?

Answer: There are different reasons for that. Adjust binoculars barrels first to get one image and then adjust focus mechanism to get crystal clear image. There should be one single clear image when looking through binoculars. Sometimes your binocular lens may need adjustment for which you need to check each barrel separately. Locate which one needs adjustment and then do it manually with instruments or take your binocular to a specialist who can do it.



Question: How do you know if binoculars are good?

Answer: If you buy binoculars from a well known company that are listed here rest assured they are good. If you buy from unknown Chinese manufacturer make sure you buy binoculars with BAK-4 prism with fully multi coated lenses. Even if you buy branded binoculars make sure it’s BAK-4 and fully multi coated. Also, make sure you don’t buy zoom binoculars.



Question: What are the best travel binoculars?

Answer: The best travel binoculars are those that are lightweight, water proof and fog proof. Optimal magnification is 8x, 10x or 12x. I wouldn’t recommend binoculars with objective lens of 50mm because such binoculars are a little weighty. The ideal choice would be objective lens of 21mm, 25mm, 32mm. The last one recommended is 40mm or 42 mm.



Question: How Much Should I Spend on Binoculars?

Answer: There is no need to spend thousands of dollars on expensive optics. There are many different binoculars at a reasonable price available. You can buy binoculars under $50. Those will be non branded. Or for branded binoculars you have to spend around $100. The quality of prism in branded binoculars will be much better and they produce better image in terms of being crystal clear, sharp in true colors.



Question: What type of binoculars are best for hunting?

Answer: Binoculars that you buy for hunting purposes must meet certain criteria. They must be fog proof and waterproof. They must be lightweight. The ideal magnification is 8x or 10x. These configurations are recommended: 8×25, 8×30, 8×32, 8×40, 10×25, 10×32, 10×40, 10×42.



Question: What does FOV mean for binoculars?

Answer: Field of view in binoculars is the width of the area you can see. The wider FOV the better your viewing experience. If you want a wide field of view then choose binoculars with magnification 8x or 10x. Magnification 8x is preferable because it has wider field of view.



Question: What are the best binoculars for long distance viewing?

Answer: For long distance viewing I highly recommend binoculars with magnification up to 16x with objective lenses up to 50mm. Such binoculars are lightweight and easy to use which ensures comfortable viewing without hand shaking.



Question: What are the best binoculars for concerts?

Answer: For concerts the best recommended binoculars may vary from magnification 4x up to 8x depending on the place where the concert is conducted. In a closed area magnification 4x will be perfect. On stadiums magnification 8x is a better choice. For this purpose you need binoculars with objective lens 21mm, 25mm, 32mm. Because these configurations are compact and easy to cary and hold when looking through them.



Question: What are the best marine binoculars?

Answer: Among best marine binoculars I can recommend German Bresser binoculars. Bresser offers several models, such as Bresser Nautic 7×50 WD compass binoculars, Bresser Topas 7×50 WP compass binoculars. They are reasonably priced and produce high quality image. Main recommended features for marine binoculars are these: waterproof, should have a compass and reticle for measuring distances. These binoculars have all these features.



Question: What does 261 feet at 1000yds meen?

Answer: These numbers stand for the field of view of the binoculars. Sometimes it’s described in degrees and sometimes in feet. 261 feet at 1000yds meens if you look at a distant object that’s 1,000 yards away you will see an area of 261 feet wide. In degrees it will be approx. 5 degrees (field of view). For more info about field of view read here.



Question: What is the difference between multi-coated and fully multi-coated optics?

Answer: There is some difference. Fully multi coated lenses allow the highest level of light transmission. This in turn gives you the best image quality in binoculars. Lens coating is one of the most critical aspects when it comes to delivering high quality image. There are several type of coatings: magnesium fluoride, dielectric coating, silver coating, multi coated, fully coated, fully multi coated. Make sure to choose FMC ( fully multi coated). Such binoculars produce highest image quality. Multi coated is still acceptable and delivers good image but can’t reach the level of FMC.



Question: Can I use my binoculars to observe the moon and planets?

Answer: Yes, of course you can. For astronomical observations the minimum magnification starts from 8x. To be able to see craters on the Moon recommended magnification is 10x, 12x For greater details you need magnification 15x, 16x, 20x, 25x. If you want to see planets then recommended magnification is 40x, 48x, 64x, 94x.



Question: What is the recommended field of view for binoculars?

Answer: It really depends on what kind of power you need. The higher magnification the narrower the field of view. From my personal experience I can say large field of view gives an amazing felling. My best recommended magnification power is 8x or 10x. These two have a wide field of view. Especially I recommend magnification 8x. Normally they have almost 8 degrees field of view.



Question: Is it true that the larger the magnification, the better the binoculars?

Answer: It’s true to a certain extent. For example, if you need high power binoculars with magnification 40x, 50x, 100x your primary focus should be on Oberwerk. Oberwerk is specialized in manufacturing astronomic binoculars. They are large and powerful and should be mounted on a tripod. In most cases magnification 8x  or 10x  should be enough for general purposes. These binoculars are lightweight and comparatively compact.





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Comments (4)

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  1. coralie says:

    This is a really good post, for anyone that is looking to purchase a new set of binoculars. Everyone needs a least one good set for that occasion when you head to a concert of sporting event and end up in the nose bleed seats.
    You cover all the options and differences. Next time I need a set, I will be bookmarking this site.  BTW, I found answers to all my questions in your FAQ. Thank you. 
    Great job.

    • Adam says:

      Yes, I love binoculars too and have many sets from various brands. I’m glad you found answers to your questions. Let me know if you need anything else.

  2. George says:

    Hello Adam. I have binoculars like those on the left on recommended binoculars image. I didn’t buy them my father did and i remember them from when i was a kid.

    I don’t know the magnification level, but the image is clear and it doesn’t hurt your eyes. Don’t take my word for it, but i think they are Nikon or Cannon.

    When i was a kid, i observed the mountains with these binoculars. Now they have built apartments and roads in front of my house so i can’t do that anymore.

    I like the idea of buying high power binoculars and observe the stars. I saw quite a lot of films where they do that so why not do it myself one day?!

    I took a sneak peak on your “what binoculars to avoid” article. I might take a better look at it if i am to ever buy binoculars. Cheers.

    • Adam says:

      No problem George. Let me know if you need any help when choosing binoculars. I will gladly help you make the best purchasing decision.

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