How to Choose a Binocular If You are on a Tight Budget

December 22, 2020 0 Comments




When you plan to buy a binocular of course you want to buy the best optical instrument while being on a tight budget and this task may not be as easy as you might be thinking first.

Selection of binoculars is really big and once you start choosing an optical device you can easily get confused.

Since this post is about those who are on a tight budget, I will be talking about cheap class binoculars under $70 price tag.

I believe this price is pretty affordable for most people which is why I will be focusing on cheap optical devices with acceptable quality.

First of all, when you plan to choose an optical device and you have a limited budget, something around $70 you must understand that you can’t buy an excellent optical instrument that will satisfy all your needs and wishes.

But if you know an exact purpose of your buy, you definitely can choose an optical device with optimal quality that will satisfy most of your needs.

You just need to have some basic knowledge about optical instruments, how they work and choose the one that performs well.

I will try to do my best to help you make the right choice.



Important TIP: If you are on a tight budget you must think well of the purpose of your buy.




Purpose of use

First of all, as I said above, if you are on a tight budget you must understand that you can’t buy all in one type of binoculars.

But still you can choose an optical device optimal for your needs. If you know the purpose of your buy it will be much easier for you to make the right choice.

Think well of how you plan to use your optical device, whether you plan to use it at home or when traveling, or for bird watching, nature watching, moon observation.

For example, features you need for bird watching may not be so important if you plan to use binoculars at home for general use and vice versa.






It’s no secret that we buy binoculars because of their magnification feature. If you plan to use binoculars at home for general use, I believe magnification 8 or 10 will be an optimal choice for you.

Magnification 8 and 10 binoculars have enough magnification power that can satisfy the needs of most enthusiasts of optical devices.

Such binoculars have a wide field of view and optimal weight to enjoy views when holding in your hands.

If you plan to buy binoculars for your children, I think magnification 4 with a free focus will be the best choice.

Because adjusting binoculars (central focus wheel and right diopter) can be a challenge for children.

It’s better to ease the process for children so they can enjoy from using binoculars.

If you plan to use binoculars when traveling, hiking or bird watching, magnification 8 or 10 is still an optimal choice.

If you need an optical device for astronomical observations you probably want to start with magnification 15, 20 or 25. Magnification 20 and 25 is more preferable in my opinion.




Bak4 VS BK7 Prism

Even being on a tight budget everyone wants to get the most for the money which is totally understandable.

Though BK7 prism binoculars have to the right to exist, image quality they give is not so great compared to BAK4 prism binoculars.

I always recommend BAK4 prism binoculars because image quality in such binoculars is always crystal clear, bright and sharp compared to BK7 prism.

Bak4 prism binoculars are not expensive at all as many may be thinking. You can get a set of such binoculars under $70.





Field of view

If you plan to buy binoculars for children, as I said above, magnification 4 would be an optimal choice.

Because it has a wide field of view and it will be easy for children to find, spot and view objects.

If you plan to buy binoculars for yourself, I think magnification 8 or 10 will satisfy your needs in terms of field of view.

Magnification 8 has wider field of view than magnification 10. If your priority is the magnification power and especially field of view then choose 8.

Otherwise 10 is an optimal and I think the best choice in terms of an excellent combination of power and field of view.





Eye relief

When you plan to buy binoculars, you must keep in mind that if you wear eyeglasses you should preferably choose binoculars with eye relief of at least 18mm, especially if you have astigmatism eye problem.

It’s described in the specifications of an optical device or you can ask from the seller/manufacturer.

In most cases binoculars being an optical device correct the vision and you can use it without eyeglasses.

But sometimes you might not know if you have astigmatism or not which is why if you are an eyeglass wearer you definitely should choose eye relief 18mm binoculars.





Image stability

We know that image stability is affected by binocular’s weight which is why we must keep this fact in mind when choosing binoculars.

The higher the magnification the less stable will be an image when looking through binoculars. Because higher magnification means heavy and bulky optical instrument.

That’s why if you want good image stability try to choose binoculars with magnification up to 10 with objective lens size up to 42mm.

If you want high power binoculars with magnification 15 and above use with a tripod.



extra features



When you plan to buy binoculars and have limited budget you may not need some extra features, such as waterproof, fogproof or shockproof if you plan to use binoculars at home for general use.

These features may be important for those who do hiking, traveling, fishing. Otherwise you don’t actually need to pay extra dollars.

Cheap binoculars though described as waterproof, shockproof or fogproof may not be such in reality.

That’s why if you have limited budget you must remember that you can’t get all in one type of professional binoculars with advanced features. You get what you pay for.





Porro or roof prism

It’s well known that by default, roof binoculars are more lightweight than porro binoculars due to its construction nature.

Plus, they are more compact and are manufactured using more advanced technology. This means roof binoculars are more expensive than classic porro binoculars.

But porro binoculars deliver a little more interesting 3-dimensional image which may be more attractive for advanced users of optical devices.

But it’s not so critical. Generally speaking, porro binoculars are cheaper and for the same price you can get more features instead of paying for roof prism binoculars.



exit pupils

Exit pupil

The larger the exit pupil size of binoculars the better it will fit your eyes which will significantly improve your overall experience with an optical device.

This small detail may not be often discussed but from my experience I think it’s important.

For example, binoculars with objective lens size of 30,32mm have small size exit pupil which may not fit well human eye.

But such binoculars fit children’s eyes very well. For an adult human it’s highly recommended to choose binoculars with objective lens size at least 40mm.

Such binoculars fit eyes well and you can look through an optical device for a long period of time.

Compact binoculars with objective lens size up to 32mm are suitable for a short period of observation. Pay attention to this aspect when you are on a tight budget.



zoom binoculars


Zoom binoculars

As I always said in many of my other posts, if you are on a tight budget and plan to buy zoom binoculars you must keep in mind that this type of binoculars have some specific weak points.

Image quality is inferior to the image quality of classic binoculars with a fixed magnification power.

Plus, field of view becomes very narrow when you change magnification let’s say from 10 to 30.

Such binoculars have adjustable magnification mechanism which is unreliable.

But if after this explanation still want and need zoom binoculars because of adjustable magnification power it’s highly recommended to buy from well-known brands, such Nikon, Barska, Celestron.

Don’t buy from unknown brands because such binoculars can break in a matter of a few days, if not hours.



Final word

I tried to discuss all these aspects of choosing binoculars while being on a tight budget so you can make the right decision and not complain after the purchase has been done.

If you take this into account you will be able to choose an excellent set of binoculars even with a limited budget.

Of course, you can’t expect a lot of such an optical device, but it will satisfy most of your needs.



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