How to Choose Binoculars for Bird Watching

Choosing a pair of binoculars for bird watching is not always a straightforward task. There a sea of models ranging across different price points for you to choose from. Besides, there are thousands of brands that makes a wide variety of binoculars for this particular outdoor application. In today’s post, our focus will be on how to choose binoculars for bird watching.

Regardless of whether bird watching is your hobby or not, it is wise to invest in a pair of binoculars for bird watching. Binoculars provide better and detailed views of these flying creatures in any distance. This makes the whole bird watching expedition more enjoyable. Binoculars  are also good for watching birds in their different habits in any environment.

When selecting a set of binoculars for bird watching, there are plenty of factors that you should consider before settling on any specific product. With the right pair, you will be able to enjoy your time outdoors and get the best views of the birds. Choosing the right pair of binoculars is also important in ensuring that you get the best value for your money.

10 Tips on How to Choose Binoculars for Bird Watching

If you are looking to buy a pair of binoculars for bird watching, here are some of the important factors you should consider to make the right selection.

1) Magnification

Magnification power is the first thing to take into account. In binoculars, magnification size is represented by the first number before the “x”. It shows you how far you will be able to view targets at a distance compared to when you view them with your naked eyes.

The best binoculars for bird watching have moderate magnification between 8x and 12x. 8x is the best overall magnification for bird watching. Coming in second is 10x magnification and in third place is 12x.

Go for 12x binoculars if you are looking for long range bird watching binoculars. The higher magnification power will bring you closer to the distant targets compared to 8x and 10x models. But remember such binoculars might be hard to hold steady during use so you might need to buy a tripod.

2) Objective Lens Diameter

The second number after magnification in binoculars represents the diameter of the objective lens, also known as the aperture. So, in a pair of 8×42 binoculars, 42 is the size of the objective lens.

Like any other optic, the objective lens in binoculars has a role of drawing light inside the optics. The larger the diameter is, the greater the light collecting power. However, too big of an objective lens makes binoculars heavy and less portable.

The best binoculars for bird watching have an objective lens of 40mm or 42mm. Anything larger in size than 42mm will necessitate the need to use a tripod to enhance stability and ensure comfortable viewing.

3) Optics

The quality of sight pictures that a pair of bird watching binoculars generates is directly proportional to the optics its is made with. Poor quality optics result to dull and low-quality sight pictures and vice versa.

A tip is to invest in a pair of binoculars that is made with the best glass elements you can afford. Models with ED, HD or fluorite glass elements are the best. They offer the highest resolution and color accuracy even in the less favorable lighting conditions.

4) Lens Coatings

The next feature to consider when trying to figure out how to choose binoculars for bird watching is lens coatings. It is paramount for the binocular to have quality lens coatings on all air to glass surfaces.

These coatings are responsible for limiting glare and ensuring high levels of light transmission. On top of that, lens coatings shield the lens from scratches during use. For the best binoculars for bird watching, go for a unit that either employs fully-coated optics or fully multi-coated lenses.

5) Weight

Weight is another important thing to consider. Generally, the quality of glass and type of material used in the construction process determine how heavy the binocular weighs.

A tip is to get a pair of binoculars that is made with either magnesium alloy or aircraft grade aluminum. Such binoculars are durable yet lightweight for easy portability. Getting a lightweight binocular is also important as it alleviates hand fatigue during long glassing sessions.

6) Field of View

Field of view is a term that refers to how much area you can see through the binoculars without moving them around. It is inversely proportional to magnification, so the smaller the magnification power a binocular has, the larger the field of view and vice versa. For birding binoculars, we recommend that you get a model that has at least 350 yards of field of view at 1000 yards.

7) Durability

Choosing a pair of binoculars for bird watching is not something you do in a hurry. You will want to invest in a pair that is built with durability in mind so as to get the best value for your money.

Take your time to look at the nature of construction and the type of materials used. We recommend that you opt for a unit that is built with the most hard-wearing materials. The best binoculars for bird watching also feature a rubber armoring which is responsible for providing a secure grip in all environments.

8) Weatherproof Construction

Weatherproof construction is another one of those crucial things you need to consider when buying binoculars for bird watching. The last thing you would want is a unit that starts to fog up internally whenever you move to an area with a larger temperature and humidity gradient.

Most binoculars for birding are filled with either nitrogen or argon gas to drive out internal moisture and prevent fog build up. The binoculars you choose to buy should also have a reliable protection from moisture and dust.

9) Size and Balance

Another thing to consider on how to choose the best binoculars for bird watching is size and balance. Compact and mid-sized binoculars are the best for birding. They are well balanced to fit on the palm of the hands and feel natural during use. With comfortable feel and balance, you will be able to use the binoculars without feeling any fatigue.

10) Price

Last but not least, consider price. The cost of binoculars varies a lot depending on several things like the brand, quality of construction and the technology incorporated. Luckily, with so many models available, there is a pair of binoculars out there to meet every user’s budget.

Read Also

Bird Watching Etiquette

In this section, we are going to take you through bird watching etiquettes that every avid bird should practice when watching birds.

  • Observe the bird in their habitats from a suitable distance. Getting too close can spook them away and you will be left disappointed
  • When you are watching birds in the wild, don’t disturb their natural habit. Observe the practices you would when viewing wildlife or taking photographs
  • Don’t be loud. Even as your excitement builds up, try to watch the birds without making any loud noises
  • Last but not least, be considerate of the other outdoorsy people watching the birds or viewing other things nearby

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing binoculars for bird watching and we have just named a few. Keep in mind that investing in the best quality pair you can afford will get you better view of the birds in different habitats. Hopefully, you have found the information in this guide to be of great help.