Hiking and Backpacking

How To Choose Birding Binoculars

Hi, Outdoor Enthusiasts! My name is RJ and I've been invited to share some information with you that might be helpful in your many outdoor activities. I run an online store which sells almost every kind of optical equipment available for hikers, birdwatchers, boaters, fishermen, athletes and travelers of all kind.

One of the most frequently asked questions on my website is "What kind of birding binoculars should I buy?" This is a universal question, because everyone loves to observe birds in their natural habitat. From the time we are children, we stare in awe at these beautiful creatures which seem to be "above it all" - seemingly observing us from their lofty heights as we are observing them.

Since each of us has a different perspective on birdwatching and individual objectives as we pursue this fascinating hobby, the equipment we choose should be tailored to our needs.

Some aspects of birdwatching, however, are pretty standard and serious birdwatchers should purchase binoculars and spotting scopes with features that make the experience comfortable and effective. Birding binoculars should be lightweight (for a long day on the trail), durable, sealed from dust particles, waterproof, fog proof and compact enough to be stowed away in a pocket or travel bag. They should focus quickly and have the capacity to view objects in dim light.

This brings us to a brief explanation of the numbers associated with binoculars or spotting scopes which represent a formula, i.e., "7 X 35" or "10 X 42". The first number is the power, or how many times larger you will see an object through the binoculars than you can see it with your naked eye. So, a 7X magnification is 7 times larger than your naked eye vision, while a 10X magnification allows you to see an object 10 times larger than with your naked eye. The second number in the formula is the size of the "objective" lenses, or the front lenses of the binoculars. The diameter of objective lenses is expressed in millimeters. And, as with the aperture of a camera lens, the size of the objective lenses determines the amount of light that enters the binoculars. Together with magnification, this element is crucial to the effectiveness of binoculars in a variety of light conditions.

So - this is where your personal preference comes in. Depending on the types of birds you usually observe, you may want 10 power binoculars for viewing distant shorebirds, but a 7 power with a wider field of view and larger objective lenses might be better for observing small birds in dim light conditions. Some birdwatchers prefer the versatility of zoom binoculars which give magnification ranges from 7X to 24X or more. These are usually larger and heavier than most birdwatchers want to carry over long distances, but they are incredibly effective for all types of field activities and are becoming more popular with those who want to make one pair of binoculars do for all their outdoor pursuits.

Wildlife photographers prefer spotting scopes which give the versatility and power of zoom binoculars (with even more magnification than the binoculars - almost a cross between binoculars and a telescope) and have the added possibility of digiscoping. That is, attaching a digital camera to the scope to photograph the object seen through the scoping lens. Of course, camera binoculars present that option as well, but with different features and capabilities. (A topic for another discussion, perhaps.)

Hope this was helpful to you, if you are interested in purchasing new binoculars for your birding and/or other outdoor activities. Of course, you can find a whole array of binoculars, camera binoculars, night vision optics, telescopes, spotting scopes, trail cameras, rangefinders and GPS systems at my online store. All at discount prices with free ground shipping within the Continental U.S.

Bye for now. Look forward to "talking" with you again.

Camera binoculars

Backpacking Cooking Equipment

Facts about packs

Choosing GPS systems for hiking

Changing to lightweight backpacking

Safety when backpacking by yourself

Tips for taking great pictures on the trail

Buying your hiking camera

Hiker Information
and visit our start page.
Backpacker Footwear locate shoe and boot retailers.
Backpack gear companies get the right backpack for your hikes.
Mens and womens jackets find top brands of jackets, pants, shirts and apparel.

Hiking and Backpacking Best Stores Hiking shoes Backpacks Outdoor clothing Hiking accessories Used Gear Outdoor gear advice Hiking Trails Backpacking Tips Trail Maps Hiking Clubs Organizations Privacy Contact Us