A good pair of hunting binoculars is just as essential as ammunition and firearms are in your hunting gear.
Hunting binoculars are a necessity in the field. They allow you to locate your target from a distance with safety. You can have a look at the type, quality, size, and sex of the species. They also come in handy in sports games, astronomy, and bird watching.
However, choosing the one that fits your need the best is a troublesome task. Hunting Binoculars are one complicated item from hunting equipment: there are many nuances and fine details one should care for before finalizing their purchase.
But worry no more! Here are ten factors to consider before buying your hunting binoculars.
1. Magnification Power
First things first: make sure you check the magnification power of your hunting binoculars before buying. Many new buyers overlook this factor: it is one essential facet to consider.
Look at the binocular description to unravel its magnification power. You will see something like 10 x 40, where the first number 10 denotes magnification. It means that objects would appear ten times closer to you through its lenses. For instance, if you are 500 yards away from an animal, it would appear 50 yards far with this set of binoculars.
Therefore, depending on field and hunting practices, buy one that suits you. Many think it is logical to get the one with the highest magnification power, but more magnification power means more sensitivity. Many new hunters find it hard to operate high-power binos because of their sensitivity. We recommend an 8x to 10x magnification power for normal hunting conditions.
2. Objective Lens
The large lenses at the front of your binoculars are called objective lenses. Typically measured in millimeters, the second number in your binocular description after magnification power is Objective lens size. In 10 x 40, 40 refers to 40 mm objective lenses. Generally, objective lenses for compacts measure 25-28mm, mid-sized units measure 30mm, full-sized binoculars measure 40-42mm, and very long-range models measure beyond 50mm. The more the size, the more amount of light the lens can gather.
Therefore, if you hunt in low-light conditions, you require binoculars set with a higher range of objective lenses. However, they weigh heavier as you increase the size of your objective lenses. Therefore, do not just grab 50 mm Objective Lenses Binoculars and rule out portability!
3. Size of Your Binoculars
The size of your binoculars is a question with an answer for you to decide. From small, medium, to large ones, choose the ones you can carry easily on the hunting field.
However, sometimes the size goes beyond personal preference: the size of objective lenses correlates with the binoculars’ size. Therefore, you might have to compromise a bit on image quality if you want to opt for small and lightweight pairs.
4. Glass Coating
Glass coatings on binocular lenses are an imperative factor to consider. They control how well you can see faraway animals through your set of binos by reducing light reflecting and enhancing image quality.
Uncoated objectives to ocular lenses can have a light transmission rate below 70%, but it tops up to a whopping 95% with coatings. Look for the following coated categories in binocular descriptions:
- Coated. The binos have at least one optical element that has coatings on at least one surface.
- Fully Coated: The bino has all lenses and glass surfaces coated fully.
- Multi-Coated: One primary optical element has multiple coatings of anti-reflective compounds.
- Fully Multi-Coated: All glass surfaces in the binocular have several coats with a 90-95% light transmission.
We recommend fully multi-coated ones if you can afford them.
5. Field Of View
By now, you would be aware that binoculars are much more than a piece of two containers with lenses. Now we are taking it a bit further. Field of view, another crucial aspect to consider, refers to the area in feet that you can visualize with your set of binoculars at a distance of 1,000 yards. In short, it means the region you can see without moving. Magnification also defines this partially.
We recommend binos with a wide field of view as it lets you observe motile animals without moving too much yourself. Make sure to determine the field of view before purchasing one with your seller. Apparent field of view refers to the realistic sight that most manufacturers offer.
6. Eye Relief
Eye relief means the distance between positions through which your eyes can see the entire field of view. If the eye relief distance is small and your eyes are away, you cannot see the field of view. The farther your eyes move, the smaller portion becomes visible to you.
Therefore, we recommend binocular sets with more eye relief. It lets you use your binos without fatigue with ease. We highly recommend long eye relief ones if you wear glasses.
7. Exit Pupil Size
Exit pupil size determines how bright or dark your image would be. Excellent quality sets of binoculars always make your image appear brighter for good quality. You can deduce the exit pupil size by dividing your objective lens size with magnification power. For instance, in a set of binos with 10 x 40 in its binocular descriptions, its exit pupil side will be 40/10, resulting in a 4 mm.
The average human pupil size is 3mm. It means that your image with a 10×40 would appear brighter. Avoid getting pairs of binoculars with an exit pupil size below 3mm. We recommend going for one with an exit pupil size of at least 4-5mm.
8. Focus Type
Go for the focus type that suits you the best in function and comfort. There are three basic focus types:
- Center Focus with Diopter Adjustment. This one is the most common type featuring a central focusing wheel with a diopter adjustment which allows you to compensate for unequal vision between your eyes. We highly recommend this one as it is handy for hunting. You can pre-adjust as per your likings and shift focus with the center focusing wheel.
- Individual focus binoculars. This type lets you fix each eyepiece separately. They are handy if you like focusing on more than one distance simultaneously. However, many have trouble hunting with this.
- Fix focus binoculars. With a permanent focus, we highly recommend against these as they are useless in hunting or sports.
9. Prism Type
Another somewhat complicated factor — Prism type — is what you should look for if you wish to view upright images. There are two primary types of binocular prisms. Let us have a look at those:
- Roof Prism Binoculars: These allow your set of binos to be compact and lightweight as the optical axis of the objective lenses and eyepiece lie in a straight line.
- Porro Prism Binoculars: Named after its Italian inventor, binos with these enable a sharp, bright field of view with low to high magnifications.
While Porro prism binoculars generally produce a better quality image, we recommend roof prism binoculars if a compact one is your priority.
10. Video Ability
If you are tech-savvy and would love to go a bit out of the way from traditional hunting, video binoculars might be something you would like to consider.
Featuring digital cameras, either still or video ones, these video abled-binoculars let you photograph or videography your target and experience. However, make sure to get a unit with quality image production as you do not want images that are less sharp, poorly lit, and blurry.
Extensively read reviews before you settle for one. Do consult someone with experience of these for better safety!
With our detailed yet comprehensive guide, get yourself a perfect set of hunting binoculars. Make sure to consider all our ten mentioned factors. Our top three recommendations include: