December 8, 2010

Binoculars (II/V) – magnification

There are four important numbers associated with a pair of binoculars: magnification, diameter, field of view, and price.

One misconception about binoculars is that bigger is better. This is not always true. Binoculars are defined by two numbers (e.g. 7 x 50). The first number (7x) is the magnification, or the number of times larger than life an object will appear. Most popular binoculars are between 6 and 12x (any larger than 12x the image is too shaky to view). While a more powerful magnification such as 10x will bring birds closer to you and reveal more detail, it will also be a darker, shakier image making these bigger binoculars less effective. Larger magnification also equates to heavier binoculars and a smaller Field of View (see IV/V). Most people find that a 6 x or 8 x are well suited for bird watching. The most important thing is to simply look through a bunch of binoculars and find a pair that just feels right and if you are buying off the web remember that bigger is not always better.

For more on selecting binoculars please visit these links:



10 x


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