Binoculars are one of the essentials when it comes to bird watching. They take a tiny speck and turn it into something you can not only see, but identify as part of your bird watching experience.
There are a number of different brands and styles that are available on the market ranging from a few dollars to thousands of dollars a pair depending on what you are looking for.
For basic bird watching, a standard set that you find in any hardware or sporting goods store will probably be appropriate to your needs. They are only a few dollars and usually hold up fairly well.
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Understanding Magnification & Aperture
Binoculars are always rated with two numbers. The first indicates the magnification or power that the binoculars has. The second number is the aperture, which indicates the front lens diameter.
Usually these are written in the following manner 7×23. This set of numbers indicates that the binoculars have a magnification of seven with a diameter of 23 millimeters on the front lens.
The magnification power of the binoculars that you want depends on how far you plan to be away from the birds you are planning to watch.
If you are planning to watch just around your neighborhood at birds that may be in trees or on the ground, then a lighter magnification will probably work.
For those that want the ability to spend a large amount of time watching birds interact naturally or where the required distance is significantly greater than watching normal everyday birds, you will want to get a stronger magnification.
There are binoculars that have a single level of magnification, these are usually the basic style that allow simply a slight amount of focusing.
There are then the styles that allow you to be able to alter not only the focus of the lens but also the level of magnification, allowing you to adjust between objects that are closer and farther away without having to have additional sets of binoculars.
Choose Lightweight Models
When purchasing binoculars, check them out and make sure they are not too heavy. Some pairs can be hard to handle or hold up for longer periods of time, so this is another factor that you should consider if you are in the market to purchase a pair of binoculars.
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There are a number of lightweight models that offer a full range of features for under $200, like the Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Roof Prism Binocular or the Celestron – Nature DX 8×42 Binocular available on Amazon.
These 2 models are excellent if you are planning to carry them around while trekking looking for birds or planning on sitting for long periods of time holding them up.
Nothing ruins a bird watching trip more than ending up not being able to spend the time you want or get to where you want due to the weight of the equipment.
Some features to look for is scratch resistance on the lens, and alternate ways to carry them other than in your hand or around your neck. This will help to not only protect them, but keep them out of the way while you are making your way to your location of choice.