How Do You Choose The Right Binoculars Magnification?

February 14, 2020

One of the most used optical other than eyeglasses is the binoculars. They are mostly used by bird watchers, making it easy to conclude that binoculars are only exclusive to bird watchers, but that assumption is wrong. Binoculars can be used by anyone else, apart from bird watchers. 

For bird watchers, venturing into the wilderness without a pair of binoculars will mean that you miss out on pretty much what took you into the woods. A good pair of binoculars with perfect magnification will let you see all the finer details in birds, the popping colors, and, of course, the type of bird. For an ardent bird watcher, a pair of this essential gadget is like an extension of themselves, more like communing one on one with the birds. Do not be fooled about the price. Even binoculars under $100 would come with great magnification to allow you to have awesome view.

So, how do you choose the right binocular magnification, considering that they come in different shapes and sizes, not to mention the distinct purpose? You need to understand that binoculars are a long-term investment, and you must, therefore, go for the best that will serve you for a long time. Use the tips highlighted to choose wisely, try different brands and varieties, and settle on a magnification that gives you the best view:

For General Use

If you are looking for binoculars meant for general outdoor activities like a sporting event, then magnification of 7x and 10x would be perfect. These compact and full angle binoculars are not bulky; they can easily fit in your pockets or on a strap around your neck. They also have a wide-angle that is perfect for a good field view.


For hunting activities, the best binoculars to use those that have a magnification range of 12x to 16x. For this specific magnification, you will have to use a tripod stand to help you stabilize the binoculars since it can be a little shaky if you hold it in your hands. The shaking hands are amplified by the larger magnification of this particular pair of binoculars.

Bird Watching

For most bird watchers, a pair of binoculars is one of the things they must have before they venture out into the woods. The best binoculars for bird watching should have a magnification range of 10x to 12x. This gives you a more extended eye relief and a close focus on the birds to provide you with a memorable experience while out in the woods. 

Check The Eyepieces

Apart from magnification, pay attention to the eyepieces. Ensure the lenses have a comfortable distance from your eyes, and even further, if you wear eyeglasses. That distance is called eye relief, and the normal range is between 5 to 20 millimeters for people without eyeglasses and 9 to 13 millimeters for those who wear glasses. 

Determine The Price Range

Before you settle for any pair of binoculars, ensure you know ahead of time what your budget is. The truth is, the more expensive the binoculars, the higher the image quality and the longer the shelf life. However, there is still a vast range of cheaper binoculars that are still adequately durable with decent optical quality. Therefore, you need to pick a price range that is within your budget. 

Binocular magnification should allow you to see an object much closer to you that it is when you look with your naked eye. How much magnification you need depends solely on what you want to do with the binoculars; for instance, if you need to watch sports, then a field view binoculars would be more appropriate than one with strong magnification. The latter can be used by bird watchers, who need to zoom deeply to see the smallest of details.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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