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Before you decide which binocular to buy, you must determine how you want to use the binoculars. Do you want to go birding in the woods, fields or over water? Or do you simply want a closer view of birds in your backyard? Do you want binoculars to help you catch the detailed action at sporting events or concerts?
Whatever you desire, Wild Birds Unlimited can help you find the right binocular.
Binoculars differ in three major areas: power, close focus and field of view.
Power is the magnification capability of the binocular. Eight, which means you will see an object eight times closer than you could with your eyes, is considered average for a full-size binocular. Power is the first number listed on a binocular. (The second number is the objective lens, which indicates how much light enters the binocular - in general, the larger the number, the more light.)
Close focus is the shortest distance that you'll be able to see in focus. If you are interested in birding in woods or your backyard, you'll want a binocular that has a short close focus.
Field of view is the widest area you can see when you look through the binocular. If you plan to use the binoculars to scan fields or over water, consider a binocular with a large field of view.
• Will you wear glasses when you use your binoculars? If so, you'll want a binocular with at least 14 mm of eye relief. Eye relief is the distance between the eyepiece and your eye when you are seeing a clear and focused image through the binocular?
• Do you want a full-size or compact binocular? Consider weight, but also think about how you will use the binocular. Most compact binoculars have a narrow field of view and work best in the yard, on hikes or at sporting events.
• How do the binoculars feel when you hold them? Test this by holding several types of binoculars. Comfort is important when you're using your binoculars for a long period of time.
• How durable are the binoculars, and what kind of warranty do they have? Compare warranties to make sure you're getting a warranty appropriate to your situation. Some binoculars are waterproof and fog-proof.