Let’s Ask Sandy: Episode 6 – Buying Binoculars

Whether you’re a birder, hiker, or hunter, a good pair of binoculars is essential equipment for your outdoor adventures. How do you know which pair is right for you? Birds & Beasleys owner, Sandy Shull, shares what the pros know about choosing the right pair for you in Let’s Ask Sandy: Episode 6 – Buying Binoculars!

Hello, I am Sandy from Birds & Beasleys! I want to take a moment to show you about what you should know when you’re looking to buy binoculars. We carry a basic line of binoculars with a good optic for its value. These are the things you want to know.

First of all is what do the numbers mean. So, they will say 8 by 42, 8 by 34, 10 by 50. The first number is the magnification. That is how many times it is from your eye. So like if you are watching a bird and you look out with an 8 power binocular, you would be this close, but use a 10 power binocular, it comes closer, but you feel the view get smaller. And if you have a little bit of a tremor, it is a little bit harder to hold it still. It is not a good one, there is no special reason which is better, 8 or 10, it is a personal preference. So that’s the magnification.

The second one is the size of the diameter of the glass. So this one here is an 8 by 42 versus this one which is an 8 by 32 and then this is an 8 by 50. So, look at the difference of the glass. So what does that mean when you are going to get a glass? The bigger the glass, the more light it lets in and the more you will get to see and probably a little bit clearer. It also means it’s a bit heavier glass. So this one, which is an 8 by 50, a hunter might like because they tend to be looking far distances in low light situations, like dawn or dusk. But if you’re a hiker, you’re not going to take this couple pound binocular, you are going to want something a little bit smaller, like an 8 by 32 or I like the 8 by 42 because I am not a hiker and it tends to be in my car. So, the first thing is to decide, what is the magnification you like? What is light? How are you using it? Are you hiking? Are you biking? Or are you just using it from your backyard?

The next step is how does it fit your hands, so are you sharing it with anybody or do you just get to do your own. So when you grab a pair of binoculars, grab the binoculars and put them up to your face, see how you focus, if you find yourself looking like this to see how you’re focusing, it doesn’t fit you right because you are trying to find out where that focus button is. You should just see that completely safe. So, look up, see if you can find it, focus, perfect. But if you’re sharing it, hand it to someone else and say “How is it working for you?” So, that’s the next thing to how it fits your hand.

The other piece that no one really knows about is what do the eyecups really mean. Eyecups up, eyecups down. Eyecups up, mean you’re looking at it without your glasses and you get to see the full. Eyecups down, mean you’re looking at it with your glasses.

So, that is a simple thing to think about before you get binoculars. How are you going to use it? How much magnification do you need? Are you sharing it with someone? Do you have a little bit of a tremor or you are running around a lot so you are huffing and puffing? What is your budget? Yes, a $3000 pair of binoculars is beautiful, but are you really going to take them out in the rain? Are you going to take them hiking? Would a $200 or $300 binocular do the same thing because you can’t really tell the difference? Some people can, some people can’t. We carry the Vortex line, which we really like. Come in and ask us more. We have a small selection, but it is a good selection and what we think works for birders. So come ask us and we will see you when you get there.

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