We’re passionate about birds and nature. That’s why we opened a Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in our community.
#13-33324 South Fraser Way
Abbotsford, BC V2S 2B4
Phone: (604) 852-1960
Mon - Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
8810-C Young Road
Chilliwack, BC V2P 4P5
Phone: (604) 792-1239
Mon - Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Willowbrook Park Shopping Centre,
#2-6131 200th Street
Langley, BC V2Y 1A2
Phone: (604) 510-2035
Mon - Fri: 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sun: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Your yard has become popular with many different birds enjoying their favourite seed in your feeders, but the majority of the birds are small and difficult to identify using only your eyes. A pair of binoculars is needed, but what type?
Shopping for binoculars can be intimidating. There are many different types and sizes available. To add to the confusion, there are numbers, ranges, and categories that differ for every binocular. To make sense of it all, we have tried to simplify what makes a binocular "good."
A binocular, no matter what the size, is simply a magnifying glass. The light is gathered by the objective lens (the large lens at the end) and transported through the body to the lens, or prism. The light carries the image. The prisms correct the image so that is right side up and right to left. Then, the corrected image is magnified by the eyepieces (the small lenses at the top of the binocular). From there, the image enters your eye and is processed by your brain.
|Porro Prism: Traditional zigzag design. The objective lens is wider than eyepieces. These binoculars are usually large and bulky looking.||Roof Prism: These are a newer design. The objective and eyepieces in a straight line resulting in a sleeker body.|
There are two types of binoculars that most people use.
This is the most confusing part when buying binoculars. Let's break it down. If, for example, you were looking at a binocular with 8x42/ 336 feet @1000 yards/ 16mm eye relief/ 5 ft close focus...
|If it says...||It means this....|
The magnification of the binocular, or how many times larger the object will appear. In this case, it appears 8 times larger than normal.
The diameter of the objective lens. This determines how much light enters the binocular. More light means a brighter image and better viewing in low light conditions.
The width of the view, in feet, measured at 1000 yards. A wider width-of-view is usually better. Width-of-view varies with the magnification of the binocular. A higher magnification means a smaller field of view and may make it more difficult to find an object.
The furthest distance behind the eyepieces where you are able see the full view. Especially important for eyeglass-wearers
Minimum distance to which a pair of binoculars can be focused. Less than 10 feet promotes butterfly and flower watching
What separates cheap pair of binoculars from a good one is the quality of glass used in lenses and the coating on the prisms. All prisms have some type of coating. This reduces the internal reflection of light and increases the brightness of the image. The best binoculars have high-quality glass and coatings, and usually proprietary (trade secrets).
|BK7||This lens is made of boro-silicate and is of lower quality. Used in cheaper binoculars|
|BAK-4||This lens is made of barium-crown. It is a denser glass and is used in better binoculars|
This type of coatings cuts reflection at each air-to-glass surface from 4.5 to 5%: Typical binoculars have 10-16 surfaces, so this cuts down the glare substantially.
|Coated||At least one side of one lens has one coat.|
|Fully-coated||All sides of all lenses and prisms are coated with one layer.|
|Fully-multi-coated||All sides are coated with more than one layer.|
Binoculars should be viewed as an investment. Better binoculars will last many years and will give good service every year of their life. Quality binoculars are lighter; brighter; clearer; easier to focus and hold steady; and will withstand temperature changes, humidity, and rain without problems. Good binoculars are much less likely to be knocked out of alignment if they are dropped. Equally important is that you will enjoy your hobby more with decent optics, whether it's birding, general wildlife viewing, boating, spectator sports, etc.
Birders are moving rapidly toward the compact roof-prism design and manufactures are concentrating design improvements on roof-prism models. As a result, tremendous quality and price improvements have been made in the last five years.
Match your investment to your hobby, your interest level and your budget.
Diamondback by Vortex
Viper HD by Vortex
Razor HD by Vortex
A budget is necessary when you are thinking of buying a scope, but it is important not to compromise quality to save a few dollars. Like binoculars, it's all about light-- the better the glass is the more light that is delivered to your eye, resulting in a sharper image and brighter colour. Lower-priced scopes will be adequate at low magnifications, but once you move into higher magnifications such as a 40 or 60X, they will under-perform. For example, they will focus poorly, light aberrations (like a rainbow effect) will appear when viewing, and there will be poor details in low light conditions. Also, don't compromise on your tripod. A good tripod will prevent shake and be smoother to operate, even with larger lenses. Vortex scopes, like the binoculars, feature a no-fault, lifetime warranty.