Birding Basics – No. 10: On Buying Binoculars

“It is a monumental decision in the life of any birdwatcher. At stake is nothing less than the pleasure you

Green Jay by Dick Mansfield

get in the company of birds. So here is some wisdom on buying and using binoculars.

First recognize that bigger isn’t always better. Binoculars bear two numbers: 7×35, 8×30 or 10×50, for example. The first is magnification. You’re fine with 7- or 8-power. Sure, a power of 10 makes the tanager appear even larger, but it also magnifies your own trembling (and who doesn’t tremble in the presence of a tanager?). Higher magnification also reduces your field of view – the breadth of habitat you see out there. You spot a bird, lift your binoculars for a look … and find no bird in view. If this is all too familiar, your optics might be too powerful (or your aim needs practice). I bird with a pair of 8x42s….”   (Read whole post by Bryan Pfeiffer)

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