How to choose the best binoculars on a BUDGET
Looking for the best budget Binoculars for Birding? If you want some help on choosing the Best Budget Binoculars for Birding this article is for you. Especially if you were on a budget.
I’ve gone through many pairs of binoculars and I’ve definitely learned some important things about purchasing binoculars along the way.
Whether you want to buy binoculars for birding or general wildlife viewing hunting this guide will help you to make a better decision.
No matter what you are doing with binoculars it is really important to understand how binoculars work and some other really important things when buying your binoculars so you can get the most bang for your buck.
This article will be divided into two different parts.
In the first part, I will give you ten tips on how to make sure that you get the right binoculars for you including how to save money. In the second part, I will recommend some specific binoculars that you should consider based on your budget.
Best Budget Binoculars for Birding Buying Tip Number One.
Tip number one is to know what the numbers mean. You see those numbers on the binocular. Some binocular indicates 10 by 40. It’s really important to know what these numbers mean. Sometimes these numbers will say a 10 by 50.
On any pair of binoculars, they should give these two numbers and the first number is the magnification. Which is how large the object appears to you through the binoculars compared to if you were not using binoculars at all. We see the bird with our naked eye then using a 10 by 40 binocular we see him under 10 times magnification. If we use a binocular of 8X42 now we see him with 8 times magnification with all other variables the same. You can obviously see under 10 times magnification that the object is bigger than under 8 times magnification.
Now the benefit of having binoculars with higher magnification is that you can get a closer view of things that are farther away but beware because there are definitely disadvantages of having binoculars of higher magnification.
For example, there is a narrower field the view and the field of view is basically the window that you look through So with the larger magnification. You’re looking through a smaller window so you see less area.
This is pretty important because it can make it more difficult to track the objects that you were looking for. I usually tell people that the best way to find birds at least that aren’t like super far away is to find them with your naked eye first and then find them through your binoculars. After you spot them with your naked eye and this can definitely become more difficult with a narrower field of view.
Another disadvantage is the shakiness. The higher the power and narrower field of view the harder it becomes to keep that image still when you were looking at it through your binoculars.
Another disadvantage is that higher magnification binoculars often require thicker glass. Therefore this can let through less light which generally means a darker dimmer image. The effect of this is probably pretty minimal.
There are other variables that affect this. Thicker glass can also mean heavier binoculars. So you should just know all of these trade-offs.
Now the second number is the width of the objective lens which is the lens at the front of the binoculars.
The width of the objective lens is really important because with the wider objective lens you let in more light into the binoculars. So that in situations with dim light you will have a clearer brighter image.
This is generally a big positive remember that higher objective lens means it’s going to be bigger which generally means that the binoculars will be bigger bulkier and heavier which could be a disadvantage.
To review our main two numbers that you need to consider let’s look at this bird and look at how magnification and objective lens with the effect the field of view all other variables are the same. They have the same thickness of glass and quality same lens coatings which we’ll talk about later.
The views in the top row have the same magnification but different widths of object lenses.
The lens on the top left is a narrower objective lens the lens, on the top right is a higher objective lens and then on the bottom, we have two views through binoculars with the same size of objective lenses but different magnifications. The one on the bottom left has a smaller magnification the one on the bottom right has a larger magnification.
So if you are serious about trying to see birds or other wildlife I would recommend 8 by 40 which is the standard but you could also get 10 by 40 or 10 by 50 s.
Just know that if you go up for magnification from 8 to 10 you will get closer up to birds from far away but that those disadvantages that I discussed of having higher magnification will start to slightly come into play.
But still, the difference in feel the view of magnification from 8 to 10 shouldn’t be too much and the difference in the amount of light coming into your binoculars between a width of an objective lens between 42 and 50 shouldn’t be that drastic either.
Now if you are only using your binoculars to spot things super far away like birds flying in the sky miles and miles away that you really just can’t even see with your naked eye what matters most is just having a higher magnification.
So getting binoculars that are like 12 times magnification might be the best for that if you’re looking to do some Raptor watching 12 magnification with like a 50 width of the objective lens or even a higher magnification might be beneficial.
But again when you get to a high magnification that shakiness really starts to become a problem. If you want binoculars that have over like 15 times magnification I would look into a pair of digitally stabilized binoculars if you’re looking to get a magnification over 15.
Best Budget Binoculars for Birding Buying Tip Number Two.
My second tip is just to know what Porro prism binoculars are compared to roof prism binoculars.
Porro prism binoculars the objective lens is offset from the eyepiece. They provide greater depth perception and generally offer a wider field of view.
But in roof prism binoculars the prisms overlap closely allowing the objective lenses to line up directly with the eyepiece. Roof prism binoculars generally appear simpler than Porro prism binoculars but inside they actually have a way more complex light paths and require much greater optical precision and manufacturing.
Therefore, as a result, they cost more to make and the pearl prism design is actually simpler and more light efficient and the images actually show better contrast.
Nevertheless, the roof prisms design is favored by most customers probably because it’s more compact so manufacturers went all-out to perfect it.
Generally, if you want to save money that Porro prism binoculars you generally get more bang for your buck than roof prism binoculars. But again they’re kind of bulky and not as nice to have her on your neck. They’re just kind of uglier in my opinion
If you’re on a budget all seriousness Porro prism binoculars could be the way to go.
Best Budget Binoculars for Birding Buying Tip Number Three.
My third tip is to pay attention to the coatings on your lenses. They actually discovered in the last century that basic open ocular lenses with magnesium fluoride actually let in more light. we’re not going to get too into the details about how this works but basically the higher quality coatings that you have the more light is let into the binoculars which makes a brighter clearer image.
It’s not only the quality of the coatings but the more lenses inside the monoculars that are coated as well will allow a higher percentage of light to go from the beginning of binoculars all the way to your eye which again results in a better image.
So just remember when you were shopping for binoculars pay attention to how many coatings there are and the quality of the coatings and obviously the more coatings there are and the higher quality in there the more expensive your binoculars will be.
Best Budget Binoculars for Birding Buying Tip Number Four.
My fourth tip is to get binoculars that are fog proof and waterproof this should be self-explanatory but if you’re out in the field there are so many places in the world where you could get rained on and the last thing you want to do is ruin your binoculars because they got water inside them.
Best Budget Binoculars for Birding Buying Tip Number Five.
My fifth tip is to get attachable lens caps. no these did not come with attachment lens caps but a lot of binoculars do some people don’t like attachment lens caps but I really do like him because I just feel like so many times I’ve lost them and it’s just been so sad because then I don’t have lens caps then you know you go through the trouble of ordering new ones but then that can be a pain it’s just so much better I feel like if they’re attachable and you know they’re just always there.
I think sometimes they can be annoying where they can not really fold all the way down out of the way of the objective lens but you know as long as you bend them down far enough or whatever so they’re not blocking the objective lens.
Best Budget Binoculars for Birding Buying Tip Number Six.
Tip number six is to make sure that you pay attention to eye relief when you buy your binoculars.
Eye relief is the distance between your eye and the islands so a lot of binoculars will have these eyecups that will come out
Based on all the dimensions of your face in your head you can usually adjust these so that your eyes are the right distance away from the islands
Best Budget Binoculars for Birding Buying Tip Number Seven.
Tip number seven is a tip to save you money and that does not count out getting used binoculars. I have found that online you can get so many useful things that are still really high quality for really cheap for like a third half maybe even like a quarter of the price.
They have so many apps now like offer up obviously there’s Craigslist there’s a Facebook marketplace all you have to do is just get on these platforms and look around and shop and obviously just like with anything you want your common sense when you’re using a used product.
But just because someone has used binoculars for a couple of years doesn’t mean that they’re low quality and you could really save a lot of money another thing that you just have to consider and ask yourself is what purpose do you want your binoculars to serve you.
When you’re in the field for me I don’t really care if my binoculars give me a perfect image when I look through them I really just want a good enough look at whatever animal I’m looking at to give me the best shot at identifying it.
What I really care most about in terms of having like a crystal-clear image is the photos that I get through my camera.
I really sort of shifting to put more of my effort into photography when I’m in the field so if your main thing is photography maybe you don’t need a spanking new pair of crystal-clear binoculars. Maybe a used pair that’s kind of worn but pretty cheap is better for you just think about your priorities.
Best Budget Binoculars for Birding Buying Tip Number Eight
Tip number eight is that what matters just as much as the quality of binoculars that you have is how well you take care of them and how well you know how to use them. First of all, you want to make sure you clean your binoculars.
Make sure that you take good care of your binoculars put the lens caps on when you’re not using them. Clean them with the right fluid with the right cloth that you’re supposed to do and then also for adjusting there is a special way that you adjust your binoculars.
I’ve just met too many people who have gotten zoom binoculars and are just so disappointed with them. It’s because the problem is that binoculars are essentially two telescopes right next to each other that need to sync in unison perfectly with each other to get a crisp image.
If these types of binoculars are not like super high quality then you might not get a good image so unless you’re on like a really high budget just do not get zoom binoculars.