If you’re in the market for a pair of waterproof binoculars, the first thing you’ll realize after hitting the sporting goods stores or conducting a search online, is that there are hundreds of different pairs to choose from. If you haven’t thought about how to choose a set that is best for your purposes, you may wind up with binoculars that aren’t practical.
With so many different types, shapes, sizes, and strengths to choose from, you’re going to have to narrow down the options by pinpointing your intended use. In this article, we’re going to go over a handful of subjects that will help you to determine which set of binoculars are best for you.
What Looks Good Might be Junk
This is the first thing that you’ll need to understand before even browsing for any sets of binoculars. Never just go by what looks good or what looks like the right size.
Scopes, cameras, and binoculars, should never be decided upon and judged by their cover. All of the essential things that should be determining factors are on the inside.
What looks fantastic might be the worst working item you can get, or at best, the wrong thing. Don’t get me wrong; there are binoculars out there that look pretty cool and work great. But not understanding the specs can lead to an expensive mistake.
Looking for spotting scopes instead? You can find my page on spotting scopes HERE.
Understanding Binocular Magnification Numbers
This is among the most critical pieces of information that you should be paying attention to as it relates to selecting a pair of binoculars that are right for you. Some people find out the hard way that there is such a thing as too much or too little magnification strength.
If you’re out hunting, there’s a good chance that you’ll not need a set of binoculars that can observe aliens playing pattycake on the moon. And if you’re interested in scouting out across a mountain range, you’ll likely want something that’s used for more than bird watching. Again, sort out what you’ll want to use the binoculars for first. Now, let’s figure out what the numbers mean.
When on your search for the right pair of binoculars, you’ll come across numbers such as 8×42, 10×42, 35×70, etc. The first number denotes the magnification strength— the lower the number, the lower the strength, with the opposite being true for higher numbers.
What is Magnification Strength?
Magnification strength (at least as far as binoculars go) is representative of how many times closer an object is to you. In other words, a set of binoculars that have the first number being 8, means that zoomed in all the way, what you’re looking at is going to appear eight times closer to you than it is.
Objective Lens Size
The second set of numbers represents the size of the objective lens (the lens that is on the far end of the binoculars). The larger the objective lens, the more light it takes in, and the better things will appear through the ocular lens (what you’re looking through).
So, on a set of binoculars that are rated 8×42, you now know that you’ll see things 8x closer than they are, through a 42mm objective lens.
Binocular Weight is Important
Anything can feel heavy when being held for an extended amount of time- binoculars are no different. When a set is too light, you might find your view to become shaky when zoomed in. If a set is too heavy, it can be burdensome on your arms, or a noticeable difference when being carried around out in the field.
There are tricks to solve both problems (lean against a tree, sit down with your elbows on your knees, bring a portable stand, etc.), but in the end, what you need them for will dictate whatever solutions are available to you.
The weight of a set of binoculars is typically found in the specs of whatever the unit is, and it is easier to find out online than it is in a store.
What are Waterproof Binoculars?
It sounds self-explanatory, but there are two ways a set of binoculars can be waterproof.
The first way is what you were probably already thinking- water doesn’t get into the unit through the lenses or the case. Most quality sets of binoculars are filled with nitrogen to prevent fogging up. This should tell us that they are airtight, and if it’s airtight, then they’ll be watertight by default.
The less thought about manner a set can be waterproof is whether or not the external features can handle moisture such as rain, or being plunked into a pond a time or two. Though a set of binoculars may be watertight, the stuff it’s made from might not be coated well enough for soggy uses. A fully waterproof set of binoculars will be well coated (sometimes rubber coated), to protect external working parts from rusting or other forms of tarnish or oxidation.
Two Examples- Celestron Binoculars
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Celestron has been in business since the ’60s, having cut their teeth creating telescopes. They’re still in the telescope business, and right now aboard the international space station, is a telescope bearing their name. So, it should go without saying; they know what they’re doing in the world of magnification, having made many advancements in the telescope and binocular industry.
We’re going to have a look at two sets of binoculars- two extremes.
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Trailseeker ED 8×42 Binoculars
These binoculars are waterproof, equipped with ED specially coated lenses for clarity and color accuracy. The Trailseeker weighs in just under 1.5 lbs, meant to be carried without becoming a hindrance.
These are best used for birding, hunting, or just to get a better view of something where your field of view is limited, such as the woods.
- You can buy them on Amazon.
Skymaster 25×100 Binoculars
These are perfect for viewing a starlit sky, or for scoping out areas over long distances. The Skymaster is a serious set of binoculars weighing in at 8.75 lbs but comes with a strap and a case to help compensate for the weight.
This set has many features that make it worth the asking price; however, it is water-resistant rather than waterproof. Again, the case will aid in this when traversing through poor weather. The enormous 100mm lens provides plenty of light during low light conditions, and is protected by a rubber covering that is meant to absorb bumps and other bangs that come with getting to a location.
- You can find them on Amazon.
These two examples are poles apart in the world of binoculars, and Celestron carries every flavor of binocular in between. But I chose these two for you to get a good idea of what you’re looking at as you search for a set that is right for you.
With all of the information above, and since you’ve determined the purposes, you’d use a set of binoculars for, which is closest to your needs? Is it more toward the smaller set or the larger?