If you can afford them, as they do cost a pretty penny, they will give you clarity unmatched by anything else. When you’re looking at something, you’ll feel like you’re actually looking through your own eyes, and not through a pair of rangefinder binoculars. This is the best of the best, the crème de la crème, if you will. The premium optics have a multi-layer glass, and fluoride, which results in a lot of light being able to go inside the lens. You’ll be able to see objects right before it gets completely dark, with ease. That coating we mentioned is LotuTec, and it also plays a big role in the vividness of the image.
Eyecups on the binoculars ensure that your eyes will be at the correct distance, but if you wear glasses, you can't get your eyes as close to the lenses, so you need to adjust the eyecups to ensure that even with your glasses on your eyes are the correct distance from the ocular lenses. Binoculars with a longer eye relief are ideal for those who wear glasses as they basically project the image further beyond the ocular lens, giving you plenty of room to play with. So if you wear glasses, you should be looking for an eye relief of at least 15mm, to see the full image full image.
Angle Compensation: This feature considers the angle from the device to the target and alters the distance reading to reflect the change in distance and weight of gravity on the projectile. It rarely comes in handy for most users unless angles are quite extreme, but it can be very useful for bow hunters in high tree stands. For those that rarely need it, it may not be worth the higher price tag.
The difference here isn’t that much in quality, but rather in size and bulkiness. All binoculars need a prism, as without one, they’d produce a reversed, upside-down image, which isn’t very useful. With a roof prism, you get binoculars with a straight profile, and the eyepiece is right behind the front lens. This is a fairly compact design compared to a porro prism. A porro prism, on the other hand, you have an offset lens and eyepiece, and this is the more common, traditional model. Both are great in terms of functionality, and it’s pretty much a choice of do you need a compact pair, or not.
I am shopping for a pair of good binoculars for my husband for Christmas. We attend all of the UGA games, so this pair would be used for viewing sporting events. Our daughter is in the marching band there, so we will also use them to follow her on the field. I have read about the image stabilization of the Canon produts, but I am not sure if we need it? Do you have a great pair that you would recommend for my gift? Also, my husband wear glasses
But even with all these improvements, binoculars will vary in important ways. A few models close focus down to 5 feet away or even a little closer, though at least one popular model reaches no closer than 16 feet away, making them a no-go for seeing butterflies and other up-close objects. The field of view (how large an area you see when you look out into the distance) is also variable and differed by more than 20 percent across models tested for this review.
Another consideration are fixed focus binoculars (sometimes mistakenly referred to as auto focus binoculars, or sometimes slightly more accurately described as focus free or always in focus binoculars) These have a very large depth of view and once you have adjusted them to your eyesight, which only needs to be done once, they will be permanently in focus from a given distance to infinity. The obvious advantage of this is that you never have to change focus, which in terms of speed can't be beaten. On the down side,depending on the distance of the bird from your position, you won't always get the sharpest of images. If you want to learn more read my article on self focusing binoculars.
Cabela’s has produced a little gem of a binocular that would be at home in a turkey vest or a treestand. It’s a true pocket optic, with double hinges that fold the bino into the size of a deck of cards but expand to offer good purchase for your hands and an image that seems large, thanks to premium HD glass. The eyecups are a little fussy, but that’s a small ding for a bargain optic.
If your main interest in astronomy is exploring the fine details on planets or showing structure in distant galaxies, you will probably also eventually want to get a telescope as binoculars just don't have enough magnification. However, binoculars have their advantages over telescopes for astronomy and a wide field of view is one of them. If are new to astronomy or if you thrive on large open star clusters and big, extended nebulae, binoculars can actually work better for you than a telescope. It is often said that binoculars are the best "first telescopes" you can buy and even an experienced astronomer usually keeps one with them at all times.
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Select a distant object. Turn the center focus wheel counterclockwise until the eyepieces are all the way out. This is the extreme “plus” position. Now close your right eye or cover the right objective with your hand and slowly focus inward for the left eye until the image is sharp. Stop! Do not focus back and forth. If you do, you will have to start over. Turn the right diopter eyepiece out to the extreme plus position and now close the left eye or cover the left objective with your hand. Now slowly focus inward for the right eye until the image is sharp. Stop! Focusing errors will result if you do, and you will have to start over.
Over the years I’ve tested virtually every affordable image-stabilized binocular on the market for reviews appearing in Sky & Telescope magazine. Canon is the clear leader where astronomy is concerned. The company currently offers six models, each with something to interest the backyard stargazer. Some of these binoculars are among the very best available for astronomy, while some are more general purpose. (Fujinon also makes 14×40 image-stabilized binos. You can read my thoughts on this model here.)
Dave Brody has been a writer and Executive Producer at SPACE.com since January 2000. He created and hosted space science video for Starry Night astronomy software, Orion Telescopes and SPACE.com TV. A career space documentarian and journalist, Brody was the Supervising Producer of the long running Inside Space news magazine television program on SYFY. Follow Dave on Twitter @DavidSkyBrody. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on SPACE.com.