As all birders know, binoculars are a very important part of the whole birding experience. Binoculars display bright images and many are the result of fully multicoated optics, working to increase light transmission throughout the optical system. When purchasing a good pair of binoculars, stray away from going with a cheap pair. It has been overwhelmingly proven that birders who purchase low budget binoculars, end up spending more money in the long run. The best thing to do is to put some money aside and get a very good pair of binoculars on the first purchase, rather than spending more money in the end with a drawer full of sub-standard, never used binoculars. Phase correction, a coating on the prism surfaces, further improves the color fidelity, quality, and contrast for sharp imaging that is especially noticeable under low light conditions. Let’s take a look at some features that you should consider when buying a pair of binoculars.
DESIGN: There are many parts to a set of binoculars and you may not be familiar with the names. You want to make sure that the binoculars are equipped with rugged roof for the prism. Other features to the binoculars would to be sure they are weatherproof, dust proof, an internally fog proof in their design along with an internal focusing mechanism, o-rings at all open points and argon gas purging. This seems like a mouthful doesn’t it? All of this just for a good pair of binoculars.
CASES: When purchasing a good pair of binocs, ensure that it comes with a custom-molded case just for that set. This will provide protection for the binocular when they are not in use. For an easy carry in the field, make sure the carrying case has a clip on the woven nylon neck strap for easy usage.
LENS COVERS: A good set of binoculars should come with two tethered objective lens covers and a one piece rain guard that covers the eyepieces. For convenience, the rain guard should be attached to the neck strap where it is within easy reach of the user. All you have to do is simply slip the neck strap through the attachment point on the rain guard before connecting the neck strap to the binocular.
Many things can happen while out on your birding adventure. The more protection that you have for your binoculars, the better. You pay a lot of money for these, and it’s best to have all the protection you can so they will out last you!! Waterproof binoculars are best for those that may need to cross streams to get to a higher point for vision and or to move to a different camp site. There are various precautions you can do to protect your small binoculars for later usage.
ADJUSTING THE EYE CUPS: The eye cup adjustment is a very, very important part of your birding experience. It is more than just focusing the lenses, but there is a proper way in which to do so in order for you to maximized vision from your binoculars. Most all eye cups on binoculars twist up and down so any viewer can take advantage of the long eye relief and enjoy comfortable, full-field viewing.
If you’re wearing eye glasses or sunglasses, you should retract the eye cups. If you are not wearing eye glasses, then you should extend the eye cups. The twist-up eye cups are built on a solid frame, tapered to fit the contour of the eye, and covered with rubber.
ADJUSTING THE IPD (Interpupillary Distance): The interpupillary distance (IPD) is the distance between the centers of the left and right eye pupils. Match the IPD of you eyes to that of the binocular by rotating the binocular barrels inward or outward until you see a single image that is free of shading.
FOCUSING THE BINOCULAR: One of the best ways to focus the binocular is to choose an object that is about 20 yeards away from you and follow this two-step process to properly adjust the focus. Be sure to stay in the same spot until you have adjusted both the center focus and diopter.
- ADJUST THE CENTER FOCUS: Start by closing your right eye or covering the right objective lens with your hand. Focus your left eye on the object and adjust the center focus wheel until the image is in focus. Leave the center focus in this position as you adjust the diopter.
- ADJUST THE DIOPTER: Start by closing your left eye, or covering the left objective lens with your hand. Look through your right eye and adjust the diopter (ring found on the right eyepiece) until the object is in focus. Make not of this diopter setting in case you need to set it again. From this point on, you will only need to use the center focus dial.
CARING FOR THE LENSES: Maintain the optical brilliance of your binoculars by keeping the lens surfaces free of dirt, oils, and dust. Don’t forget to make good use of the rain guards and tethered objective lens covers to protect the lenses when not viewing. Also make sure you store the binoculars in your carrying case when they are not in use.
Remove any dust or grit from lenses before wiping. Use a can o pressurized air or soft camel hair brush like an acrylic optical brushes. They work quite well.
Clear lenses of smudges, fingerprints, or eyelash oil. fog the lenses with your own breath and wipe them with the non-abrasive lens cloth included with the binoculars. Other cleaning options include cleaning fluid and optical paper can also be used. However, you should never use facial tissue, heavy cotton, or flannel clothing on lenses. These materials can scratch the lens surfaces.
This should help you get along when purchasing, caring for and viewing your binoculars. One brand that is very good all the way around is a company called Vortex. Vortex builds their optics based on past and present customer satisfaction. They also carry what they call a VIP – Very Important Person. Should your binoculars require service, regardless of why, they will repair or replace the binocular at no charge to you.
Best to you as you head out on your birding adventure. For more information on where you can purchase a good pair of binoculars, simply visit www.wildlife-houses.com . Happy Birding!!!!