BY: Saartjie Kidson
Binoculars help to bring the birds into closer view and for seeing detail on the bird.
There are a lot of different binoculars on the market and each one has their pros and cons.
Get a decent pair of binoculars. You don’t need to spend a fortune, just buy the best you can afford. Big does not make the best. A pair with reasonable magnification e.g. 7x or 8x for a better stabilisation is considered to be the best option and lighter weight. Personally, I like using binoculars that have rubber eye cups, and a large objective lens of 40/42 mm in diameter. The bigger the objective lens, the more light the binoculars let in and the brighter the image.
Ideally, binoculars should be sealed. Try and get binoculars that are either nitrogen or argon purged which simply means that the inside air has being substituted with dry gas and will not fog up on the inside and will protect the inside from corrosion because moisture cannot get inside. Look out for scratch resistant lenses with a layer of anti-reflective lens coating and removable lens caps.
Also take into consideration the binocular strap. When you go into the field, you will be wearing a dead weight on your neck for hours at a time, so make sure the strap is wide and comfortable. Some birders use a harness that distributes weight to the shoulders and back instead of to the neck. Binoculars that are comfortable to use and good optically will help prevent eye and neck strain.
Always try before you buy. The size, shape and handling of binoculars are important considerations and are very personal. Handle a few different range of models, before you buy.
Take the time to get familiar with your binocular. Familiarize yourself with the workings of your binocular by following a bird in your garden and practice precise focus of your object. It will take a while to feel comfortable using it.