How to Pick Binoculars for Hunting
A true hunter knows the importance of having binoculars on his or her hunting adventure. How will you know which are the best hunting binoculars for you?. Well, I will be looking at how to pick binoculars for hunting in this article. I will deal into details factors you need to consider when picking binoculars for hunting.
There are hundreds of manufacturers of binoculars out there. You can find a binocular for just about any outdoor activity you want to do. Whether it is sightseeing, bird watching, travelling, hunting, surveillance, sports events, astronomy, marine and among other things.
Each of these adventures has the optimal features to consider for the particular settings. Hunting is no exception. Binoculars are important whether you are spotting your game far away or simply trying to identify the sex, the size and other parameters you like.
Before anything, you need to know your:
- Budget: How much are you willing to invest in your binoculars?. There is no point looking at certain binos if your budget is not enough to get them. Your pocket size will determine which ones you get.
- Your needs: This list will comprise the features you need and want in your binoculars. This will guide your search in the right direction. So you don’t spend your time on the less useful stuff. You make a list of must-have features and those you can do without.
Below are the factors to look at before you start to purchase binoculars for hunting. Certainly, as you may already know the specs used in spotting your game is not the same as those used in birding or marine.
There are four typical sizes of binoculars;
- Compact with lenses between 25mm – 28mm in diameter,
- Mid-sized with lenses at around 30mm in diameter,
- Full sized with lenses in the 40mm – 42mm range,
- Larger sized with lenses 50mm in diameter and above.
Basic but Important Features for Hunting Binoculars
These are important specs to look at when you are choosing a binocular for hunting.
Hunting introduces specific data to your environment and those data determine which specs are more important than others. There are weather conditions such as dusk or dawn which have an impact on the light surrounding the hunter and also secondly, are you watching or looking at moving animals.
- Objective Lens
- Field of View
- Eye Relief
- Lens Coating
Above are the most important features to look out for when selecting binoculars for use for hunting. Each one of them will be explained in great details below.
The magnification power must support movements to give you the clearest image possible even while moving. When you look at a binocular, you will often see something like this, “8×40”. The 8× represent the magnification of the binocular.
Most people are deceived by this number. Just because you have a high magnification doesn’t mean it is better. The higher this number the less steady your images and even your handshake is magnified by such binoculars if unless you are stationary or very steady it becomes hard to get a clearer image while moving. In hunting, you know animals mostly like moving. You are more likely to get a narrow field of view with high magnification too.
For good hunting binoculars, a magnification from Somewhere between a 7x to 10x magnification is good magnification for hunters. Otherwise, if you need more magnification, you might want to consider scopes.
The other number following the magnification is the objective lens size “40” always measured in mm. This number determines how much light can be gathered by the binocular. The more light it is able to gather the further you can see but your field of view gets affected as well.
Here are a few things to consider when looking at the objective lens diameter size:
- Objective lens size below 30mm is only ideal for daytime hunting. It becomes difficult to see any details at night or low light conditions.
- Most animals are more active in the evenings. When it is low light and not very visible. Hunters usually prefer choosing an objective size that will enable them to see clearly during these low light conditions. Objective lenses between 40 and 50 are what most hunters will go for when choosing a binocular.
- Then the next is the higher your objective lens size the heavy your binocular. If you want something compact or lightweight then choose lower objective lens but it will impact your viewing clarity at dusk or dawn.
Furthermore, we will look at the:
Field of View
The field of view is the amount of area you will be able to see when you look through your binos. If you are hunting moving animals, then it is better to use a larger field of view. Which means you use lower magnification binoculars.
You will have to strike a compromise between magnification and field of view when choosing your binoculars for hunting.
This feature is important to all those who wear glasses. It is simply the distance your eyes can be away from the binoculars to see the image clearly. Binoculars which has greater eye relief is good for people who wear glasses. Since your eyes are further to the binoculars with glasses than without glasses.
Have you ever looked at binocular specs?. Mostly you will see either partial coating, full coating, or multiple coatings. This varies from binoculars to binoculars. Lens coatings are a special chemical that manufacturers use on the binoculars to help reduce glare and keep the image as clear as possible even in poor weather conditions.
The better the lens is coated, the better you can see through your binoculars. Based on your hunting weather conditions, will tell the degree of lens coating you need.
Other Features You May Consider on How to Choose Binoculars for Hunting
There are other features you might want to have a look at:
There are two known popular prism types around namely: roof prism and Porro prisms. The roof prisms are considered more powerful than their counterpart. They are able to reflect light five times more and are lightweight and slender in shape or dimension but they more expensive as well.
Porro prisms are more affordable but have larger bodies in order to reflect light more.
Waterproofing and Durability
Finally, hunting happens in various weather conditions; It could be wind, rain or fog. The capacity of binoculars to sustain horrible conditions is crucial to your hunting success. Some companies have made their binoculars weatherproof. Choosing one that is resistant to harsh weather conditions will enable you to hunt in any weather.
In a nutshell, once you know what you really want and have taken all these factors into consideration, you are on your way to making your hunting experience a great one. Once you settle on one, be sure to also read unbiased reviews of the binoculars before you buy.
Some customer takes extra time off to leave their feedback on the product. These can go a long way to helping in knowing whether to buy or not. I hope these above tips on how to pick binoculars for hunting will help you in selecting the best for yourself.
Here is a video by Nikon, explaining how to select the right binoculars.
Now, it’s your turn!!
Josephine is Content Manager @ Binocularsinght.com, an Electrical Engineering Grad who loves optics. She is an Outdoor Enthusiast and a Writer who likes escaping into the mountains for hiking adventures and enjoys other outdoor activities as well.