How to Use Binoculars Correctly

Using devices is not in genes and it doesn’t come naturally to most of us. The same goes for binoculars. Knowing how to use binoculars correctly will enhance the viewing of whatever it is that you are looking at.

Some people might easily or quickly figure out how to use them but some might not. For this reason, I  think it is worthwhile to help those who might need little help to get the most out of these devices.


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How to Hold Binoculars

Most people think that putting their hands around the prism housing is the best way, but that is not necessarily true. Although that might feel comfortable for a while, you get tired easily and it is unstable to use them that way.

One way to hold them properly is to put your first two fingers around the eyepieces and the other two fingers around the prism housing.

How to use binoculars, how to hold binoculars
How to hold binoculars(

Before you raise your binoculars up first look at your target with your eyes first. So that when you raise the binoculars to your eyes you can easily spot your target. Otherwise, you will spend a lot of time locating it without looking first.


Raise binoculars to your eye and place the first knuckle of your thumbs into the indentations on the outside of your eye sockets, so that your hands are held as if you were shielding your eyes from light from the side.

This puts your arms into a stable locking triangle with your shoulder, head, and neck. This holding position doesn’t allow you to reach the focus knob of center focusing binoculars, put if your binos are already focused you wouldn’t need to focus them while observing.

It might feel unusual first but once you get used to it, its a better holding position than hold on the prism housing only.

Rifle Sling Method

The rifle sling method is best suitable for medium sized handheld binoculars. This is a very stable method. It is quite similar to how you use a sling for rifle range shooting.

Hold the binocular so that the strap loops down. Place both arms through the strap, so that it comes just above your elbows. Hold the binocular in the most comfortable way you can and brace it “solid” by pushing your elbows apart.

How to Use Binoculars with Glasses

Before we answer this question, let us first look at why you are wearing glasses that will help you know how to use binoculars with glasses.

If you are wearing your glasses because of short or longsightedness, then you may not need to use your eyeglasses when looking through the binoculars. This is because the focusing mechanism will allow you to adjust the binoculars to get the correct vision.

However, if you are wearing your glass because of other reasons such as Astigmatism then wearing your prescribed glasses is necessary when using your binos. Otherwise, you will sacrifice valuable image sharpness.

The other reason is if you wearing sunglasses, this one, you simply remove the glasses and use the binoculars.

Eye Relief and Eye-cups

If you are wearing glasses while using binoculars, then you will need a long eye relief to ensure comfort and quality images.

Eye relief is simply the optimal distance between your eyes and the eyepiece of your binoculars t get a good image. Good quality binoculars come with adjustable eye-cups. These eye-cups enable you to get the right distance between your eyes or eyeglasses to get a full image that is of great quality.

For those that don’t need to wear glasses, the usual setting is to just have your binoculars eye-cups fully extended as the manufacturer usually designs the binocular so that the optimal eye-relief is at the same distance as the amount the eye-cups can extend.

However, because we have different eyes or facial shapes, it is always important to adjust it to your optimal viewing distance.

If you do wear eyeglasses, Understanding binoculars specifications is important. you should pay extra attention to the maximum amount of eye-relief that the manufacturer quoted. This is because your glasses sitting in-between your face and the binocular increases the distance between the ocular lenses and your eye.

Thus most eye-glass wearers will need to twist or fold (depending on the type) the eye-cups down because your glasses take up the eye-relief space instead of the eye-cups.


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