A good set of binoculars for bird watching is an absolutely essential requirement for all birders. While in theory any binoculars can be used for birdwatching, there are certain characteristics that make some binoculars more suited for birdwatching than others. Birders' individual preferences also come into play, so the best birdwatching binoculars for you might not be the chosen pair for another birder. Given that there are so many different makes and models of binoculars for sale, how do you pick and choose among them? One thing to keep in mind about bird watching binoculars is that many birds tend to move around a lot, so in order to have a decent chance of identifying bird, you need the kind of binoculars that allow you to quickly focus on small fast moving objects, which is very different from binoculars you might use for other purposes such as watching large wildlife like elephants or deer.
The best birdwatching binoculars for sale : some criteria for choosing
Magnification: Generally a 7x or 8x magnification works best for bird watching binoculars. Although some people will go as high as 10x magnification, the tradeoff is that the field of view becomes quite narrow, making it difficult to keep a fast moving bird in your sights. Also, if there are many birds in your field of view, a wider field allows you to better observe all of them. Of
course, you get a more detailed view of the bird with a 10x power binocular. Another thing about the higher magnification is that it also decreases the brightness of the image. This can hinder observing birds in low light conditions, such as in thick forest, or at dusk if you are trying to observe owls and other nocturnal birds. Another reason that 10x magnification does not usually make for the best birding binoculars is that they tend to be heavier and less portable, which makes it difficult to walk around with them. This also makes them more shaky and harder to keep focused on a moving bird. This is not to say that 10x binoculars cannot be used for birding. They might be more suitable to viewing distant birds like raptors or shorebirds, looking at birds in open environments, and viewing relatively less active birds including many waterfowl. Generally speaking, if you are going to have only one pair of bird watching binoculars, you are probably best off with a 7x or 8x pair.
Objective lens diameter: The objective lens diameter is the number after the x in the binocular specifications. Thus, a, 8x42 pair of binoculars will have 8x magnification and 42 mm diameter on the objective lenses, which are the lenses on the far side of the binoculars away from your eyes. The bigger the diameter of the objective lens, the more light it can gather, and the brighter the bird will appear. This will allow you to see the bird's colors and distinguishing field marks better, aiding in bird identification. The tradeoff is that the bigger the lens, the bulkier and heavier your bird watching binoculars are, which limits their portability. Wider objective lenses can also add to the expense of the binoculars. Generally speaking, 8x40 or 8x42 is a nice set of specifications for many birders. You do not want to go lower than 30mm for the objective lens size in binoculars for bird watching.
Roof prism vs porro prism binoculars: There are two types of prism design in binoculars. Without going into too many details, roof prism binoculars are more expensive than porro prism binoculars, but are less durable. If you can afford them, go for roof prism binoculars.
Price of bird watching binoculars: This brings us to another important issue: how much can you expect to pay for a pair of binoculars for bird watching? Generally speaking, they will be more expensive than a very basic pair you might use for sports or sightseeing, as you make more demands on them. The absolute best birdwatching binoculars (such as the Swarovski binoculars) can set you back thousands of dollars, and might be the choice of well-off birding aficionados. However, you can get a very decent pair of birding binoculars for far less. The Nikon Monarch 8x42 retails for about $250 dollars on Amazon.com and other sites, and many birders swear by the. Nikon Monarch 8x42 binoculars have received rave reviews for providing the kind of quality that apparently almost rivals that of much more expensive brands. Audubon binoculars also fall in the $200+ range and are a very good low-to mid-range option. Although the Audubon Equinox series has been discontinued, you can get comparable bird watching binoculars from Eagle Optics.