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What Magnifications are best for Birding Binoculars

What Magnifications are best for Birding Binoculars

Any time you pick up a new hobby, there is a learning curve that you have to go through in order to get the most out of it. Whether it involves choosing the right equipment or developing a finely-honed technique, you have to figure out how you can adapt in order to enjoy that hobby to the fullest extent possible.

If you love to go bird watching, one piece of equipment you should purchase is a good set of birding binoculars.  There are several magnifications available, so you have to be careful about choosing the right one. The question is, how do you know what to choose if you’re new to bird watching?

What Magnifications are best for Birding Binoculars

The Two Main Choices for Birding

For the most part, binoculars used for bird watching have a magnification of either 8 or 10. Either one will work, but it’s important that you understand their differences, so you can choose the set that you like the best. Of course, if you are really determined to use a different magnification, you certainly can. There’s nothing that’s stopping you. However, you might not get the best results when it comes to choosing other magnifications. Therefore, the two that will be discussed herein are the 8X and 10X.

What Magnifications are best for Birding Binoculars

Understanding What the Numbers Mean

There’s nothing complicated about understanding what these numbers mean. The number represents how many times the image you’re looking at has been magnified. Therefore, if you’re using an 8X set of binoculars, everything you look at is being magnified by eight times. By the same token, a 10X version will magnify the image by ten times.

It probably seems like the obvious choice to purchase the 10X set, but it does have its drawbacks. For example, the image can sometimes appear to be somewhat cut off when you look through the lenses. You might not be able to see anything but the center of the image. In addition, you have to have a very steady pair of hands, or the image might be shaky. This can be frustrating, to say the least. If you think this could present an issue for you, go ahead and choose the 8X version since it’s easier to use for some people.

What Magnifications are best for Birding Binoculars

Times When You Should Choose a Different Set of Binoculars

Bird watching can be an intensely personal hobby. That means that it’s important for you to tailor the binoculars you use to fit exactly what you need. In some cases, it is better to go with the 10X version, and in some rare cases, you can even choose a larger magnification. Prime examples of this include someone who likes to watch birds from rather far distances or when a person has issues with their vision. In the latter case, it can help you if you can have a larger image to look at, especially if you’re trying to see the birds in greater detail.

What Magnifications are best for Birding Binoculars

Special Considerations

If you’re determined to choose an even larger magnification, it’s probably a good idea to purchase a tripod so you won’t have to hold and steady the binoculars yourself. As previously mentioned, the larger the number gets, the harder it is to maintain a steady image. Anything over 12X makes it practically impossible to see your image clearly without using a tripod. For many people, the 12X magnification is too much. You’d be surprised how much a very slight amount of hand movement can affect the image you’re trying to focus on. In many cases, it makes the image appear so shaky that you can’t clearly see what you’re looking at.

Bird watching is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable hobbies that you can take up. It’s even more enjoyable if you take the time to use the right equipment. There is no doubt that you’ll get a lot more enjoyment out of things if you have equipment that makes bird watching easier as opposed to more difficult.

Fortunately, it’s not hard to find the equipment you need. The most important thing for you to remember is to use this information as a springboard and then choose whatever makes you the most comfortable.


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