Observing nature can teach you a lot of things. This is something I want my children to be interested in, and that is why I strive to provide them with the best means to achieve knowledge and to do so in a fun way. Kids will always be kids, and their attention span can be very short, but I believe in stimulating their intellect and curiosity, and a pair of binoculars can be helpful.
Bringing everything closer makes things more interesting, and this is something that binoculars can do with ease. However, if you look around like I did, you will notice that there are plenty of models available and they can vary in pricing and features a lot. I did some research on the topic, and I discovered some things that are more important than others when it comes to choosing good quality binoculars.
Understanding the difference between roof and Porro prisms
The prism is an essential element and can significantly influence the way a pair of binoculars looks like. Some are chunky, and others slim and elegant. Before researching binoculars in general, I didn’t know the physical aspect was so much influenced by the type of prism used.
Why is the prism necessary? To put it in simple terms, without it, the image shown through your binoculars will be upside down. The prism organizes the glass elements, and, in a roof-prism model, these elements are set in a line, which leads to a streamlined, elegant design.
Porro-prism models, on the other hand, have these elements offset from one another, which makes them heavier and less streamlined. However, what you should know is that these models offer better depth of field and wider field of view.
Picking the right magnification
This is the type of thing where you might feel tempted to say that the higher the number, the better. However, some factors influence the overall performance of a pair of binoculars. That is why I would recommend getting an 8x magnification model, rather than a 10x magnification pair.
What happens is that the larger the magnification, the more distance you can cover. However, this comes at a price. Your field of view will become narrower, and less than ideal light conditions create a darker image.
Also, the factor that I find important is the stabilization. A model with higher magnification will noticeable influence image stabilization, and unless you have steady hands, the image you see through the lenses will be shaky.
The eye relief factor
One aspect that I think it’s often overlooked when shopping for a pair of binoculars is eye relief. This stands for the available distance between the binoculars and your eyes. A model with a higher value for eye relief lets you keep the binoculars at a comfortable distance from your eyes, without the need to press them against your face to see better.