After purchasing your bird guidebook (you can check our article about it here) and spending some time getting familiar with the birds of your backyard or city, it is time for another vital investment – binoculars.
Here, the options are more or less on the same basis, i.e., you can either start simple and cheaper or invest in quality and durability. However, as for the binoculars, the differences in prices are a bit higher. Also, it is something you need to get experience with first.
With so many types and models of binoculars in the market, the choice can be very hard. Especially if you are a beginner! So, to make your decision easier, here are some steps to go through before purchasing your binoculars.
1. Do some research
Before buying your first binoculars, spend some time searching for information and reading opinions and reviews. Ask a friend or relative that is already in practice or simply go through some forums or social media groups to get some feedback.
2. Establish your budget
If you decide the amount you are willing to spend on your binoculars, the decision will be less difficult. Especially, after spending some time reading information about binoculars and the prices. However, keep in mind things like the use and regularity you plan on making of the binoculars.
3. Try before buying
Whatever model you are more inclined to, avoid buying it without trying it. There are several ways you could try binoculars. Either from a shop, a fair, or simply borrowing a pair from a friend. If possible, try different types and models observing the same objects. This will help you understand the quality of the lens and the differences between the numbers. In the meantime, you can also analyze the comfort in your eyes and vision and your posture while holding them.
Please remember this is a crucial instrument in birdwatching that can affect both your observations and, especially, your vision.
4. Learn what the numbers mean
Regardless of brand, type or model, there are always two numbers associated with any pair of binoculars, usually something like 8x42 or 10x50. Basically, the first refers to the magnification, i.e., the factor by which an observed object appears enlarged. The second relates to the lens size, which will influence the amount of light entering the binoculars.
Typically, for birdwatching, the most common choices are 8 or 10 magnification and at least 40 in lens size. However, we advise you to try as much different combinations as possible.
5. Avoid buying the cheapest
Everyone wants to pay the least possible for any purchase. However, if you want quality, comfort and durability you have to pay the price. An extra investment could mean lighter binoculars, better quality lenses, or stronger materials.
6. Take care of your binoculars
This is a step we tend to keep only in the first months, while we still have the feeling of possessing something new. However, taking care of your binoculars will maintain their quality and durability for a longer time. You can even start taking care of them before having them, for example by choosing a model with lens protection. Once you bought them, things like keeping them inside the case, avoiding leaving under the sun, or cleaning them often and properly will help you preserve your binoculars.
Therefore, regarding the purchase of binoculars as a beginner, we encourage you to be very thoughtful in your choice, taking what we mentioned above into consideration. Nevertheless, if you still don’t know whether you will enjoy birding, we suggest that you start with cheaper options first, and then after some time, you can consider a better option if that meets your necessities.
Another alternative in this stage is to go for a second-hand purchase, where sometimes you can find pretty good deals.
Finally, we share with you some options you might consider. They are placed from cheapest to most expensive:
- Celestron Nature DX 8x42
- Opticron Oregon 4 PC Binoculars
- Bushnell Prime 8x42
- Vortex Binoculars Optics Crossfire HD
- Nikon Monarch 5 8x42
- Zeiss Binoculars Terra ED 8x42
- Eschenbach Optik Sektor D
- Carl Zeiss Conquest HD 10x42
- LEICA Ultravid HD-Plus 10x50 Waterproof
- Swarovski EL 12x50
We hope you found this article useful. Let us know which model of binoculars you have and tell us which feature you consider the best.