At Park Cameras, we’re not just about cameras and lenses, we deal in everything optical and that includes an enormous range of binoculars, as well as spotting and field scopes. Our binocular selection varies from pocket sized pairs that are ideal for daily use, up to professional grade bird and wildlife spotting binoculars.
Binoculars can be identified by the numbers that appear in their description, i.e. 8x42. This number denotes the magnification (8x magnification) by the lens barrel width (42 millimetres). Magnifications range from 8 up to around 16 times, and lens barrels range from 21mm up to 60mm.
The first number, the magnification (i.e 8x) describes the range capability of the binoculars. The amount of magnification you will need will vary depending on what you plan on using the binoculars for. For example, if you’re using them for seeing a live performance from the back of a concert hall or stadium, then 8x might be sufficient. However, if you’re going on safari then 10x or 12x magnification would likely suit you better.
The width of the binocular lens barrel (i.e. 42mm) is the equivalent of an aperture in camera lenses and is an important value in determining the amount of light entering the binoculars, and thus the luminance of the scene as it appears in the eye piece. The larger the barrel (the greater the number), the brighter the scene will appear. The downside to a wider barrel optics is that the physical size and weight of the binoculars is increased.
Many binocular manufacturers now include image stabilisation (IS) in their binoculars; this is a particularly useful system as it allows you to maintain stability of your view when holding the binoculars. This means if you want a longer magnification but are worried you might not be able to hold it steady, getting a pair with image stabilisation will mean you can comfortably use a longer magnification pair with ease.