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What Factors Should I Consider When I Buy Binoculars?

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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 29 September 2016
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If you've decided to buy binoculars, you should consider what purpose you want to use them for. If you plan on using them outdoors for sporting activities, you may want to buy binoculars that are waterproof. Waterproof binoculars are an option when boating or if you use them while around water. If you need a small, lightweight binoculars for portability, consider buying compact binoculars. Night-vision binoculars might be a good choice for low lighting or outdoor evening use.

Perhaps you want an all-purpose pair of binoculars that are moderately priced. This versatile type may be affordable and compact, however, these may not offer a powerful zoom. Magnification may be important to you, particularly if you plan on using binoculars to study close-up detail of distant objects or wildlife.

You should understand, however, that if you buy binoculars with a powerful zoom magnification, you might be compromising image quality. Image stabilization may not be possible with a high-powered zoom. Your brightness and contrast may also be less than satisfactory if you choose binoculars with a powerful zoom. This is why it is helpful to test different models before making your decision.

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If you want to buy binoculars mainly for viewing sporting events such as a baseball game at the ballpark, consider ones that have adequate field of view. If the field of view is poor, you may be able to zoom in through high magnification, yet not be able to see more of the action. Field of view is more important for watching sporting events than for bird watching, where you will basically want to see close-up detail. If you plan on using them for concerts and theater, wide-angle binoculars may work best for you.

Consider features such as relative brightness, particularly when using in low lighting conditions or on especially cloudy days. If you want to buy binoculars for nighttime viewing, you'll need to choose a pair that is designated for that purpose. Night-vision binoculars will typically cost more, as these utilize more advanced technology, such as infrared lighting.

For camping and hiking, you'll most likely want to buy binoculars that are durable and rugged. Choose binoculars that are not only waterproof, but that have a rubberized coating. This material will not only improve your grip, but will also absorb shock should you drop the binoculars on the ground. By contrast, if you do a lot of hunting, you may prefer a more slim and compact design that can easily fit into a pocket.

Another thing to consider when you buy binoculars is comparison shopping. Sporting good stores and even online stores might be a few good options, but don't forget to read consumer reviews and ratings. If you plan to buy binoculars over the Internet, be sure the company is reliable, and read through the policies for returns or exchanges. Whether purchased online or in person, it's important that your new binoculars be available with a warranty as well.

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