Are expensive binoculars worth it?

Binoculars can run the gamut from a cheap toy to several thousand dollars. Depending on your needs, your budget and your level of interest in whatever you’re looking at, you will need to decide which pair you are willing to invest in. Quality binoculars can provide you with years of worry-free distance viewing when properly cared for.

Why Do Binoculars Fail?

Binoculars fail in just a couple of ways. Either the focusing mechanism fails, the seals are compromised or the glass gets broken. If your binoculars are going with you through rough terrain or into difficult travel situations, stick with binoculars that feature metal components in the mechanism. Plastic is generally less accurate, and if broken, may be impossible to repair.

Keep Them Dry

Wide temperature variety can make your binoculars fog up. Once moisture gets inside the lens, you need to let them warm up and dry out. Packing a desiccant in the case is helpful, or you can dry your binoculars in a bag of rice. The cheaper the binoculars, the less trustworthy the seals and the greater the risk of moisture buildup.

Check the Weight

Plastic binoculars are lighter, but suffer a greater risk of breakage, mechanism failure and moisture penetration. If you choose to invest in metal binoculars, make sure that the carrying strap is comfortable, the case is secure and moisture resistant, and that both binoculars and case are well-balanced. If you plan to get deep into the woods, your carrying gear should fit well and not cause a drag on your body.

Clarity

One of the biggest benefits of a more expensive binocular is the inclusion of ED or extra-low dispersion glass. This glass provides more clarity to everything you see because it sharpens the edge of each object. ED glass is a game changer for anyone who’s serious about binocular technology.

Zoom

The zoom power of your binoculars will greatly increase your enjoyment of this remarkable tool. Study the numbers in the description. There will be 2 and will look like an equation: ____ x ____ . The first number refers to the amount of magnification and the 2nd refers to the size of the object lens. The higher the magnification, the harder to steady it by hand. If you have any weakness in your hands or wrists, avoid a big, heavy binocular as they will be hard for you to manage.

Purpose

Your binocular goals need to tie into the purpose of your hike. Are you birding for the afternoon, or hunting early in the day? The more extremes you put your binoculars through, the better quality you will need for the long term. Moisture, extreme temperatures and jarring can all put even the best binoculars at risk, so if you’re going to push them hard, be ready to seriously invest in both the binoculars and the case.

Conclusion

Great binoculars are a wonderful investment for anyone serious about birding, hunting, or any other activity in the great outdoors. If you’re going to make a sizable purchase, make sure to also invest in the best case and carrying hardware for your binoculars.