13 Tips to Know About Binoculars


tips to know about binoculars

The binoculars are one of the easiest optical devices to use in the world. As a simple tool, a hammer or sunglasses, you do not need any experience to be able to use them. But behind the simplicity of using the binoculars, there may be a few binoculars tips to help you improve the observations and other related tips.

Therefore, without any delays, I am going to share with you 13 tips to know about binoculars.

13 Tips to Know about binoculars:

  1. Use the right magnification for your type of observations
  2. Improve your stability with a monopod or tripod
  3. Solar filters for solar or eclipse observations
  4. Knowing the aperture
  5. Image stabilisation binoculars
  6. You can watch through binoculars without glasses
  7. How to adjust the diopter level
  8. Zoom vs fixed magnification
  9. A set of optional accessories
  10. Observing the moon through your binoculars
  11. Spotting the Andromeda Galaxy and the Pleiades
  12. Watching the moon reflection in the waves (relaxing tips)
  13. Taking photographs through binoculars

13 Binoculars Tips to Share with you.

1. Use the right magnification.

It may seem to be obvious to use the right magnification for your type of observations, therefore, why would you need a tip like this?

95% of the binoculars on the market have a fixed magnification, therefore, you may not be able to zoom at all. Sometimes, we buy what is a good quality binocular and we don’t actually keep an account for the magnification, as furthermore, I want to create a table of content to help you understand better the right magnification for your binoculars

The right binoculars magnification to use for different observations:

Type of ObservationMagnification
Birdwatching and wildlife7-10x
Nature & Landscape7-10x
Ships on the sea10-15x
Moon Observations10-25x
Planetary Observations20-25x
Concerts & Events7-8x
Sports & Stadium8-12x
Deep-sky objects (stargazing)8-10x
Airshows7-8x
Plane Spotting15-25x

Furthermore, I want to extend a bit the binoculars tips for the right magnification of your binoculars to the observations you make:

  • Birdwatching
    • You do not need high magnification when watching birds or wildlife. You want to carry handheld observations with a bit of stability and without too much shake induced.
  • Nature & Landscapes
    • To observe nature and the landscape through your binoculars, I would recommend about the same magnification as watching the birds and wildlife, unless your aim is to observe distant landscapes & mountains, where a 15x+ would be helpful.
  • Ships on the sea
    • If you live by the seaside as me and you want to watch ships through binoculars, I would recommend going for high magnification of 10-15x, possible tripod-mounted or monopod for extra stability. This magnification gives you great details of the ships and still a good field of view of the sea.
  • Moon observations
    • When you are observing the moon, a minimum of about 10x would be necessary to be able to spot some details, and up to a 25x to greatly see the moon through binoculars with a lot of details. You will need a tripod, and still, you can use higher magnifications but I don’t see this very practical in watching through binoculars.
  • Planetary observations
    • To spot planets like Jupiter & Moons, Saturn and the ring, Venus and its phases, you may need a high magnification for your binoculars. A 20-25x may help you achieve this type of observation.
  • Concert and events
    • Doing concert or event observations we need a low to the medium magnification power to be able to carry those observations handheld and for a longer period of time (usually this magnification range with an aperture of around 40-50mm means that the binoculars are lightweight).
  • Sports and stadium
    • As referring to the above point, in the case of sports and stadium we may need a bit more magnification due to the actions taking place farther away from you.
  • Deep Sky Objects
    • In astronomy (stargazing) we do not need high magnification to observe the celestial bodies (except moon and planets) and all we need is large aperture binoculars. In terms of magnification, an 8-10x would do just fine.
  • Airshows
    • You may want to contradict me here that we need high magnification for airshows but let me say, you definitely don’t want a high magnification binoculars for two obvious reasons: the planes are in continuous movement and it would be hard to track them and the visual field would be too narrow to observe more planes at once (airshow, remember?).
  • Plane spotting
    • Compared to the airshows, plane spotting is actually spotting and watching the planes flying on the high sky. You need high magnification to be able to do that and observe details, but not too high as it may be difficult to track them. A 15-25x would do just fine, but remember, you may need a tripod to be able to do the observations.

2. Improving stability with a monopod or tripod

The monopod can simply be used to attach any compatible binoculars and have an extra point of stability when performing observations even at higher magnification. A tripod is a totally different story.

With a tripod, you will get perfect stability and no movement at all, in special when performing high powered astronomical observations with heavy binoculars as my Skymaster 25×100 which weight about 5 kilograms.

Tripod can be optional or essential depending on the binoculars you may have. The binoculars with a magnification greater than 10x I would recommend a tripod. If the binoculars you own are not compatible with a tripod, there are 3rd party accessories to help you attach them.

With a monopod, this is only optional, and you can carry well-stabilised observation up to a magnification of 15x without any issues. Therefore if you have binoculars such as 12×50, I would rather prefer that you may have a monopod to attach to improve the observation experience

As an instance, as mentioned several times over my blog posts, I own the Manfrotto Befree Advanced tripod which I use them for both my DSLR and my massive & heavy 25×100 binoculars. The link is an affiliate to Amazon.

Furthermore, if we are still on the tip “stability” with tripod and monopod, let me give you another tip for stabilizing very heavy binoculars on a tripod in special when used for astronomical observations.

The image is shared from Amazon using the Affiliate Associate Programme SiteStripe to comply with their policies and is not hosted by our server. Clicking the image will redirect you to the product on Amazon.

The above-listed product is a binocular mount with counterweight. This is used to stabilize the weight on the tripod and release some pressure from the ball head or the tripod neck, and it is also helpful to lift up the binoculars to a point where you can freely carry standing astronomical observations without the need for you to bend over and over.

3. Solar filters for solar observations or eclipse.

I want to start this binoculars tips with an underline warning: NEVER WATCH DIRECTLY THE SUN THROUGH YOUR BINOCULARS WITHOUT SPECIAL FILTERS.

Good. Now that I said my point above, what about the solar filters? The solar filters are special filters to attach to the binoculars in order to safely observe the sun through them.

It may require some DIY as some filters may be special foils, some of the filters are cups to attach to the binoculars or rings etc. It’s important to know before you buy two things: the quality of the filters and the mounting type. It would be pointless to order your solar filters and then to notice that they are too small for your binoculars.

Moreover, when you use solar filters for your binoculars, always make sure that this covers 100% the objective lens and the filters they are not damaged or scratched.

4. Knowing the aperture

The aperture OR the objective lens diameter is the front element/glass diameter and is measured in mm. If your binoculars are 10×50, they have 10x magnification and the objective lens diameter of 50mm.

Knowing the aperture is important for the types of observations you can make. Larger the aperture or objective lens diameter, more light the binoculars can capture and better it performs in low light conditions

As an instance, for stargazing, it is very important that the binoculars have a large aperture. I wrote a post about this if you want to check it “how to choose binoculars for stargazing”

I am going to create below another table of contents to know the basics of what aperture to use for the same observations as above.

The aperture recommended for different types of binoculars observations

Type of ObservationAperture
Birdwatching and wildlife42mm+
Nature & Landscape42mm+
Ships on the seaANY
Moon Observations35mm+
Planetary Observations50mm+
Concerts & Events50mm
Sports & Stadium42mm+
Deep-sky objects (stargazing)As much as possible
AirshowsANY
Plane SpottingANY
  • Birdwatching and wildlife
    • When observing birdwatching and wildlife, I recommend an objective lens diameter of 42mm+ because it may require a bit of extra light when observing in darker areas such as forests or at dawn/sunset.
  • Nature and Landscape
    • Same as birdwatching and wildlife, when observing nature we may have darker forests or we do it on sunrise or sunset, where a 42mm+ is recommended for a bit of extra light.
  • Ships on the sea
    • Guessing the fact that the ships on the sea are observed during the daytime, any apertures will do as there would always be enough light to perform this type of observation.
  • Moon observations
    • When observing the moon we do not need a large aperture because the moon is bright. In fact, to point, large apertures as my 25×100 binoculars (100mm) is way too bright and takes time for the eye to adjust to the amount of brightness. Therefore, anything above 35mm would do just fine.
  • Planetary observations
    • When we try to spot the planets, we may need a bit of extra light as those celestial bodies are bright but not enough to be observed on low objective lens diameter binoculars. It can work just fine at 42mm but I do recommend 50mm+.
  • Concert and events
    • I am having a guess that the concerts at least are going to be performed under either dimmed light conditions, night time or indoors, where I would recommend binoculars with an aperture of around 50mm. Again, in this case, 42mm would do just fine.
  • Sports and stadium
    • When we are observing sports or stadium sports, there would be plenty of light and in general, would work with any apertures. But we have to take into consideration the fact that some sports in special stadium football can be observed during the evening or night, and although there will be plenty of light, not to have any issues, I would recommend a 42mm+
  • Deep-sky objects
    • In astronomy, to observe deep-sky objects you need as much light as possible! This is the basics of astronomy and the reasons some telescopes are so massive is that the mirror or front element are massive. The minimum required to perform the basic stargazing is about 42mm, the recommended diameter is 70mm and for enhanced experience, I would recommend 100mm+
  • Airshows and plane spotting
    • In this case, any aperture OR objective lens diameter will do as those observations are performed and observed during bright daylight conditions.

5. Buying image stabilisation binoculars.

Although this may not be a tip to enhance binocular observations, it would be if you do not own yet a pair of binoculars and have some money to invest in one. I would recommend going for an image stabilisation binoculars if they are used for general observations, birdwatching and nature observation etc. and not for something specific as astronomy.

The image stabilisation system is one another evolution of the technology in special in optics in the past couple of years and with those binoculars, you can observe handheld amazingly as (nearly) all the shakes are reduced a lot. You will be able to perform observations handheld at even 15x without any issues.

Just keep in mind that the binoculars with image stabilisation are really expensive. In any case, I would recommend having a look over our recommended binoculars page.

6&7. Watching through binoculars without glasses and adjusting the diopter level.

If you are wearing glasses, you may be the right person reading this tip. First of all, let me cover the basics of watching through binoculars with glasses.

Most of the binocular manufacturers are producing those optical devices for glasses wearers. The way they do is that you may be able to adjust the right distance of the ocular eyecup if you are wearing glasses, and it is recommended somewhere about 15mm for optimal observations with glasses. Most of the binoculars are covering this distance.

But you may want to watch through binoculars without glasses, right? well. Yes, you can. Every binoculars (at least nearly every) should have a diopter adjustment ring, allowing you to adjust your binoculars to the right diopters to your eyes.

How are you going to adjust the binoculars to the right diopter level for your eyes?

  1. Watch through binoculars and cover the right objective with the cup provided (cover) or anything, so you can see only through your left eye.
  2. Focus on a distant object using the focus ring, until this is perfectly clear.
  3. Now swap the cup to the left objective and cover it, so you can see only through your right ocular. DO NOT TOUCH THE FOCUS RING
  4. Next is to use the diopter adjustment ring to focus your right eye until the image is perfectly clear.
  5. All done. Now your binoculars should be perfectly in focus and you can watch through them without the need for glasses. Do not change the diopter ring anymore, use only the focus ring from now on.
  6. If needed, anytime you can repeat the process.

8. Zoom vs fixed magnification.

I did mention in the first point that about 95% of binoculars (estimated) have a fixed magnification (such as 10×50) and rarely you may find binoculars with zoom (such as 10-30×50). There is a strong reason behind that.

When we have a zoom instead of fixed magnification, we may have more disadvantages over the advantage of having a zoom.

Let’s have a few bullet points to cover them:

Advantages:

  • Custom zoom power

Disadvantages:

  • More glass inside which means it will perform worse under low-light conditions
  • The extra zoom may be a bit too much to carry handheld observations
  • The exit pupils would be too small on full zoom, not only would perform terribly under low light conditions but even daylight image would be darkened and contrastless
  • The zoom optical system would be very fragile, therefore, even a small drop of the binoculars would probably break or dealign them.
  • Due to the extra glass, the overall quality for the same average price will decrease.

At the end as a final tip and recommendation, do not buy binoculars with zoom. Those do not worth spending the money on them. You can have a better piece of equipment with fixed magnification binoculars.

9. A set of optional accessories

What can be nicer than to spend some extra money on some optional accessories? Ha! Sorry, just joking around here, but sometimes, accessories can be helpful to your binoculars.

It may be simple things such as a cleaning kit or new straps to different binocular mount accessories and more.

I wrote not long time ago an in-depth post with accessories for binoculars if you want to have a look.

10. Observing the moon through binoculars

On the above points, I had a few mentions about observing the moon through binoculars, but here I am going to speak a bit more in-depth giving you some tips on how to observe the moon through binoculars.

The moon can be seen with the naked eye but without details. With magnification, watching through binoculars you start to notice details on the moon such as crates and shadows, the satellite structure etc. Those details you may start to notice them at 7x magnification and to clearly observe them around 10x.

With a magnification of 25x on binoculars, you can observe the moon with both of your eyes clearly with a lot of details. Sometimes, you may find any binoculars above 25x and watching the moon with that magnification and above is a pleasure.

I probably had a mention or two on other posts about observing and photographing the moon through binoculars, this is a photo I managed to take at 25x magnification with 7x extra digital zoom from the mobile phone.

I noticed that around 7x digital zoom on iPhone X when taking a picture, that is the equivalent what you can see through your eyes. (more or less).

watching the moon binoculars tips

The above image may be a perfect or similar to perfect illustration of what you can see to the moon with your eyes at 25x through binoculars. Only that you will observe more details and watch it through both of your eyes.

The moon is bright and I mentioned before, you can watch it through binoculars with any apertures. The same thing, the moon can be seen and observed during the daytime.

If you did not observe the moon through binoculars until now, I would recommend you to do it. You will just love it. Sometimes, I want to hug it, but sadly, I cannot!

11. Spotting the Andromeda Galaxy and Pleiades through your binoculars.

The first image is the Pleiades (M45) and the second image is the Andromeda Galaxy (M31). The second image is taken by me but the first image is licensed for free from Unsplash and used just for representation.

One of my top binoculars tips from this post is to try to observe any of those two deep sky objects. The reason I am mentioning those two is that they can be seen even with the naked eye on the dark skies but through binoculars would look fantastic, in special if the binoculars you are using have a large aperture.

I am using one software for my iPhone called Night Sky. It helps me track and find deep-sky objects and constellations on the night sky which makes spotting them with binoculars even easier.

The beauty of this is because you are observing everything through both of your eyes as never before. It is an amazing experience and I would strongly recommend if you have binoculars, now for real, no matter of the aperture, just have a go in one evening on a zone without any light pollution and try to watch them or anything through binoculars. You will be surprised on how much you can see through them.

12. Watching the moon reflection on the waves.

On the beauty of nature and this world when in one evening I was watching the moon, I could see the bright reflection on the sea waves crashing to the shore, so I focused my binoculars on the waves and watched.

The first thing which I’ve noticed is the diamond-like reflections of the moon on the moving waves, and as the waves were dark around the reflection, it gives the impression that I am watching waves of diamonds.

Since I am ever observing through binoculars, I was never ever more surprised on my entire life how this combination of 10x zoom and watching the moon directly shining on the waves can be so pleasant.

13. Taking photographs through your binoculars

This is a fully topic I wrote about how to take photographs through your binoculars and is one last tip I want to share with you today. Capture and share the beauty of this world you see through your binoculars.

It is not complicated and it can be done even handheld but mostly I recommend to attach your phone with a universal mount adaptor for binoculars and telescopes.

You can check this article for a bit more reading.


Well, that would be all for today. Please stay tuned for more binoculars tips, tutorials and guides. We originally created and feeding this blog for you to give you the best content on the internet (not overreacting). Thank you and I hope to see you around.

Gabriel Mihalcea

Passionate about binoculars, photography and blogging with years experience behind, I love to split my time and observe the beauty of this world with different eyes.

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