What Can You Watch Through Binoculars?

what can you watch through binoculars

Having a pair of binoculars open a new world of possibilities for any outdoor watchers. But what can you actually watch through a pair of binoculars?

With a pair of binoculars, you can watch everything close up from sporting events, wildlife or bird watching, nature, airshows, football concerts, all the way up to stargazing.

When I got my first pair of binoculars years back, I had no idea about all the possibilities and fun you can have by watching different things through binoculars, but in time, I’ve realised how my first concept of having binoculars was so wrong to reality.

Not only that I have had those binoculars sitting and gathering dust, and every time I got to go to an event, I was taking my camera, but all the nights going to camping which I lost by stargazing with just my eyes and nothing more.

Therefore I would love to share with you a few tips about what to watch through a pair of binoculars, to which binoculars I would recommend for those outdoor activities.

Watching through a pair of binoculars, simplified.

Before getting into details, I want two questions to answer yourself: what would you like to see through binoculars and how much are you willing to invest in a good pair of them?

The price range is from about $20 (cheap, low-quality binoculars) skyrocketing up to a few thousand or even more. I would definitely not recommend anything cheaper than $50 due to the very low quality and negative experience, in special if you are just going to buy your first pair.

But now, let’s explore a bit what can you watch through a pair of binoculars:

  1. Bird watching and wildlife.
  2. Airshows
  3. Concerts
  4. Boats or ships on the sea
  5. Nature and mountains
  6. People
  7. Football
  8. Different types of events
  9. Stargazing
  10. Exploration

Bird watching and wildlife.

One of the main reason people are buying a pair of binoculars is to watch birds and wildlife in their natural habitat. This could be one of the most relaxing adventures for any people in love with nature.

The possibilities to watch wildlife through your binoculars are endless. Me, personally, I love to do that, although I do not recognise more than two species of birds: seagulls and pigeons (I know, I am so bad at that). But being there in nature, I can see the perfect creations of our planet.

What to recommend: If you are just about to buy your first pair of binoculars for bird or wildlife watching, I would strongly recommend a pair of high-quality binoculars.

What types of binoculars do you need for bird-watching or wildlife?

  • Lightweight (easy to carry around)
  • Medium magnification (8-10x maximum, no more. You need stability and handheld watching)
  • High clarity (to underline this as be the most important tip to see the wildlife beauty on their own habitat)
  • Water and humidity resistant

When you pick your binoculars, it is extremely important to have an outstanding rating for clarity. What can be worse than being there in nature and watching wildlife with a pair of binoculars which does not focus properly, have lots of chromatic aberration and the image is contrastless?

For this reason, have a look to binoculars filled with nitrogen gas, as they are resistant to moisture, sub-zero temperatures, rain and waterproof also.

One pair of binoculars which I own and I strongly recommend are the Nikon Prostaff 7s 8×42 (Amazon)

Watching airshows through binoculars.

Once in a while, depending on the country of your living, there are airshows with jetplanes doing stunts in the sky, and one of the best ways to watch this is through a pair of binoculars.

What type of binoculars do you need to watch airshows?

  • Low to medium magnification (4 to 8x, you do not need high magnification as the planes are flying fast and close. You will find it difficult to follow the airshow with high magnification binoculars)
  • Preferable zoom ones (as the planes will not be in the same place)
  • Also, preferable with image stabilisation (as you are moving your binoculars to follow the airshow, it is difficult to clearly observe the aircraft and all the details without to induce movement shake due to magnification)

In reality, most of the binoculars will do their jobs to follow an airshow but for the best experience, I would recommend taking the above points into consideration.

Watching concerts through binoculars.

When is about concerts, you have to take into consideration a few key points: is it the concert held indoors or outdoors? are you going to be somewhere close to the stage or far away?

One few binoculars I may recommend to most of the concert watchers are medium magnification power, such as 8x and preferable with the aperture a bit higher (such as 50mm+) for better low light situations (as I guess most of the concerts are held during the evening or night, indoors etc.)

What binoculars would I recommend for concert watching?

  • Medium magnification (6 to 8x)
  • Lightweight (you do not want to watch all the concert through a heavy and bulky pair of binoculars)
  • Image stabilisation would represent an advantage
  • Higher aperture will be an advantage also.

An 8x50mm would do just fine. Do not go for higher magnification due to the difficulty of holding it steady.

What is an aperture

Aperture to binoculars is the front glass diameter and is represented by milimeters (an 8×40 pair of binoculars have an 8x magnification and the aperture or front lens of 40mm)

Watching boats and ships on the sea through binoculars

When we are aiming to watch boats and ships on the sea, my strongest recommendation would be a high magnification pair of binoculars.

This could be a way to relax, as I do it myself (my advantage by living on the seaside, I can watch different transport ships going on and off through blue channel)

What binoculars would I recommend for watching boats and ships on the sea?

  • High magnification (15-20x or even more)
  • Tripod required due to high magnification
  • Even a terrestrial telescope can work flawlessly

Watching nature and mountains through binoculars.

What can be more relaxing than being in nature and watching it through a pair of binoculars?

This would shortly fall under the same category as watching birds and wildlife with the binoculars. You do not need high magnification but you need something lightweight to carry it around and very sharp crystal clear for the best image quality.

One another thing I could recommend is to focus on buying a pair of binoculars with larger field of view.

Watching people through binoculars.

Whoa! I had an impression that you just scrolled down to this category? 🙂 Just joking.

I would not recommend watching in other people houses or spying them (although this would be your decision what you are going to do with your pair of binoculars), but for general observing (a.k.a. outdoors shows), it is more like a matter of preferences.

What I would recommend?

  • Lightweight pair of binoculars
  • Low to medium magnification (4x to 10x)
  • Image stabilisation would be an advantage
  • An invisibility cloak, so people won’t see you (just joking here)

Watching football through binoculars

When is about football, I am having a guess that this will be in a crowded stadium, and you may have a seat somewhere in the back.

Loads of people are using binoculars to watch football or any other sports where you cannot see the players due to the distant position you may have

Therefore, I do have some tips I would recommend to watch football or any other sports through binoculars.

  • Medium to high magnification power (8-10x to 20x)
  • For high magnification, I would recommend a pair of binoculars with image stabilisation as a tripod is not an option
  • Lightweight. You don’t want to carry your 5 kilos pair of binoculars with you. It will be difficult to watch through it during full game time.

Watching different types of events through binoculars

The main question is, what kind of event are you going to watch through binoculars?

Is it going to be a toreador in Spain or a race event? Or maybe an indoor symphony or theatre?

For any of the above situations you have to assess for what you are going to use, but one piece of advice I could give you, take a lightweight pair of binoculars with you, with low to medium magnification, as you may find it difficult to watch it another way.

Stargazing with a pair of binoculars.

Okay, this is mostly like a full post I can write about (and I probably will) but I will try to make it as short as possible with only key information.

If you want to stargaze with a pair of binoculars, take the following into consideration:

  • Medium to High magnification (10x to 50x or even more)
  • A very large aperture (80mm+ would be great)
  • Tripod mounted for better stability
  • Larger field of view, for a better stargazing experience
  • A minimum of 5mm exit pupil (7mm+ recommended)

What is an exit pupil?

An exit pupil (as is a common term to describe) is the opening the light beam is going through your binocular ocular lens, directly into your pupils.
Human’s eye have the pupils 2-3mm opened in day light and up to 7mm during the night.

In bright condition, binoculars provide the same bright image.
In low light condition, a binocular exit pupil must be equal or bigger than the human eye pupil under those conditions.

If they are not, lots of light is lost, therefore, in stargazing would be difficult to get the required amount of light for great experience.

An exit pupil for your binocular is calculated as following: Divide the aperture to the magnification.
As an instance, for my nikon binoculars (10×42), we divide the aperture of 42mm to the magnification of 10x and we have an exit pupil of 4.2mm.

4.2mm exit pupil will give you an lower stargazing experience than a pair of binoculars with 6mm+ exit pupil.

For stargazing, I would strongly recommend going for a pair of binoculars from Celeston Skymaster binoculars, which they are specifically made for stargazing.

Exploration. Exploring with a pair of binoculars.

When I was younger, I used to love to explore the nature, mountains, climb, get lost in the woods etc. Apart from the basic gear that you need for survivability, a pair of binoculars will come handy.

Or maybe you just want to explore the beauty of this planet with a pair of good binoculars, to bring everything closer to your feet.

What type of binoculars would you need for exploration?

  • Lightweight and portable (you don’t need to carry too much weight around)
  • High quality for crystal clear resolution
  • Weatherproof, waterproof, dustproof and “everythingproof”

Those are only a few of the millions of real uses of a pair of binoculars. Ensure that wherever you are going to buy, it is a high-quality one. Believe me, it does worth investing a bit more money into something very good rather than a cheap pair of binoculars.

But in the end, is only your decision. Be sure you stay safe and never look towards the sun without any special filters.

I hope I will see you around for more blog posts about binoculars. Do not forget to give us a share if you liked this article. Check our binoculars buying guide for the most in-depth buying guide from the internet.

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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