Saturday, February 8, 2014

How to choose a good pair of binoculars

One of the most essential adventure gear to carry on a wildlife safari is a pair of binoculars. I strongly recommend that you invest in a good quality instrument or not at all. Essentially there are two parameters one needs to keep in mind, magnification and the diameter of the main lens. I use a Vanguard 10x42 instrument. This means that the magnification is 10x and the diameter of the lens is 42mm and is ideal for wildlife including birdwatching.

A higher magnification means that objects appear closer. You may be tempted to think that the larger device, the better but this is not necessarily true. Larger devices are cumbersome to carry and use up space in your backpack.10x is a good magnification to choose because anything higher than that is not suitable for handheld use. Subjects will be difficult to locate because of the narrow field of view and there will be excessive hand shake.

A larger lens diameter however means more light enters and therefore visibility is better under low light conditions. Often the best time to spot wildlife is early morning or late evening when they are more active. You will be amazed to see how a larger lens improves image quality under such circumstances. Choose a lens diameter greater than 40mm if you intend to use it outdoors for wildlife.

Another important feature is "eye relief" and is especially important if you are wearing spectacles. In case you wear spectacles and you want to share the device with your partner who does not, the eye relief setting can be adjusted so that the lens of the eye piece is always at the right distance fro the eye.

"Dioptre adjustment" allows the instrument to compensate for small differences between your eyes and can be quite handy for most people.

It is a good idea to buy a waterproof instrument with a robust body as it will be used outdoors, sometimes under adverse weather conditions. Make sure your device is not too large or heavy because it may not be comfortable to wear around your neck for long durations.

#geartalk #binoculars #adventure #wildlife #safari #indranilgoswami

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