September 21, 2007, Newsletter Issue #82: Buying Binoculars for Birding

Tip of the Week

When you shop for binoculars for wildlife adventure travel and birding, you´ll notice that they are described as "8x25" or "10x35".

The first number is the magnification of the binoculars, so 8x means it magnifies an image by a factor of eight. The second number is the width, in milimeters, of the front or "objective" lenses.

The larger the binoculars are, the more light the binoculars can take in.

For birding, it´s best to stick with 8x or 10x magnification. Higher magnification also magnifies the tremors in one´s hands and the result is a shakey image. Another item to look for is what´s called "eye relief", which refers to the distance your eyes need to be from the eyepiece.

* If you wear glasses, ask your dealer for binoculars with a "long eye relief"; at least 15mm.

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