When people are looking for good-quality, versatile binoculars, they often invest in 10×50 binoculars. As they are capable of offering close-up views of almost any target under all kinds of lighting conditions,they're a great choice for almost any audiencewhether they arehikershunters, astronomers or birdwatchers.
But what should you look for when choosing a 10×50 binocular? How to find the best 10×50 binoculars?
What do the numbers mean?
You've probably noticed that all binoculars are associated with two numbers, such as 10×50, 8×42, 15×70 or others.The first number indicates the magnification of the binoculars, while the second indicates the size.of the objective lensindicated in millimeters.
Magnification is easy to understand: it simply tells you how much your target will be enlarged through the binoculars. In the case of 10×50 binoculars, the magnification will be 10 x, so your target will appear ten times larger.
The second number, lens size, sometimes also called aperture, works differently, but is no less important. It refers to the large objective lenses at the end of the binoculars. These are the lenses you point at your target. The smaller lenses at the other end are the eyepieces through which you look.
The size of the objective lens determines how much light your binoculars can capture. The more light the objective captures, the more detail you'll be able to see. Similarly, if you're into astronomy, the larger the objective diameter, the better your binoculars will detect fainter objects.
Birdwatchers and anyone else who uses binoculars during the day won't notice much difference. However, if the birds you like to observe are nocturnal, if you use your binoculars for hunting in the middle of the night or if you're an amateur astronomer, a lens capable of capturing enough light will enable you to enjoy what you're observing even more, as you'll see more detail.
As usual, there's a small drawback:the larger the lens diameter, the heavier the binoculars can be and weight is certainly a determining factor when choosing the right pair of binoculars for your purpose.
Why use 10×50 binoculars?
There's a good reason why 10×50 binoculars are the most popular:they can be used for almost any activity requiring binoculars. The combination of this magnification with this lens diameter allows you to see your target up close and in a variety of lighting conditions.
This makes them an ideal choice for both day and night use, and for a wide variety of activities. For example, they are powerful to give you superb close-up views of birds, aircraft, marine life and diverse landscapes, while the 50 mm lens gathers enough light for birdwatching at dusk, stargazing or hunting at night.
How to choose the best 10×50 binoculars?
When buying 10×50 binoculars, there are a number of factors to consider, but here are 4 key ones:
Lens quality and coating
And of coursethe importance of each factor varies according to the activity for which you need to use binoculars. The weight and configuration of prisms are important factors for all types of use, while lens quality is more important if you intend to use thebinoculars for stargazingas this can make a big difference.
Finally, if you intend to use the binoculars during the day, water resistance may be a factor to consider, but it won't play a role if you're using your binoculars for astronomy. After all, you won't be able to observe the stars in the rain. However, always opt for binoculars that are at least water-resistant and, ideally, fogproof.
If you take your binoculars with you on hikes, if you enjoy birdwatching or if you intend to use your binoculars over an extended period of time, weight is certainly a determining factor.
Holding your binoculars in front of your eyes for a few moments doesn't usually cause any arm fatigue, but as soon as you hold them for longer than 1-2 minutes, or if you often have to pick them up again to use them, then you'll start to feel some signs of fatigue.
On average, 10×50 binoculars weigh around 800 g, but their weight can also depend on the configuration of the prisms (see below).
There are two types of prism configuration: Porro and roof.Porro prism binoculars refer to traditional binoculars. you've often seen in films and on TV. They have two large cylinders slightly offset from the eyepieces, giving the binoculars a W-shape.
Roof prism binoculars are a more recent invention. and have been gaining in popularity since the second half of the 20th century. They are straight, giving the binoculars an H-shape, and are designed to be lighter and more portable than Porro prism binoculars.
For this reason, they are often popular with hikers. However, the disadvantage of a more compact design is thatthe lens diameter tends to be smallerusually reaching a maximum of 40 to 50 mm.
In addition to weight, there are a few other features to consider. Porro prism binoculars deliver a slightly higher image quality and are generally less expensive to manufacture, although the final price depends greatly on the manufacturer.
The biggest difference lies essentially in their weight and, consequently, their portability. With that in mind,if you're a hiker or intend to travel regularly, roof-top binoculars may be the best option for you. But if you're more interested in observing from a fixed location, and want to prioritize image quality and a larger lens diameter, then traditional Porro prism binoculars are a much better choice.
(And if the binoculars you choose are large and heavy, you can always attach them to a tripod).
Lens quality and coating
The quality of optical instruments can make a big difference to the quality of the image you see. For example, the quality ofbinoculars sometimes suffer from chromatic aberrationThis effect is difficult to eradicate completely, but is even more noticeable in cheap binoculars and those not produced by a reputable manufacturer.
There are a number of factors that contribute to image quality, the two most important of which are: the type of prism and its coating.
There are two main types of prisms: BK-7 and BaK-4.the BK-7 being of inferior quality. Most of the time the BK-7 is suitable, but for a hobby like astronomy the BaK-4 is generally preferable (though not necessary). Amateur astronomers often use a star as a reference point for focusing, which can often make a big difference.
In any case, you should avoid all binoculars offering other types of prisms.
When it comes to the coating applied to the optics, it's a bit of a similar story. Anti-reflective coatings can improve the quality of the image seen through the eyepieces.
When buying binoculars, consider only the multi-coated (MC) and fully multi-coated (FMC) options. Again, as with prism types, these are the two preferred coatings offered by leading manufacturers. So we advise you to avoid all binoculars from unknown brands that claim their lenses are simply "coated".
What's the difference? Multilayer coating means that one side of a lens has been coated several times, while other lenses have been coated only once on one side. Fully multi-coated means that all the faces of all the lenses have been coated several times.
Although most binoculars from reputable manufacturers are water-resistant, some might argue that having waterproof binoculars is really a matter of personal choice. As mentioned above, in reality, it depends on what you're going to use your binoculars for.
If you're a birder or hiker and need to use your binoculars in all kinds of weather conditions, getting waterproof binoculars will probably be a good idea. This applies all the more if you intend to use them near water sources, such as a river or on the beach.
On the other hand, if you intend to use your binoculars for astronomy, waterproof binoculars won't be much use to you. After all, you won't see much if the sky is overcast or it's raining. However, it's worth considering anti-fogging binoculars, as temperature and humidity can fog up your optical instruments.