The Best Binoculars for Bird Watching in 2023
Millions of people around the world are amateur birdwatchers. What's more, with so many bird species to choose from in so many different environments, there's always something new to discover. Of course, you'll want to make the most of what you're observing anda good pair of binoculars can certainly help you make the most of your time outdoors. But what should you look out for when choosing binoculars for birdwatching? And what are the best binoculars for birdwatching in 2023?
Why use binoculars for birdwatching?
When it comes to birdwatching, you can of course do it with your own eyes. After all, that's what humans have been doing for millennia without any problems, but it has to be said that with binoculars you could see so much more...
Firstly, identifying birds correctly at a distance can be much more difficult than with binoculars. With a close-up view, you'll be able toobserve the bird as if it were close to youThis will enable you to better distinguish its characteristics and identify it with precision.
Of course, there are other ways of observing birds. Perhaps you've also considered a spotting scope, but this has one major drawback: portability. Spotting scopes are ideal for long observation sessions from a fixed location, but they can also be used to observe birds from a distance.if you're hikingthen they won't be practical to carry around.
Another problem is magnification. Spotting scopes generally offer a magnification of 15x or more, which is perfectly suited to long-distance birdwatching. However, this more powerful magnification has another drawback: the field of view, i.e. the image frame. Indeed, with a lens of this size, the field of view will be smaller, which can make it difficult to locate your targets.
Finally, as a spotting scope is necessarily mounted on a tripod to ensure stability, your movements will also be limited if you need to follow the bird that has flown off to another location. Since the field of view is also restricted, this can complicate your observation session, especially if you lose the bird and try to find it again.
By using binoculars, you can say goodbye to all these inconveniences.Designed to be compact and lightweightyou'll be able to take them with you wherever you go.most models can also be mounted on a tripod. (for greater stability), you don't have to.
Binoculars have an additional advantage over spotting scopes. Because you use both eyes,you gain in depth of fieldwhich means you'll get a view that's closer to reality. Using both eyes also allows you to distinguish more details.
How to choose the right pair of binoculars for birdwatching?
When choosing the right pair of binoculars for birdwatching,there are a number of factors to consider :
Field of view
The higher the magnification, the larger your target will appear. While this is an advantage, bear in mind thatthat higher magnification means a smaller field of view. A smaller field of view can make it difficult to locate and track your target. What's more, a restricted view can be less pleasant to observe.
However, this can also depend on the size of your target and the distance from it. If it's too close (or too big), the combination of high magnification and small field of view may prevent you from appreciating or even identifying what you're looking at.
In view of the above, we recommend 8x or 10x magnification,8x is preferable.
Weight plays an important role for two main reasons. Firstly, when you're out and about, you'll probably want to take your binoculars with you.avoid weighing yourself down with heavy equipment.
Second,the heavier the binoculars, the more likely your hands are to shake when holding them. With higher-magnification binoculars, this problem becomes even more acute: shaking will be more apparent when you look through the eyepieces.
For example, if you have binoculars with 8x and 10x magnification respectively, the view through the 10x magnification will seem to shake more than the view through the 8x magnification, as higher magnification accentuates the effects of shaking on the observed image.
It is therefore preferable to choose binoculars that are as light as possible.. Binoculars with 8x or 10x roof prism weigh on average around 575 g (or 1.25 lbs).
N.B.: By the way, roof prism binoculars are newer, more compact and therefore lighter. Porro prism binoculars are traditional binoculars that offer slightly better image quality, but are heavier. Roof prism binoculars are H-shaped, while Porro prism binoculars are W-shaped.
Field of view
The following is certainly a matter of personal preference, but if you're new to birdwatching, you'll notice thata wider field of view is easier to use. Firstly, not only will you be able to locate your target more easily, but the image you see will be more pleasing to the eye, because not only can you observe the bird, but also its habitat and surroundings.
The field of view is generally measured in meters, over 1,000 m. This indicates the size of an object that would fill the field of view, at a distance of 1,000 meters. For example, if binoculars have a field of view of 105 m at 1,000 m, an object 105 m wide will cover the field of view at a distance of 1,000 m.
Higher numbers (e.g. 150 m vs. 90 m) produce a wider field of view, because instead of a 90 m view, you'll get a 150 m view at 1,000 m.
Two different binoculars with the same magnification will show your target at the same scale. However, binoculars with afield of view will enable you to observe more details of your target's surroundings.. That's why most people prefer binoculars with a wider field of view.
Even if you don't mind rain, your binoculars may be sensitive to humidity. Indeed, humidity is a real nuisance, which is whymake sure your binoculars are water-resistantor, better still, waterproof. As a general rule, if you choose your binoculars from a reputable manufacturer, this shouldn't be a problem. In factthe binoculars on our list are all waterproof.
This protects you from accidentally dropping your binoculars into a river, lake or ocean. However, dropping binoculars in water is never a good thing, so don't count on them being waterproof. Protect your binoculars at all times and avoid getting them wet!
Frequently asked questions :
What does the "8×42" designation on binoculars mean?
All binocular models feature 2 specific numbers. The first is the binocular's magnification, while the second is the objective's diameter (aperture), measured in millimeters. The higher the magnification, the closer your target will be visible. The lens diameter determines the amount of light your binoculars can capture. The larger the diameter, the greater the amount of light collected, enabling even greater detail to be seen. However, lenses with diameters greater than 50 mm can be heavier, making them more difficult to transport and use over longer periods of time.
What are the best birdwatching binoculars?
If you're looking for the best binoculars for birdwatching, we recommend a compact, lightweight model that's easy to carry. Roof-top binoculars (H-shaped) binoculars are ideal, with a magnification of 8x or 10x magnification. Then choose a 40 mm objective diameter, which is quite sufficient to enjoy your observations. So a 8×40 or 10×40 will do.. Finally, if the bird species you're going to observe are found near water sources, make sure the binoculars you choose are waterproof.
For birdwatching, is it better to opt for an 8×42 or a 10×42 model?
In this case, there's no right or wrong answer. It's really a question of personal preference. A higher magnification will enable you to see more detail, but may also considerably restrict your field of vision. As a result, it could limit your visibility of the environment surrounding your target. On average, 8x magnification binoculars provide a field of view of around 130 m by 1,000 m, while 10x magnification binoculars offer a field of view of 106 m by 1,000 m.