If you're going on safari, you probably want to get as close to the animals and the action as possible. Of course, you do so at your own risk! In this contextbinoculars become as indispensable an accessory as sunscreen. and you certainly wouldn't dream of going on safari without them. There's a wide range of binoculars to choose from, and it can be hard to know how to make the right choice. So what should you look out for when choosing binoculars? And what are the best binoculars for safari in 2023?
Why use binoculars on safari?
Not everything you see on safari will be up close and personal, and thankfully so! Watching an elephant with its calf is certainly a breathtaking sight, but the last thing you want to do is get too close and end up disturbing the little family. Like any parent, an elephant will do anything to protect its young and won't hesitate to threaten the life of anything it perceives as a potential danger.
That's why you need to keep your distance. Just as you don't want to be dinner for a lion, you also don't want to be attacked by an elephant who thinks you mean him harm.So binoculars let you enjoy wildlife from a safe distance.
What's more, you may see something in the distance and not be able to identify it, or move closer to see what's going on. This is exactly where binoculars come in.
Finally, in addition to wildlife on the ground, let's not forget thethe beautiful landscape around you, and the birds in the sky. With binoculars, you'll be even better able to appreciate these superb views.
How to choose the best safari binoculars?
When it comes to choosing the right pair of safari binoculars, there's one thing you need to know.a number of factors to keep in mindin mind:
Size and weight
Porro prism or roof prism binoculars
When you buy binoculars, you'll always see two numbers associated with them. For example, on virtually all binoculars, you'll see numbers indicated as follows: 10×50. If you've ever bought or used binoculars, you may already know that these numbers refer to the magnification and diameter of the binocular lens, also known as the aperture. In this case, the binoculars have a magnification of 10x and an aperture of 50 mm.
But what do magnification and objective diameter actually mean? Magnification is easy enough to understand: this number indicates the scale at which the object you're observing will appear. closer or larger through the eyepieces of your binoculars. A magnification of 10x will make your target appear ten times closer than it actually is.
You might think that a higher magnification is better, but in reality it will also amplify the shaking. Your hands and arms will naturally shake and, even if you don't notice it with your eyes, the binoculars will amplify this shaking effect when you look through the eyepieces.
And don't forget that a safari involves travelling for some time in a vehicle and, as you'd expect, driving will not be a walk in the park!
With this in mind, you'll want tooften prefer to opt for a lower magnification, between 7x and 10x, 8x being considered the ideal magnification ratio.
While magnification obviously allows you to observe more detail, it's only the first factor to be taken into account, as the diameter of the lens also plays a very important role.
The diameter of a binocular's objective lens, measured in millimetres, is the diameter of the lens, the ones that face your target. It's important to know this, because the larger the objective lens diameter, the more light your binoculars can gather.
This is important, because the more light your binoculars can collect, the brighter the image will be, enabling you to see better in low-light conditions. If you only plan to use your binoculars during the day, the diameter of the lens won't be so essential, but it will help you to see better in low-light conditions.if you're looking to observe wildlife at dawn or dusk (or even at night), you'll need a large-diameter lens.
There is, of course, a downside to large lenses, as the larger they are, the heavier the binoculars, which can also be inconvenient.
Size and weight
If you're going on safari, you'll always want to have your binoculars to hand. Most people wear their binoculars around their neck or over their shoulder, so they can grab them quickly when they see something interesting.
However, if you also use a camera or carry a bag with your equipment, your binoculars will quickly get in the way. That's why wesome people prefer to buy small, compact binoculars that can be folded and stored in a bag. and be carried in a pocket or small belt holster.
Weight is also important in this case, but even more so when you hold your binoculars in front of your eyes.The heavier the binoculars, the more your hands and arms will shake. Likewise, the longer you hold your binoculars, the more your arms will begin to tire, often resulting in aches and pains and a temporary weakening of the arm muscles.
Porro prism binoculars vs. roof prism binoculars
When shopping around, you'll find that there are two types of binoculars: traditional Porro prism binoculars and the new roof prism binoculars.Porro prism binoculars have a barrel slightly offset from the eyepieces, giving them a W-shape. Roof prism binoculars have straight barrels, giving them an H-shape.
Both types of binoculars have their pros and cons, but when it comes to safaris, roof prism binoculars are more than up to the task. Here's why:
Roof prism binoculars are designed to be more compact and lighter.
Porro prism binoculars generally have a larger objective diameter, but the smaller objectives of roof prism binoculars are suitable for most situations.
Some roof prism binoculars can be folded to become compact, making them easy to store.
As a larger objective diameter usually means heavier binoculars, most people will opt for models up to a maximum of 50 mm. In fact, models with a 35 mm or 40 mm objective diameter will gather enough light in most cases.
Unless you specifically need binoculars with a large objective diameter, such as 10×50 Porro prism binoculars for low-light conditions, smaller roof prism binoculars will do just fine.
As is often the case when choosing your binoculars, you should always consider the environment in which you plan to use them. For example, if waterproof and fogproof binoculars are more of a bonus than a necessity, it's a good idea tolook for shock-proof binoculars to protect optical instruments against possible falls.
However, this doesn't mean that the place you're walking through is always full of pitfalls. Safaris also offer superb panoramas that you won't want to miss either. This is where having a model witha wide field of vision becomes important, as it will give you a better view of your surroundings. It's also useful for seeing something that's moving fast, as it makes it easier to follow your target.
Frequently asked questions :
What's the best magnification for safari binoculars?
Generally speaking, it's not advisable to use binoculars with too low a magnification, as they won't give you close enough views to appreciate what you're observing. However, higher magnification also amplifies tremors, making it harder to spot and track your target. This is why most peopleuse between 7x and 10x magnification, with 8x being preferable.
What are the different types of optical coating?
Binocular optical instruments are almost always treated with anti-reflective coatings to improve image quality. However, the number of coatings applied varies according to manufacturer and model. Lenses must have at least one coating, which means that at least one of the optical elements has been treated on at least one side. Bymulti-layer" coatingmeans that at least one of the optical elements has received several coatings on at least one side, and by«fully multilayer" coatingmeans that all optical elements have received multiple coatings on all faces.
Is it worth buying image-stabilized binoculars to go on safari?
Image-stabilized binoculars generally use electronics to counteract the tremors you may experience with ordinary binoculars and give you a more stable image. However, brand-name models are expensive andmany consider them to be an itembut not essential. That said, image-stabilized binoculars can certainly come in handy if you're crossing the savannah in difficult conditions!