Ornithology is the geek word for bird study. There is a captivating diversity which exists in the world of birds and the feathery buddies can be so much fun to watch.
One thing you can’t do without if you want to view birds like they are right next to you is a good pair of binoculars.
There are lots of factors to watch out for in a binocular to be used for this purpose.
How to choose a good pair of binoculars for bird watching are discussed below.
Magnification factor for binoculars
For bird watching, binoculars with a magnification of 8 or 10 times are the most suitable. (We’re not talking about stitching here because that’s another story.) A magnification above x 10 provides a very narrow field of view and an image that is more difficult to maintain in a stable way.
It is, therefore, more complicated to follow birds in flight. A pair of binoculars with a magnification smaller than 8x does not bring out sufficient details of the image being viewed.
The diameter of the lens is important because it determines, on the one hand, the amount of light output and consequently the quality of the experience when using the binoculars (the higher the figure, the better it is) and on other hand, the weight and size of the pair of binoculars. Hence there is a compromise to be made between image quality, weight and size.
The 42 mm diameter binoculars are very popular in ornithology. This size is considered a good compromise between image quality and size/weight.
Width of field of view
For watching in flight, you need a large field of view, otherwise you lose sight of the bird quickly. The field of view depends on the magnification and the construction of the binoculars. Pay attention to the following points.
For a pair of 8 x 42 binoculars, a field of view of about 130 meters at 1000 meters is good but a field of view reaching 140 meters is even better. For a pair of 10×42 binoculars, a field of view of about 115 meters to 1000 meters is a good value.
To ensure that you don’t miss out on any details, good image quality is, of course, very important. Color fidelity and sharpness are also vital optical properties of binoculars for ornithology.
We often talk about ‘sharpness at the edges’ as a feature to recognize quality binoculars. However, be careful. Sharpness at the edges should always be assessed in relation to the width of the field of view. With a pair of binoculars with a narrow field of view, it is not difficult to get high edge sharpness, and there are even manufacturers who add an edge to their binoculars (which cuts a piece of field of view), simply to increase the sharpness at the edges. A pair of binoculars with a considerably large field of view and good sharpness at the edges can be very challenging to find.
For an ornithologist, it is very important that your pair of binoculars can be quickly focused so that you can look at a bird clearly. For some pairs of binoculars, you need to adjust the focusing mechanism several times to improve the image from a short to a long distance, but with other binoculars, such as our Eden Quality ED and HD 8×42 binoculars, a single movement is sufficient.
It may take some getting used to, but practice they say makes perfect, and in no time you will get used to focusing quickly.