Which Binocular Magnification For Birding?

Here, Eschenbach go through some different binocular magnifications and what they're best for.

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Magnification

The ideal magnification of a binocular

The magnification is generally indicated on the binocular via a combination of numbers, which looks like this: '8 × 42'. The number before the x stands for the degree of magnification, while the number after the x stands for the size of the objective lens. In this case, the binoculars have an 8-time magnification. Binoculars with a magnification of 8 to 10 times are the best for bird watching and photographing, even though those with a 6 to 12 times magnification can also be used in specific cases.

 

The field of view

The field of view indicates the width of an object at a 1,000 meters distance. It results from the size of the prisms. In principle, the field of view decreases with increasing magnification. Wide-angle binoculars, however, have a particularly large field of view with the same magnification, as opposed to the “normal” binoculars. In bird photographing, a wide field of view is very important as birds can be more easily spotted and watched while moving. For this reason, animal photographers should pay attention to the widest possible field of view, 100 meters or more, when choosing binoculars.

 

Handy or not?

The largest the magnification, the bigger and heavier the binocular is. Since it is difficult to keep a steady hand over long periods of time, especially for inexperienced photographers, animal spotting and observing is thus more complicated. On the other hand, binoculars with high magnification, screwed onto a tripod, can be invaluable when observing very highflying birds. Binoculars with small magnification show reduced details but the image can be viewed calmly, even without a tripod. In the end, the purpose of the binoculars or the type of birds that are to be observed must decide the appropriate magnification.

 

Summary

Binoculars for bird photographing should at least have a 6x magnification and a maximum of 12x magnification. An 8x to 10x magnification is optimal to achieve the perfect balance between light transport, detail richness and field of view.

 

Eschenbach sell a wide range of binoculars that are ideal for birding: 

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