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Choosing and Using Binoculars


Binoculars are a must for watching birds, but choosing which model to buy can be bewildering.

If you're in the market for some new binoculars, there are various optical and design characteristics to take into consideration. Price is an issue too: binoculars range from under $100 to well over $1,000. Yet price is a good measure of craftsmanship and materials, and a wise purchase will give you much pleasure and, with care, should last a lifetime. Below we detail important features to consider when you're choosing binoculars.

If you're ready to buy, we offer some shopping tips to help you make the binocular choice that's best for you.

And once you've purchased your new binoculars, you'll need to know how to keep them in good condition, and how to adjust (or "calibrate") them for your eyes so you can get the sharpest view possible. We show you how.

Binocular features to consider:

Binocular Designs

Magnification Power


Light-gathering capacity


Optical Quality

Field of view and close-focusing ability

Alignment and durability

Eyeglass "friendliness"

How to shop for binoculars:

Shopping for binoculars

How to care for and adjust your binoculars:

Cleaning and protecting binoculars

Calibrating binoculars