I need some help choos­ing binoc­u­lars

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your View -

QI’m look­ing to buy a pair of binoc­u­lars, hav­ing re­cently started bird­watch­ing, and won­dered how to de­cide between mod­els. In par­tic­u­lar, I was won­der­ing whether ex­tra mag­ni­fi­ca­tion is worth it? C Nielsen

AIt re­ally de­pends on what you want them for. Ex­tra mag­ni­fi­ca­tion (10x and 12x, and even higher), can be use­ful if your birding in­cludes a lot of sea­watch­ing, say, or any wide open vista, such as an es­tu­ary. Some birders also like it to help them read the ID rings on birds’ legs – even within a gar­den, that ex­tra bit of mag­ni­fi­ca­tion can make a great deal of dif­fer­ence on those oc­ca­sions. But you need to re­mem­ber that ex­tra mag­ni­fi­ca­tion also means that your ev­ery move is ex­ag­ger­ated, and as the binoc­u­lars will tend to be big­ger and heav­ier, that move­ment might be con­sid­er­able. Greater mag­ni­fi­ca­tion also brings a nar­rower field of view. For these rea­sons, 8x42 or sim­i­lar has be­come the de­fault binoc­u­lar size for bird­watch­ing, as it of­fers a good com­pro­mise between all the dif­fer­ent fac­tors you need to take into ac­count.

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