Second of three parts
Over time, birding binoculars will start to feel like a piece of your anatomy. They’ll be attached to your face for hours at a time for years to come. Whether or not you’re going to enjoy birding – and how skilled you can become – depends a lot on your binoculars.
To complicate matters, the price range is wide – from about $120 for the most basic, entry-level pair to nearly $3,000 for the finest birding binoculars on the market today.
“Birding binoculars” are specific to birding because the requirements are, well, very specific.
A little reading helps
My favorite, most easily understood criteria for what constitutes birding binoculars comes from an article on the Audubon Society’s website, written by Wayne Mones, an avid birder since childhood who writes about binoculars for multiple publications.
“Bird-worthy binoculars must focus quickly enough to “get on” a fast-moving bird,” he says. “They must have a field of view wide enough to locate birds rapidly and follow them in flight.
“They must also provide accurate color rendition,” Mones continues, “have no observable distortion in the center of the field, and be bright enough to show subtle features in poor light and sharp enough to resolve fine detail.”
Mones really knows his stuff, and the rest of his excellent article explains the technical basics of binoculars such as magnification, field of view and special considerations if you wear eyeglasses. Again, for the entire article, click here.