Bird watching isn’t all about hiding in bushes. In recent years it has thrown off it’s frumpy image and is even recruiting the support of celebrities like comedian Bill Bailey.
Bird watching is a relatively low fuss activity – all you really need is some wildlife, patience and a pair of bird watching binoculars. However great your eyesight and observational skills might be, bird watching binoculars really are essential to help you see as much of the bird as possible, in as much detail as you can and without scaring it away.
Choosing a good pair can be tricky though, especially if you are just starting out. Power ranges are the first things you need to get right. Every pair of binoculars will have two numbers on it e.g. 8×24 which refers to the power range.
The first number refers to the magnification. While you might think the higher the number the greater the magnification and therefore the better the binoculars, it’s better to go for a 7 or 8 as any higher than that and the binoculars might be uncomfortable to handle.
The second number refers to the objective lens – the bigger the lens, the more light comes through and therefore the more you can see. Again, while a larger objective lens suits darker conditions like poor weather or night time viewing, it does also mean the binoculars are going to be heavier.
The best thing to do when deciding on what power range to settle for, is have a good think about what conditions you are going to use the compact binoculars in and how much carrying you are likely – and willing – to do.