Binoculars are considered to be one of the best tools you can use for observation because they are so simple to use and unlike telescopes, they can be carried around easily without the need for a lot of other equipment such as stands and tripods. They aren’t too expensive and they are long-lasting too.
However, not all binoculars are the same and so, as with any other visual aid such as glasses or a new camera, you need to spend some time looking into the different types available and finding the right binoculars for you. Below you’ll find some useful information and tips to help you when looking for your new pair.
Different Types of Binoculars
As we’ve said, not all binoculars are the same, although they fall into two main types. These are classified by the type of prism that they use, and so are known as the Porro Prism and the Roof Prism Binocular respectively. The former is the most common and is a good alternative to astronomical telescopes. The latter are usually more expensive and are effectively two telescopes side by side with a prism system which corrects the image.
Understanding Power and Light
When you look at binocular specifications, you will notice a set of numbers. These refer to the power range and objective lens size, which affects light. Depending on what you want to use your binoculars for, the power range is usually the most important factor. The first of the two numbers listed indicates the magnification (or power range) that you can expect from your binoculars. So, in a pair listed as ’10×42′, for example, the magnification you can reach is 10 times the size of the original image. Don’t be fooled into picking the largest number you can thinking that this will give you the best chance of a clear image, however. The higher you go, the more steady you will have to hold them to get a clear image, so if you plan on bird watching in all weathers, for example, you might not end up seeing that much!
The second figure is the diameter of the lens objective (the larger end) in millimetres, and a larger number will allow more light to enter, which is particularly important if you plan to use your binoculars when there is poor visibility, such as at night or in bad weather. Again, however, bear in mind that bigger isn’t always better. A bigger lens means a heavier pair of binoculars, so if you are going to be carrying them around a lot, this is something you should bear in mind and consider if you actually need it.
When weighing up the different technical specifications of a pair of binoculars, don’t neglect to consider the comfort element. Ensure that you have a wide enough strap or lanyard so that it won’t cut into your neck – and if it does, invest in a new one! Also check what kind of a grip the binoculars offer – a rubber coating is the most comfortable.
Binoculars from Bushnell are some of the best realised optical devices for the outdoors. These can help to give an entirely new perspective on the natural world, allowing you to spy birds on any terrain but also with enough ruggedness to stand up to the weather. The Bushnell Elite bird watching binoculars bring together a fantastically crisp and bright image with excellent lower light condition performance to produce a high definition image no matter the time.
If you’re wanting to get ahead with viewing the outdoors, the range that Bushnell offers is a cut above since they provide up to 99.7% light transmission per lens, making for a better image that can allow you to really focus on what you are observing. The clarity and contrast benefit from the new ED Prime glass to deliver your eyes a fantastic true colour image. All you need to do is get out there and find it! The RainGuard coating gets rid of irritating lens fogging while being completely waterproof. At £585, they represent a step up in professionalism that many other observers are simply lacking.
Bushnell also have night vision offerings so you can bring the nocturnal world to life with all of the build quality of 60 years in the business. The Equinox Digital Monocular 6×50 delivers a field of view that most rivals can only dream of utilising the traditional green during dusk and dawn in order to make the most use of the available light. In the completely dark and almost pitch dark conditions, the white imaging comes into play and it is at this point the Equinox really begins to show its quality. Even during these times the increased depth perception becomes a pivotal feature. The device is a gem to hold being of a reassuringly solid construction, yet remaining lightweight enough to be held for long periods. This is buttressed by superb battery performance and true 6x magnification.
Bushnell aren’t the only manufacturers of nocturnal imaging devices. Pulsar have a great range as well that we stock at highly competitive prices. The Pulsar Challenger 3.5×50 provides fantastic edge-to-edge resolution in a distortion free image that can be relied upon in all conditions. The same can be said of the body which is hermetically sealed, making this a truly all terrain, all condition device. This camera goes beyond the pure observational applications, branching out into other areas such as tourism, hunting, military, patrols, rescue and protection of private property. It truly is a versatile option.
Typically when you are choosing a device for night time imaging, then you really need to consider that the devices are limited. Their range is limited to between 10 and 400 feet, although this could be severely curtailed if you are working in heavy rain or snowfall. On the other hand you can make use of an infrared illuminator to increase viewing range in enclosed areas. It always pays to take care of these devices since they will pay you back through their beautiful images.
Like many other people, you may well have developed a burgeoning interest in astronomy after watching Professor Brian Cox and Dara O’Brien’s excellent ‘Stargazing Live’ programme on BBC2. Indeed, this wonderful show may well have made you go out into your garden and look up at the Heavens and examine the night sky in a way that you’ve never done before.
And like millions (if not trillions) of people before you, you will likely have thought to yourself: ‘If only I could see more’
Well, what would you think if we here at Sherwoods told you that, within limits, you can see galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae without having to invest your hard-earned cash in an astronomical telescope?
Chances are you would think that we were pulling your leg.
However, you’d be wrong because the truth is you can see all of this and more simply by taking nothing more convoluted than a pair of birdwatching binoculars out with you on a clear evening.
Strengths and Benefits
Fledgling stargazers often believe that binoculars (or astronomical glasses) are simply not powerful enough to reveal anything of importance in the night sky. This is not true. In fact, many experienced observers keep a pair of glasses close to hand to make sure they have every angle covered.
Although glasses are smaller and give lower magnification, they have a number of benefits when it comes to stargazing. For example, they’re not only lighter and less expensive than your average telescope, they’re also much easier to take outside, use, and put away. Moreover, they also give you a much wider view than a telescope, thereby making celestial objects easier to find (which is very handy when you’re first starting out). In addition, they let you use both eyes so you can see more integral, natural views.
What Can I See?
On a clear, dark night out in the countryside, you can see around 3,000 stars with the naked eye. But, whipping out even a modest pair of astronomical looking glasses will immediately increase that number to around 100,000 stars!
Pretty impressive, huh?
And of course, there’s much more to see in the night sky than just random stars. Double stars, Milky Way star clouds, star clusters of various sizes and types, and stars varying in brightness from month to month (or even hour to hour), as well as a smattering of nebulae and dim, distant galaxies can all be seen in this way and be easily identified with a detailed sky map and/or some guidebooks.
Which Ones to Buy?
Because astronomy is done in the dark, you really need to concentrate on getting hold of some astronomical glasses that have big aperture i.e. big front lenses. Glasses with big aperture collect lots of light, thereby enabling you to see fainter objects. Indeed, astronomers the world over agree that the bigger the aperture, the better.
Want to find out more? If so, simply browse our pages further or call 01527 857500.
If you’re someone who has an enquiring mind then you may well find yourself looking up at the stars frequently. Indeed, there really is no better way to indulge the inner existentialist within you than by scanning the night sky and pondering over questions which have fascinated humans for thousands of years.
Of course, your naked eye, or evena good pair of binoculars, can enable you to scrutinise the cosmos and learn more about the secrets of the universe. However, if you want to explore the heavens in detail and find out what’s really ‘out there’ then you need to invest in a high-quality telescope.
Buying a Telescope
Of course, a telescope is not the kind of thing you buy every week; therefore you will need to weigh up a few things before you make any concrete decisions. For instance, you will have to be clear in your mind about how much you can (realistically) afford to spend. Moreover, you will also need to know exactly what you’ll want to use your telescope for, and where you will be using it. Therefore, it is integral that work out a clear budget, determine what your goals are, and ensure you have access to a suitable observation spot, long before you start shopping around.
Of course, only you (and your partner) will be able to conclude what is – and isn’t – an acceptable amount to spend on a new telescope. However, when it comes to determining your goals and finding the best observation points, we here at Sherwoods can provide you with some invaluable advice.
In general, there are two main areas of interest for telescope users – deep sky and the planets. If you are keen on observing planets then you will need to be looking at buying telescopes that are able to provide excellent views at high magnification. However, if your main concern is that of deep-sky objects then large aperture will be more of a consideration than magnification.
Suitable Observation Point
While most astronomical telescopes will in practice show you both kinds of object, they will be influenced greatly by where you will be doing your stargazing. Although it is quite possible to observe the moon and other planets in densely populated areas, deep sky viewing is generally not suited to places where light pollution is an issue. However, it is worth remembering that not all remote areas guarantee star gazing success. Indeed, even the light free environs of the countryside can prove fruitless for planet viewing if there are trees blocking your view of the southern horizon.
With seven decades’ experience, we here at Sherwoods are able to provide you with unrivalled specialisation in both our products and our advice. So, if you’re looking to by a telescope which will suit your budget, goals and needs perfectly, we really should be your first and only port of call.
Explore our pages further or call 01527 857500 to find out more.
There are some things that deserve to be explored, and the night sky is definitely one of them. If you’ve ever gazed up at the stars and thought you wanted to take a closer look, what’s stopping you? With a keen interest, the right equipment and the right location (you ideally need to be away from city lights if you want to get the best view) you can be a backyard astronomer with ease, and it isn’t hard to see the appeal of this hobby.
The beauty of the night sky
The night sky is a fascinating thing. People spend years studying it and we still only know a small part of what’s actually out there, and that mystery only adds to the appeal. At the simplest level you’ll witness stunning constellations and could go on from that to view planets and even whole galaxies light years away—what you’ll see is only limited by the abilities of your equipment. Gazing up at the night sky can be an awe-inspiring event for those that really think about it, having the power to make us feel incredibly small, and there’s something truly magical about looking up at it in all its glory.
Stay on top of new discoveries
In the world of astronomy new discoveries are happing all the time, and there’s no reason you can’t be a part of it. Over the last couple of decades the cost of stargazing equipment has dropped dramatically, and now it’s perfectly possible to have your very own mini-observatory without spending a fortune in the process. The equipment has become affordable so people can now buy products once reserved for professional observatories, giving amateurs the opportunity to do scientific observations and be a part of this exciting industry—yes, a lot of amateur astronomers are actually contributing to science, and you could easily be one of them.
Get the telescopes you need
Of course, the only way you can make the most of your passion is if you’ve got the equipment to suit, and that’s where we can help. Here at Sherwoods Photographic we’ve got a fantastic range of all the astronomical telescopes and accessories you could ever need, covering all ages and abilities from the novice right up to the experienced astronomer, ensuring everyone can enjoy this most fascinating of sciences for themselves.
And, we don’t expect you to spend a fortune for this kind of equipment either. When you come to us you won’t need to pay over the odds to get the products you need with quality and value being of primary importance, and because we specialise in binoculars and scopes of all kinds you can be confident in finding the products to suit. Whether you’re viewing it as a hobby or are starting to take it a bit more seriously you’ll need the equipment that can help you make the most of the night sky, so take a look around and you’ll soon have the tools you need to be a backyard astronomer extraordinaire.
The world’s largest ever set of binoculars was snapped up at auction this summer. Measuring an incredible eight feet in length, it’s not especially easy to imagine these magnifiers being used by a bird-spotter or a spy.
Originally expected to fetch around £300 at auction, they eventually sold in Cirencester for over £2,100 to an enthusiast and collector.
This magnificent piece of kit was originally made over 65 years ago for watching ships, and belonged to an eccentric who lived in Brighton. But for the last 30 years, the viewing equipment has been kept at a house on a hill outside Cheltenham.
A spokesman for the auctioneer involved said: “This set is unique. They rest on a stand keeping them level, so they were definitely not made for looking at the stars. You can scan from left to right. So it would make sense to use them for looking at ships.”
The seller’s father, who left her the magnifiers in his will, had owned the binoculars since the 1970s, but they had been kept in a garden shed for several years. The optics were made before the war, and then placed in the plywood casing at a later stage.
Albert Lambourne Ltd of Brighton made the optics, while William Pacey built the case and mount.
Choosing your own binoculars
Of course, if you’re looking for a binocular set, you don’t have to go for the world’s biggest pair!
There’ll be plenty of other considerations, though – here are just some of the questions to ask yourself before committing to a purchase:
• Will I be using the optics on the move? (If so, go for something lightweight and compact.)
• Will I need to have a tripod?
• Does my equipment need to be waterproof?
• What is the eye relief? If you wear glasses, look for eye relief (the furthest away your eyes can be from the eyepiece and while still taking in the complete field of vision) of 14mm, or 17mm if your spectacles are thick.
• Will I be looking at one object or several things at once? (A single bird or horses at the races, for example.) With single objects, magnification is more important than field of vision, and vice versa.
• Will I be using the gear in poor light conditions? If so, look into light transmission, lens diameter and exit pupil – or how much light reaches your eye.
Choose Sherwood Photographic
At Sherwoods, we’re one of the UK’s top optical specialists for things like bird watching binoculars, night vision and astronomical telescopes and much more.
As a third generation, family-owned business, celebrating our seventieth birthday this year, we have a vast array of specialist expertise and product knowledge in our subject field, as well as an extensive range of products from leading brands. And all at prices which are not astronomical!
Can’t get to our Warwickshire showrooms? Order online and look forward to next day delivery on the many optical products we have in stock. Also look at our website if you’re looking for quirky gadgets and gifts.
If you’re selecting your first ever telescope, as you no doubt appreciate, it’s a pretty big decision, and it’s not the sort of thing you buy every week, so you need to make your choice carefully. Here are a few pointers to help.
Some of the factors that will affect your decision are the same as for buying anything else. You have to know, for example, how much you can afford and what exactly you want to use your telescope for, and where you will be using it. How much space do you have?
But, equally, some factors are a bit more specialised. For instance, you need to understand how portable you want your equipment to be, and appreciate the two main areas of interest for telescope users – deep sky and the planets.
For the latter, you need a piece of kit that will provide excellent views at high magnification, while for looking at deep-sky objects, large aperture is more of a consideration that magnification.
While most astronomical telescopes will in practice show you both kinds of object, if you do want to specialise a lot depends on where exactly you are doing your stargazing. Light pollution still means you can see the moon and other planets, but densely populated areas are generally not ideally suited to deep sky viewing.
Even in the countryside, if trees block your view of the southern horizon, planet viewing may be hard with a fixed-in-place instrument, so you may want to go for something portable.
Power isn’t Everything!
It may surprise you to learn that power isn’t always the prime consideration when choosing your stargazing kit. Instead, the capacity of the telescope to gather light, also known as the aperture, is the determining factor in how much you will get to see. And, in fact, the clearest, sharpest images are often experienced at much lower powers.
A small, quality achromatic refractor with an aperture of between 60 and 80mm is a greater beginner’s telescope if it’s the main planets and the moon you want to see.
These telescopes are affordable, maintenance-free and easily carried around, making them ideal for first-timers trying out their new hobby. However, you may not see as many deep sky objects or be ideal if galaxies and nebulas float your boat.
They’re also well-suited to areas with moderate light pollution.
A 90 or 100mm refractor may be a better option for seeing more, but these tend to be more expensive as well.
Telescopes and more from Sherwoods
With seven decades’ experience, Sherwoods offers unparalleled specialisation in products like telescopes, night vision optics and a wide range of binoculars. Based
in Warwickshire, we offer the largest range in the Midlands of optical products, supplying brands from the world’s leading manufacturers.
We have a range of special deals on offer, and many of the items we have in stock can be with you the day after you place your order. Browse our selection online – we’re ideal if you’re looking for unique gift for a special someone.