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.
Night vision was once something referred to only in James Bond movies and the offices of private detectives, but now everyone can take advantage of the benefits of night vision binoculars. But just how do they work? Read on to find out more.
In layman’s terms, any night vision device or technology works by amplifying all available light to provide an image. Even when our eyes feel like an area is pitch black, there is still light present on the lower portion of the infrared light spectrum which our eyes cannot see. Much equipment now also has a built-in Infrared illuminator which provides additional light for when there is none or little to take advantage of.
As light is collected by the objective lens, it is sent to an image intensifier photocathode tube, which usually runs off battery power. This converts the photons from the light energy into electrons, which then pass through the tube and cause atoms in the tube to release similar electrons, meaning that there are thousands more than there were originally. These thousands of electrons hit a screen coated with phosphors at the end of the tube, which then generates the release of photons and create the green image that we associate with night vision.
This green image is seen through another lens, known as the ocular lens, which then allows for some magnification and focus. However, unlike bird watching binoculars, for example, night vision binoculars are not designed for magnifying remote objects, and usually have a very low degree of magnification. Consequently, the larger the object you want to view, the easier it will be to see, and details depend on how much natural ambient light you already have. The purpose of night vision binoculars should simply be to see in the dark, rather than to see great distances or great details as you would with a regular pair of binoculars.
All night vision devices are classed by their ‘generation’. The generation refers to the type of image intensifier tube which is used, and which ultimately is responsible for creating the image. 1st generation devices are the most popular and provide bright, sharp images at a low cost. 2nd generation devices are commonly found in professional applications, such as in use by the police or armed forces, and the subsequently cost a significant amount more. Meanwhile, 3rd generation devices are the ultimate in night vision technology and use gallium arsenide to give a sharper and brighter image. Again, these devices are significantly more expensive than a 1st generation device.
Here at Sherwoods Photographic, we are specialists in digital night vision equipment and have anextensive range of night visiongoggles, monoculars, binoculars and gun sights available. Whatever you want to use your night vision device for, whether it be for hunting at night or for observing nocturnal wildlife, we have something to meet your needs. We’re always happy to help if you have any questions too, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Sherwoods Photo Ltd Orders & Information Telephone 01789-488880
Registered Office: The Arden Centre, Little Alne, Wootton Wawen, Warwickshire, B95 6HW - Registered in England No.00666856
Prices, availability, appearance, product descriptions, and accessories are based on available manufacturer information and are subject to change without notice.