Buying Guide for Long Distance Viewing Binoculars:

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How to Choose Binoculars for Long Distance Viewing

Buying long distance viewing binoculars can seem daunting to those new to binoculars and optics. There are myriad brands, sizes, and styles to choose from. So where do you begin? We're here to take some of the mystery out of long range binoculars so you can make the right choice the first time. A great pair of long distance binoculars can provide a lifetime of enjoyment. Let's get started.

If you're glassing over long distances to spot birds, wildlife, or other targets, you're going to need high magnification--usually at least 10x, but sometimes up to 20 or 30x. The problem is, adding more magnification dims the brightness of your views through the binocular. Because you don't want to sacrifice magnification or image detail, choosing a binocular with excellent low light performance is key.

To make sure you aren't getting dim, dull views, optical coatings and high quality glass really come into play. Even if you're on a budget, make sure you invest in fully coated or fully multi-coated optics. This means the manufacturer has applied high reflectivity coatings to all air-to-glass surfaces, increasing overall light transmission.

If you have more money to invest in your optics, you'll certainly appreciate the boost in low light performance that comes with ED or Extra-Low Dispersion lenses. Made of specially formulated glass that varies by manufacturer, ED corrects for chromatic aberration and provides stunning, lifelike views in the field. With its enhanced contrast, ED will help you pick out subtle movement in the brush so you can spot more targets.

Another way to brighten your views is to choose binoculars with larger objective lenses. Lenses with 70mm of light gathering ability perform much better in the same conditions when compared to 50mm lenses. For long distance binoculars, you may or may not want to use the binocular with a tripod. If you plan on mounting your binoculars, then go big! If you plan on hand holding or carrying your binoculars in the field, try to keep the aperture below 60mm.

No matter which size optic you choose, you'll want to make sure it can resist the elements. Look for a sturdy construction with rubber armoring that will protect from bumps and drops. Waterproofing and water resistance are other features to consider, especially if you'll be carrying your optic into uncertain weather conditions.

Still have questions about long distance viewing binoculars? Give us a call at the number listed below. We'd love to help you find the right binocular for you!


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Have questions about an item or need advice on selecting the right optic? Our team of experts is here to help! Avid outdoor enthusiasts themselves, they've tested gear in the field and can provide personalized product recommendations for just about any activity, from birding and hunting to sports and travel.

You can reach our Customer Support line at 1-800-246-6285. We're open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

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