General Purpose Binoculars

You can see and try a wide range of binoculars and optics at our Hertfordshire UK based showroom. We stock products from quality brands such as SwarovskiZeissOpticronVortex, CelestronHeliosHawkeVixen, and Barr & Stroud. We sell Binoculars suitable for daytime uses such as birdwatching and sports as well as larger Observation Binoculars for Astronomy or long distance terestrial use. Although technically any binocular can be pointed at any target within its range, we consider general purpose binoculars to have objective lenses between 30 and 50mm, therefore being most likely to be hand holdable.  If you require small compact pocket sized binoculars click here.  For the best Astronomy Binoculars click here or for large long range observation click here.

Choosing the right pair of binoculars

With such a bewildering range of choices available we know its not easy so we are always on hand to help. Trying before you buy is an essential part of finding the very best pair of binoculars to suit your own eyes.  In this respect everyone is different, which is why we are very happy to welcome visitors to our showroom where you'll be welcome to try as many pairs as necessary to find the right ones for you and your purpose. In the meantime the information below aims to help you understand some of the basics.

Binocular Specifications

e.g. 8x42. The number ‘8’ denotes the magnification and means an object appears to be 1/8th of its actual distance away. Using this rule an object 40m distant appears to be only 5m away. ‘42’ is the diameter of the objective lens (the large end) in mm through which light enters the binocular.

Binocular magnification

Within any given range of binoculars the higher the magnification relative to the objective lens diameter, the lower the apparent image quality. Images appear less sharp and have a lower ‘relative’ brightness and poorer colour contrast. Higher magnification binoculars also;
a. have a shallower depth of focus (distance in focus at any one focus setting), requiring more use of the focus wheel.
b. amplify natural hand-shake affecting the stability of the image being viewed.
For general observation choose a 7x or 8x magnification. If you want binoculars of 10x or over try them first to make sure you are comfortable or consider using with a tripod to minimise shake.

Wearing glasses with binoculars

Many binoculars provide the full field of view when wearing glasses by either folding down the rubber eyecups or by turning/pushing retractable eyecup assemblies to the ‘down’ position. As a general rule the longer the eyerelief - the distance between the surface of the eyepiece and the point where the pupil is positioned for full field of view - the better the instrument for spectacle wearers. If you think you want to wear glasses while using your binocular, choose one with an eyerelief of 15mm or over.
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