What To Look For
For binoculars you will use frequently, you want a good balance of distance and weight. The first number in the power of a pair of binoculars (such as 7x35) is the magnification. The second number is the millimeters of the lens. For frequent-use binoculars, 7, 8 or 10 powers are all perfectly adequate. Look for binoculars that are no longer than twice the width of your hand for convenience and ease of use. Width of field is very useful; it denotes how wide your perspective will be when viewing through the binoculars. Use it as a tie breaker between differing models.
You can find some amazing bargains on binoculars online, but don't be tempted. Returns can often be difficult, and the sensitive lenses can easily be damaged in shipping.
Where To Buy
While any outdoor supply shop or sporting goods store will sell binoculars, your best bet is to go to a specialty optics store. Camera stores often carry binoculars and telescopes, and you will can get expert advice from the staff.
You can buy a small pair of binoculars for as little as $40, but the quality will be limited. For a good pair of spotting binoculars, particularly those with enough distance to be useful for birdwatching and other spotting activities, you should expect to spend around $200. You can certainly spend much more than that, and the money spent on binoculars usually correlates directly to quality.
You may be tempted to buy the biggest, strongest pair of binoculars you can find. They will not be convenient enough for frequent use and will not be used enough to be worthwhile.
Article Written By Beau Prichard
Beau Prichard has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He specializes in fiction, travel and writing coaching. He has traveled in the United Kingdom, Europe, Mexico and Australia. Prichard grew up in New Zealand and holds a Bachelor of Arts in writing from George Fox University.