Which binoculars are best depends on the intended use. We divide binoculars into three different categories for this purpose.
How powerful a pair of binoculars needs to be depends on what they will be used for. In principle, higher magnification is usually desirable, but higher magnification also requires more light: a larger objective lens is necessary. So, more power always goes hand in hand with making the binocular heavier and larger. In terms of hunting use: a lightweight pair of binoculars for stalking should have a magnification of 6-8, with an objective lens diameter of 50 mm; for day and night stalking, we recommend a magnification of at least 10, with an objective lens diameter of at least 56 mm.
Binoculars consist of two telescopes connected in the same direction so that you can see through them with both eyes. The lenses focus the light beam and initially display the viewed image laterally and vertically inverted. The prism system ensures that the image is reversed and can be seen upright and laterally correct again. Without the prism, the image would be upside down and mirror-inverted. The eyepiece is used to view this intermediate image and is comparable to a magnifying glass. The focusing ensures that the light rays emerge parallel from the eyepiece. If this is the case, the viewer sees a single, sharp image.
The first number stands for the magnification, the second for the diameter of the objective. Example: 10x50- The image is magnified eight times, so the apparent viewing distance is only one-eighth of the actual distance. Disadvantages of large magnification: On the one hand, the section you see becomes smaller. Second, as the distance increases, it becomes more important that the binoculars do not wobble.
A larger lens diameter means that more light can enter the binoculars, and the image appears brighter. The larger the objective lens, the brighter the image, and the more night-readable the binoculars.
The twilight number is determined to give an approximate estimate of how night-suitable a pair of binoculars is. It is a calculated value that only takes into account the characteristics of magnification and objective lens diameter. It does not, however, take into account the resolution of the binoculars, the quality of the lenses or the light transmission.
The twilight factor can be calculated as the square root of the product of magnification and objective lens diameter. Thus, binoculars with 10x56 magnification have twilight factor 22.36. Binoculars with 8x42 magnification have twilight factor 18.33. The twilight factor of the first binocular is higher, which indicates that the binocular is more suitable for night hunting.
A high twilight performance gives an overview of the overall performance as an optical-mechanical system at twilight or with residual light at night. This performance includes large objective apertures, high brilliance, high contrast, excellent correction of image errors, materials used, quality of manufacturing, etc.
The light transmission in % indicates how much light is transmitted from the objective to the eyepiece. A high light transmission is about 92% which means that 92% of the light reaches the user's eye. High performance models from premium manufacturers sometimes achieve a light transmission of 97%.
Some modern binoculars have a laser rangefinder built in. The laser is pointed at a target to which the distance is to be measured, whereupon a laser pulse is emitted and reflected from the object. The rangefinder can measure how long it takes for the pulse to be reflected and consequently calculate the distance. This information is displayed in the field of view in the binoculars.
As with all equipment for hunters, a good pair of binoculars can be very expensive. High-performance models from manufacturers such as Swarowski, Zeiss or Leica often cost 2000 euros or even more. However, useful entry-level models start at 100 euros - of course, the performance is not on the same level as that of professional models, but in most hunting situations they reliably help to get a safe overview - and especially in good lighting conditions, the differences in quality do not yet play too big a role. Good optics make a big difference especially in low light.
There is a lot to be said for buying used binoculars - high quality, especially older models will last 50 or more years if treated well. In addition to eGun, Auctronia and the weapons market of the VDB, good platforms are also platforms such as eBay or eBay-Kleinanzeignen, since binoculars are not subject to weapons legislation. On Gunfinder the most popular platforms can be searched for used binoculars - users who want to sell used binoculars online can advertise their offers for free on Gunfinder.
For young hunters, binoculars are part of the absolute basic equipment, along with the first rifle with the appropriate scope, hunting clothes and one or more good hunting knives. Since a lot of equipment has to be purchased at once, a budget limit is usually reached quickly, which is why we recommend initially resorting to a model that costs up to 200 euros in its purchase. In order to be able to use them in many hunting situations, we recommend binoculars with 10x50 magnification - models with this magnification and lens diameter are not too heavy and still provide the necessary vision.
In the meantime, the majority of hunters hunt with a thermal imaging device, which has pushed the binoculars a little into the background as a classic basic component of the equipment. We recommend purchasing both, and placing a little more emphasis on the thermal imaging device. The price difference is much more noticeable here than with binoculars.