...your guide to using optics.

What Size binocular do I really need?

Binoculars can be classified as either full-size, mid-size or compact binoculars. The size of the objective lens (aperture) affects how large or small a binocular is. Higher magnification doesn't increase the physical size of the binocular.

Full-size binoculars
(like an 8x42 binocular) offer the greatest light gathering ability and over-all optical performance.

Mid-Size binoculars
with a 30 or 32 mm objective lens are considered mid-size. Some people prefer their slightly smaller size, and a mid-size binocular gathers more light than a compact.

Compact binoculars
(like an 8x25 binocular) are more portable than full-size models and work well during daylight hours, but not during twilight or in deep shadows.

Monoculars are technically half of a binocular, a monocular meant to be looked through with one eye. While not generally used for extended viewing, a monocular comes in handy when you need a quick, closer look. Sizes of monoculars vary: some are as small as a permanent marker!


Watch this video for more information on aperture size:


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