Zoom binoculars are not the easiest thing to understand. I mean, I know what a pair of binoculars do, but how, I could not tell you a little while back. I kept hearing about all kinds of binoculars, but up until that point, I had no idea about the differences. For me, binoculars were that thing with lenses through which you look to see something a bit closer than it actually is. And that is pretty much it. Then I realized that it was a kindergarten definition and started to do some research.
Zoom binoculars are just like regular binoculars, with the exception that you have the possibility to adjust the magnification so you can zoom in and zoom out, from let’s say 10x to 20x. A traditional pair of binoculars will say that they have a magnification power of 10x, and it will stay as such forever. There is no adjustability there whatsoever.
As I said before, there are plenty of such instruments, and each category has a few subcategories, and so on. However, zoom binoculars are among the best you can purchase. They have multiple uses, and they are more versatile. Let’s take monoculars, for example. Yes, they have a compact design and are easier to carry around, but they will never provide as much versatility as binoculars.
A short history of zoom binoculars
I have always been fascinated with where things come from and how they got to where they are. Maybe you do not really care about history, but it is always good to know something. While zoom binoculars are very potent today, they did not use to be like that. A man called Hans Lippershey who lived in Holland is the one that made telescopes known. He was given credit for their invention, but we all know that he was not the one who came up with the idea. It was Galileo Galilei.
The first telescopes used a convex lens and one concave lens. They were fixed at the opposite ends of a tube, which allowed the user to magnify objects three or four times. Lippershey had the idea to put two such tubes together, and that is how the zoom binoculars came into existence. As you can imagine, the first zoom binoculars were not the best. Actually, compared to now, they are horrible. They were almost impossible to use correctly, so nobody found them useful.
The first handheld pair of binoculars was actually invented by Johann Zahn around the same time. The link between the tubes was adjustable. While it was just a mere approximation of today’s zoom binoculars, they were better than Lippershey’s. The first real binocular telescope was made by J.P. Lumiere much later, in 1825. Then the Porro prism was developed in the 1850s, and it changed the game entirely. The Porro prism is the father of all binoculars today, so to speak. The most interesting, and funny thing at the same time, is that binoculars started as an idea of two basic telescopes put together just so that the user can look through it with both eyes. And that idea is 400 years old.
What to consider when looking for the best zoom binoculars
There are plenty of models out there, and I am sure that you can find one pretty quickly. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before you actually buy one. They are not all the same, and you may need some particular specifications. For you to buy the best zoom binoculars that you need, some factors need to be considered:
- Strength – the strength of zoom binoculars is established by two things: magnification and the physical size of the lens. To understand what those are and what they stand for, keep reading.
- Magnification – whenever you see zoom binoculars online, they will always say that they can magnify as much as a number of x. That refers to the product’s magnification capabilities. However, choosing the right amount of x is not as simple as one may think. The bigger the number, the harder it is to use the binoculars. Let’s say that you go for zoom binoculars with a 10x magnification. You can see the image clearly, and your field of view is okay enough. However, the more you want the binoculars to magnify, the smaller the field of view will get. Locating a target at that many x is a bit tricky. The further up you go, the harder it will get. You need your hands to be very steady. Otherwise, you will not be able to see properly.
- Lens size – you will hear people say that the best quality is achieved with big lenses. While that was true once, it is not anymore. Miniature lenses are pretty good these days. What is certain is that large lenses will render the binoculars very heavy. Miniature, thus more lightweight, lenses are more expensive, but when you go bird watching with a bothering weight around your neck, you will agree that they are worth it.
- Field of view – to put it simply, the field of view establishes how large is the area that you can see at a certain distance from the object you target. As you can imagine, when you magnify too much, the area that you see is minimal, so the field of view is limited. There is no solution to that problem. You just need to find a balance that suits you.
- Eye relief – this refers to the optimal distance between the binoculars and your eyes when you look through them. What is important here is to have a field of view as full as possible. If your eyesight is 20/20, then you have no problem whatsoever. You can put the binoculars right around your eyes. However, people who wear glasses may experience some difficulty. That is why manufacturers thought of that and came up with a simple but efficient solution. The eye relief is more significant than the depth of the lenses. So, for a person with standard glasses, the eye relief is at least 14mm. That means he or she can hold the binoculars 14mm away from the eyes and still have a satisfactory field of view.
- Additional features – apart from the typical features, some zoom binoculars bring something extra to the table, and you should take your pick according to its purpose. For example, if you go duck hunting, you will be around water, so waterproof zoom binoculars may save you some trouble. Other features include a wrist strap or a neck strap. And do not forget to look at the construction. You do not want your zoom binocular smashed to pieces at the first sign of abuse.
What are the best zoom binoculars?
Lucky for you, there are plenty of options you can take your pick from. However, my advise is to not buy a product randomly. That is how people end up with a product for which they are not satisfied. Use the criteria I provided above. Another thing that will help you make the right decision is if you read zoom binoculars reviews online. That way you can take a look at what people bought and whether or not they are satisfied with their purchase. In the meantime, take a look at the zoom binocular below. Maybe you find something that piques your interest.
SCOCK 10x – 30x Zoom Binoculars
The zoom binoculars from SCOCK seem to be among the most popular products sold online. Lots of people bought it and left excellent reviews. I think you will like it as well. It has powerful magnification capabilities and magnifies from 10x to 30x. You can use it for virtually any activity that requires you to watch from afar. Since the magnification is pretty strong, you may want to keep your hands steady. A tripod something helps, but if you could just fixate your elbows on something, I am sure you will get a perfect view.
The SCOCK zoom binoculars feature fully coated optics for a crisp and sharp image. The lenses are green to minimize glare. The prism-plated blue film provides a clear and bright image. You can take it bird watching, hunting, sports events, and more.
As for the construction of this product, the manufacturer used specialized engineering materials. The handgrip features high-class glue, and it is very comfortable to touch the eyepiece has eye-protective soft rubber. The built-in wide-angle lens will provide you with a wide field of view. Overall, for the money you are paying, you get an excellent product that is well-built and durable.
Nikon 8252 Aculon Zoom Binocular
To tell you the truth, I had no idea that Nikon produces telescopes and binoculars. I only knew about the camera. It makes sense if you think about it. After all, they have lenses and whatnot. I came across this particular product, and I saw that it has excellent specifications. It may be a bit pricey, but I think it is worth it.
The Aculon 8252 is designed to be as lightweight as possible, and the ergonomics are fantastic. There are few zoom binoculars on the market that have so much strength but compact and lightweight designs. That is because Nikon uses microlenses, which are small but potent lenses. That is probably why this product is so expensive. It comes with an easy-to-reach fingertip zoom that allows you to adjust the magnification quickly from 10x to 22x.
The turn-and-slide rubber eyecups will make you feel comfortable while you use the binoculars, even if you are doing it for a long time. The multicoated eco-glass lenses will provide you with a bright and crystal-clear image in most lighting conditions. The durable rubber-armored coating allows a secure and non-slip grip, even if your hands are wet. I really think you will like this one.
Hoche Bijia Long-Range Zoom Professional Zoom Binoculars
Lastly, the Hoche model may interest you as well. The high-definition zoom may be one of the features you will like. The large design diameter (50mm) will make sure of that. The zoom is quite clear, and you can adjust it however you want. The middle knob is easy to reach. The optical blue film translates to high transmittance and intense reflection. Both the light and the image will come out as clear and bright.
The magnification is possible from 10x to 120x. The capabilities of this product are professional-grade. Even if it is strong, the quality of the image is at its best. You will not experience blurred vision no matter how much you decide to magnify. The aperture of the zoom binoculars from Hoche may seem big at first, but the more light gets into the binoculars, the more clarity you get.
Other features include sturdy construction and comfortable ergonomics, and what I think you will like the most is that this product is waterproof. Although I do not recommend submerging it in water, I do believe it will hang on pretty well if it rains. This feature comes in handy while you are hunting or doing something else that requires you to stay outside in the rain.
I believe that each of the products presented above is potent and can be useful in different circumstances. However, if I were to pick my favorite, I would go with the Nikon 8252 Aculon Zoom Binocular. The brand generally manufactures high-quality products, hence the good reputation, the binoculars are potent, and the fact that is compact and lightweight is a huge plus. I think it is one of the best zoom binoculars you can buy at this point.
A pair of high-quality binoculars can make the difference between a pleasant and a not-so-pleasant experience no matter what you do. Whether you are going hunting or bird watching, you need a tool that helps you feel closer. One of the products above will help you achieve precisely that.