Roof Prism Binoculars

Pentax DCF 10x42 HR II Roof Prism Binocular - Review

We usually rely on binoculars for viewing distant objects, so it seems a little contradictory to be concerned about the close focus of binoculars.

Close focus is simply how close you can get to the object you're viewing before it goes out-of-focus. Larger binoculars have close focus on the order of 15-20 feet or more. This means that any object viewed with these binoculars must be 20 feet or so away in order to view it with the binoculars. Any object closer than the close focus distance will be seen out-of-focus and quite blurry. Smaller binoculars will have smaller close focus distances, on the order of 15 feet or less.

If you want to be able to use your binoculars for viewing butterflies or other cool insects, you'll want a pair of binoculars that have a small close focus. For example, if you see a butterfly that is 8 feet away, a pair of 10x25 binoculars - with a close focus of 9.8 feet - will make you take a step back to view the butterfly in focus and risk startling your subject. A better choice, although not as powerful for distant objects, might be a pair of 8x22 binoculars - with a better close focus of 6.6 feet.

If you'll often find yourself viewing such small objects up close, then the close focus is a feature that you should consider when selecting your binoculars. Be aware that the close focus of compact binoculars ranges from 6 feet to 28 feet.

Wearing glasses can interfere with the use of binoculars. One has to leave a little bit of room for their glasses in between their eyes and the eyepieces of the binoculars or the eyeglass-wearing person will not see all that the binoculars has to offer. You have to hold the binoculars further away from your face when wearing glasses. If you have to hold the binoculars too far away, then you will not see the whole picture. Instead, you will see the center of the circle as viewed through the binoculars.

Eye relief of the right distance helps glass-wearers use binoculars successfully. Eye relief is a term that is used when describing binoculars. Eye relief is the maximum distance in millimeters (mm) that you can hold the binoculars away from your eyes and still see the whole view.

A rule of thumb is that a pair of compact binoculars should have a minimum eye relief of 13 mm for eyeglass wearers to use comfortably. Even if you don't wear corrective lenses, you might want to consider the eye relief of binoculars if you regularly wear sunglasses in the field. An eye relief of 16 to 18 mm is even better for those wearing glasses.

The more you explore the features of binoculars, you will find out that there are trade-offs to be made. For example, a roof prism 8x22 binoculars might have a close focus of 6.6 feet, which is really great for viewing butterflies, bugs and other objects up close. Inexpensive models often have smaller eye relief distances, like 10 mm. Not good enough for eyeglass-wearers. Contrast that with more expensive models that can have eye relief of 20 to 28 mm. The extra cost is probably worth it for the eyeglass wearer.

Compare all the features before you put down any money for a pair of binoculars. Remember to consider what you will use the binoculars for and your budget, too.

Jason Perdix is an avid birder who can be seen on the trail looking for his feathered friends. Visit Jason's blog at http://binocularsforbirding.com/ or http://bestcompactbinoculars.com/ for his insights on the best compact binoculars for birding and other outdoor activities.

On using binoculars,which is better-a porro or roof prism?

How do you interpret the power of magnification,i.e. 15x 50,etc.?

Roof prism is superior. 15 X 50 is a 15X magnification, with 50 mm objective lens. The lens you look through is called the ocular lens.




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