Do you fancy yourself as a bit of a bird-watcher? Perhaps there’s some other reason you need to view something at long distance. Either way, binoculars are a great piece of kit. They allow you to see things in more detail at a much greater distance. So whether you’re a bird watcher, plane spotter or some other type of enthusiast, you could do with a good pair. Even if you don’t have a specific regular need for them like plane spotting, they’re still a good piece of equipment to own, just in case. Maybe you’ve gone on a hiking trip and want to see the wildlife in more detail, or maybe you just want some just in case you need them.
Well if you’d like to know a bit more about binoculars, then you’re in the right place. In this article, we’re going to drill down into the subject a bit more and tell you how to use them. They might seem simple, but some of the higher-end models can be quite complicated. It’s not always as simple as getting them out of the box and looking through them. So if you need to know a bit more about how to use a good pair of binoculars, then keep reading for all the info you need…
How to use binoculars
Before you start using your new set of binoculars, you might want to get them out and get used to them. They’ll normally come with straps and a carry case, as well as maybe a cleaning cloth. If they don’t have a cleaning cloth, you might want to get one to make sure they don’t get dirty. You don’t have to wear the strap over your neck or shoulders, but you can if you’re comfortable doing so. Remember, if you’re using your binoculars outside or somewhere windy (or when you’re in a rush), then you might unexpectedly drop them. That’s why the strap can be a good idea. You don’t want to either damage or lose them when you drop them.
Familiarise yourself with the different parts of the binoculars. have a look at the manual if you have one and learn what each dial does.
To use your binoculars properly you’ll need to learn how to focus them. They won’t be able to zoom into objects at great distances and make them visible unless they’re focussed. The focus will need changing depending on how far away you’re looking, but thankfully this is quite easy to do. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you should be able to change focus quickly no matter what you’re looking at, as long as it’s in range.
That’s another thing to remember before we start looking at focus in a bit more detail: range. Not every set of binoculars has the same range. If you spend more, you might get a pair that can see much further. These will normally be bigger and more expensive, so you have to weigh up whether it’s worth it. It will depend on what you’re using your binoculars for. Bird-watching and general wildlife use shouldn’t need super long range. Plane watching might require longer range, but planes are also much bigger than birds (obviously), so that isn’t always the case. You’ll also need to decide how much detail you want to see at long range. Check out some reviews before you decide on a pair to see which suit your needs the best.
Start trying to learn how to focus your binoculars with stationary objects. Once you get the hang of it, you can try it on moving things like birds.
Make sure you pivot the set so that they fit your eyes! This bit sounds straightforward, but you need binoculars that fit.
The first time you use your set you’ll have to calibrate them properly. This is to cope with any differences between eyes. Try adjusting each side with one eye closed.
When you target an object, you can adjust the focus dial on a trial-and-error basis. Twiddle with it until the object comes into proper focus. This might take a while to get used to, but once you’re good at it you’ll be able to do it in a matter of seconds as you;l be used to different distances. Then you’ll be able to start getting used to doing the same with moving objects like birds and places, or anything you like.
If you want to know about how to hold binoculars, there isn’t really a right or wrong way. It depends on what you find most comfortable. Make sure they’re stable, steady, and secure—and that you’re as comfortable as possible. Some people prefer to hold them with both hands while others take a one-handed approach. Your ability to do this might depend on how heavy and secure they are. Not all models will be able to support both sides without bending in the middle.
Another good tip is to make sure you can see what you’re looking for without the binoculars before you aim in with them. Otherwise you could be searching the sky in the completely wrong place for more time than you might think. While you won’t be able to see the object in detail, you should know where it is BEFORE you start zooming in with your binoculars. It’s a much more efficient way to aim.
You might also want to wear gloves if it’s cold outside as your hands will be bare and in the open for long periods.
Make sure you look after your binoculars well. Don’t drop them, and keep them as clean as possible. Take a cleaning cloth with you, and you might want some cleaning solution as well.
Whichever binoculars you choose, do your research and get used to them. Don’t expect to be able to focus quickly at the start, and learn the process methodically so that you can start enjoying your binoculars and seeing what you want to see.