How to Buy a Pair Of 8×42 Binoculars for Bird Watching and Outdoor Activities

Buying a pair of binocular can be a daunting tasks when faced with a variety to choose from. With the emergence of new binoculars, it would be prudent to select a binocular which will last you decade at a reasonable cost. But what do you look to get value for money. 8×42 binoculars are the most common visualization equipment for birding watching and other outdoor activities, as a result of their powerful image resolutions. Below are simple step to follow when doing your purchase at a physical store. However, these tips can also apply to binoculars bought from online stores


A good binocular should have the following characteristics and image behavior.

  1. Test your binocular, and ensure that the image quality is consistent with no distortion from all edges, that is, when an image view have no image alteration, curving from the field of view. An 8×42 binoculars with poor image appearance can only mean two things, one, the binocular lenses are of a low quality and cannot magnify brighter images, secondly the general quality of your binocular is poor and will not last you long.
  2. When spotting objects with a new binocular, their color rendition should much your normal eye vision. Most ruby tinted objective lens binocular are known to have poor color rendition and should be avoided at any cost. If blue tinted and multi coated objective lenses are available, then do not hesitate on your purchase. In addition, any 8×42 binoculars for birders and outdoor activities without objective multi coating will affect the image shape and size. However, established brand have managed to manufacture ruby tinted binoculars with ability to reduce glare, haze and reflections, and also enhance color of nature, but ensure to buy these from respected brands. Just be careful as ruby tinted binocular are used as marketing strategy to hide optic quality.
  3. When testing a binocular, ensure that your image is a not inverted object from any angle, for example, when viewing from up and down, right to left, and a 90 degrees position. Any binocular with inverted images is as a result of poor lenses for both the objective and magnification lens.
  4. Select a binocular that is comfortable when holding on your neck with a strap, in addition check the quality of the strap material to avoid injuries while in the fielding using your binocular. A bulky binocular, will be heavy to move around with thus affecting your birding schedule and movements. Avoid 8×42 binoculars with more 50mm objective lenses. These binoculars are known for their difficulty in focus and handling. Avid birders are advised to avoid general purpose binoculars, such as 10×50, 16×50 among others. I you buy the mentioned binos, also consider buying Binocular tripod stand adaptor for holding them firmly into a good position for image focus.
  5. Conduct a binocular vision testing, ensure to have an object focus “with both eyes synchronously” to produce a solitary graphic images. However, a person having a binocular vision disorder may not have the benefit of carrying out a binocular test, because, your eyes will not align correctly into the eye piece resulting into poor image output.
  6. Examine the objective lenses to avoid any with scratches, marrying, and bubbles. In addition, a binocular glass with a grit on it will result into blurred images, and glasses should have multi coat with colors such as blueish, green or both.
  7. Confirm before purchase that both the oculars have user friendly and comfortable eye cups, and their diameter measurement are not less than 0.5 inches with at least one adjustable ocular.
  8. Explore the packaging of the 8×42 binocular, and ensures that it has all the essential binocular accessories, such as the strap, eye cups, a cleaning clothing, and guide book. What it means without the accessories, is that somebody must have interfered with the package and most likely the gadget is already used.
  9. Select a binocular with an objective lenses of no more than 50mm, any binocular beyond this, are difficult hold and focus. In addition, larger lenses binoculars are bulkier, heavy, and not for an average user to hold firmly into their hands. Furthermore, they will need a support device, such as Trapezoid, Tripod, or Monopole to securely hold them into a position, which is an added cost. However, for astronomy study, these are the best observation binocular complimented with a mounted stand mentioned above.
  10. When buying a zoom Binoculars, consider one with the widest field of view from a recognized brand, and eyepieces that are fixed with a variable zooming strength. However, brands known for high end binoculars, such as Zeiss, Steiner, and Swarovski do not manufacture a zoom binoculars, and save your time in selection by not opting for from these brands. On the contrary, Nikon, Celestron, Bushnell, and other brands have high quality binocular with the zoom capabilities of 8×42 and other specifications. To spot the variable zoom capability of a binocular, check the name and the numbers with a hyphen in between e.g. 10-30x, 10-50x. Between the specifications of zoom binoculars, a 10x magnifiers is considered to have the lowest magnification strength. If you are looking for a specification a powerful magnification abilities, then consider buying the 30x binoculars.
  11. An 8×42 binocular does not require an image stabilizer, hence any brand that insist of you having a stabilizer should be avoided at all costs. With this binocular you will not need a tripod stand and have clear and bright images.
  12. Product warranty, is an essential part of conducting due diligence on the brand you are about to buy. This is the only redress contract you have with the seller after the purchase. Read through it and understand, and where you have doubt please verify before buying a binocular. Many Companies like Nikon offers a one year warranty on their imaging products, and you are comfortable with such entities knowing well that incase of malfunction as a result of manufacture’s defect, you are free to send it back for a replacement or a review. Avoid brands without warranty attached to their products as most are low quality binoculars which costs you money and time for no value.

Lastly, check on the price. High quality 8×42 binoculars are definitely going to be pricy compared to low quality binos, however, some inexpensive binos should not be dismissed for low quality, as some brands are known to offer good binoculars at affordable price. To help you on this, refers to various customers reviews on specific binocular you are about to buy to get hands on experience.

Components of 8×42 Binoculars to check when doing purchase

The 8×42 Binoculars are among the most powerful bird watching equipment, which offers high image resolution because of their adjustable parts. By the end of this article, you learn and understand the basic parts and their functions. 8×42 specification consist of the lenses, Eyecups and eye reliefs, Diopter Adjustment, Focus knob, exit pupil, straps

Lenses A Binocular consist of two lenses namely, the objective and the magnification lens performing different functions. Light enters into the binocular through the objective lens which is located at the binocular front. Moreover, it is larger than the magnification lens and have a diameter measuring between 30-50mm. Another important factor to note, is that the objective optic is a convex lens, meaning, they curves or bulges outwards to allow convergence of light rays. Besides, you can easily identify the objective lens through their unique labelling feature. For example “8×40”, “7×30” among others. The image texture and brightness are affected by the lens size. A large objective lens has the capability to gather more light into the exit pupil, which is a region within the binocular where image focusing is carried out, in addition, the binocular pupil diameter, is determined by diving objective by the magnification lens. When you have a binocular with a wider objective lens and a lower magnification, the image resulting from the observation is brighter and with greater details. The beauty of 8×42 pair of binoculars result into brighter photos in a dull condition, such as in a thicket. The measurement of the lenses is done in millimeters.

8×42 Exit Pupil The exit pupil of 8×42 particular binocular is 42/8, which give us about 5.3mm and this reasonable fits into the size of our eye pupil which ranges between 2 to 7mm. However, the size will depend on the amount of light being emitted. The bigger the eye pupil to the exit pupil, the dimmer the image. For instance, in the dark, human eye pupil is about 7mm more resulting into poor vision. The eye pupil is affected by the amount of light which enters the binocular and the brighter the light, the smaller the pupil, and the darker the light the bigger the pupil.

Shape There are two types of binocular shapes namely, Roof and Porro Prism with almost same functionalities but differs in a few areas of image focusing technology and pricing. The roof prism is also known as the Dach prisms which derives its name from roof top shape. Among the roof prism types are the Abbe-Koenig, Schmidt-Pechan, and Amici. On the other side, Porro Prism binoculars were invented by the Italian known as Ignazio Porro (, and are currently classified into two types namely, standard and reverse porro. Straps There are many types of binocular neck traps available from different manufacturers, the traps, is to help hold the binocular into a better position when birding. When selecting a strap for replacement, you should buy a long lasting materials. In addition, check the recommended load which the strap can carry. Moreover, consider the size of the neck when selecting a trap, otherwise, health related problems might arise with tight straps. Here is what a customer had to say about a particular strap for his binocular “but for wider, male necks it might be somewhat uncomfortable because the sewn-on tougher outer parts might start digging into your skin. Not a problem with lighter cameras/binoculars, but if you have heavy equipment it could be an issue” ( The main points to note are the comfortability, size and the quality of materials.

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