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Familiar size – Since the visual angle of an object projected onto the retina decreases with distance, this information can be combined with previous knowledge of the objects size to determine the absolute depth of the object. For example, people are generally familiar with the size of an average automobile. This prior knowledge can be combined with information about the angle it subtends on the retina to determine the absolute depth of an automobile in a scene.
When Sarah, the owner of Kidwinz, sent a follow-up email to check on the purchase, I thought I should write and let her know what happened. She responded within a day, apologized profusely, and said that perhaps the binoculars we got were damaged at the warehouse. She assured me they were drop tested and this rarely happens, and she offered to send us another pair free of charge. I thanked her, gave her my address, and within a couple of days a new pair of binoculars arrived.
As a more general comment on the current state of binocular manufacturing: With things changing so rapidly, consumers should check that the pair they end up with is the same high-quality model we’ve tested. So many new binocular brands and models are in the market now, and some confusion is inevitable. Athlon Optics, a relatively new company, currently has 28 different models and six distinct binocular lines. If you’re the kind of person who prefers the stability (and availability) of a better-known brand, look toward our runner-up and budget picks.
Weather Resistant Often, but not always, the optic will employ some type of seal—an O-ring or gasket—to keep moisture, such as from general humidity or a light mist, from getting into the optical tubes. You can take a weather-resistant binocular out in moist conditions without causing damage. The air inside the optical tube will probably be just ambient air from the factory where they were assembled, and due to air conditioning and other factors, will usually have an extremely low moisture content. What this means is that under most normal conditions, a binocular right out of the box shouldn’t have fogging issues, even if it is O-ring or gasket sealed.
However, lighter binoculars tend to be less well made and may not have enough magnification to make the experience enjoyable for your child. This is why it is important to choose binoculars which weigh 7 ounces or more if you are giving them to a child of 7 or over. Under this age, they need lighter binoculars and you will need to accept that the binoculars will only be partially effective. It will need to be viewed as an introduction to the world of binoculars.
Although we didn’t cover any night vision binoculars that are infused with the Gen 3 technology, it’s important to understand and have the knowledge of all the generations before purchasing a night vision device. The Gen technology enables you to see longer distances and wider ranges than the typical night vision binocular set. If you’re a novice or beginner to this sort of technology, just remember that with each generation, the strength and power rise as well as the price. You will never see a Gen 3 night vision model be priced the same as a Gen 1 night vision model. Why? Simply because there is a huge difference in technological advances between the two.
Night Owl is a brand that has been setting the pace in the optical industry for years. With a vast selection of night vision equipment, Night Owl is a global leader in the optical industry. To give it an edge over the competition, the company launched its proprietary night vision technology, which it claims is better than existing generation 2 technology.
A monocular is a small, low-powered telescope that you hold in your hand like a set of binoculars. Using one eye, you can see through a monocular and look at far away objects when you are hunting, camping, or watching sporting events. You can also use a monocular as a magnifier to hold over text that is hard to read. You can select a monocular by looking at the magnification power as well as the size and weight of the monocular. You should also shop around for the monocular and try a few options so you can find one that is high-quality and within your budget.
The LYNX from Bushnell is weather resistant. This means it can withstand extreme weather conditions. The fact that it works well in heavy rain or snow and during storms makes it a preferred choice in law enforcement. It is also a preferred choice for wildlife surveillance and night navigation. The materials used to make the device ensure it is water resistant. You can, therefore, use it in wet weather conditions without having to worry about water damage on the gadget.
Motion parallax – When an observer moves, the apparent relative motion of several stationary objects against a background gives hints about their relative distance. If information about the direction and velocity of movement is known, motion parallax can provide absolute depth information. This effect can be seen clearly when driving in a car nearby things pass quickly, while distant objects appear stationary. Some animals that lack binocular vision because of the wide placement of the eyes employ parallax more explicitly than humans for depth cueing (e.g., some types of birds, which bob their heads to achieve motion parallax, and squirrels, which move in lines orthogonal to an object of interest to do the same).1
The two operational buttons, which control range and mode, are so close together that it takes some practice to get proficient with their use. And because the laser transmitter is located on the front of the hinge, in the spot where most binoculars have a tripod-mounting receiver, you need a separate accessory to mount the Geovid. That’s not a small consideration, since you’ll want to stabilize this optic for ranging out past about 1,000 yards.
Finally, this mini monocular’s molded grip makes it easy to hold. Thanks to the magnification and the grip, you will experience very little to no shaking with this device. Plus, its accessories (a carrying case, cleaning cloth, and neck strap) make it easy to use and carry with you anywhere. The result is one of the best monoculars on the market today.
Travis Pike is a Marine infantry veteran, firearms enthusiast, and NRA certified instructor. He’s a lifelong shooter who just happened to be mediocre enough with a gun and a keyboard to combine the two and write. He currently teaches concealed carry courses and enjoys spending time in Florida’s Nature Coast. He is interested in helping folks protect themselves with firearms and shoot better at the range.
Zeiss is, of course, synonymous with cutting-edge optical performance, which is what you’ll be buying a pair of binos for in the first place. If you’re looking to luxuriously spend into the thousands to obtain the very best binoculars possible, then check out the Victory line up – said to be the best that Zeiss has to offer. Suitable for pretty much every pursuit, especially the watching of wildlife, the 10x magnification of our pick, the Zeiss Victory SF 10x42, not only brings the faraway up close, but the optical performance has a crystal clarity thanks in part to a seven-lens eyepiece. This particular model is also the most versatile, as well as the most premium, with an evenly balanced weight distribution and ergonomic grip making hand-holding the binos for a prolonged period a pleasure. Zeiss also claims that a large exit pupil measuring over 5mm reveals the details in dark shadows or dim dusk.
These binoculars are described as perfect for kids and while this is true the blue color does lend itself to boys more than girls. The IClarity binoculars are well put together; the sides are black while the midsection and the hinges are all blue. The focus well is well positioned in the center of the body and is also black, creating a nice contrast. The main body is encased in metal to provide plenty of protection against bumps, scrapes and even accidental drops. The eyepieces are surrounded with soft rubber to ensure your child is comfortable and safe when they push the binoculars against their eyes. The hinges easily move the individual sides to ensure they form the perfect position for your child’s eyes. These binoculars come with a soft nylon carry case to help protect them. There is also a 2-foot long neck cord which is easily attached to the binoculars. You also benefit from a soft lens cleaning cloth and a one-year replacement guarantee to cover any non-fault damage. You also benefit from a 30-day money back guarantee if you are unsatisfied with the product for any reason!
Field of view (fov) specification. This parameter is sometimes stated incorrectly (over-stated) and needs interpreting with care when buying an instrument without first field-testing. It is normally expressed in degrees, m@1000m or ft@1000yds. An approximate conversion from degrees to m@1000m is to multiply degrees by 17.5 which can be used as a check if both values are stated. The author has carried out fov tests on several monoculars and the results shown in the table below. Generally, the manufacturer’s stated figure is accurate within a few % but two were considerably over-stated, one in particular (9x30) by 30%. When reviewing a claimed fov value, reference can be made to the fov/magnification relationship in Design, above. This relationship represents best-in-class and so anything substantially exceeding a fov value from this plot, for a given magnification, should be treated with caution, especially in budget offerings.
Incidentally, one odd problem with the Nikon Monarch 5 (our pick in our previous binoculars guide) was a loud, rubber-on-rubber squeaking sound the focusing wheel often made when coming into contact with the rubber housing. I would have thought this was a random, fixable issue, but judging from online reviews, others complained about this too. The problem seems limited to individual pairs, so send yours back if they start doing this.
The Carson RD 8 x 26 waterproof, Levenhuk Karma Pro 8 x 25, Maven C.2 10 x 28, and Minox 8 x 25 are part of a slew of “new compact” binoculars that resemble shrunken-down versions of the full-size 8 x 42 models, but were about two-thirds the size and weight. At this size, though, they’re too large to slip into most pockets, unless you have a huge coat on, taking away the very portability that we were looking for. I also found the quality lacking across the board—eyepieces that wouldn’t stop spinning (Maven), eyecups that didn’t sit flush with the eye (Levenhuk, Minox), and distortion of distant objects (Carson).
In an attempt to take image quality even higher, the Bushnell Powerview Prism Binoculars offer multi-coated optics. In addition to all optics being coated, at least one element has several layers of coating. It’s not apparent exactly how many components have been treated in this way, but a multi-coated-optics designation usually means everything looks clearer. Bushnell tells us that the Powerview binoculars have BaK-7 prisms that are intended to improve visual crispness.
Gen 3+ night vision devices differ from standard third generation in the use of auto-gated technology and use of a thinner ion barrier on the microchannel plate (MCP). Automatic gating regulates the photocathode voltage, which makes the night vision device to automatically adjust to changes in light conditions. The thinned layer of the ion barrier improves image noise and luminous sensitivity. However, a thinner or removed ion barrier also decreases the life of the intensifier tube from 20,000 mean time to failure to 15,000 hours. Generally NV devices are replaced before reaching this point. It is important to note, that auto-gating can be placed on previous version of night vision and having this capability does not necessarily mean that the device is classified as Gen 3+.
To add an extra element of long-term learning, take your child on a walk with their new pair of binoculars. Have them observe a natural habitat near your home or even town life. During the process, hand them a notebook and a pencil and have them write down everything that they see, are curious about, or want to learn more about. This is a great way to educate your kids on things they haven’t seen before and help them grow mentally as they absorb information and develop a deeper understanding of what surrounds them. Through the process of writing down information, they’ll remember it and be able to refer back to it if they ever want to re-learn something or remember it. This kind of toys are a great basis for any learning activity no matter the age!
Another type of prism coating, only used on roof prisms, is called “phase-correcting” coating. Because of the way roof prims reflect light, after it moves through the objective lens, it gets split into two separate beams that travel through the prism system independently. The beams experience a “phase shift” as one beam strikes the eyepiece lens a fraction of a second before the second beam. When the two beams are recombined in the eyepiece lens they are slightly out of phase with each other, which can affect color balance and rendition. By applying special coatings on the prism, the faster light beam is slowed to match the slower beam, bringing them back into phase when they hit the eyepiece lens—greatly improving color, clarity, and contrast versus non-phase-corrected prism binoculars. Under normal circumstances, most users won’t notice the difference, but pro users and avid birdwatchers may require it to be able to pick out important details at a distance or in challenging light. Since Porro prisms don’t suffer from phase shift, these coatings are not used on them.
The Night Owl Pro Nexgen Night Vision Binocular offers the trademark Night Owl quality and ease of use without a price tag that is going to put you in debt. It is certainly not the cheapest night vision binocular on the market, but you do get plenty of value for your money. The 5X magnification is probably more than you would need while operating in the dark and the binoculars work great even when only using ambient light thanks to the image intensifier tubes. Switch on the built-in infrared illuminator and you will get an even better range in total darkness.
The Nikon Monarch 5 (8×42 or 10×42) are one of the best binoculars you can own for birdwatching, Safari or general use. No doubt about it. In terms of their optics, beautiful lightweight design, wide field of view and most of all image quality they are right up there with our $800-$1,000 high-end models! Therefore they have been one of the most popular choices by our more avid customers over the last 3 years. Now, regarding a monocular, if you will be using the optics often, especially for birdwatching, we wouldn’t recommend a monocular. The view is quite limiting and the design is not very comfortable to hold and stabilise for extended periods of time. It is still a great tool to carry in your bag or car and to have a “quick look” at something. But if you are viewing birds or wildlife we will always recommend binoculars. Your husband, even having only 1 eye, will find it easier to hold and use good binoculars than a monocular (again, for frequent or prolong use). The image is also significantly better since 8×42 binoculars such as the Nikon have a much wider view than a monocular – even using only the 1 eye. I have tested this theory while closing one of my eyes and using both the Nikon Monarch binoculars and the Avalon monocular. The binoculars definitely came on top!
While shopping for the best night vision binoculars, it’s always good to have some knowledge of the generations 1, 2, and 3. These determine the amount of power and strength that resides in your binoculars. Naturally, the higher the age you go, the higher the price tag. Why? Each generation is more advanced than the previous. Here’s a little lesson for each generation.
Given as the second number in a binocular description (e.g. 7x35, 8x50), the diameter of the objective lens determines the resolution (sharpness) and how much light can be gathered to form an image. When two different binoculars have equal magnification, equal quality, and produce a sufficiently matched exit pupil (see below), the larger objective diameter produces a "brighter"  and sharper image. An 8×40, then, will produce a "brighter" and sharper image than an 8×25, even though both enlarge the image an identical eight times. The larger front lenses in the 8×40 also produce wider beams of light (exit pupil) that leave the eyepieces. This makes it more comfortable to view with an 8×40 than an 8×25. A 10x50 binoculars is better than an 8x40 for magnification, sharpness and luminous flux. Objective diameter is usually expressed in millimeters. It is customary to categorize binoculars by the magnification × the objective diameter; e.g. 7×50. Smaller binoculars may have a diameter of as low as 22 mm; 35 mm and 50 mm is a common diameter for field binoculars; astronomical binoculars have diameters ranging from 70 mm to 150 mm.