Before you go out and buy any random binoculars for your (first) bowhunting trip, it’s best to know what makes a good quality bowhunting binoculars.
Whether you hunt pheasants, deer or wild boars, in this article you will find a number of suitable tips to purchase a quality bowhunting binoculars to better observe your prey. For bowhunting it is important that you have versatile binoculars that do not limit your mobility too much.
Porro Prism vs. Roof Prism Bowhunting Binoculars
Porro prism binoculars are generally bulkier and heavier than roof prism binoculars, given the same power and objective lens diameter. Example 8X42. The first number 8 is the magnification power and the second number 42 is the diameter of the objective or front lens. They are, however, good quality for a little less cost. Before recent advancements in roof prism technology, they were once superior in optical quality.
Roof prism binoculars are my preferred optic. Being lighter and smaller, roof prism make the best choice for bowhunting binoculars. Today’s roof prisms are ever bit as clear and crisp as any porro prism binocular. Multi Phase Coating of all glass surfaces eliminates any loss of light do to reflections of the internal glass.
Avoid the so-called mini binocular
The mini binocular is fine for carrying in you pocket, but their optic quality excludes them from any consideration on my part. These binoculars can be recognized by their magnification power and objective lens designations. Example 10X25.
The human eye can only gather so much light. Our eye’s iris is roughly 5 mm in diameter. In order for a binocular to pass all the light we are capable of seeing, the exit pupil of the binocular must be as large or larger than our iris. You can calculate the exit pupil diameter of any binocular by dividing the objective lens diameter by the magnification power. Example 8X42. 42 divided by 8 equals 5.25-mm exit pupil size. Since this is larger than most people’s 5-mm iris size, this binocular will pass as much light as a person is capable of seeing. The image should be bright and clear as long as all glass surfaces are multi-coated.
The 10X25 mini, referred to above, has an exit pupil size of 2.5-mm. It can only pass half as much light as one is capable of seeing. Thus these binoculars are dark and useless, especially at first and last light of day, when deer, elk, and bear are most active.
Other important features
Water and fog proof should be your next consideration. Even if you hunt the desolate western United States, a single thunderstorm can render a non waterproof binocular useless in a matter of minutes. Water and fog proof binoculars should be nitrogen filled and sealed.
Center focusing is convenient, but should have an independent diopter adjustment A binocular with diopter adjustment will have one rearward eyepiece adjustment separate from the main center focus. This allows you to focus each barrel of the binocular to your individual eyes.
If you plan to move from location to location during the hunting session, then lightweight binoculars with a medium objective diameter will suffice. However, most hunters wait for their prey in one location and therefore prefer a viewer with a larger objective lens. These binoculars generally deliver a better and sharper image quality so that you will not lose sight of your object. There are also a number of binoculars available with a camouflage print, which makes you stand out even less.
All binoculars at My Bowhunting Tips meet my minimum requirements outlined above.
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