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Mid-Sized Binoculars Review

For Bird Watcher's Digest, November, 2010

by Michael and Diane Porter

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Michael and Diane Porter wrote the following review, which appears in the November, 2010, Bird Watcher's Digest.


For a 2010 review for Bird Watcher's Digest, we evaluated 34 mid-sized binoculars. All the binoculars were 8 power and had approximately 32mm objective lenses. The prices varied from very inexpensive to top-end models. There were both roof- and Porro-prism styles.

Team Iowa
Team Iowa reviewed the mid-sized binoculars

Size Matters

Sometimes small is beautiful and less is more. A smaller binocular may let you see more, because you're more likely to have it with you when you need it. Also, when traveling, you may not always want high-value optics dangling from your neck, but it's nice to have a binocular that will tuck into a purse or cargo pocket. You never know when a birding opportunity will arise.

Mid-sized binoculars, especially those of 8 power with 32 mm objective lenses, are becoming increasingly popular, and there are good arguments in their favor.

Yes, it's true that larger objectives can theoretically deliver higher resolution images. You can see this easily when comparing 60-power spotting scopes, but in an 8 power binocular, it's hard to detect a qualitative difference between 42 mm and 32 mm objectives. At eight power, the quality of the optics matters much more than the size of the lenses.

NEXT: Brightness and Field of View in Mid-sized Binoculars

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