OutdoorGearLab Publishes Educational Buying Guide for Binoculars

The gear review authority, Outdoorgearlab.com, guides consumers through the purchase of binoculars with a glossary of terms and helpful diagrams.
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A diagram showing the difference between porro-prism and roof prism models.
A diagram showing the difference between porro-prism and roof prism models.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. - July 16, 2014 - PRLog -- OutdoorGearLab.com, the internet's leading outdoor gear review website, announced the release of a new buying guide for choosing binoculars. After numerous hours spent testing thirteen top products on the market, OutdoorGearLab review editor Stephanie Bennett wrote a full review comparing these products to one another. This full comparative review includes renown brands such as Nikon, Canon, and Swarovski. Using this hand-on research, she then compiled a detailed buying guide to inform and educate consumers and guide them on the path to purchasing a pair that will satisfy them. Since binoculars are a very technical product, there are many details that can seem confusing to a new user. Bennet explains all of these technical aspects in great detail so that a reader can come away knowing all the information needed to correctly choose a pair to purchase.

Bennett begins her lengthy article by explaining how binoculars work. There are two main styles: Galilean, which uses a concave lens at the eyepiece, and prism, which uses a convex lens at the eyepiece. The plus side to this convex eyepiece lens is that it allows for a wider field of vision. The downside to the use of this convex lens is that it inverts the image, so it needs to be re-inverted with mirrors before it reaches the eye. Within the prism category are two sub-categories: porro-prism and roof-prism. The difference these two styles is the way that mirrors are used to reflect the image seen through the lens to the eye. Bennett's article has a visual diagram to illustrate each method. Porro-prism models fold the image in a z shape, resulting in an objective lens that is offset from the eyepiece. This style is typically larger and heavier. In roof prism models the lenses are aligned in a straight line, so the barrels are straight and therefore this style can be smaller and more compact. This style can also be more expensive.

Next Bennett's article provides a glossary of terms to inform users. First she explains magnification and objective lens size. These two numbers together are the numbers shown with a product name, such as Swarovski EL 10x32 or Nikon Monarch 3 8x42. By reading and understanding these numbers, a customer can get a very good idea of the size, the power, and the relative brightness of the pair they are considering. Next, Bennett defines other important terms such as exit pupil, field of view, close focus, diopter, eye relief, and interpupilary distance. She also explains the defect of chromatic aberration. This can sometimes occur when a lens refracts different wavelengths of light (colors) to different focal points. It makes the image look washed out and fuzzy. To compensate for chromatic aberration, many manufacturer's use extra-low dispersion glass (ED glass) which is constructed in a way that focuses different wavelengths to the same point. This results in a clear and color correct image. This type of glass is expensive and is usually found only on high end models. Both of the highest scoring products in Bennet's comparison review use ED glass, and both of these pairs won awards for their crisp and colorful images.

Lastly, Bennett walks readers through possible uses for binoculars and explains which types function best for different purposes. She notes the features to look for and then recommends the models she tested that fit into these categories. Popular uses for magnifiers are bird watching, hunting and wildlife viewing, marine trips, hiking and backpacking, star gazing and astronomy, and concert viewing. Bennett notes that some uses require certain features to function well, and she lists what those considerations are. For instance, a large objective lens is necessary for star gazing, which happens at night in the dark, since the larger the lens the more light can enter.

This Buying Guide has been published in tandem with a hands-on review of thirteen top models. This full review compares each model against one another and includes a write-up of each pair. Reference OutdoorGearLab's site for more information on what makes the best pair and which models took home awards.

OutdoorGearLab, LLC is based in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and is a free resource dedicated to helping consumers make informed purchasing decisions about outdoor gear when shopping online. The site, www.outdoorgearlab.com, contains comparison reviews of outdoor apparel and equipment, and complimentary buying advice guides for each category. The test team performs tests of gear, comparing products against one another in real world applications, and publishes their findings in written essays. Each product is scored across a range of weighted metrics, ranked against its competitors, and awards are given to the deserving models. Readers can then find the best possible product with minimal time invested in personal research. These reviews will inform anyone who participates in activities such as backpacking, hiking, camping, hunting, bird watching, running, swimming, and cycling.

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Tags:Binoculars, Bird Watching, Outdoors, Gear Reviews, Binocular Reviews, Birding
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