I don’t use binoculars while hunting deer. Part of the reason I don’t use them is because I don’t want more “stuff” in the tree with me. I can certainly appreciate the usefulness of having them.
If you are scanning a large area, (you’re not in dense enough cover for big bucks) you’ll want to see across a large distance, and binoculars are the way to go.
Waving your rifle around is dangerous and easy to see. Moving a smaller object that is tighter to yourself is less dangerous and less likely to be noticed by deer.
Seeing something in low light can be done better with good binoculars, and is harder with bad ones.
Many people do not know much about binoculars; so here you go:
The name of the game in optics is brightness; if its too dark to see, then optics are no good.
There are three ways to get brightness in binoculars: increase the lens size (let in more light), decrease the magnification (physics), and/ or increase the quality/ price.
(The eye-cups stay in for those who sport glasses and come out for those who don’t.)
The standard sizes in binoculars are 8×42 and 10×42.
The first number is the amount of magnification. An 8x magnifies the things you see through it 8 times. The objects will appear 8 times bigger and/ or 8 times closer. They also magnify any wiggle your hands have 8 times.
The advantage of 8x, over 10x, is you get more light to your eye (because of the way physics works) and you get a bigger field of view (the amount of stuff that you can see through optics).
The advantage of 10x, over 8x, is that things look bigger/ closer.
For hunting whitetail deer you want the maximum low light brightness and the quickest target acquisition (you can see more stuff with a bigger field of view).
For hunting whitetail deer get 8x binoculars. Buy 10x binoculars, maybe, if you are going to bird watch or you are going to hunt things that you expect only to see very far away (like more than 400 yards). There is not much difference in magnification between the two, and certainly not enough difference to warrant buying dimmer optics.
The second number of a binocular’s size is the diameter, in millimeters, of the lenses. Bigger lenses let in more light and are therefore brighter. Brighter is better. But size is an issue. 42mm is a standard size, but 50mm is better for brightness, and 32mm is better for carrying around.
42mm lenses seem to be the standard size, I would imagine, for a reason. So I would suggest going no smaller, unless you will be doing a lot of hiking to your hunting area and every ounce counts. Going to 50mm lenses is better if you don’t mind the extra weight.
Buy 8×42 binoculars.
How about quality?
I work part time selling bows and binoculars. I’ve looked through lots of binoculars, and I own several riflescopes to compare. My imaginary binocular store would consist of a limited number of binoculars in a range of prices to accommodate any budget.
I want to buy binoculars for around 50 dollars.
For around $100.
Leupold Yosemite 8×30
For around $200.
Vortex Diamondback 8×42
For around $350
Zeiss Terra HD 8×42
For around $500.
Many good options. Which do you like looking through the best?
For around $1000.
Save for better.
For around $2000
Swarovski SLC 8×42
I want binoculars that are as good as it gets.
Swarovski EL 8.5×42 or Swarovski EL 10×50
Are $2000-3000 binoculars worth it?
Are they the ones you lust for?
Well…yeah. But I wouldn’t mind the Vortex Talon HD 8×42 ($500).
What’s the extra “focus wheel” (often near the right eye cup) for?
The dioptic adjustment is adjusted to compensate for dominant eyes or some eyes being different from its partner. Close right eye, adjust main focus wheel, close left eye, adjust dioptic, the end.