How To Choose Binoculars For Archery (Best UK Guide)
If you are into competition archery or even if you are just a keen archer, you’re going to need a good pair of binoculars. You’ll need to know where your arrows are landing, you need to know if you’re on target or if not, then you’re going to need know how far off your shots are. Buying binoculars can be a tricky business because there are so many to choose from. But, as you’re buying yours for archery and possibly for 3D archery the first consideration has to be the level of light.
You’re going to need to see the individual scoring rings clearly to make your shots count. So you will need to buy binoculars that let in lots of light so you can see clearly. You will also have to have binoculars with exceptionally clear lenses and this is down to the glass used in the manufacture of the lenses.
Then you need to consider the magnification, some competitions won’t allow any magnification higher than 8x but we’ll get into all that later. For now let’s look at the most important factors to consider before buying binoculars for archery.
The 10 Most Important Factors To Consider Before Buying Binoculars For Archery
Here are 10 questions that we think are the most important when it comes to buying binoculars for archery. If you have any more feel free to ask us in the comments below.
How Comfortable Are They?
This might seem like a stupid question and not necessarily the first question you need to be asking when buying binoculars. But when you consider you’ll be using them on and off for most of the day, they need to be comfortable. Most modern binoculars will have rubber or plastic eye cups, we find the rubber eyecups to be more comfortable for long term usage, but you might prefer the plastics.
How Much Can You See Through Them?
We’re referring here to the magnification, check with your club (if you belong to one) as some clubs have an 8x magnification limit on binoculars. The way to tell the magnification on binoculars is by the numbers stamped onto the binoculars body. There will be a set of numbers, something like, 7×25, 8×32 or 10×42, the first number(s) plus the X represents the magnification. 7x means 7 times magnification and so on. 7 times magnification means you will see the object 7 times larger through the binocular lens than with the naked eye.
The other number is the size of the diameter of the objective lens (the lens closest to the object you’re looking at) in millimeters. So in our first example 7×25 our objective lens is 25 mm in diameter. The larger the objective lens, the more light is allowed into the binoculars and the brighter the object you’re looking at will be. This is particularly important for dull days, where a larger objective lens will give you an advantage.
What Size Do You Need?
Binoculars are classified in three sizes, which are determined by the objective lens size and run as follows;
- Compact – Below 30mm
- Mid-size – Between 30 to 40mm
- Full Size – Above 40mm
These sizes can be slightly confusing because even full sized binoculars are relatively small in actual size. As you will definitely be at an advantage with a large objective lens size, we would recommend either mid-size or full size binoculars for archery.
How Heavy Are They?
Binoculars are not as heavy as you might think, with a compact 8×25 roof prism pair weighing in at just over 10 ounces, and a full size 8×42 roof prism pair weighing in at 27 ounces. As you can see the difference in the two pairs here is the size of the objective lens. The higher that objective lens size gets, the heavier the binoculars weigh.
How Durable Are They?
When it comes to durability or robustness we would recommend Roof prism binoculars. There are two types of binoculars, roof prism and Porro prism. Without getting too technical about things, Porro prism binoculars have two pairs of offset prisms that can get knocked out of alignment fairly easily.
Due to their internal design roof prism binoculars (which don’t have offset prisms) are less likely to get damaged if they’re accidentally dropped. But you could consider buying a pair that have been protected by a rubber coating, this applies to both types but we’d still recommend roof prisms if you’re clumsy.
How Bright Are They?
As it’s the objective lens that dictates how much light enters the binoculars which in turn determines the brightness of the image, a larger objective lens will make a big difference in how bright an image you can see. But remember, the larger the objective lens, the heavier the binoculars will be.
What Price Are They?
You can pick up binoculars that sound amazing for less than £15.00 but they will be a sore disappointment. A decent pair of binoculars that will help you with your aim and target location will cost somewhere in the region of between £130 to £375.
What Sort Of Warranty Do They Have?
Many of the better manufacturers of binoculars will have lifetime warranties. At the very least you should expect a three year warranty. But if you look after them, binoculars will last for many years.
What Field Of View Do They Have?
The field of view (FoV) is what you can see when looking through the lens of binoculars, straight ahead and how much you can see to each side. The higher the field of view, the easier the binoculars will be to use. You will be able to spot targets easier without having to remove the binoculars from your eyes to line up the image constantly.
The FoV is depicted in one of two ways, either as a degree or as feet per 1,000 yards. So you might see FoV 6 degrees or FoV 315 feet per 1,000 yards. The higher the FoV the better for archery but anything between 6 degrees and 7.5 degrees (315 feet per 1,000 yards to 394 feet per 1,000 yards) is acceptable.
What Features Do You Need?
Other features that you might like to consider include;
Having waterproof binoculars is a bonus as we live in the UK where rain is a pretty regular occurrence. The coding system for waterproofing can be tricky to get your head around, so let’s just say that anything from IPX6 or above will be great for anything the Great British weather can send your way.
- Fog Proofing
Early morning starts can mean chilly starts, and taking your binoculars from your warm car to the cold shooting range could cause the lenses to fog up. Fog proofing removes the oxygen and replaces it with an inert gas which will not cause any fogging when going from hot to cold. As the gas is sealed in, no dust can get in either which is an added bonus.
- Lens Coatings
To prevent glare and to improve brightness, colour, and light transmission, you might want to consider lens coatings. If you do, be sure it’s a fully multi-coated lens.As this ensures that all lenses have been fully coated in multiple coats to last longer.
Frequently Asked Questions
As long as you look after them, binoculars can last for 20 years or more.
You can use binoculars with glasses but you might need to make sure they have eye relief of 20mm or more.
While you don’t necessarily need binoculars for archery, using binoculars can improve your target spotting and shooting range.