How To Choose Binoculars For Cricket (Best UK Guide)

How To Choose Binoculars For Cricket (Best UK Guide)

There’s no better way to celebrate the start of British Summer time than going to a cricket match. It’s not even important what type of match it is; 

  • An International Match (Like The Old School Rivals England against the Aussies)
  • Your Local County Cricket Club
  • A One Day International Match
  • A 20-20 Game 
  • A Local Game On The Village Green

It’s not particularly important who’s playing really, it’s all about the atmosphere. Sure, you could watch the match on TV (if it’s a big game), but nothing beats actually being there and experiencing everything first hand. 

In all honesty, unless you’re in the cheap seats, you’ll be able to watch the action and be able to follow what’s going on without binoculars. But, a decent set of binoculars will allow you to see every stroke of the bat, and every catch up close and personal. Boundary shots will become clearer, and maybe you’ll get to see why the umpires make some of the dreadful decisions you see on the highlights on TV.

Watching the whole match through binoculars would be uncomfortable (even if you are sitting down) and you’d miss some of the overall experience of actually being there. But they’re great for checking out the batsmen, the bowler or the wicket keeper for just a few balls here and there. Plus they’re great for catching any action with the fly slip. At almost the 30 yard circle that action would be hard to see without a decent pair of binoculars.

Between overs you can also check out who’s playing where, which fielders are in the slips, who’s down at fine leg, check who’s in the dugout or even check the scoreboard. However you use them and whatever you decide to look at, a decent pair of binoculars will help you to get more from your day out. So it’s time to get into the best binoculars that are most suitable for taking to a cricket match.

Recommended Binoculars:

Hawke Nature-Trek 10×50 Binoculars

An extensive range of binoculars in several configurations. The Nature-Trek family utilises our System H2 optics produced in a shock resistant polycarbonate body, providing a robust yet lightweight package. The high grip rubber armour ensures a secure hold in all weather conditions. Optics are crisp and clear with notable natural colour reproduction. The precise focusing wheel allows focussing down to 2m. Ultra-Modern Top Hinge Design Fully Multi-Coated Optics To Produce Sharp Images Focus Knob With…

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Delta Optical Forest II 10×50 Binoculars

Delta Optical Forest II 10×50 Binoculars are feature rich and common to the whole Forest II series are: high quality, coated roof BaK4 prisms and multiple phase antireflection coating providing a natural and sharp image. Also the design itself has been greatly appreciated by both professional and amateur users. 5 years warranty. What’s In The Box? Delta Forest II 10×50 Binoculars Hard carry case Eyepiece covers Cleaning Cloth Neck Strap User Manual

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Zeiss Terra ED 8×42 Gray Binoculars

ZEISS Terra® ED binoculars are robust, reliable and easy to use. Their state-of-the-art and sleek design makes them not only light but comfortably compact. The highest optical precision and the hydrophobic multicoating guarantee brilliant images down to the very last detail. The Terra ED binoculars are waterproof and nitrogen-filled, making them rough and ready. Terra ED binoculars are excellent value for money, making them the perfect entry into the world of ZEISS. With its compact…

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SIG Sauer ZULU5 8×42 Binoculars

Created to meet the demanding requirements of professional hunters and guides around the world, the ZULU5 8x42mm provides rugged reliability in the field in all weather conditions while delivering razor-sharp resolution and superior light transmission across the entire colour spectrum. High definition HD glass offers superior clarity and colour correctness. Lightweight and durable magnesium body makes the ergonomic ZULU5 8x42mm ideal for extended use in the field. Lightweight and durable magnesium alloy body Broadband fully…

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Delta Optical Forest II 8×42 Binoculars

Delta Optical Forest II 8×42 Binoculars are feature rich and common to the whole Forest II series are: high quality, coated roof BaK4 prisms and multiple phase anti-reflection coating providing a natural and sharp image. Also the design itself has been greatly appreciated by both professional and amateur users. 5 years warranty. The greatest honour held to the Delta Optical Forest II 8×42 came with a “Good Purchase” title given by the editors of Allbinos.com. For…

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Hawke Nature-Trek 8×42 Binoculars

An extensive range of binoculars in several configurations. The Nature-Trek family utilises our System H2 optics produced in a shock resistant polycarbonate body, providing a robust yet lightweight package. The high grip rubber armour ensures a secure hold in all weather conditions. Optics are crisp and clear with notable natural colour reproduction. The precise focusing wheel allows focussing down to 2m. Ultra-Modern Top Hinge Design Fully Multi-Coated Optics To Produce Sharp Images Focus Knob With…

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What Features Are Important For Watching Cricket?

A really decent pair of binoculars for taking to the cricket ground will be similar in many ways to binoculars for other sporting events and other non sport-related activities too. But with some variations that will make a lot of difference to how you experience the match.

What Size Binoculars Are Best For Cricket?

Binocular Sizes

The size of binoculars are determined by the objective lens size and run as follows;

  • Compact Binoculars – These have an objective lens size of below 30mm
  • Mid-size Binoculars – These have an objective lens size of between 30 to 40mm
  • Full Size Binoculars – These have an objective lens size of above 40mm

Once you’re in the cricket ground, you’ll spend most of your day sitting down to watch the action, so you can forget about compact binoculars and go for something with a better size to see the action clearer. We’ll go into the whys and wherefores in a bit, but we recommend either mid-size or full size binoculars as being the best size binoculars for watching cricket.

Obviously they need to be small enough to fit in your bag with all the rest of your day out survival kit; your sunscreen, your sun hat, your lunch, bottle of water and your portable wireless to catch the news on other matches during the day. But compact binoculars will most probably be too small to catch the action clearly.

There are a number of reasons for taking larger binoculars to the cricket ground and they include:

  • Larger Objective Lens
    The size of the objective lens determines how much light enters the binoculars which determines how bright the image is that you can see through the binoculars. Although cricket is only played in good light, a brighter image makes it easier to see and identify what you’re seeing. Plus on low-light days which in the UK are possible even in the heights of summer, you’ll need all the brightness you can get.
  • A Wide Field Of View (FoV)
    The field of view is the distance you can see through the binocular lenses from left to right without moving your head (or eyes). The wider the FoV is the easier it is to follow the action on the field. Larger binoculars tend to have wider fields of view, allowing you to see more without having to scan around on the off chance you might catch a glimpse of what’s going on.
  • Larger Binoculars Are Easier To Hold
    You’ll be sitting watching the match for many hours, holding anything in front of your face for any length of time can be difficult. Even more difficult when the item is too small to fit comfortably in your grip. Larger sized binoculars will sit in one position easier too which is a major consideration when you’re trying to keep a clear image.

    We all have a natural shake when we hold something for a long time, but at high magnification that shake becomes more apparent. We also recommend your binoculars should have no more magnification than 10x, anything above this will highly exaggerate that shakiness, and spoil your view.

    Many large size binoculars are small enough, and light enough that you will be hard pushed to recognise the difference between these and a mid-size pair. The only difference will be the brightness of the image through the lens. Most full size binoculars weigh less than you’d probably think, in fact they’re all less than a kilo, with some weighing in at around ½ kilo.

If the size and the weight mean more to you than the quality of the image, go for a compact pair of binoculars, if the image is more important than the size and the weight go for full size binoculars. And if image quality and size and weight share an equal importance to you go for mid-size binoculars.

The Best Magnification And Objective Lens Size For Cricket Binoculars

We all have a tendency to think that big is better, but that’s not the case when buying binoculars for cricket. The first thing we need to identify is how to understand the numbers on the binoculars. Stamped on the binoculars body will be a set of numbers that looks like this;

7×25

8×32

10×42

These tell us the level of magnification and the size of the objective lens in millimeters. The objective lenses are the ones farthest from your eyes and closer to the object. Just for your information, the lenses closest to your eyes are called the ocular lens.

So the first set of numbers followed by the X tells us the magnification, 7x means that the image you see through the binoculars will be 7 times larger than through your naked eyes. 8x=8 times the image size 10x=10 times the image size and so on. 

The numbers after the X indicate the diameter size of the objective lens in millimeters. 7×25 indicates 7 times magnification with an objective lens diameter of 25mm. 8×32 indicates 8 times magnification with an objective lens diameter of 32 mm and so on.

We have already said that for cricket, anything 10x or below is best, to see a clear image with no shakes. Plus we also said that a large objective lens diameter will allow more light in, making the image you see appear brighter, making it easier to see.

But as with most things in life, there’s a compromise, you see too much magnification will lower your field of view which means you’ll see some really excellent close ups but you’ll miss what’s going on elsewhere so you won’t get the full picture. So high magnification causes a narrowing of the field of view. We suggest a compromise, you’ll be sitting fairly close to the action, so you probably won’t need more than 8x magnification, 10x at the very most.

So our perfect size binoculars for watching cricket are either 8×42 or 10×50. Both of these will give you great magnification, whilst letting in enough light to see the image clearly, even in low-light conditions.

More Information On The FoV For Watching Cricket

Binocular FoV For Watching Cricket

The field of view is how much of the cricket pitch you can see from one side to the other (left to right). A decent FoV allows you to watch what’s happening, without moving your head too much.So, you need as wide a FoV as you can, without losing too much magnification, that’s why we recommend 8×42 or 10×50 for watching cricket.

The FoV is expressed as either an angle something like 6° or as so many metres per 1,ooo metres (or feet per 1,000 yards) to help you understand this way of measuring the FoV, if it’s shown as an angle and you want to convert it to what’s called the linear FoV, just multiply the angle by 17.5 to get the metres or 52.5 to get the feet.

6×17.5=105, 6x 52.5=315 so a FoV of  6° is equal to 105 metres per 1,000 metres or 315 feet per 1,000 yards. For binoculars to watch cricket we recommend a FoV of between  6° and 8°- 105 metres per 1,000 metres to 140 metres per 1,000 metres or 315 feet per 1,000 yards to 420 feet per 1,000 yards.

When looking at which pair of binoculars to buy, if everything else looks good, go for the pair with the highest field of view.

Which Type Of Binoculars Are Best For Cricket?

There are 2 main types of binoculars, roof prism or Porro prism, and without boring you with too many details, here’s a quick for and against for both types.

Porro prism binoculars are that classic M shape. They are on the whole, heavier, more cumbersome, easier to damage (misalign the prisms), harder to waterproof successfully, but cost less than an equivalent pair of roof prisms.

Roof Prism binoculars are more compact, weigh less, easier to hold, smaller, easy to waterproof, easier to conceal, far more robust, and due to the internal design roof prism binoculars are far less likely to get knocked out of alignment, but a decent pair will set you back considerably more than an equivalent Porro prism.

There is no right or wrong answer as to which is better, it depends on your personal choice and your budget. When it comes to actual, physical size, roof prisms are usually smaller and weigh less. But there are some reverse prism Porro prisms available now that are far more compact than the usual Porro prism types.

Eye Relief Explained

Once you start looking into suitable binoculars, one of the terms that will keep cropping up is eye relief. So to complete your knowledge base for cricket binoculars, here’s the low down on eye relief. 

The eye relief is the distance between the ocular lens or the last edge of an eyepiece and your eye which still allows you to see the full FoV. Generally the eyecups make sure your binoculars and eyes are both in the best place. Those of us that wear glasses will need a longer eye relief than non glasses wearers to accommodate the glasses and your eyes and still have a full FoV. The recommended eye relief for glasses wearers is 16mm and above, there are some binoculars with an eye relief of 24mm, so there will be plenty to choose from.

Are Waterproof Binoculars Necessary For Cricket?

watching cricket

As any cricket fan will tell you, if it rains too hard, the play gets halted, so you would think that it’s unnecessary to have waterproof binoculars when attending a cricket match. But as we live in the UK where the weather can change at the drop of a hat, at some point you will get caught out and get soaked. Once water enters the internal workings of a pair of binoculars, they will never be the same again.

So waterproof binoculars make perfect sense for any activity especially in such a wet country as Great Britain. There are so many different claims and terms about waterproofing that the industry introduced their own code to avoid confusion. Sadly that code is just as confusing so to save you having to muddle through it all here’s what you need to know in a nutshell.

The coding system is set out in 8 stages of ingress, and basically anything above IPX6 will prevent any water from entering the binocular lens tubes and damaging the internal workings whilst it’s raining. 

Fog Proofing

It certainly makes good sense to buy fog proof binoculars, because if the lenses fog up, you can’t see anything at all. Binoculars fog up when they experience temperature fluctuations, like getting out of a warm car and queuing in a cold queue to get into the cricket ground.

How Does Fog Proofing Work?

The air is purged from the lens tubes and replaced with an inert gas like argon or nitrogen. Because these gasses contain no moisture, they cannot react to changing temperatures and so no fogging occurs.

 As an added extra, as the gas is sealed into the binoculars, no microbial dust or debris can enter which means perfectly clean lenses always. Of course this doesn’t apply to the outside of the lens, which could still fog over, but a quick wipe with a soft lens cloth will soon solve that.

What About The Glass?

Binocular Lens Glass

There are 2 main types of glass used for binoculars, they are BAK-4 and BK-7. They are both precision optical glass and in all honesty there’s not too much difference between the 2. The majority of binoculars use BK-7 glass which has slightly more imperfections than BAK-4 glass but you’d have to be an expert to tell the difference.

What Does ED Glass Mean?

If you see on the binocular specs the phrase ED glass or Extra-low Dispersion glass it’s referring to the way the glass disperses light. Think of a prism, it lets white light in and emits a rainbow of colours. With high dispersion those colours become dull and diluted and with binoculars it can cause a halo effect around the image. So ED glass means clear crisp images.

Lens Coatings

Like waterproofing, lens coatings are confusing, there are so many different claims, but there’s only one that’s worth considering, look for fully multi-coated lenses. Fully multi-coated means that every lens has multiple coats to reduce glare, improve brightness, light transmission and contrast. Plus as it’s multiple coats, it will last for a long time.

Tripods

Using a tripod for your binoculars will prevent getting a shaky image, but unfortunately most cricket grounds follow the rules set out by Lords cricket ground and don’t allow the use of tripods.[1]

Why Buy Binoculars Online And Not From A High Street Shop?

There are some people who will tell you that the only way to buy a decent pair of binoculars is from a shop on the high street, and we can see why they would think that. But if you do go down that route you’ll soon find your choice is limited. Most shops will only stock one or two brands of binoculars and they’re usually trying to push one company more than any other because they get a higher profit margin from them.

Buying online gives you not only all of the facts and figures about each pair of binoculars so you can compare their strengths and weaknesses without being pressured into buying “this week’s special offer”. You’ll find helpful reviews, tips from other cricket fans, and all the information you need to make a truly informed choice.

Plus if you go to a store to buy binoculars, how far will you be able to see inside the shop to check the focusing, the field of view or any of the other important features necessary for watching cricket? Even if they allow you to take them outside the shop you’ll only be able to see across the road to the rest of the shops.

We live in the digital age and we buy everything else online, why not binoculars?

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need binoculars for cricket?

You don’t necessarily need binoculars for cricket, but a decent pair of binoculars will definitely enhance your enjoyment of the game, and the day. There’s a lot of down time during cricket matches, which gives you time to check out the scenery, scoreboard, players, crowd, or even the birds flying overhead, all of which will be easier with binoculars. 

How do I choose sports binoculars?

When choosing binoculars for sport you need to take into account the field of view, the magnification and objective lens size, the weight and size and it’s worthwhile choosing a waterproof pair too.

 What strength of binoculars is best?

For watching cricket, we would recommend no higher magnification than 10x, but 7x or 8x will be just as good and will not show any shakiness (which we all have when holding heavy objects for too long).