How Far Can Binoculars See

How Far Can Binoculars See?

This question is difficult to answer correctly because you can see a long way with binoculars. Think about it, you can see the moon with binoculars and that’s 238,855 miles away. If you wanted to do serious damage to your eyes, you could see the sun with your binoculars and that’s 94,4919,17 miles away. So the question is not how far can binoculars see, it’s more a question of how much do you want to magnify the object you’re trying to look at.

What Is Magnification?

In the case of binoculars, magnification is how much bigger an object looks when you’re looking through the binocular lens, compared to how big that same object is through the naked eye. So if you were looking through a 10x binocular lens, that object would be 10 times bigger through the lens than through just your eyes.

In other words, if you were standing on the beach, looking out to sea at a boat 100 yards away with a 10x binocular, you would see the boat as if you were only 10 yards away from it. Giving you a much more detailed look at the boat than if you were to look at it with your naked eye.

What Is The Magnification Of Your Binoculars?

The way to determine the magnification of your binoculars is to look at the numbers printed on them. Say for instance, the numbers were 8×42 that would mean you can see 8 times closer through the binoculars than with just your eyes. So the higher the first number is on your binoculars the further you’ll be able to see.

Field Of View

The other number on the binoculars, the 42 , indicates the field of view. This means the amount in millimetres you can see through the binoculars in the width of what you’re looking at. The higher the number, the wider area is in your field of vision. Generally speaking, the higher the magnification, the lower the field of vision.

Which Binoculars Do You Need?

If your main purpose for buying binoculars is to zoom in on far away objects then you should go for a pair of binoculars with a high magnification (the x number). The point to remember about high magnification is although it makes the objects look closer, it narrows your field of vision. A narrow field of vision will make it more difficult to see the object you’re looking for. Another factor to consider is the higher the magnification the more noticeable the shake is.

We all shake when holding an object up for any length of time and that’s ok, until you’re trying to focus on an object in the distance. So which binoculars do you need?

Best Binoculars For Specific Functions

Bird Watching

In general terms, a magnification of 6 to 10x are the easiest to use. However it does depend on the specific function. For bird watching, a magnification of either 8x or 10x is best to keep shaking to a minimum and for tracking the moving bird. For lovers of the theatre, a lower magnification will be better plus portability should be factored in too.

You also need to consider what your main functions will be, for instance if you intend going whale watching then a waterproof pair of binoculars make sense. Easier to focus binoculars are best suited for sporting events, whereas star gazers should consider 10×42 or 10×50, if you decide to go any higher you’ll probably need a tripod to combat the shakiness.

Binocular Protection Features

There are added features that can be applied to your binoculars depending on the way you plan to use them. These include: 

Fog-Proof Binoculars

When you move from the cold into a warmer environment, binoculars can fog up. This can cause serious and permanent damage to your binoculars if moisture gets caught inside . Binocular manufacturers have come up with a way to counter fogging up, they remove all of the oxygen from the inside of the lenses and replace it with nitrogen. As nitrogen contains no moisture content, it can’t condense, this only prevents internal fogging of the lens, not external.

Waterproofing And/Or Weather-Resistant Binoculars

Whether you plan on using your binoculars whilst travelling by boat, kayaking, or even on a trail or trek in the rain, you might want waterproof or weather-resistant binoculars. You need to take care here, because some manufacturers will call them “waterproof” even if they are only water-resistant.

Waterproof Binoculars

True waterproof binoculars use special O-ring seals to keep out moisture, even these are not suitable for long term submersion, they will probably survive a short spash or even being dropped overboard as long as they are quickly recovered. These will include waterproof in their description.

Weather-Resistant (Water-Resistant) Binoculars

These are not waterproof, and can only survive a short downpour of rain, and definitely not a complete soaking.

Rubber Coated Binoculars

Buying a pair of rubber coated binoculars is well worth considering,it won’t protect them from a hard bash, but it’s beneficial against minor knocks. If you intend doing some sort of rugged outdoor activity, rubber coated binoculars would be a great choice.


How To Focus Your Binoculars Correctly

On most pairs of binoculars there is a central control that focuses both lenses at the same time. They also have what’s known as a diopter, this is used to focus one lens independently . This allows for compensation between the different vision in your eyes. To correctly focus your binoculars follow this easy step by step guide.

How To Focus Your Binoculars The Right Way

  1. Block The Right Lens
    Using the lens cap to completely cover the right lens.
  2. Focus On A Distant Object
    Using the central control, Sharply focus on an object in the distance.
  3. Block The Left Lens
    Using the same lens cap, completely cover the left lens whilst allowing the right lens to be viewed through.
  4. Focus The Right Lens
    Using the diopter, sharply focus on the same distant object.

The binoculars are now focussed, from now on, leave the diopter alone and only focus using the central control for focussing. Of course if your diopter is on the opposite side, just reverse these steps.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the farthest distance you can see with binoculars?

The farthest distance you can see with binoculars is as far as your eyes can see only upto 10 times closer.

How far can binoculars zoom?

Generally, a person with perfect vision can see for around 30 miles on a clear day, using binoculars that have 10 times magnification, in theory, you’ll be able to see 300 miles.