Best Size Binoculars For Bird Watching - What Is It? Find Out Here!

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October 6, 2021

What Size Bincoulars Should I Choose For Bird Watching?

Choosing your binoculars for bird watching can be a little daunting with the large variety of binoculars available on the market, all with different magnifications and objective lenses.

For birdwatching, we recommend a size no less or more than 8x magnification, as this will allow you to view your birds close enough while being able to keep your binoculars steady. 

In terms of the objective lens diameter, a size of 42mm or 35mm is usually enough to keep sufficient brightness in your image while not adding too much weight.

Purchasing binoculars which have a high magnification may be great for viewing birds up close but will limit your field of view, meaning you can lose your subject in the image quickly if it flies away and have a harder time keeping your binos stable.

How Can I Tell What Size My Binoculars Are?

The size of your binoculars is determined by the two numbers stated on the models the specification such as 8x42. The '8' refers to the amount of magnification and the the '42mm' refers to the size of the objective lens.

A higher objective lens will offer you more light but also more weight and for birdwatching, it is best to look out for a 1:5 ration in size such as 8x40 or 10x50.

This ratio above also refers to the exit pupil, which is an important size to pay attention to if your planning to birdwatch in low-light situations.

Important Spec Sizes To Look Out For In Your Birdwatching Binoculars

It's not just the magnification and lens size of your binoculars which are important if you want to grab the best pair for birdwatching.

You should also consider the size of your field of view, close focus and eye relief of your model. All these different sizes can impact how your image looks and how your bincoulars feel during use.

For the field of view, your birdwatching binoculars need to have a wide range as this will allow you to track birds easily rather than being limited to a narrow view.

A decent field of view size to look for is around 400-500 ft at 1000 yards.

If you wear glasses you will also want to check the eye relief size on your binoculars for birdwatching, a higher eye relief will be much more comfortable.

The best eye relief size to look out for is anything from 15.5 to 20mm.

If you enjoy getting close-up images to birds with clear detail, then you should ensure your binoculars additionally comes with a close focus size ranging from 6ft to 8ft.

What Are The Advantages Of Choosing 8x Binoculars For Birdwatching?

When you are looking for the best-sized binoculars for birdwatching you will often see 8x models are the most popular choice.

Not only are these sized binoculars very affordable, but they also have a wide field of view, giving a nice balance in between 10x magnification and 7x magnification.

We have listed out some further advantages to choosing 8x binoculars below.

  • Portable - If you go for an 8x42 pair of binoculars you will find that due to the mid-range magnification they are still a portable size, meaning you can transport them around easily without the heavyweight of a 10x magnification pair of bincoulars.
  • Better exit pupil - 8x bincoulars paired with an objective lens size of 32mm and above will offer you much more light within your image, allowing you to bird watch in even low-light wood conditions.
  • Wide range of view - This size of magnification does not crop your image like a 10x or 7x model does, meaning you can still have a wide field of view to bird watch with.
  • Comfortable - Due to the size of these binoculars they are much more comfortable to hold for longer periods and aren't as prone to shaking in comparison to a pair of 10x bincoulars.

Are There Different Types Of Sized Binoculars Suited For Birdwatching?

There are, of course, other sizes of binoculars on the market that can be great for birdwatching if you want more magnification or a compactor size.

For example, 10x42 binoculars are perfect if your after a more zoomed-in image and care less about the field of view, however, you may find that they are little more difficult to hold without shaking due to the higher magnification and heavier weight.

10x binoculars are the better choice than 8x if your planning to birdwatch birds which can be hard to get within proximity to.

What About Smaller Sized Binoculars For Birdwatching?

If your planning to have a more compact child-friendly pair of binoculars for bird watching then its best to consider a pair of 8x20 or 8x25 bincoulars.

These sized binoculars are often more portable and affordable but don't work as well in lower light due to the smaller objective lens.

Tips For Using Best Sized Binoculars When Birdwatching

If you are new to birdwatching with your binoculars then it could be useful for you to get familiar with some tips and tricks so as you can get the most out of your pair of binoculars when out on the field.

We have listed out some essential tips for you to consider when birdwatching with your binos below.


  • Before starting to birdwatch with your binoculars you should ensure the barrels of your chosen pair fit comfortably on your eyes.
  • Turn the centre focus wheel to focus on your right eye and the right eyepiece to focus your left eye.
  • To fine-tune, your focus, repeat the steps above with one eye closing each time and use the centre focus wheel to adjust the right eye and the dioptre to adjust the left till your image is in focus.
  • After this, you can open your eyes and check if your birdwatching binoculars are adjusted correctly if not, repeat the steps above till so.

Tracking your bird

  • To find your bird, try looking at a subject with your naked eye in the distance then lifting your binoculars to match.
  • When you struggle to find a bird in your field of view, always lock your natural eyes on the subject first then lift your binos to equal your eyes position.

Common FAQS For Buying Best Sized Birdwatching Binoculars

Now we are coming to the end of our sizing guide for your best birdwatching binoculars, there's a couple of common questions which you might be asking yourself when it comes to finding the right pair.

How do I clean my birdwatching binoculars? 

You can clean the outer surface of your birdwatching binoculars with a soft cloth, however, for the lens itself its best to use a dust blower to blow and dust off and avoid scratching the expensive lenses.

Is a higher magnification better for birdwatching? 

Not always, a higher magnification may give you a better chance at seeing birds which are much further away but will limit your field of view too.

Birds tend to fly a lot and move around by nature, so that's why an 8x magnification is recommended as this gives you a wide field of view to mess around with as well as zoom.

Higher magnification will also make your binoculars heavier which means they are harder to keep still.

Can I use birdwatching binoculars with glasses?

Yes, just make sure your model has a large enough eye relief to do this.

You can change the dioptre of your binoculars too if you wish to use your binoculars without glasses and still see clearly. This can make using your binoculars more comfortable with rubber eyecups in comparison.

Do I need Porro prism or Roof prism binoculars for birding?

Roof prism style binoculars tend to be suited for most birders who are looking for a more compact design, however, these binoculars do tend to be a little expensive, so Porro prism models are more budget-friendly.

Born and raised in the south coast of UK, a small town close to Cornwall, I have adventure in my blood. Ever since a young age, I have always been into the great outdoors and particularly love watching the natural wildlife. Birdwatching is what I enjoy the most, and thus my natural interest in binoculars began. I founded and run Best-Binoculars.UK a site where I talk about various aspects of and review binoculars. Hope you enjoy my ramblings :)

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Born and raised in the south coast of UK, a small town close to Cornwall, I have adventure in my blood. Ever since a young age, I have always been into the great outdoors and particularly love watching the natural wildlife. Birdwatching is what I enjoy the most, and thus my natural interest in binoculars began. I founded and run Best-Binoculars.UK a site where I talk about various aspects of and review binoculars. Hope you enjoy my ramblings :)

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