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Binoculars are pretty much essential. If you’re a camera person, they’re a major asset, invaluable for checking out locations. For sailors, they can be life or death visual alarms, finding tricky rocks and safe harbours.

Modern binoculars are super-powerful, and can even be used for astronomy. They’re made by some of the world’s leading precision optical instrument makers, including Canon, Bower, Celestron and Pentax.

The different kinds of binoculars

The two basic “species” of binoculars are the ultra-portable compact and full size. Both types have particular advantages.You can even get monoculars, which are much like telescopes!

The categories of binoculars are:

  • Astronomy- Top of the range high powered binoculars with large apertures (“apertures” are the lens size) and great ergonomics.The top end binoculars in this field, like the Celestron SkyMaster 71017 25X100 include high comfort padding for sustained use and individual eyepiece focus.
  • Bird watching- A range of compact and larger binoculars with advanced optics
  • Concert- The equivalent of “opera glasses”, these are precision instruments that really do the job properly.
  • Hunting- An essential tool for real hunters. Get yourself the eyes of an eagle, and you’ll see things you’ve never seen before.
  • Marine- Critical equipment for mariners, these are the famous tough sea binoculars, with great range and good resolution.
  • Outdoor- Adventure binoculars, tough, waterproof and reliable.
  • Sports- For the races or the game, these are the binoculars that you need.

Buying binoculars

You need to consider your needs when you’re shopping for binoculars:

  • You need magnification power. A good high power for watching sport, for example, is 18X – 10X.
  • Resolution is the other big issue. For bird watching, a similar or slightly higher magnification may be required. For astronomy and marine use, you need larger apertures and excellent resolution.

The other important consideration is price- You can get excellent discounts online, even for the absolute top of the range binoculars, and very good warranties.