While a cool pair of military-grade binoculars might be a fun addition to your hunting or survival gear, if you want quality binoculars, military-type binoculars aren’t necessarily the only option to consider. In fact, understanding a bit about these optical instruments can help you determine which type is truly the best for your needs.
Binoculars By The Numbers
When you purchase military-grade binoculars or any other type of binocular, you will want to look at the specifications for each pair before making your purchase. Issues such as magnification, aperture, the field of view and exit pupil size all come into play when a pair of binoculars is designed.
Magnification – Basically, this is a measurement regarding the overall power of your binoculars. Typically when you are purchasing binoculars, you will notice something like 7x in the specs, and this simply means that the binoculars are able to make distant objects appear seven times closer than the typical human eye could.
Aperture – Often you will see not just a number such as 7x but something like 7×35 or 7×50. The second number refers to the aperture of the lenses, which refers to the lenses’ ability to gather light. A larger aperture number is essential for anyone who plans on using binoculars to view the night sky because a larger aperture allows in more light, which improves your visibility of celestial objects.
Field of View – This measurement refers to the amount of area you can see with the binoculars and it goes hand in hand with magnification. After all, the more you magnify, the smaller your field of view becomes.
Exit Pupil Size – This simply refers to light that exits from the back of the binoculars and hits your eyes. If you hold the binoculars toward a source of light, you can see the actual exit pupil. A larger exit pupil size, for instance, might be a great option for low light, such as viewing the night sky.
Types Of Binoculars
While the specifications are important to think about, there are many binoculars designed for specific purposes, and this can take away some of the guess-work specification-wise. Some of the different types include:
Military-Grade Binoculars – Sometimes called tactical binoculars, these are rugged, durable binoculars designed for military use. However, civilians can purchase many types of military-grade binoculars. Many people decide to opt for these binoculars because of the magnification power, but it’s important to keep in mind that higher magnification means that less lights gets in and this can reduce the image quality.
If you want binoculars that provide high magnification and excellent image quality, you need to be prepared to spend a decent amount on your binoculars and military-grade binoculars definitely can be pricey. Additionally, when you buy binoculars with high magnification, you typically need to use a tripod or purchase binoculars with a stabilizer as it’s not easy to just hold them in your hand view highly magnified objects clearly.
Marine Binoculars – These also will be fairly rugged, and able to repel moisture and protect the binoculars from damage due to saltwater exposure. With marine binoculars, keeping the water and moisture out is more important than the magnification. After all boats move around a lot, and with high magnification, you won’t enjoy a stable image.
Hunting Binoculars – The type of hunting binoculars you need depends on what you are hunting. If you are doing a lot of long-range hunting, you’ll want a higher level of magnification, such as 10x, but you also will want to invest in a tripod to keep images stabilized. With shorter range hunting, a magnification of 7x or 8x is probably fine and might be a bit less expensive.
Bird-Watching – In general, bird-watching binoculars probably don’t need a magnification power higher than about 8x. If you are looking at birds from a great distance, you could opt for 10x or 12x magnification, but, again, you’ll also want to invest in a tripod.
General Use – If you want to take binoculars to the ball game or perhaps to a play or another event where you sit at a distance from the action, a standard pair of binoculars with magnification of 4x up to about 8x is all you will need. It’s typically more important that these binoculars be compact so they are easy to carry around. These can be great for hiking and camping trips as well because they are lightweight and you can just wear them around your neck without discomfort.
Warren Knight Binoculars
At Warren Knight, our military-grade binoculars are meant for large vessels, such as Navy aircraft carriers or perhaps for installation at airports. The WK Binocular System includes a binocular assembly, a carriage assembly and a pedestal, or base.
The carriage assembly provides smooth and easy movement of the binocular in elevation and azimuth. The military-grade binocular assembly features a magnification of 20x power and each focusing knob is provided with a diopter scale that is graduated from -3 to +1 diopters in ½-inch diopter increments.
A diopter, for those unfamiliar with the term, is a unit of measurement. To simplify the definition, it basically is a measurement of the power of a lens, but it’s not the same as magnification power. If you have contact lenses, for example, check on the box. You will notice a bunch of numbers on the side of the box, labeled with D, BC, DIA and Cyl/Axis. The D stands for the diopter or power of the lens, but not the magnifcation. It might say +3 or -1.25, depending on your prescription. After all, using contact lens isn’t always about magnifiying images, but rather about correcting vision problems.
But, of course, it’s not just about the power of the lens. The BC stands for Base Curve, an explanation regarding the curvature of the lens. The DIA number refers to diameter while the Cyl/Axis number typically appears on boxes of contact lenses meant for people with astigmatism.
When you purchase binoculars, including military-grade binoculars, there will be a diopter adjustment as well as a magnification adjustment. The diopter adjustment is mainly used to help the individual user find a setting that works for their eyes. For civilians, you may only need to adjust the diopter setting once if you are the sole user of the binoculars. Magnification, on the other, you might adjust quite often, depending on what you are trying to view.
As stated before, our military-grade binoculars include a magnification power of 20x, which is much higher than what you most civilians would ever need. Of course, the price tag of our military-grade binoculars is much more than what most civilians could pay anyway, as these binoculars were meant for large ships, such as huge commercial freighters or military vessels.
In addition to our military-grade binoculars, our other pieces of navigational equipment include three-arm protractors, telescopic marine alidades, navigational sextants and compasses. If you don’t see precisely what you need, give us a call as we may be able to provide you with a custom design. At Warren Knight, we’ve been producing quality optical instruments, navigation equipment, theodolites and surveying equipment for more than 100 years.