First time Binocular Buyers Beware!

Are you a first-time buyer of binoculars? This page lists common mistakes to avoid when making your first purchase!

  1. Avoid going for the highest magnification -

First time buyers typically look for binoculars having the highest advertised magnification, such as 12x, 16x or sometimes even 20x. This is the most common mistake that people make when buying their first pair of binoculars. Depending on your usage purpose, your best bet would be either a 8x or a 10x binocular. Anything more than 10x cannot be used in handheld mode as it de-stabilizes the view, narrows down your field of view significantly and may compromise on image quality due to use of low grade optics. To know what magnification would work best for you, see "Usage" section here - Choosing the right Binoculars

  1. Unreal specifications advertised by most of the sellers

When you search the internet or your local neighborhood store, you may come across attractively priced binoculars advertised as having false magnifications and/or specifications. Examples include 30x50, 50x50, 60x90, 100x100, and so on. Most such binoculars are generic, unbranded ones with poor optics and the specifications are fake as they are unrealistic. All such binoculars will provide a maximum magnification of 7, 8 or 10x, and a maximum objective diameter of 30, 40 or 50mm, in spite of the self-proclaimed higher specs printed on them. Although you may be tempted and willing to buy as the items are listed on your trusted websites such as Amazon etc, know that Amazon is just a marketplace and anyone can list their products on the platform. Merely the fact that an item is listed on a trusted website does not make the product automatically trustworthy. Avoid such scams and go for the items that display the true (and realistic) specifications such as 7x35, 8x40, 10x50 and so on.

  1. What you pay is what you get

In the field of optics, what you pay is usually what you get. Although some products may be available at unbelievably low prices, they might usually be imitation products compromising on build quality, performance and materials. Buy well known brands and from authorized dealers. Avoid buying generic brands or brands with typographical errors in their names, as they might be intentionally named that way to make it seem like a genuine make.

  1. Ratings

Before buying a pair of binoculars, check for user ratings. Often such ratings describe in detail about the product (especially if the experience is negative) and can help you make the right decision.

  1. Make an informed decision and avoid buying what everyone's buying just for the sake of it

Often we are tempted to buy what everyone else is buying. However, be cognizant of the fact that their usage purpose might be different than yours, and that you should select the equipment based on its merit and suitability to your purpose, and not because everyone else seems to be buying a particular model.

  1. Binoculars seldom need upgrading, so invest for the long term

Contrary to telescopes/ cameras, that usually require frequent accessorizing and upgrading, a good pair of binoculars can typically last you several years or even decades with minimal maintenance. As binoculars are often multi-purpose and span a wide range of use, they may not need replacing after a period of use. So when buying binoculars do not think of a temporary/ short term solution as you may end up buying a sub-optimum product and then have to buy again in a few months if you aren't happy with the performance. Invest in a good pair of binoculars.

We get a lot of buyers who want to buy binoculars as they are visiting

  • Africa for a wildlife Safari

  • A trip to Ladakh

  • Mt. Everest,

  • A dark site for Astronomy camp or a star party,

  • International trip to the Naigra Falls, Mayan Ruins, Architectural and historical sites, and so on.

Ask yourself, after spending all of the money, effort and time to reach your much-awaited dream destination, do you want to compromise the experience once you're there, due to settling for a sub-standard and cheap product? Think of the big picture before investing in a pair of binoculars. Although your purchase may be inspired by a momentary event, having the right equipment could open up a new hobby or passion for life!