Interesting facts about binoculars


Binoculars have been around for quite some time, but few of the people who use them regularly ask themselves whether their history might be interesting or not. As with any other optical device, all binoculars are typically used to increase the size of an object (or person) located at a distance so that the person looking through the lenses is able to see them as they were near them.

Let’s look at several fascinating facts about binoculars.

Terrestrial vs. celestial viewing models

Believe it or not, the first binocular prototype was invented back in the 17th century. However, at the time, people didn’t use these devices for watching things located on the earth. Instead, they utilized them to watch the stars. Terrestrial-viewing binoculars became more or less common in the 19th century.

Why’s that? Well, the fact of the matter is that the internal prisms that older binos were outfitted with did not produce an erect image. That’s why they were used for astronomy purposes.

Their magnification power has limitations

While there are some models that can increase the size of the specimen or object that needs viewing by as many as twelve times, the common maximum magnification you will find in most units available for sale nowadays is 10x. Again, why is that? While there are devices that have a lot more magnifying capabilities, you wouldn’t be able to use them by simply holding them.

In fact, most people don’t even realize how shaky their hands are. That’s why they make the mistake of buying high-powered binos -- probably because they trust their abilities. Unfortunately, such models will require the use of a tripod, and so this piece of equipment also has to be considered.

Porro vs. Roof Prism

So what’s the deal with these too? If you’ve ever looked at binoculars, you’ve probably noticed that some are straight and others are not. Porro Prism binos have to rely on a pair of right-angle prisms to rotate the image.

By contrast, Roof Prism models use compact ones and are straight. While Porro models are bulkier, but at the same time, capable of producing a better image, Roof ones are more compact and therefore, easier to carry on safaris and other trips. On the downside, their prisms have issues like color separation and light loss.

Can binos get damaged?

There are dozens of ways one can damage a pair of binoculars. Their lenses can be broken or cracked, and things like smears and smudges can affect the image you will be able to look at. On top of that, the binocular might not be collimated properly, which happens when its two sides aren’t aligned correctly.


Yes, there are things called digital camera binoculars nowadays, and as you might expect, such models come with mini-screens that allow you to look at a concert or a sports game conveniently and efficiently. Here’s a comparison between the best choices, if you’re curious in this sense.

However, the more complex the gadget, the less likely it is for you to be satisfied with the quality of the binos. That’s why those outfitted with digital cameras are only used for games and shows -- they can’t do much of anything else.

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