If you have just bought new binoculars or received them as a gift, you might perhaps be wondering which some of the coolest and best ways to use them are and also how to properly adjust and focus them. Understanding which these adjustments are and how to make the best of them will prove helpful.
Since eyesight differs greatly from person to person while binoculars are pretty much meant for universal use, it goes without saying that they are adjustable. The first thing that has to be set according to preferences is the eyecup. For eyeglass wearers, eye cups should be retracted, while for those who do not need glasses, they should be extended.
Eye relief is a distance measured from the surface of the eyepiece lens to the eye point. By looking through scopes from the eye point the field of view is at its maximum without any vignette. Adjustments are adapted by each user according to his or her preference.
The next thing to be set up is interpupillary distance – this is the distance measured from the eyepiece to your eyes. This varies from individual to individual and it must be adjusted according to the user’s own measure.
To do this, the binocular must be firmly held, usually with both hands. After finding a distant object, the viewer will carefully move the two scopes downward or upward until the alignment is correct and a perfect circle is obtained, with a single image of the object.
Now, imagine that you have just unboxed new binoculars for concert viewing, made all the aforementioned adjustments but, when you look through the eyepiece, the image you get is still blurry. Do not worry; this happens because the lens might be dirty or because they have not been adjusted for your diopter.
Carefully wipe them with the special cloth that is usually provided in the package; if the view is still unclear, then you will have to focus the device. Two types of models exist, and they are with central focus or with individual focus. To begin with, we will discuss the central focusing ones – these have a single knob that can be turned, changing the distance between lenses (usually this is found in wildlife, bird watching and also in some great hiking binoculars).
The diopter must be adjusted before properly focusing. First, the user has to close their right eye and focus only with the left eye. The viewer will look through the left eyepiece at an object and turn the knob until its view becomes sharp and the quality is the highest.
After that, to focus with their right eye, the user will have to look through the right eyepiece and turn the diopter adjustment ring, located between the rubber eyecups and the main body, until this image becomes sharp as well. If the diopter adjustment ring is located on the left, the procedure is the same but in reverse. Once the diopter has been adjusted, the focusing ring will be turned whenever the view is changed and refocusing is needed.
Using individual focusing products is a little bit more difficult but the principle is almost the same. Individual focusing binos (this is how some astronomical and military gadgets are made) have an individual ring for each eyepiece.
The viewer will look through either eyepiece while closing the other eye, and turn the diopter adjustment ring until the image becomes sharp. The procedure is repeated to adjust the other scope, again, by turning the focusing ring until the image is clear. It is known that finer adjustments will be needed since it is pretty difficult to get perfect results from the first try with this kind of product.
Cleaning is something that could be easily omitted, but this is quite an important procedure that extends the lifetime of these optical devices. Regardless of the brand, type or selling price, wrong cleaning procedures can render them useless or significantly reduce the performance.
When doing this, follow the steps further described: first, use a soft cloth or compressed air (there are many canisters with compressed gas available for as low as $3-$4 in any computer parts store) to remove all particles such as dust, dirt or crumbs.
Once this has been done, dip a lens cloth in cleaning solution made for coated lenses, available at all optic stores, and wipe the lenses with the wet cloth, afterward, dry them with another cloth. This is the best way to clean and maintain your item in proper condition.
Another way to extend the lifetime of your product is by protecting them against water (even those that are waterproofed should be spared from contact with liquids, especially if we are talking about a long time spent in humid environments) direct sunlight and accidental drops.
A special neoprene wetsuit for binoculars, called BinoBib, has been recently developed. This coating is designed to offer total protection against water and it completely encapsulates your optical device. Protection against direct sunlight and heat is offered by adequate storage, and by avoiding constant exposure to either natural factors.
When heated, the metal components of a good binocular expand and a constant change in temperatures is not recommended. Most decent binos have a layer of elastic and impact resistant rubber on their exterior, increasing resistance in case of drops, but this does not mean that you should constantly expose them to impacts. Use a neck strap while carrying and using the device, to prevent accidental falling.
By following the steps described above, you will make the best out of your device and open up the environment around you that once was inaccessible to the naked eye.