Be it a concert, the Kentucky Derby, a political rally, football game or the opera, binoculars can come in handy for just about any occasion where getting a closer view of an event is needed. For these kinds of events, compact binoculars are ideal – small, robust, and designed to fit into a handbag or jacket pocket. Compact binoculars are unobtrusive and low-key, and do not need to be as robust or specialized as their hunting, birding or marine cousins - although the basic principles behind them remain the same.
Like every other pair of binoculars, spectator binoculars consist of two identical, mirror-symmetrical telescopes placed side-by-side and aligned together. This arrangement grants observers an incredible depth of field and magnification while retaining the eye’s ability to see objects in three dimensions, something which a monocular telescope is unable to do.
For most people, a pair of wide angle compact binoculars with magnifications levels that range from 6x to 7x and objective lens sizes ranging from 25mm to 40mm should suffice. Binoculars in this size range are normally lightweight, stable and easy to hold over long periods of time. If you know you are likely to be seated, a set of binoculars with a magnification of 10x will provide a crisp, close-up image of what you are trying to view. Try not to go above 10x, as it will cause the image to suffer.
As you become more advanced and familiar with the use and handling of compact binoculars you can begin to worry about things like magnification compared to objective lens size. Objective lens size is a fairly simple choice to make - the larger the lens, the more light will be collected and the sharper the final image will be. However, large lenses also tend to lead to bulkier construction, and can be less manageable.
The best advice when buying compact binoculars is to use your own common sense and judgment – how far away will you be from the stage or whatever you plan to look at? In a standard concert hall, 10x magnification will probably be overkill. But if you were stood at the back of the crowd at, say, President Obama’s inauguration, then you may need the boost to the viewing distance that a larger pair of binoculars can provide. If you pick a fairly mid-powered pair of compact binoculars, the chances are that they will serve you well enough in any given day-to-day situation.
Night Vision Binoculars