Paula's Patch: A Minnesota Garden

Come wander in; my gate is always open! Gardening / Birding

How to focus your binoculars August 19, 2009

Filed under: Birding — Paula B @ 2:17 PM

I’m an avid backyard birdwatcher! I find myself assuring my neighbors  “If you see me looking your way through my binocs, I’m NOT LOOKING AT YOU!, I’m only watching the birds.” Our neighbors’ homes are very close to ours and we all have small, postage stamp yards. I want them to be sure I’m not interested in the details of their lives! lol 🙂

Here’s some quick info about your binocs and how-to focus them properly. I didn’t even know this and I’ve been using mine for years. I’m not one for reading instructions unless I can’t figure something out!

How to focus your binoculars



If your binoculars aren’t properly focused, one side can be clear while the other is blurry. This was my error…I was always complaining about the quality. In fact, I have very good binoculars, improperly focused!

There are two focusing places; one is the center focus knob on the top, and the other is the right eye adjustment.

First, close your right eye and turn the center focus knob until the image with your left eye is clear. Focus on something with detail like a tree branch or a sign with letters. Next, close your left eye and turn the right eye focus adjustment until the right eye is clear. Now both eyes are clear on the object. From now on, use only the center knob on top to focus.

If other people use your binoculars, remember your right eye adjustment so you can quickly readjust for your eyes. Usually there is a zero, along with a plus and minus, printed on the side of the right eyepiece.

What do the numbers mean? Binoculars bring an image up closer or make it look bigger. The 2 numbers printed on binoculars are important – the first is the power or magnification; the second is the diameter of the large lens (or objective lens).

The first number: [Ex. 7 x 35] The 7 is the power or magnification. It means that this model makes objects look seven times larger or closer than they do with the naked eye.

The second number: 35 in this case is the diameter of the objective lens (the big one facing the object being looked at) in millimeters. The diameter of this lens helps determine the brightness of the binoculars for low light conditions (early morning or late evening). Larger lenses let in more light.

In the example above, the binoculars have 7 times magnification with an objective lens diameter of 35mm. The most common size is 8 x 4, but most serious birders have 8 x 42 binoculars. Mine are 12 x25.
Source: Countryside & Small Stock Journal

BTW – we have steady rain here today but that isn’t stopping the birds. All of them are still flitting around the yard eating. Even the hummers are out – it seems they usually disappear during rain.


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