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How To Use Binoculars (The Right Way)

Written by Garrett Hayes

Last updated on Apr 29th, 2024
How To Use Binoculars?

Binoculars allow us to see faraway objects with greater clarity and detail, making it easier to appreciate the world around us.

However, using binoculars properly can be tricky if you're unfamiliar with how they work. In this article, we'll provide a comprehensive guide on how to use binoculars effectively, from choosing the right pair to adjusting and holding them correctly.

By the end, you'll have the knowledge and skills to get the most out of your binoculars and take your viewing experience to the next level.

Main Features of Binoculars

How To Use Binoculars?

When selecting binoculars, it's important to consider various factors to ensure that you're getting the right pair for your needs. Here are some key factors to consider:

1. Magnification:

Binoculars are typically identified by two numbers, such as 8x42 or 10x50, with the first number indicating the magnification power. A higher magnification number means that you'll see the subject more closely, but it also increases the image shake and decreases the field of view.

2. Objective Lens Size:

The second number in the binoculars' designation represents the objective lens size. A larger objective lens size means a brighter and sharper image, but also a heavier and bulkier binocular.

3. Field Of View:

The field of view is the width of the area you can see through the binoculars at a certain distance. It's measured in feet at a distance of 1,000 yards. The wider the field of view, the easier it is to locate and follow moving subjects.

4. Eye Relief:

Eye relief is the distance between the eyepiece and your eye, and it determines how far away you can hold the binoculars while still seeing the full image. It's important to consider eye relief, especially if you wear glasses.

5. Prism Type:

As we discussed earlier, the prism type can affect the size, weight, and image quality of the binoculars.

When it comes to choosing the right binoculars for specific activities, it's helpful to consider what you'll be using them for.

For birdwatching, for example, a binocular with a magnification of 8x or 10x and a wide field of view would be appropriate. If you plan to use them for astronomy, a binocular with 10x or 12x magnification and an objective lens size of 50mm or larger would be ideal.

How To Hold Binoculars?

Proper hand placement when holding binoculars is essential for achieving a steady image and reducing handshakes. Here are some tips to help you hold your binoculars correctly:

  • Hold the binoculars with both hands. This helps to distribute the weight and reduce strain on your arms.
  • Use your thumbs and pinkies to grip the barrels of the binoculars. This provides a secure hold and helps to minimize movement.
  • Keep your elbows close to your body. This also helps to reduce movement and provides a stable platform for the binoculars.
  • Brace yourself against a stable object, such as a tree, wall, or fence. This can help to reduce movement caused by your own body.
  • Take slow, deep breaths to help you relax and reduce any handshake.
  • If possible, use a tripod or other support to hold the binoculars steady.
  • Adjust the focus and diopter settings on your binoculars before raising them to your eyes. This can help to reduce movement and ensure a clear image.

By following these tips, you can hold your binoculars properly and reduce handshakes, resulting in a clearer and more enjoyable viewing experience.

How To Use Binoculars?

Using binoculars is easy, but there are a few techniques that can help you get the most out of them. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use binoculars:

  • Adjust the interpupillary distance. This is the distance between the two barrels of binoculars. Hold the binoculars up to your eyes and move them closer together or further apart until you see a single, circular image.
  • Adjust the focus. Look at a stationary object and adjust the focus until it is clear and sharp. Most binoculars have a center focus wheel that adjusts both barrels at the same time.
  • Aim the binoculars at your subject. Hold the binoculars up to your eyes and use your hands to steady them. Use your body to turn and follow your subject as needed.
  • Track moving objects. Keep your body steady and follow the object with the binoculars. Try to predict its movement so you can follow it smoothly.
  • Make small adjustments as needed. Use the focus wheel to adjust the focus as needed. Use your body to make small adjustments to the angle of the binoculars.

Additional Tips

Here are some additional tips for getting the most out of your binoculars in different scenarios:

  • Watching wildlife: Look for areas where wildlife is likely to be present, such as near a water source or in a field. Use binoculars with a wide field of view and good low-light performance. Read the Birding Binoculars Review to choose the best one for your budget.
  • Attending a concert: Look for a seat with a good view of the stage. Use binoculars with high magnification and a wide field of view.
  • Hiking or backpacking: Look for lightweight binoculars that won't add too much weight to your pack. Consider binoculars with a waterproof and fog-proof design.
  • Stargazing: Look for binoculars with high magnification and a large aperture. Use a tripod to steady the binoculars and reduce handshake.

By following these tips, you can get the most out of your binoculars and enjoy a clearer and more enjoyable viewing experience.

As you already know, the lenses of your binoculars can accumulate dirt, debris, and smudges that can impact their clarity and overall functionality. To ensure that your binoculars remain in good condition for an extended period, read my comprehensive guide on How To Clean Binoculars using appropriate tools and techniques.


Using binoculars can greatly enhance your viewing experience, whether you're watching wildlife, attending a concert, hiking, or stargazing. Proper hand placement, focus adjustments, and tracking techniques are all important aspects of using binoculars effectively.

By following the tips and techniques outlined in this article, you can achieve a steady image and get the most out of your binoculars in various scenarios. With a little practice, you can become a skilled binocular user and enjoy the beauty and wonder of the world around you.

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