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Understanding Optics of Binoculars

 the Optics of Binoculars


1>Lens Materials and Coatings

This is where advanced technologies (and a dizzying array of terms to describe them) come into play. The makeup of the glass and the coatings on the lenses that reduce reflection all add up to determine the clarity and brightness of your image. This is when test viewing is key. That will tell you what advancements your eyes can detect, and in turn, how much more you should consider paying for the image quality you want.

 

2>Prism Type

The prisms are the optical elements that direct the light from the image through the binoculars to your eyes. Older “porro prism” binoculars feature wide barrels in front that aren’t aligned with the eyepieces. Newer “roof prism” models have eyepieces and objective lenses aligned. The difference in appearance doesn’t tell you anything about the optical quality, but having roof prisms allows binoculars to be smaller and lighter.

An illustration showing the difference between poro prism and roof prism binoculars


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