ONE of the joys of camping this time of year is the lack of leaf cover.
Choose binoculars to suit your requirements
Until late spring starts to fill the hedgerows it is a great time to combine birdwatching with life under canvas – it is so easy to spot the most elusive of our feathered friends. But you do need a good pair of binoculars and here is what to look for.
Decide the price you want to spend. As optical quality increase so does the price – good bins will set you back around £400.
Check the two figures that refer to specification. For instance, in 7x50 binoculars the first figure refers to magnification. The second refers to the diameter of the larger lens. Generally, the larger this figure the more light can enter – great for using your bins at dusk.
Generally, low magnification equals:
A brighter image.
The closer the nearest focal point.
The greater the depth of field – requires less focusing.
The wider the field of view – birds are easier to locate.
The easier the bins are to hold.
. Generally, high magnification means:
The less bright the image.
The further the nearest focal point.
The narrower the depth of field.
The heavier bins may require tripod support.
The magnification makes them good for viewing far off birds in big expanses like estuary mudflats.
Compact roof-prism binoculars focus internally making them less prone to damage.
. Porro-prism binoculars focus mechanism is external. They are cheaper and bulkier.
When buying, check for distortion the closer you get to the edge of the image.
Some bins have coated lenses to aid light transmission, and are filled with nitrogen to cut out condensation.
Try out binoculars at specialist shops like those run by the RSPB.
In order to obtain the clearest possible image, you need to adjust the binocular for the width between your eyes.
Look through the binocular and move the two halves apart or closer together until you get a maximum overlap of the images. Then adjust the individual eyepiece for your eyesight.
Choose an object with a sharp outline, and close your right eye or cover the right lens. Focus with the central wheel until the object with your left eye is as sharp as possible.
Then cover the left eye and, using the right eye only, adjust the independent eyepiece until the same object is as sharp as possible. When you use both eyes, you should have an excellent picture. Once you have adjusted the right eyepiece, you only need the main focusing wheel to view birds at different distances.
* Find out more about Birdwatch magazine.