I am looking to purchase a pair of binoculars for my brother and am deciding on a pair. I do not know whether to do 8x zoom or 10x zoom. He likes to hike and I thought it would be a cool gift to get him so he can take it on his hikes. Thank you.
Hi @paulhenry3443 , thank you for reaching out! Binoculars sound like a great gift for your brother. Since the primary use of the binoculars will be for hiking, weight should be a key consideration. You could easily go with either 8x or 10x magnification but if you're having trouble choosing between the two, I'd go with the lighter pair. Also, if he does any birding, an 8x magnification will have a wider field of view.
Thanks again for reaching out!
@paulhenry3443 What a cool gift idea!
@REI-MichelleW got you started with some good info! I'll dive in a little deeper with my answer.
Generally, people tend to want more zoom in the binoculars to allow them to capture more detail at a greater distance. The key to capturing that detail in a pair of binoculars is not only the magnification of the zoom, but the width of the objective lens (the furthest one from your eye). This is why most binoculars have two numbers listed, i.e. 8X42 or 10x25, for example. The first number is the zoom and the second number is the width of the objective lens. A wider objective lens means a larger field of view, which allows more light to get through to your eye, creating more stability (less shake) when looking through the binoculars. You can find a lot of helpful information in this Expert Advice article on How to Choose Binoculars if you'd like to check it out.
The trick with taking binoculars hiking is determining what fits your needs the best while still being small enough to be easily packed. If you are purchasing the binoculars for general use (not specifically for birding, as an example) while hiking an 8x zoom should meet your brother's needs. Personally, I find that my pair of 8x25 compact binoculars works great for hiking and is small enough to always find a place in my pack.
Hope this helps, thanks!