Nothing can possibly beat the excitement and energy of watching a sporting event live in the stadium with hundreds of fans rooting for their favorite teams.
Whatever sport happens to interest you there is no denying that catching the live action is an unforgettable experience indeed.
However in large stadiums with a huge crowd, it can also be tough to actually see what is happening down in the field in detail.
Frankly,squinting into the distance over a cheering crowd might not be the best way to watch a match. This is one main reason why people prefer staying at home and watching matches on television even though they might be avid sports buffs.
Why to buy sports binoculars?
The easiest way to have the best of both worlds, would be to get yourself a good pair of sports binoculars. There are many different types of binoculars available in the market today and each have their own purposes. Some are best for star gazing, some are ideal for bird watching while some are apt for watching sports.
Good quality sports binoculars can help you virtually get up close to the action while still enabling you to soak up the atmosphere of the game. If you are a sports enthusiast and go to sporting events often, then a reliable pair of sports binoculars is a must buy!
What to look for in a sports binocular?
Sports binoculars are manufactured by a number of different companies today. Some of the factors that you need to think about when choosing a sports binocular are as follows:
- Power: This is also called as magnification and is the most obvious use for the binocular. Binoculars are usually marked with a number such as 8 x 42. The figure 8 here refers to the amount of times that an object will appear magnified when using these binoculars as compared to viewing with the naked eye.
The second figure refers to the objective lens diameter in millimeters. Lenses with larger objective diameters can help you see a better picture but they can also make the binoculars clumsy to handle.
Higher power binoculars are not necessarily your best bet. The reason is that the higher the power of the binoculars the more limited is your field of view. Therefore you want to strike a balance between the power of your binoculars and the field of view.
Having a restricted field of view will lead you to miss out on a lot of the action that is happening outside the scope of your binoculars.
- Compact: Naturally you cannot be lugging about a bulky pair of binoculars with tripods and other associated accessories to a ball game. You will be in the way of the other spectators and there are more chances of your equipment being knocked over and getting damaged. You want to have a nice but compact pair of binoculars that is not obstructive and yet does the job satisfactorily.
- Types of prism: Binoculars usually come with either Roof Prisms or Porro Prisms. Roof prism binoculars are quite handy, easy to use and durable as well. Porro prism binoculars come with the advantage of offering a wider field of view and they are also relatively cheaper than the former type.
Which type of prism you must buy is up to your preference. Go to the store and try out various models in order to make an informed decision.
What are the best binoculars for sports?
Good quality sports binoculars can be a little on the expensive side. Therefore it is essential to do your research before you buy one. Using inferior quality binoculars can result in eye strain, headaches, nausea, discomfort and irritation.
Here is a list of the top sports binoculars according to the experts:
Nikon 16002 ProStaff 7S 8×42 All Terrain Binoculars:
These binoculars are one of the best-selling binoculars that you can find. Nikon is a trusted name in the field of optical devices and this product matches up to the manufacturer’s reputation. With a magnification of 8x and additional features such as being waterproof as well as fog proof, it is easy to see why many people recommend these binoculars.
Apart from sporting events, these binoculars can also be used for astronomy and bird watching. These binoculars use roof prisms. Even people who wear spectacles can view comfortably through these binoculars. Additionally they are also lightweight and easy to carry around.
Vortex Viper HD 12×50 VPR-5012-HD:
These binoculars are known for their clarity and high definition images. The roof prisms that are used in these binoculars have multi-layer dielectric coating which improves the brightness of the images, even in low light. Magnification of these binoculars is 12X. The lenses also come with anti-reflective coatings to eliminate eye strain. Sturdy and long lasting, you will fall in love with this pair of binoculars for sure!
Eyeskey 10×42 Roof Prism Binoculars:
These binoculars are a favorite with many sports enthusiasts. They are easy to focus thus helping you see even fast moving objects without blurring. Apart from this they are also equipped with all the plus points of any high end sports binoculars.
With an 8x magnification and with a carrying case, lens cover, neck strap and a lens cleaning cloth included, these binoculars are worth the money. They use Bak-4 roof prisms and give you a crisp view. These are barium crown glass prisms that are better than the average BK-7 prisms, which are borosilicate glass prisms. You will not be able to stop raving about these binoculars!
Athlon 113004 Midas 8×42 ED Binoculars:
These binoculars come with ED glasses which eliminate chromatic fringe to give you a sharper view. The multilayer prism coatings also give you a close colour match of objects. Almost everyone who owns these binoculars are completely happy and satisfied with their purchase.
Carl Zeiss Optical Inc Conquest 10×25 Binoculars:
With an ergonomic design and 10x magnification, these binoculars can be described in one word: awesome! They are weatherproof and feel great in your hands. They are best suited for outdoor events such as sports and hunting. They use an advanced prism type called the Schmidt-Pechan prism system.
Here is a small table for you to compare the different sports binoculars at a glance:
|Characteristics||Nikon 16002 ProStaff 7S 8×42||Vortex Viper HD 12×50 VPR-5012-HD||Eyeskey 10×42||Athlon 113004 Midas 8×42 ED||Carl Zeiss Optical Inc Conquest 10×25|
|Exit Pupil||5.3 mm||4.2 mm||4.1 mm||4.3 mm||2.5 mm|
|Objective Lens Diameter||42 mm||50 mm||42 mm||42 mm||25 mm|
|Dimensions||1.6 x 5.1 x 6.6 in||3.5 x 5.2 x 6.7 in||5.3 x 2.1 x 4.9||5.7 x 5.2 in||3.8 x 4.3 in|
|Weight||1.43 pounds||1.8 pounds||1.48 pounds||1.6 pounds||0.43 pounds|
|Prism Type||Roof||Roof||Bak-4 Roof||Roof||Schmidt-Pechan Roof|
|Field Of View||357 ft at 1000 yards||252 ft at 1000 yards||304 ft at 1000 yards||426 ft at 1000 yards||88 m at 1000 m|
|Eye Relief||19.5 mm||15 mm||18.5 mm||17.2 mm||15 mm|
|Cost||186.95 USD||595 USD||399.99 USD||289 USD||599.99 USD|
Does exit pupil size mater for sports binoculars?
In the above table you might have noticed a factor called the Exit Pupil mentioned. The exit pupil is an important aspect for any pair of binoculars but it doesn’t really have much of an impact for sports binoculars.
Basically, the exit pupil is what determines how much of light comes into the binoculars to reach your eyes. The pupils of the average human’s eye dilates to about 2 mm in normal light and up to 7 mm in the dark. This also changes according to a person’s age. In children, pupils dilate much more than in an older person.
The size of the exit pupils is calculated by dividing the objective lens diameter by the magnification power. Therefore in the Nikon binoculars stated above, the size of the exit pupils would be 42/8 = 5.3 mm.
Let’s go into further detail. In the case of the Carl Zeiss Conquest binoculars the exit pupils are a mere 2.5 mm – much smaller than the Nikon one. This is approximately equal to the size of the human pupil in daylight. Therefore all the light that enters the binoculars is allowed into your retina your eyes. Hence the image that you observe would be as bright as the original object.
In the case of the Nikon binoculars, the exit pupil size is larger than the human pupil size under bright lights. Therefore more amount of light would enter the binoculars but the excess light would be blocked by your irises. However, if the light is abundant, the object would still be as bright as ever. Therefore there is no noticeable difference between the two binoculars.
Now coming to low light conditions, let’s first start with the Carl Zeiss binoculars. The exit pupils will only allow a very limited amount of light to get in. But your pupil would be dilated to about 7 mm and hence the image that you perceive would be dark.
In the case of the Nikon binoculars, since the exit pupil is larger, it will let in more amount of light and so the image that you see might be brighter than the original one.
Most sporting events occur under stadium lights in well-lit conditions. Therefore, the size of the exit pupil might not really matter when it comes to sports binoculars. However, if you intend to use your binoculars for other purposes as well, then you might need to think about the exit pupils.
Is the Eye Relief factor important?
Yet another point to pay attention to in the above table would be the Eye Relief. This is especially true if you wear spectacles. People who wear spectacles need binoculars with a longer eye relief than people who use binoculars with naked eyes. Therefore, from the above table, the Nikon one would be more apt for you if you wear spectacles.
However keep in mind that the eye relief factor can be adjusted. So it doesn’t mean that only you can use your binoculars because it has a longer eye relief. You can definitely share your binoculars with a friend or family member who doesn’t wear eye glasses as well.
All they need to do is to either twist or pull the eyecups up and extend them in order to reduce the eye relief factor. You can push or slide the eyecups back down when you use them in order to get a longer eye relief.
Which sports binoculars would I buy?
After comparing the top 5 models of sports binoculars, I would say that the Nikon 16002 ProStaff 7S 8×42 is the best choice. It has almost all features that one would need in a good pair of sports binoculars and it is also very affordable.
The Nikon binoculars are comparable to the other higher priced models, yet works as well as the other ones. It also looks sleek, stylish and would be a fantastic choice if this is going to be your first pair of sports binoculars.
Since I wear spectacles, the relatively long eye relief of 19.5 mm would serve me well. What’s more, these binoculars are also covered by Nikon’s lifetime warranty. So in case there is anything wrong with your binoculars, Nikon will either replace or repair it at their expense.
Of course I am aware that this warranty does not cover damages that might be caused by the user’s improper handling of the binoculars. But then this does seem to be the standard policy for almost all top binocular manufacturers anyway.
Most Nikon binoculars are also easily available either online or at any decent sporting goods store. If you ask me, I would tell you to go for the Nikon ProStaff 7S binoculars without a second thought! Go ahead and flaunt it at your next football game! I’m sure you will not regret it!