Binoculars – What do the Numbers Mean? Leave a comment

When it is time to choose an optical enhancement device you may feel overwhelmed by all the information that is out there. Your first step in choosing a pair of binoculars that suit your needs is to understand what the numbers mean.

Binoculars Numbers

All binoculars have a name brand, a series name and are all designated by two numbers. For example 10X50. The numbers relay the magnification and the objective lens size. Still confused? It is easy to be confused.

Simply the first number indicates how much an object will be magnified so if the first number is 10 that means you will be able to see an object magnified 10 times its normal size. The second number refers to diameter of the lens measured in millimetres. The lens size is important because it effects light gathering ability.

Understanding Magnification

While it would seem the greater something is magnified the easier it would be to see it is not necessarily true with binoculars. The lower magnification offers a wider field of view. The higher the magnification the more narrow the field of view is.

In some settings a lower magnification may actually be more beneficial. For example in bird watching activities you may want to go with the higher magnification so you can get a better view of a particular specimen but for hunting you may want to go with a larger field view so a lower magnification may be optimal for you.

Lens Size (Aperture)

The bigger the lens the more light is allowed in. Of course the bigger the lens the heavier the binoculars. Heavier binoculars may be awkward in certain situations to carry. A smaller lens size may allow for more portability but you may sacrifice some light by going with the smaller lens size.

It all comes down to what activity you are going to be using the binoculars for and how important portability is to you.


There is the perfect pair of binoculars for different activities. Understanding what the numbers mean is a great jumping off point in choosing the right pair.


Why Procular?

If you love the outdoors and always keen for a closer look then you’re in the right place! Featuring a huge selection of binoculars, telescopes, spotting scopes, monoculars and night vision – Procular’s got you covered! Be sure to checkout our expert buyer guides to see which product is right for you:


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