Why You Are Using Your Binoculars Incorrectly

If you are new to binoculars, you have a lot to learn. For instance, you’ll need to adjust binoculars to get a sharper crisp image.

Keep in mind that your best pair of binoculars for hunting or bird watching, have a diopter and a central focus ring. Every binocular owner is almost aware of these two adjustment knobs.

Yes, they help you focus on an object of interest effortless. However, even with these two essential features, some people cannot get a clear image. Still, others complain of headaches, vision crossing, or even their eyes feeling squeezed.

In this write-up, I’ll clarify how you should use your binoculars.

Binoculars Alignment Matters

Binoculars are a pair of telescopes. Each of the two barrels can bring an image into sharp focus. Since you are receiving two mages, your two eyes and the brain blend the two images into one. This is only possible if the two telescopes are in alignment, i.e., parallel.

Binoculars are prone to misalignment. For instance, accidentally dropping or knocking your hunting binoculars can mess up the alignment of the telescopes. Trying to use such binoculars will only cause strain to your eyes.


The telescopes aren’t pointing in a similar direction. As a result, it causes immense strain to the eye and headaches.

Checking for Misalignment

You can’t detect a misalignment by just looking at the best binocular reviews. The process may require some expensive equipment.

To check if your binoculars aren’t in alignment, locate a straight line such as a roofline or power line. Then use your binoculars to look through. While at it, pull the binoculars away from your eyes lowly to about 2 to 3 inches way.

If it is well aligned, the roofline remains as one continuous line in both binoculars circles. However, if the roofline is higher in one circle than the other, then your binoculars aren’t aligned.

Such a scenario is an uphill task for your eyes and the brain. Typical your eyes muscles and mind will struggle to bring the two parts in line for you to see a single image. That’s why your binoculars are giving you headaches.

Note: tilting a binoculars doesn’t alter the alignment. However, upon tilting your best travel binoculars, the roofline may not stay even. But that isn’t a cause of worry because it still shows a continuous roofline.

Dealing With Your Binoculars Misalignment

Dealing With Your Binoculars MisalignmentYou can fix your binoculars if it isn’t in alignment. Simply take it to the manufacturer for repair. This might cost you a small amount of money. However, if it is still under warranty, it may be free of charge. But then again, the warranty varies with manufacturers. Therefore, you might pay a little sum of money.

According to experts, it may not be worth it to pay someone to align your binoculars if it isn’t under warranty. The best thing is to replace it unless it is incredibly. There are lots of best budget binoculars out there that can serve well.

The cost of realignment might just be more than the price of a new binocular. It is worth noting that cheaper binoculars are more prone to misalignments compared to costly binoculars. High-end binoculars feature higher quality engineering. As a result, they can withstand shocks that binoculars receive in the line of duty without getting out of alignment.

Binocular Focusing

Binocular focusing is more complex than most people think. But here is a simple procedure:

  • Adjusting the distance between the two binoculars barrels: this is the first step. Adjust them so that the binoculars width fits your eye width. The wrong size causes you to see black edges in the field of view. The right width gives you perfect circles.
  • Locate a point to focus: let it be a stationary object like a tree branch, roofline, or overhead wire. Use the central focus wheel to bring the image into focus.
  • Fine focusing: fine focusing aims at getting an image that is clear and sharp. Now, you’ll have to fine-tune each barrel separately. Begin with the left eye. So close the right eye and adjust the focus wheel until the left wheel sees a sharp image. Repeat the same to the left eye, but this time use a diopter to bring the image into sharper focus.
  • Use both eyes to view: pen both your eyes and check if the image is crisp. If not, repeat the same procedure carefully the whole.

Note that the importance of focusing is to ensure that your eyes can see the image with clarity. Most people have a dominant eye, and if you don’t calibrate each barrel according to the strength of the eye, then that is an incorrect way of using your binoculars. You’ll strain your eyes, and images won’t be clear.





How To Tell That Your Focus is Correct

If you have adjusted your binoculars well using the diopter, all images your eyes receive should be 3-D images. Typically, the images should pop out to you, be crisp and sharp.

Above all, your eye muscles shouldn’t feel any strain. N case of eye strain even after properly focusing your best pair of binoculars, the problem could be your binoculars. The real culprit could be misalignment.

Holding Binoculars

Learn to hold your binoculars in a comfortable position. This way, you can comfortably use your binoculars for a long time.

So, always hold your binoculars naturally – relax your shoulder for more comfort. Besides, ensure that make use of the ergonomic features of your binoculars like thumb rests or grooves.

Once you find the right balance, determine a comfortable eyepiece distance. Begin from your normal viewing position, then slowly grasp the barrels and move them either towards or away from each other until you see one circle.

How Often Should I Clean My Binoculars?

Binoculars are low maintenance devices. Just wipe the exterior to remove the loose dirt and dust. However, after using, they ensure that you replace the eyepiece and lens covers. Again, return the binocular in its storage cover and hang it in a dry place.


Video Credits: Peter Kotsa

There are many best budget binoculars in the market. However, if you don’t know how to use them, you won’t enjoy bird viewing or hunting. At least, get to know the critical feature of a binocular. Focusing, eyecups, and alignment matter a lot.

About the Author:

Hi, my name is Scott Jones. I’m a biologist from Maryland. I have an MSc in Systematic Biology and Ecology. I love to spend time in nature, watching birds and their habitats, and traveling to different continents to study wildlife. From my childhood, I would love to play with different optical scopes. I had a good collection of magnifying glasses and a cool pair of Russian made binoculars when I was in the 5th grade. With time I started to gradually build up more interest in binoculars. Then I collected several pairs of binoculars to quest my deep interest in optical scopes. Over time I learned how to determine the best binoculars pair. Then I decided to share what I knew with the world. Ever since I have borrowed a number of pairs and made some of the best reviews. I have developed blogs to share my knowledge and that’s how I got here. I am occasionally asked by binoculars suppliers to review their models. If you are willing to have reviews of your products under certain conditions please feel free to contact me at scotjones23 @ gmail.com

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