Of course, more detail can help you make a better decision. If you want to make sure you get the pair of binoculars that are right for you, check out this guide. In this example, they would make objects appear ten times magnified when viewed through the binoculars. For objective lenses, bigger is almost always better. Bigger lenses let in more light and can lead to sharper, more vibrant images. When the lenses get larger than that, the binoculars can become too large to hold comfortably, and become dependent on the use of a tripod.

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So in this article, I am going to go over the main differences in both the physical aspects and the optical performance that you can expect to get between a 10x42 binocular and a 10x50 one of similar quality.

In this way, by the end of this article, you will be able to decide which configuration is best suited for your specific requirements and preferences. To start with, if you are not sure, please take a moment to go over this article on What the Numbers Mean on a Binocular.

This has a bearing on the instruments overall dimensions and thus 10x50 binoculars are larger than 10x42s. How Much Larger? As you move down towards the ocular lenses, they taper down in size as most 10x50 binoculars will incorporate the same eyepieces as that of the 42mm versions. However once again, the difference here is fairly minimal usually under 10mm. Therefore and as you can see from the photo below the overall difference in size between a 10x42 binocular and a 10x50 one is really not that great.

Indeed I would go as far as to say that most users would not guess the difference if you were to swap their binoculars without them knowing. Note: If maintaining a low weight is a priority of yours, you can do things like look for a binocular that uses a polycarbonate chassis and plastic components like the focus wheel instead of metal ones, which can make an appreciable difference.

Note: Just like the quality of glass used to make the windows in your house, instruments using poor quality optics and coatings will not perform as well as higher quality ones and thus I am assuming that we are comparing binoculars of a very similar level. More light means more information and thus if all else is equal, there is the potential for brighter, better quality views through 10x50 binoculars versus 10x42 binoculars.

However just being able to capture more light does not automatically make for a brighter, better quality view. As much of the light as possible needs to get transmitted to your eyes and this is where differing levels of glass, optical coatings and build quality do play an important part. On top of this, during the day in normal light conditions a good quality 10x42 binocular is able to capture and transmit enough light to your eyes for you to perceive a bright, high-quality image and thus under these conditions you most likely will not be able to differentiate the brightness between the views of an equal quality 10x42 and 10x50 binocular.

However, it is in situations where the light level is not optimal, like just before sunrise, at sunset or even in a thickly wooded forest, where the extra capability that the larger instrument comes to the fore and you begin to notice the difference in the image.

You can clearly see the larger exit pupil in the ocular lens on the 10x50 on the bottom versus the 10x42 on the top This can be explained by the size of the shaft of light exiting the ocular lenses exit pupil and the size of the pupils in your eyes.

As the conditions get dimmer, your pupils begin to expand until, in very low light conditions, the pupils in some people it varies can reach 7mm in diameter. Thus the amount of light your eyes are receiving is sub-optimal and therefore the 10x50 will look to you to produce a brighter, better quality view.

Incidentally, 8x42 binoculars, which are generally considered the best all-rounders have exit pupils of around 5. More info on all of this can be found in my complete guide to the Exit Pupil. Other Advantages A larger Exit Pupil also makes it easier for you to line your eyes up with the light exiting the eyepieces and thus a 10x50 binocular is simpler to use because it is easier to achieve an image without black rings on the edges of the view.

Price Differences 10x50 binoculars are usually a little more expensive than the 10x42 alternative from the in the same series from the same manufacturer.

So why is this? Whilst it is true that they need more glass to make the larger lenses and a little more material to make the larger bodies, so I guess this has a bearing on the final cost, but to be honest this is not really the reason for the price difference. How Much More Expensive?

Indeed if you really are looking for a smaller instrument, you may wish to consider a mid-sized 10x32 instead. Although as you will appreciate here the light gathering ability, exit pupil and thus all the associated issues in terms of low light performance that we have gone over will be even more exaggerated, so you need to keep this in mind.

Price In terms of cost, this will be a personal decision based on how much you value the extra money you either keep in your pocket or spend versus the associated benefits and drawbacks of choosing a pair of 10x42 vs 10x50 binoculars. As with just about any binocular configuration, there is no single best option, rather which one is best for your specific requirements and preferences: 10x42 is best for daytime use in normal to good light conditions and you gain the benefits of a lower costing and fractionally smaller instrument.



Apparent field of view Apparent field of view The edge-to-edge angular diameter of the image displayed in a binocular as seen by the eyes of the observer. It is an inherent specification for a given binocular design. The "angular diameter" of an object is defined as the angle an object makes subtends as seen by an observer. Eye relief varies with the optical design but generally increases with decreasing magnification. Exit pupil is calculated by dividing the objective lens diameter by the binocular magnification. Knowing the exit pupil of a binocular can help determine the optimal binocular fro your needs.


What Is the Difference Between 12x50 & 10x50 Binoculars?

Binoculars, in its simplest definition, are magnification instruments that are made up of two telescopes mounted on a metal or plastic frame so that a viewer can view images as if they were much closer. This process occurs by utilizing curved glass lenses and multiple lenses within the frame to magnify the subject each time it passes through to the next lens. The downside to this is that each time this occurs some light is lost. More often than not prisms are utilized in the process as well which bend and reflect the light entering the objective lens. Many binoculars today utilize prisms which bend the light as it enters the objective lens and helps to magnify the image as it passes through the frame. The result is a binocular that can be made smaller and more powerful.

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