What do The Numbers on Binoculars Mean?

What do The Numbers on Binoculars MeanThere’s hardly anyone out there who has not for once used or at least seen a binocular. These are pretty popular tools since the old days for bird sightseeing and other needs. But this is true that most people today don’t usually take the plunge and purchase one.

And that’s quite obvious because there’s no specific use for this tool on regular days unless ta holiday or trip shows up. On a scenic spot, it’s too sad to not have a good binocular to accompany you.

If you are someone from the group that adores nature and birds or simply want to spend time on sport watching, then getting binocular will pop out on your list. But one particular issue usually seems to appear whenever there’s a discussion on purchasing binocular. And that’s about what do the numbers on binoculars mean? Especially when you need it for hunting.

What do the Numbers on Binoculars Mean: From Hunter’s Perspective?

We already talked about how a binocular can make our little vacation and trips enjoyable. But there’s one activity which needs a binocular not just as an extra luxury. But quite of a necessity. And it’s the game of hunting.

Hunting is an activity that needs you to be aware of various games moving around. This is why pro hunters and experts have various types of tools. Such as Elk Hunting Binocular and many more.

I am guessing you are a novice in this field. So, there won’t be any unclear phrases. Instead, I’m going to take the effort of explaining as much as I can. Let’s go.

General Idea

In simple terms, binoculars are basically magnification tools. These come with a combination of two telescopes. There’s a metal or plastic frame that mounts both. So that the illusion of visualizing any object closely is possible when actually it’s not.

Here multiple lenses with curved glass ones are utilized. So that there’s a magnification happening every time it passes through each next lens.

Some light will eventually get lost in this process. There are also prisms included to reflect light entering the objective lens. Using prism in binoculars helps to make the size of body smaller without sacrificing power.

Numbers on Binocular.

Now, when you finally decide to buy a binocular, there are a few things to know about. Choosing a binocular includes understanding a few terms related to this amazing magnification tool that tells more about its performance. And so, it’s really important you know everything related to it.

One thing that commonly creates problems among new buyers is the numbers that are usually seen on binoculars. What do these numbers refer to?

The model number of a certain binocular tells you about two things mainly. These are strength and size. By strength, I mean the magnification power that comes with that binocular. While the size refers to its objective lens diameter.

If I have to explain with an example, consider a binocular with a 6x40 number given on it. Now the 6 here is its magnification power. And the number 42 refers to diameter of objective lens in millimeters. An objective lens is the one that stays closest to object while viewing.

Size of Objective Lens

Most of the binoculars come with a compact, midsize or full-size label based on objective lens size. This number has nothing to do with deciding the overall performance of any binocular. Because there are same size binoculars coming with different construction, design, and optics. And so, the weight will differ. Here’s some more points you should know.

  1. Most compact binoculars come with a 30mm objective lens size.
  2. In midsize binoculars, the object lens diameter refers from 30 to 40 mm.
  3. The full-size objective lens is usually more than 40mm diameter.

If you need to carry the binocular, compact ones are way to go. For bright images with comfortable holding till long periods, midsize binoculars can work well.

And the larger or full-size binoculars are suitable for some heavy levels of observation. These are pretty weighty for extended periods of time.

Magnification Power.

In most of the binoculars, first number refers to its magnifying or zooming power. This is usually either 8 or 10. There are some models providing more or less. For a wide field of view, the 8-power binocular is sufficient. And the 10-power binocular works best for closer and details look.

With an 8-power magnification, the object you are trying to view will appear eight times closer than it really is.

Numbers for Different Activities.

Now that you have an idea about what these numbers mean, let’s know something interesting. How about knowing different activities that need a specific number of binoculars? It would make your purchase a bit easier, right?

For backpacking or hiking, you should have weight and size concerns. Which means a compact binocular will do enough. The power should be 8 or 10. While less than or equal to 28 diameters for objective lenses sounds good.

For birding activity, binocular’s size and weight are not much impactful. So, go for the midsize or full-size binoculars. I prefer an 8x42 or 8x32 number binocular for bird watching.

Hunting is an activity that needs you more power for locating target or game. And that’s why the ideal pick here is a 10x magnification binocular. These are great for providing details at a distant.

Also, there are supports of quick and off-hand glassing. With steady hands, you can also think about 12x high power magnification. For diameter, 42 mm has been the most preferred choice for expert hunters.


Hopefully, what do the numbers on binoculars mean is clear to you. There are many important factors an such as field view and eye relief that are also crucial parts of binocular choosing.

But it’s also extremely true that the most significant numbers for performance are a binocular’s magnification and object diameter size.

So, give these numbers the attention they deserve. And pick yourself a binocular for hunting or whatever purpose you need them for. Best Wishes on That!