Advantages of top-quality thermal binoculars
It’s true that almost every hunter and wildlife watcher has to weigh up a few different factors when choosing equipment for the field. Most of us need to take cost into account, because very few of us have bottomless pockets and optical equipment, especially with night vision capabilities, tends to be on the expensive side. Nevertheless, this equipment is an essential part of nocturnal activities and it’s impossible to go wandering around at night without it. Weight is another important factor for most hunters and observers, because there’s much equipment that we need, and the weight soon mounts up. Hunters in particular will be carrying a firearm or a bow, ammunition, and lots of other tackle, so we have to be careful generally when we’re taking to the field, that we don’t take too much stuff along and weigh ourselves down. It’s ineffective and it can soon sap the enjoyment out of a hunt. Many hunters will end up sacrificing some of the capabilities of superior optics in order to save weight and bulk. This attitude often results in the use of a monocular for when scanning wider areas at night. Although understandable, there’s also a fair amount of foolhardiness to this approach. Thermal binoculars provide so much more than other types of optics. When in a situation where not missing a target is important, it’s hard to look past binoculars for effectiveness and a successful hunt. If you can identify targets at longer ranges and scan for activity all around, you’ll stand a much better chance of homing in on a greater number of targets and having a successful shoot. As with all devices of this type, the better quality an item you go for, the better user experience you’ll have, the greater the versatility, ruggedness and capability the device will have, and the more targets you’ll hit. When it comes to thermal optical devices, there’s no substitute for quality and the amount of features you’ll buy. It’s important to allow yourself as much spend as you can and set your budget there.
Features to consider when choosing thermal binoculars
We’re going to look at some of the important factors and features of these devices under the headings below. The features that you choose will be very much dependent on how you intend to use your binoculars, and that’ll be a recurring theme during this buying guide. We’ll look at things like magnification and detection range, as well as resolution and color modes, and hopefully you’ll get a clearer picture of how to end up with a clearer picture of your night time surroundings.
You’ll need to consider the aperture size when you’re assessing the resolution capabilities of binoculars, much the same as with any other optical device. Resolution will be directly linked to how big the aperture is, and this can be a major factor – especially if you intend to observe long range targets. This is one of the features that will probably suffer on cheaper units, and you’ll really need to be careful so as not to go so low in terms of budget to make the device unusable for the applications that you require it for. If you’re needing to identify targets reliably at longer distances – and that can be a safety concern when out hunting at night – then you’ll absolutely going to want to be in possession of a binocular that will afford you a decent enough level of resolution so as to be able to discern the difference between a hog or a deer, and a fellow hunter, before you go to the rifle. When you’re looking for a piece of equipment that you need to be able to scan a wider field of vision reliably, resolution is a priority.
Detection range can basically be defined as the ability your thermal binoculars have to clearly define a target at a specific distance, or distances. This is another instance where you’ll need to have a very clear idea of what you tend to do when you’re out in the field. Some units will be geared up for shorter distance observation, some for mid-range operations, and others will be engineered to scan at much longer distances. So, you’ll benefit greatly from having a good think about, and a very clear idea of how you’re going to be using your new thermal binoculars when you’re out at night. You’ll pay good money to get capability you don’t need unless you do this, so it’s well worth the effort and time to sit down and think before you select.
Magnification is another feature that, as it improves, will greatly increase the cost of the thermal binoculars you’re considering.
It’s vitally important, therefore, to not buy binoculars with massive amounts of built in magnification if say, you’re only ever going to use them in the forest or at shorter distances.
The technology required to improve the levels of magnification in a device is costly, and it’ll therefore affect the overall cost of the binoculars, so have a good idea of what you intend to use them for. Likewise, don’t skimp on this feature if you’re going to be using them at long range and you’re going to need a good image at a distance that’s further out. You get the idea. Just choose carefully, based on what you’ll need them for.
You’ll use color modes when performing different tasks in different conditions. If you go for a decent pair of binoculars, you’ll likely get a better range of color modes and therefore a greater user experience and far more versatility and effectiveness. Thermal binoculars operate more effectively when you’ve got more color options. For instance, if you’re looking to reliably identify and observe targets at long distance, a sepia option provides the best contrast at night. Violet color mode will highlight targets faster when you’re scanning wider areas before you go to the scope. In short, the wider the range of color modes available to you, the wider the range of tasks you’ll be able to perform quickly and effectively. Great for hunting applications, when you need to be on the ball, and prepared at all times.
One of the main reasons that you’re going to be investing in a pair of thermal binoculars is the fact that they’re designed to view a wider field of vision than if you were just using a monocular or the night vision scope on your firearm, for instance. Binoculars are used in the field to enable the viewing of a wide range, so as to make it easier and more efficient to scan bigger areas for a target. You’ll want to make sure that the thermal binoculars you’re going for give you a decently wide viewing angle. This will mean you can scan large areas quickly and not miss a thing.
Video recording and photos
This feature will be a consideration if you want to capture images and videos during use. If you’re putting together a movie of a hunt or you just want to observe and record wildlife, or something else that you happen on accidentally while you’re out in the field, then these features will allow you to do that digitally so that you can view back and edit footage later.
You’ll need to consider how you’re likely to be using the binoculars when you take this factor into account. If you’re largely stationary while you use them to surveil targets, then rugged design isn’t as important as if you’re the type that is likely to be moving around fast, through more difficult terrain. Anything that is going to get used outside at night needs to have some built in durability, but like anything else, take into account how you intend to use the equipment when you buy.
As with durability, this is going to depend on your own particular brand of use.
If you’re often out hunting at night in bad weather, or you tend to be dashing around in creeks and rivers, then you’ll need to prioritize waterproofing.
If you’re sitting in a hide watching wildlife, then this isn’t going to be such a factor. Choose wisely, because you’ll pay for a higher level of waterproofing, even if you never need it.