Are Binoculars as Good as a Telescope?

By Richard

Are binoculars as good as a telescope? This is the question that is probably the most confusing to those who are new to optics. We will drill down and remove all your confusion about binoculars and telescopes.

Everything made on this planet has both positive and negative aspects. Apart from that the functionality of things are specific. For example, one thing can be perfect for one specific purpose. However, it cannot be good for every kind of work. The same goes for both binoculars and telescopes. 

Brief Answer: Telescopes are good for viewing very distant objects like stars, the moon, and UFOs. However, for viewing objects which are not too far away, binoculars are good to go. However, both are excellent tools that can uplift your viewing experience in their own ways.

Many people ask us about the comparison between binoculars and telescopes. However, we were busy with other things and could not give you an in-depth guide about which one is better than the other. 

What are the differences between a telescope and binoculars?

Our aim will be to keep things very simple so that you can understand the basic differences that make some people think binoculars are perfect while others think telescopes are their go-to choice. Before knowing the exact difference between binoculars and scopes, let’s dive into their basics

Magnification Power

Magnification power is the power of optics to increase the size of an image appears. If a target is 1000 feet away, then the higher magnification optics will make it look very close to you. In other words, it increases the size of the buck in the visual that you get from a telescope or binoculars. 

Telescopes usually have very high magnification power. Most of the telescopes have higher magnification than 100x. On the other hand, binoculars have very lower magnification power i-e 8x to 20x. It is obvious that a telescope will give you more magnifying power as compared to binoculars. 

Related Article: What Do the Numbers on Binoculars Mean?

Field of View

Field of view is that area or space that you look at while using binoculars or keeping an eye on the barrels of binoculars. When the magnification power of optics is higher, your field of view decreases. Keep in mind that both magnification power and field of view are inversely proportional to each other. 

So, when you will be using binoculars, you will be able to look at more space. On the opposite side, when you use a telescope, then you will get a more magnified image but your field of view will be shortened, reduced or narrower.

Objective lens Size & Portability

The size of binoculars and telescopes vary because both of them consist of different objective lens sizes. Binoculars usually have an objective lens size of 42 to 50 mm whereas the telescope consists of a very big size. So more objective size means the overall size of the telescope increases which makes them heavier and harder to carry for an extended duration. 

Binoculars have comparatively lower objective lens size so their overall weight and size remain on the lower side which makes them portable and easy to carry for an extended duration. However, bigger objective lenses capture more light and give brighter and sharper images in low light conditions as compared to binoculars. 

Which one is better: Telescope or Binoculars?

So, now you have an understanding of the basics of both binoculars and telescopes. It will be easier for you to understand which is better for what purposes. Look, both are good and they are made for different purposes. You cannot use telescopes for hunting. At the same time, you can never opt for a telescope for stargazing. It is very obvious and you gotta choose them according to their purposes. Their usage differences are explained below

Stargazing: Telescope or binoculars?

In stargazing, you try to see objects which are very far away, shining in the sky. So, does it make sense to choose binoculars having little magnification power for viewing those distant objects? Of Course not! 

For stargazing, the telescope will do a pretty good job. They have higher magnification power and you don’t worry about getting increased FOV as your aim is to look at stars. Moreover, you can use a tripod stand to get a stable image of stars. 

Hunting: Telescope or binoculars?

In hunting, you always remain very close to the animals. You keep moving with the buck to ensure that it does go away from your eyes. So, does it make sense to use a telescope with a higher magnification power? Obviously not!

For hunting, you need magnification of 8x or 10x which does a pretty good job.  Binoculars give you good magnifying power and you can carry binos comfortably while moving. Other than that, you won’t need any tripod stand.

Keep in mind that hunting is all about finding the buck. If you use a telescope, then your field of view will be reduced and you won’t be able to cover more space. As a result, it will be very tough for you to find the buck due to decreased FOV. On the other hand, binoculars give you a wider field of view which helps you find the target easily.

Also Read: Best Binoculars for Archery

Birds Watching: Telescope or binoculars?

Just like hunting, bird watching doesn’t require very high magnification power. Instead, you can have an excellent viewing experience only with 8x or 10x magnification power. Moreover, flying birds force you to keep binoculars in your hands, not in a tripod stand. 

So, you can use binoculars and can get a better viewing experience of birds. The magnification power of binoculars usually help you see upto 1000 meters with complete details of the birds. You don’t need to have telescopes.

Different usage of Telescopes and Binoculars

Now, you have got a better understanding of both binoculars and scope. Right? So, when should you use both of them or one of them? This question is important to be answered if you’re going to buy one from any local shop.

When should you choose a telescope?

There are a few points that you will have to keep in mind so that you don’t make a wrong decision while buying scopes. Below are the bullet points which will help you understand the usage of telescopes. Choose telescope when;

  • You need very higher magnification
  • You need a lesser field of view
  • For you size does not matter
  • You need to look at very distant objects like stars, the moon, UFOs etc

When should you choose binoculars?

The usage of binoculars is totally different from the telescope. Choosing a telescope in place of binoculars is going to be the biggest mess on your side. Choose binoculars when;

  • You need decent magnification power (Not very high)
  • You need a wider or increased field of view
  • You want a lightweight and portable tool for viewing

Should you buy both telescopes and binoculars?

Before going down, we would like to tell you that both binoculars and telescopes are very good in their own ways.  You cannot choose by saying that others are not worthy of being picked. In fact, they have different specifications and purposes. 

If you’re making a choice for stargazing or seeing something which is very far away from you, you can happily go with a telescope. On the other hand, if you want to see objects which are not too far away i-e under 1000 meters, you can choose binoculars and get an excellent viewing experience. 

Conclusion

Both telescopes are binoculars and are amazing tools that make you feel very close to the targeted objects. However, both have different ways of working and it’s up to your personal preference and needs to decide which one is the ideal choice for you. We hope that this guide will help you understand more about optics.