Focusing and aiming correctly isn’t a skill reserved for astronomy – it’ll be useful in any situation where you need to use your binoculars.
1. Focusing your binoculars
Your binoculars have two knobs to help you focus:
The main focus ring is in the centre of the binoculars. It focuses both eyepieces.
The eyepiece focus ring is on one eyepiece (almost always on the right eyepiece). It focuses that specific eyepiece.
So to focus your binoculars, you need to focus both eyepieces first to get the left focused, and then focus the right eyepiece independently. This is how you do it:
- Looking through the binoculars, close your right eye.
- Adjust the main focus ring until the image on the left is in sharp focus.
- Close your left eye and open your right eye.
- Adjust the eyepiece focusing ring until the image on the right is in sharp focus.
Both eyepieces will now be in sharp focus, and you can start observing.
TIP: Keeping your elbows rested on something can help keep the binoculars steady while focusing.
2. Aiming your binoculars
The most intuitive way to aim your binoculars is to stick them up to your face, and then start looking for what you want to see. I always thought it was the right way to do it. Unfortunately, it’s not – it’s ridiculously inefficient.
Binoculars magnify things, so when you try to search for an object , you have to look over a larger area to find it. Also, your magnified image is shaky. This makes it much harder than it needs to be.
So what’s the right way to do it?
- Find the object with your naked eyes first.
- Keep your gaze locked on it, and lift your binoculars up to where your eyes are.
It seems like such a simple change, but it will save you a ton of time.
Sometimes when I do this, the image isn’t at the centre of my binoculars, or even in the frame. I find that I have to move the binoculars slightly upwards to find it. But in case you can’t see the image, don’t panic! You really can’t mess up these two steps – your image is most likely just a small movement away.
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