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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Waterproof Binoculars Cost More, But Are Worth It

By Ken Dragki

Regular binoculars just aren't made to stand up to the sea spray and harsh conditions found on the ocean. At sea it is virtually impossible to keep your binoculars completely dry, and it takes only a small amount of moisture to cause mildewing inside the lenses, thus affecting your ability to see clearly through them.

Waterproof binoculars are not simply made of a water resistant material such as rubber. Instead, the design of the internal components actually makes the binoculars waterproof. A hermetically sealed binocular is considered waterproof, while a nitrogen-filled binocular is also fog-proof.

Fogged lenses can be a problem for those of us who like to use their binoculars in cold weather, like at a football game or while out hunting in the fall. This is the time that binoculars can get fogged up inside. Lenses fog up when moisture enters the binoculars and condenses on the lenses. If you're not going to use your binoculars in cold weather, then fog-proof binoculars aren't important to you.

A fog-proof, waterproof and fully multi-coated lenses are features that you should look for in a pair of binoculars. If you can't afford all these high quality features, realize that these three features will be found in the best binoculars. Fog-proof binoculars resist getting fogged up inside because they are sealed off from the atmosphere outside and the inside is filled with nitrogen. Nitrogen gas provides a constant atmosphere in the sealed tubes of the binoculars. Because each tube is sealed, the nitrogen gas won't escape and moisture won't get in. Your lenses won't get foggy.

Binoculars that are waterproof will withstand submersion into water, but water-resistant binoculars won't. You can get the water-resistant type wet, but don't drop them overboard or otherwise submerge them. This includes having them drop out of your pocket into a pail of water while washing the car. Trust me, I know!

Manufacturers have gone from using a single coating of some of the optics to having multiple special coatings for each piece of glass, lens and prism. This takes more time and care at the factory, and so the more coatings the better and probably the higher price binoculars. Get the best quality optics that you can afford and you won't regret it. Objects will appear bright with optimal resolution, fine contrast and color accuracy.

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