A good pair of binoculars, or in proper english, a “binocular” is a handy thing to have at the cottage. There is no end to the things that you might want to look at but are too far away. Watch the osprey fishing over the lake, the loons, the stars at night or the girl in the bikini going by on the pontoon boat….Just a few of the reasons why binoculars are handy to have at the camp. I keep binoculars by the window all the time and another on the pontoon boat.

How Binoculars Work

Binoculars have an “objective lens” and an “eye lens”. Just as the name describes, the lenses closest to the users eye is called the eye lens or eyepiece lens. The lens closest to the scene being viewed is the objective lens. It is usually bigger in diameter.

Light is directed through the lenses is “bent” which is known as “refraction”. Because of this the image would appear upside down and backwards to anyone looking through the eye lens. In order to correct the upside down image, two prisms are built into the binoculars between the objective lenses and the eyepiece lenses. The prisms correct the refraction and show the viewer the picture correctly.


When choosing binoculars, you need to consider several things, size, weight, purpose, and the magnification required. Unlike some things, bigger is not always better, and higher magnification, while nice in some situations can be hard on the viewer’s eyes and can also make the image viewed appear unsteady, or shaky, which can affect detail. Matter of fact, that is called “image shake”. In those cases a tripod might be necessary. For example, high magnification binoculars used for star gazing should be used with a tripod for steady viewing.

Canon have a feature their higher magnification binoculars called Image Stabilization that helps to reduce image shake on more powerful magnfication binoculars.

Some common magnification sizes for binoculars are 7 X 35, 7 X 50 and 10 X 50. There are many more, but these are typical sizes. The first number, shows how many times the object viewed will be magnified, or brought closer. So in it’s simpliest description, a “7” would magnify the scene 7 times. That is called the “magnification factor.”

The second number, in our example, “35” indicates the diameter of the objective lens. A larger objective lens helps in low light situations, as it will make use of all the available light for sharper, crisper image quality.

I have used binoculars on the boat and around the camp in 7 X 35 and 7 X 50. Either size works quite well on the boat, but the 7 X 50 is a little bit better and the size I would typically recommend. However, it depends on what you intend to use the binoculars for, a smaller or larger magnification may be better suited to your purposes.

Here are some binoculars you may want to add to your cottage essentials.

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