Why You Are Using Your Binoculars Incorrectly

Why You Are Using Binoculars Incorrectly


As an binoculars retailer, we have seen a fair share of people who have used binoculars for years but are still unsure about how to use and maintain them properly. For example, diopter adjustments and adjustable eyecups are just two of many crucial features of binoculars for beautiful, sharp and bright views but are often overlooked.

Hence, this article will clarify how binoculars should be used in order to get the most out of them. Want to get the most out of your $50, $500 or $5000 binoculars? Read on. 


Binoculars are easy optical devices to use and maintain. In the following sections, a number of questions are answered:

  • Why are eye cups adjustable and where should I position them?
  • How do I focus?
  • What is the diopter adjustment and how do I use it?
  • What is the best method of holding binoculars?
  • How should I clean and maintain binoculars?
Why are eye cups adjustable and where should I position them?Eye Relief


Adjustable eyecups exist for the purpose of eye relief. Based on how your eyes are positioned, some people may feel more comfortable with more eye relief, some with less.

A general rule of thumb is that people wearing glasses should have the eyecups lay flat, whereas people not wearing glasses should have the eyecups out. However, it is always up to the user to determine the most comfortable setting!


How do I focus?

Focus by rotating the central focus wheel of the binoculars until the image is clear and sharp. To maximize the clarity, proceed by using the diopter adjustment.  

Diopter AdjustmentHow do I use the diopter adjustment?

A diopter adjustment is a control knob used to adjust the focus of one single ocular to compensate for the difference between the two eyes. Unless you have perfect vision, the diopter adjustment must be corrected in order to get the sharpest views.

Adjusting the diopter is simple:

  1. Set the diopter adjustment to zero (neutral).
  2. Cover the lens of the ocular affected by the diopter adjustment (usually right) using a lens cover cap.
  3. Using the central control knob, focus the binoculars until the image is sharp by rotating the central focus wheel (if you have not already).
  4. Remove the lens cover cap and cover the other lens. 
  5. Rotate the diopter adjustment until the view through the right eye is sharp.
  6. Remove lens cover cap. You have now adjusted the diopter. Your binoculars are now ready for exploration!

Some binoculars, such as the Bushnell Legend M-Series that come with lockable diopter adjustment so you will only have to adjust the diopter once and never again!

What is the best method of holding binoculars?

Holding binoculars in a comfortable position affects how long and how well you enjoy using your binoculars. To maximise your comfort, ensure that your binoculars  are held naturally with your shoulders rested and make use of any ergonomic features of your binoculars such as thumb rests or grooves. Once you have found a good balance, set the eyepiece distance by starting at your normal viewing position and slowly grasping the barrels of the binoculars away or towards each other until you see only 1 circular view.

Cleaning and Caring For Binoculars

Binoculars are extremely low maintenance devices, so long as they are treated with care. That means careful storage and occasional clean and checking for collimation. If you complete the steps below, you will find that your binoculars will last longer with the best views. For a shorter guide, click here.   

After Every UseMaintaining Binoculars
  • Replace the eyepiece covers and lens cover caps onto used binoculars for storage. This ensures that the binoculars are free from scratch or dirt when transported within its carry case.
  • Return binoculars to its carry case. Binoculars come with carry cases for a reason – they add an extra layer of protection between your fragile binoculars and the potential knocks from the world, and makes it easier for travel. When not in use, keep your binoculars in the provided carry case to ensure that they last longer and require less maintenance
  • Store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. This protects the external casing from being overheated and protects the internal mechanisms from moisture due to humidity which may damage it. Try to store the binoculars in a room with a constant temperature.


Every 6 Months
  • Undertake a thorough clean of your binoculars
  • Check the lens for any scratches or dirt
  • Wipe down the binoculars with a microfiber cloth that is lightly dampened with distilled or de-ionised water for any surface dirt or smudges. Anything harsher may require dedicated lens cleaning solution in a microfiber cloth.
  • Check the collimation of your binocularsA quick and easy way of checking for decollimation in binoculars is the “parallel vision” method coined by Rafael Cobos. This method requires just the binoculars and a mirror and takes only a few seconds. Find out more information here: Link


With this new knowledge, you are now fully in control of using your binoculars to its potential. If there is anything else you would like to learn, let us know by leaving a comment down below or by contacting us.


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