What is eye relief in binoculars?

If you wear glasses, using binoculars can be tricky because most manufacturers design them for people without glasses. This means you might have to press your eyes very close to eyecups of binoculars to see through them properly.

If you are looking to buy binoculars you can try different models to see if they work with your glasses. When you are shopping online you can find the appropriate pair by checking eye relief in binoculars. Eye relief will tell you if binoculars will be comfortable to use with your glasses or not. So let’s take a look at what eye relief means and what is its importance.

Eye relief in binoculars and why is it important?

When you look through a pair of binoculars you will only get a great image quality if your eye is an ideal distance away from the eyepiece. This distance is known as eye relief.

If you do not wear glasses, you do not need to worry about eye relief of your binoculars. But if you are a glasses wearer then you should be concerned about it. The glasses prevent your eyes from getting close enough to the lens. It might strain your eyes when you look through your binoculars.

How to determine eye relief in binoculars?

There is a very simple way to determine eye relief in binoculars. Try out binoculars with your glasses. Look through them first with your glasses on and then with your glasses off. It does not matter if you can not see clearly without your glasses. What you are checking is whether the binoculars show you complete image with your glasses on just like when you do not wear your glasses.

How does eye relief affect your view?

Eye relief affects your view when you are looking through glasses. It has the following two effects.

Eye relief and field of view

When your eye is at perfect distance from the lens you will see a clear and sharp image. But if your eye is too far away you will not see the whole picture. You might see dark shadows on the outer edges of the image and reduce your field of view. So even if you have excellent binoculars you will not get the best view if your eye is not in the right place.

Eye relief and peripheral light

Peripheral light is the surrounding light you see when your eyes are close to the eyecups of binoculars. So if your eyes are very close to the eyecups you will see very less light from surrounding. This is not the case when you are wearing glasses. Because with glasses your eyes are certain distance away from the eyecups so more surrounding light is visible to your eyes.

This problem can not be avoided with glasses but its effect can be reduced. You can adjust the eye relief on binoculars to reduce the amount of surrounding light. This will help you see better without distractions from your peripheral vision.

What are eyecups on binoculars?

Eye relief is the right distance between your eyes and binoculars. Good binoculars have adjustable parts called eyecups that help you find this distance and see everything clearly.

If you do not wear glasses then you can use binoculars with the eyecups fully extended. But if you wear glasses then pay attention to maximum eye relief because your glasses create more space between your eyes and binoculars. In that case you will need to adjust the eyecups by twisting or folding them down to make space for your glasses.

Is eye relief similar to exit pupil in binoculars?

The exit pupil and eye relief are not the same and they perform different functions. But they are somehow related to each other.

The exit pupil is a circle of light that comes out of binoculars. The size of this circle affects how bright the image looks. If the exit pupil is bigger then image will be brighter.

The exact distance for eye relief depends on where the exit pupil size matches up with your eye.

What is the best eye relief in binoculars for eyeglass wearers?

Eye relief is the distance between the eyepiece and your eye. Most people who wear glasses usually need binoculars with at least 16mm of eye relief. But it mostly depends on size of your glasses and how they fit on your face.

If your glasses are small and are very close to your eyes then you might see clearly through binoculars that have 15mm of eye relief. But mostly glasses wearers need more eye relief than that.

Short eye relief

13mm or less is referred to as short eye relief. Short eye relief is good for hunting, safari trip, but it is not recommended for bird watching. It is only good for people who do not wear glasses.

If you wear glasses you should avoid binoculars with short eye relief. This might reduce the field of view through your binoculars.

Long eye relief

Long eye relief means the distance between your eye and binoculars is more than 20mm. This can work well with all types of glasses no matter how thick they are. It is considered good eye relief for people who wear glasses.

Long eye relief allows you to see the entire view and not miss anything and provide stabilize image. And when you are spending a lot of money on binoculars you want to make sure you get best view out of your binoculars.

Yes, eye relief is related to magnification. Most of the time, large magnification of binoculars reduces field of view. When field of view is reduced then it results in shorter eye relief. If binoculars have low zoom then eye relief is more.

When your binoculars have variable magnification then search for wide field of view from your binoculars. If your binoculars have fixed magnification then adjust your eye cups for clear and broad view.

Clear vision comfort

Eye relief in binoculars in most important to get comfortable and clear viewing. It is distance that lets you see everything without discomfort. Whether you are wearing glasses or simply want a great experience you should get the right eye relief. If you get eye relief then you can enjoy beauty of the nature, go for hiking, sport watching through your binoculars. So remember that it is not just about what you see through your binoculars but how comfortably you see it that makes all the difference.


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