Binoculars are offered in a wide variety of types and sizes. The best known to the layman are probably so-called compact binoculars. Other binoculars include universal binoculars, bird binoculars, twilight binoculars, large binoculars and special binoculars for maritime purposes.
Opera glasses are among the smallest binoculars and, as the name of the glasses suggests, are used in the theatre or opera. They usually magnify by a factor of 3 and, unlike ordinary binoculars, look quite elegant.
Compact binoculars are the most common. These are relatively light and cheap in price. The optics of these binoculars are usually above those of opera glasses. They are normally used at up to 10x magnification and have a front lens size of up to 30 millimetres.
These binoculars are well suited for occasional use during the day. Even wearing these binoculars for longer periods is no problem due to their light weight. The size of the binoculars and the optics have a negative effect on their usability in twilight or at night.
In addition, binoculars in this class are usually not suitable for spectacle wearers, so that glasses must be removed when using compact binoculars.
While compact binoculars might be smiled at, universal binoculars are "real" binoculars in terms of form factor and size. As the name suggests, universal binoculars try to reconcile the most diverse requirements.
Universal binoculars usually offer magnifications of 8 to 12 times, with front lenses ranging from 40 to 50 millimetres. In addition to daylight observation, universal binoculars can also be used for twilight observation.
Many universal binoculars can be used together with glasses so that they do not have to be removed. When used with glasses, the field of view of the binoculars is slightly smaller than when used without glasses.
Due to their size and the built-in optics, universal binoculars weigh more. On average, such binoculars weigh between 600 and 800 grams. For longer hikes, they could be too heavy for one or the other user.
The largest class of binoculars are large binoculars. This already starts with the diameter of the front lens. In large binoculars, it starts at just under 70 millimetres and usually ends at 100 millimetres. These types of binoculars offer high magnification, a large field of view, good light intensity and are suitable for astronomical observations.
Some of these glasses can even replace telescopes. However, due to their weight, these binoculars can usually only be used in conjunction with a tripod. For this purpose, these binoculars have a corresponding connection thread, which connects the binoculars and tripod.
In addition to the glasses already presented, which are defined by their design and size, there are a number of glasses for special applications.
There are special binoculars for the observation of birds. These are particularly true to colour in their image. These binoculars are usually much more expensive than universal binoculars, in whose size class most of the binoculars for bird watching are.
When using binoculars on boats and ships, so-called marine binoculars are used. These are characterized by a moderate magnification, usually 7x. Higher magnifications are not useful because they reduce the field of view and would otherwise be of limited use in rough seas. In contrast to other types, marine binoculars are usually waterproof and have a dimension that allows the estimation of distances. In addition, in many cases, a compass is built into this class of binoculars.
Twilight binoculars are suitable for hunters and other users of binoculars who need them at night. These binoculars have a high light intensity and correspondingly large front lenses between 50 and 70 millimetres. Compared to universal binoculars, these special glasses are usually slightly larger and correspondingly heavy.