Be it sight viewing, wildlife observation, hunting, or astronomical viewing, the right pair of binoculars matters the most. Most people confuse the 10×50 and 20 x 50 binos because they misunderstand that their specs are the same. But it is not true, and there is much more to it than a 10X magnification gap.
So, 10×50 vs 20×50 binoculars: which one is better? Well, give this guide a quick read to get an insight into their magnification ratio, image brightness, clarity, performance, and uses.
10×50 Vs 20×50 Binoculars | All You Need to Know
About 10×50 Binoculars
In simple words, 10×50 binoculars means a lens with 50 mm objective diameter and 10 X magnification power. Thus, with this arrangement, you can view objects ten times bigger than the original. Here, a 50 mm diameter lens means you will get better lighting and details in the view obtained using a binocular.
About 20×50 Binoculars
Similarly, in a 20×50 binocular, the 50 number represents the lens diameter, which is the same as the previous one. Thus implying that the lighting arrangement and details are pretty similar to each other. However, the “20” number means it has a magnification power of 20X, implying that you can view objects twenty times bigger than they are in reality.
10×50 Vs 20×50 Binoculars: Parallel Comparison
Now that you know what each binocular means on a surface level, the question is, which one is better? Well, a quick way of finding out is a side-by-side analysis. So, let us make a parallel comparison between both the binos so you are better equipped to make a buying decision.
In simple words, magnification can be defined as the value of times an object appears closer than it actually is to the naked eye. For instance, an 8X would mean that you can see an object eight times bigger and closer than it is in reality. Now, if we talk about these two, the 20X definitely has an advantage.
In the case of 10X50, you can see the view ten times bigger than usual. This works great for open environments and general use, including wildlife observation, hunting, and simple sight viewing. The good thing about this arrangement is that it produces a stable image in a wide view, which is better than those binos with high magnification power.
In contrast, 20X50 binoculars have a magnification range of 20X, which means you can see objects twenty times bigger. This is a perfect way to go for advanced cases like surveillance, long-range wildlife observation, or astronomical viewing. However, do consider that the image becomes shaky with a higher magnification, and the view becomes narrower, which may interfere with your experience.
Image Brightness/ Clarity
The second thing to compare between the two is the exit pupil, which can be defined as the diameter of the light that comes out of the binos eyepiece. You can get this value by dividing the objective lens diameter by the magnification of the binoculars. For instance, the exit pupil of a 10×50 binocular would be 50/10, making it 5 millimeters or mm.
Now, let us discuss why exit pupil matters when buying a pair of binoculars. Well, for the most part, it matters because it determines how much light reaches the eye and eventually provides a brighter image.
The rule of thumb says that a larger exit pupil is required for harsh light conditions. This is because, with this, more light reaches the eye and creates a brighter image. However, a smaller exit pupil is best for low-light conditions, as it provides a sharper image without utilizing much light from the surroundings.
So, when we compare the two, a 10×50 pair of binos has a 5mm exit pupil, which is best suited for people who will be using it for brighter environments. Whereas a 20×50 binocular, with an exit pupil of 2.5mm, is better appropriate for low-light conditions like spying, surveillance, and apartment peeping.
Now that we’ve talked about image brightness and quality, it is time to discuss the stability. In simple words, a pair of binoculars with a low magnification produces more stable results, and vice versa. This is largely dependent on the field of view, as the former one has a wider view and more area to cover from the sight.
In this case, a 10×50 pair of binos means you have more stable results than that of 20 x 50 binos. Using the latter will give you a shaky image with the inevitable movement of the lens. In contrast, a 10×50 binos is highly forgiving in providing you with stable and more clear results.
That said, do consider that a part of it also depends on the design and construction of the binoculars themselves. So, what if you still have to use the 20×50 binoculars? Well, you can pair it up with an adjustable tripod, as it gives extra support, prevents shakiness, and improves image stability.
Size and Weight
Figuring out the size and weight of any pair of binoculars is pretty easy, as it all depends on the lens configuration. So, a pair of binos with large lens diameter and magnification means it would be larger and heavier. Given this argument, we can safely assume that a 20×50 binocular is larger and heavier than a 10×50 pair.
However, apart from this, you also need to consider its exterior and the material used in the construction. Most brands use lightweight material and coating to reduce the weight of the binos so people can comfortably use them. Hence, it is better to see a set of specifications before making a purchase.
Another thing to consider while comparing two binoculars is the field of view, defined as the width of the area visible from your pair of binos. Typically, it is measured in feet or yards and encapsulates the area seen from the binos, from the center of the image. The rule of thumb says that a wide field view is better for locating and tracking objects.
Now, if we compare the two binos here, it is pretty obvious. A 10×50 binocular means it has a wider field view, given its lower magnification range. Hence, it would be better for wildlife observation and bird watching, as it allows you to track and follow moving objects on the field.
In contrast, the 20×50 means a higher magnification power and a smaller field of view, which means locating moving objects is not easy with this pair of binoculars. So, you can use it for activities that do not require close monitoring of objects, like astronomy or sight viewing.
Now, let us come to the most important thing that counts when buying any pair of binoculars, which is the price range. But before that, you have to consider that the price tag depends on a lot of factors apart from their magnification and lens diameter, including the exterior, set of features, buildup quality, waterproofing, lens coating, and much more. Thus, it makes more sense to see the package as a whole rather than looking at individual elements.
That said, let us compare the prices of 10×50 and 20×50 binoculars. Well, it is pretty obvious that a pair of binos with a larger lens objective diameter and higher magnification would cost more than the other one. This is because they require advanced and more precise equipment to manufacture the lens and prism system.
10×50 Vs 20×50: Which Binocular is Better?
Finally, once you are done comparing both binoculars side-by-side, it is a great help to know what each one is used for. Well, there are no rules in using a bino for various purposes; it always helps to know what set of features is suitable for which tasks. So, let us discuss popular activities and a suitable pair of binos for them.
Hunting is by far the most tricky area to find the best match for. Let us say a 20×50 is a better option, as it has higher magnification and better details, and the image output would be shaky. In contrast, if we go for 10×50, the image would be stable, and you will get a wide field view, but the details would be missing.
So, in this case, you will have to make a decision. If you opt for 20×50 binos, it will be better to pair it with a tripod adapter. However, while going for 10×50 binoculars, you will need an additional lens attachment.
Nature observation or bird watching is a popular activity people with binoculars spend their time on. In such a case, a pair of binos that offers a wide view of the field without compromising the optical quality sounds like the correct choice. And though you can choose both the 10×50 and 20×50 binos, I like to use 10×50, given that it is easy to use and locate moving objects on a large field quite ideally.
Astronomy is a tricky area when it comes to buying the right pair of binos. This is because, when it comes to moon sighting, the choice of binoculars comes down to your preferences and purpose.
For instance, if you want to observe celestial objects in the sky without compromising on the details, it is better that you opt for a 20×50 pair of binos. This is because they have a higher magnification that gives you a detailed output (twenty times bigger) of objects than they usually are. However, you will need a separate tripod or monopod to use these binos.
On the contrary, if you just want to enjoy the sight of the objects on the moon and track them for a fun night with friends, a 10×50 pair of binoculars would be a better choice. This is because, though it has a low magnification, the large field view and stable image allow you to better track the objects while covering a wider area. And you won’t need an image-stabilizing gear with this one.
When you are going on traveling trips, especially hiking, a light and easy-going binocular would be a better choice. Now, in this case, you can pretty much choose any of the two. But I would still prefer a 10×50, as it offers a large view of the field and is quite handy while you are on the go.
You need a lightweight and compact binocular for concerts, which is equally good in providing a brighter image. Given these conditions, a 10×50 pair of binos might be the right choice. They are light and comfortable to be used for prolonged periods, not to mention appropriate for low-light conditions.
Does a 20×50 binocular have more magnification than a 10×50 binoculars?
Yes, 20×50 binoculars have a 20X magnification range, which is more than the 10X range of a 10×50 pair of binos.
Are 20 x 50 binos heavier?
Yes, 20×50 pairs of binoculars tend to be a little bit larger and heavier because of their large lens arrangement. However, the weight is also dependent on the exterior and buildup material of the binos, and not just the lens.
How far can a 10×50 pair of binoculars view?
On average, 10×50 binoculars can see times bigger than the reality, which is around 12 miles on the field.
10×50 and 20×50, both binoculars, are great for general purposes. But if you are a professional planning to make a long-term investment, it doesn’t hurt to do a little research and make an informed decision. Here, every small thing counts, from the lens diameter to the field view, magnification, image stability, and pupil size.
I hope this guide has been helpful in figuring out which one is better.