10×50 Vs 20×50 Binoculars, which is better?

Do you know what the “x” and “50” mean in binoculars? How about in a 10X50 or 20X50 pair of binoculars? Maybe you’re thinking that because one number is bigger than the other, it means that the binoculars with more magnification is always better. In this blog post I’ll help you understand what those letters and numbers stand for to get a better idea on which are best for you.

First off, what do the numbers mean? It’s pretty simple actually. “X” is the ratio of the objective lens diameter to the exit pupil (the hole where you look through). So in a 10×50 pair of binoculars, it means that the front lens is 10 times bigger in diameter than the exit pupil. If it was a 20×50 pair of binoculars, it would mean that the front lens is 20 times bigger in diameter than the exit pupil.

The second number you see is the magnification ratio of the binoculars. So in a 10×50 binocular, it means that from a distance of 1 meter, you can see an object that is 10 meters away with perfect clarity. In a 20×50 pair of binoculars, it means that from a distance of 1 meter, you can see an object that is 20 meters away with perfect clarity.

So which is better 10×50 or 20×50 Binoculars?

The simple answer is that you can’t really compare. There are two primary reasons why a 10×50 binocular will be brighter than a 20×50 binocular. First, when all else is equal, a 10×50 binocular will be at least four times brighter than a 20×50 binocular. Second, 20×50 binoculars don’t perform well handheld and require a tripod or other support.

What is the difference between 10×50 and 20×50 binoculars?

When you’re looking for the best binoculars, there are two things that you need to consider. First of all, the magnification of the binoculars needs to be high enough for you to see with absolute clarity. At least 10x is recommended for birding and getting close-up shots of small creatures. 20x is better for seeing objects at a distance.

The second thing that you need to consider is focal length. The longer the focal length of your binoculars, the brighter it will be.

First of all, it depends how far away you want to be able to see clearly. If you’re birdwatching in your backyard, a 10×50 binocular will do just fine. However, if you’re going on safari, or want to be able to see distant objects at a sporting event, then you’ll want the 20×50 binoculars.

The second difference is size and weight. The 10×50 binoculars are lighter, smaller and more comfortable to use. They don’t make much sense when you have the 20X50 binoculars. They’re too heavy, too big and mean that you have to hold them up (unless you have a tripod or some other device to hold them still while using).

My personal preference is the 10×50 binoculars. I like the smaller size and weight of these binoculars. I also own a set of Vortex Diamondback Binoculars, which are 10×50’s.

The bottom line is that you want to be able to see the action at a sporting event, then you need the 20×50 binoculars for sure. However, if you just want something for birdwatching or other close-up activities, then the 10×50 binoculars are much more convenient and easier to carry around.

Example: From a distance of one kilometer, with a 10X50 pair of binoculars (on a tripod) I could clearly see an airplane coming in for landing. With the 20X50’s, I could see the airplane clearly (and actually read the airline and flight number on the side).

Special note:

The 10x magnification range on the ones pictured is one of their most notable features. These are the ones to catch an animal on the hunt. They have enough optical power for birds as well as nature lovers.

There is also a wide field of view that covers about one degree for every 10 meters (33 feet) of distance from the viewer to make your viewing experience more pleasurable.

In fact, you’ll be able to see all kinds of animals in their natural habitat without any problem while this wide FOV lets you follow birds in flight without straining your eyes. It’s a great combination.

Having relatively large lenses that are 50mm or larger also helps make them a favorite of birdwatchers, hunters, and other nature lovers.

The 10x range is just right for many purposes and when you add in the fact that they’re lightweight and easy to transport, it’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular magnification ranges on outdoor binoculars.

They’re also quite popular among people who enjoy hunting since they offer a high level of brightness in low-light situations without casting shadows and reducing contrast too much.

Final thoughts

So, how did I do? Did I explain it easy enough for you? Did you understand the difference between 10×50 and 20×50 binoculars? Heck, have a go on your own and see which is better if you’re still not sure. Which one is best for you depends upon your needs and uses.

And remember, if you’re planning to buy binoculars, try to get the ones that are higher in magnification (at least 10x). That will make a big difference on how bright they are.

If you’re looking for a pair of binoculars to take with you on vacation or travel, check out these compact binoculars. They are small enough to take with you when hunting, traveling or hiking.

Read more binoculars in different size:

Matthew Koch

Hi, I'm Matthew, a passionate blogger and traveler. I'm also a hard-core hiker. Hiking with friends and visiting new places is what I live for. Currently, I'm working at Gear Odds as CEO & Columnist. I would like to provide my best outdoor experience possible.