12x50 Vs 10x42 Binoculars, Which is better?

A pair of binoculars is a popular and versatile tool for outdoor observation and navigation. But how do you decide which kind is the best for your needs?

To make things a little easier for you, we've compared two popular specifications: optical magnification, or power; and the diameter of objective lens in millimeters (a measure of the amount of light that can enter the lens).

Of course, there is more to the choice of binoculars than this, but it is a good starting point.

Here are a few pointers to help you make the right choice:

  • If you're planning to use your binoculars for stargazing or watching wildlife at twilight, choose the higher power and lower diameter lens. These will perform more effectively after dark by delivering more light and preserving a better field of view.
  • If you're after a good all-round pair of binoculars for outdoor sports like birdwatching or sailing, choose a lower power and higher diameter lens. These will deliver a brighter, clearer image in daylight. The larger the diameter of objective lens, the more light that can enter. Some manufacturers put this figure in the name of their binoculars. For example, a pair of 8x22 binoculars will deliver more light than a pair of 8x25s.
  • Keep in mind that not all areas require the same kind of performance from your binoculars. If you're planning to use them predominantly in daylight, pick the size and power combination that suits your needs. But if you plan to use them at twilight or after dark, choose the other combination.

Which is better 12x50 or 10x42 Binoculars?

When examining the 10x42 UHD in comparison to the 12x50 UHD, you receive an instant magnification boost of 18.18%, an increase in weight of 11.42%, a decrease in FOV of 18.30%, but only a 6.45% increase in cost.

The best choice for you is determined by what you need from your binoculars.

For stargazing:

  • 10x42 or 12x50 (Diopter+Magnification)? 12x50 wins, as the lower magnification gives a brighter and more detailed view, which is ideal for deep sky objects. If the binoculars are lightweight, they will offer better indoor performance.
  • "Barska 8x42 and 10x42, with more than 20 feet of light path, will be a little more bright than the compact 10x50 Bushnell. Barska has an extra advantage in that they are made by BaK-4 optics. The Bushnell 10x50 binoculars have four objectives lenses with a width of 50mm each. The Barska has one objective lens with a width of 42mm and another objective lens with a width of 32mm (diameter). That should more than double the light transmission of the binoculars and therefore deliver brighter images."

For outdoor sports:

  • 12x50 (Diopter+Magnification)? 12x50 wins. Higher magnification is better for wide field of view, low power is better in low light. The two objectives combined with the large size of each objective lens, will give a brighter view in daylight (some manufacturers have this split into separate size lenses). If the binoculars are lightweight, they will deliver better indoor performance.
  • "10x42 and 12x50 models are both good choices for outdoor sports, such as bird watching and sailing."

For observations:

  • 10x50 (Diopter+Magnification) ? 12x50 wins. Higher magnification is better for wide field of view and higher light transmission. The two objectives combined with the large size of each objective lens, will give a brighter view in daylight (some manufacturers have this split into separate size lenses). If the binoculars are lightweight, they will deliver better indoor performance.
  • "10x50 binoculars are excellent for astronomy and might be a little brighter than 12x50 binoculars."

Final thoughts

If you're planning to use your binoculars for stargazing or watching wildlife at twilight, choose the higher power and lower diameter lens. These will perform more effectively after dark by delivering more light and preserving a better field of view.

If you're after a good all-round pair of binoculars for outdoor sports like birdwatching or sailing, choose a lower power and higher diameter lens. These will deliver a brighter, clearer image in daylight. The larger the diameter of objective lens, the more light that can enter. Some manufacturers put this figure in the name of their binoculars. For example, a pair of 8x22 binoculars will deliver more light than a pair of 8x25s.

Keep in mind that not all areas require the same kind of performance from your binoculars. If you're planning to use them predominantly in daylight, pick the size and power combination that suits your needs. But if you plan to use them at twilight or after dark, choose the other combination.

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