Binocular care in an important routine to keep up with in order to keep your
binoculars in tip-top shape. Binoculars used for bird watching face many
hazards to which binoculars used at opera houses and football stadiums are
In addition to being able to withstand precipitation and
highly corrosive salt spray, bird-watching binoculars should be rugged enough to
accompany birders up rocky slopes, in and out of boats, down sandy beaches, and
through wet and dry bird habitats.
Center focus binoculars (the preferred type for birding) are
particularly vulnerable to water and dirt, which may enter through the focusing
apparatus (more or less depending on
Dirty binoculars provide neither sharp detail nor crisp
colors. Here are some binocular care tips to keep yours in their best bird
How to Clean Binoculars
Binoculars should be cleaned frequently,
following these suggestions.
- Thoroughly wipe dirt off metal parts and brush all lenses
with a wad of lens cleaning tissue or a soft camel-hair brush to dislodge
particles of sand and grit. Unless these are removed, you could easily scratch
the lens and its coating during the cleaning process. Hold binoculars upside
down so that dirt will fall away from the lens surface.
- Fold a piece of lens cleaning tissue so that it is at least
four layers thick. This prevents oil from your fingers soaking through the
tissue and onto the lens surface. Use a circular movement to gently wipe all
- If there is a film of oil on the lens, put a drop of lens
cleaner on the tissue
and repeat the circular wiping movement.
- Look for dirt on internal optics by holding the binoculars
up to a light and looking into the objective lenses. Never attempt to open
binoculars, since alignment is easily disrupted. Though it's expensive, leave
this binocular care of
internal cleaning to the professionals
- Don't stroll through the woods swinging binoculars by the
strap. When in the field, always keep the binoculars around your neck.
- When performing active maneuvers, such as jumping across a
ditch, climbing a rock slope, or getting into a boat, tuck the binoculars
inside your jacket or secure them under your arm.
- When driving in a car, don't leave the binoculars on the
seat, since a quick stop will send them flying forward. Be certain not to
leave your binoculars sitting exposed in your car, especially on a hot summer
day. If thieves don't find them, the sun may soften the lens coatings, causing
them to crack and separate from the lenses.
- Keep binoculars under cover if it starts raining.
Water can leak into the housing, carrying with it dirt that will stain the
internal optics. Rain guards offer some protection during light rains and
drizzles, but they are not adequate protection for heavy rains. If your
binoculars "steam up" on the inside, set them in a warm, dry place, and they are
likely to dry out in a couple of
days. Otherwise, fungus may start growing on the lens coating.
- If binoculars fall into fresh water, have them professionally
cleaned as soon as possible to avoid rusting. If they are dropped in salt water,
rinse them thoroughly in fresh water, seal them in a plastic bag, and rush them
to a professional service department within three days of the soaking. If the
water-soaked binoculars were inexpensive to start with, you might as well buy a
new pair, because the repair charge will probably exceed the purchase price.
Hope these binocular care tips help you keep
yours in tip-top birding condition. Good luck and remember to always follow your
bird watching bliss!
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