jerry jackson
Photographed by Bette Jackson

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Source: Birding 3

Length of Segment: 00:01:15

Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. Two numbers appear on every pair of binoculars in what looks like an algebraic formula, something like 7 X 50. The first number tells you that the image you view with the binoculars is magnified seven times. The second number, the 50, tells you that each front lens is 50 millimeters, about two inches, across. With larger lenses, more light can enter the binoculars and your view will be brighter. Larger diameter front lenses are important if you have difficulty seeing things in dim light. However, there is a downside to large lenses: they require a larger supporting frame. I get headaches from wearing heavy binoculars around my neck for long periods. I recommend front lenses as large as 50 millimeters for binoculars you might want to keep on the kitchen table to view birds in your backyard. If you're planning to make an occasional foray to a nearby park or wildlife refuge, you may want some lighter-weight binoculars. For general birding, I recommend front lenses in the range from 35 to 42 millimeters. If you have difficulty with the weight of binoculars around your neck, look into some of the harnesses that are available to replace your binocular strap. These work great, and distribute the weight onto your shoulders.

'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.

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