What Does 10X50 Mean in Binocular Jargon?

By Joe Shead

The numbers on binoculars can be confusing, but they have a simple explanation.
i binoculars image by Kimberly Reinick from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

People often get confused by the two numbers that describe binoculars, but they actually have a simple explanation. Memorizing this simple formula will make shopping for new optics much easier.

First Number (Magnification)

The first number in a binocular description is the magnification. In this case, the magnification is 10 power, written as 10x, which means the image appears 10 times closer than when viewed with the naked eye.

Second Number (Objective Lens)

The second number is the size of the objective lens, written in millimeters. The objective lens is the larger lens, the one farthest from your eyes. The objective lenses in 10x50 binoculars are 50 mm in diameter.

Buying Considerations

The higher the magnification, the closer the image appears. The price also goes up. Larger objective lenses gather more light, so they are helpful when viewing images in low-light conditions when animals are often most active. Larger objective lenses add size and weight and increase the price of the optics.