Binoculars with Constant Auto Focus
Manufacturers’ use of terms such as Self Focusing Binoculars, or, as they occasionally do, Auto Focus Binoculars, is extremely misleading and causes a great deal of confusion. I hope to clarify everything in this article.
This is because these devices do not automatically or self-focus in any way, and there is no mechanism that does so for you. This is simply marketing companies hyping them up, and in the process, contributing to widespread confusion!
More precise marketing terms are fixed focus, focus-free binoculars, or binoculars that are always in focus (but even then, you usually have a way of making minor adjustments to the focus as most of these instruments have a diopter adjustment on each of the eyepieces).
These fixed focus or permanent focus binoculars lack a focusing mechanism and are designed to have a fixed but extremely long field of view (typically from around 40ft to infinity), resulting in a large hyperfocal distance.
This means that everything in the range of approximately 40 feet to infinity will remain in focus.
Binoculars with Individual Focus and Diopter Adjusters on both eyepieces
Binoculars with Individual Focus and Diopter Adjusters on both eyepieces
While there are some binoculars that are completely without a focus mechanism, these completely without a focus binoculars cannot account for differences in the strength of vision between your eyes.
Thus, what is far more prevalent and far superior are Individual Focus Binoculars.
These do not have a single focus wheel and mechanism that adjusts the focus on both sides of the binocular simultaneously, as is the case with standard instruments and which the majority of you are familiar with. Rather than that, they feature two diopter adjusters – one on each eyepiece – that allow you to independently adjust the focus on each side of the binocular.
However, this should not be compared to the primary focus wheel on a standard binocular. These dioptric correction rings are used to adjust the binocular to your unique vision and account for any differences between your left and right eyes.
While it is possible to adjust the focal length using both diopters and thus change the minimal focal distance, they do not have the close range of most cental focusing binoculars.
What are “Auto Focus Binoculars” and How Do They Work?
To create a binocular that does not require primary focus adjustment, they are designed to focus on distant objects and have an extremely long field of view.
Thus, their optics are designed to take advantage of your eyes’ natural ability to focus, which explains why the marketing terms auto focus and focus free originated.
To adjust the fixed focus binocular to your specific vision, you adjust the diopter of each eyepiece (which is why they are also referred to as individual focus bins). Once this step is completed, they do not require any further adjustments. That is, unless they are used by someone with a different strength of vision, your vision changes, or your setting is accidentally changed.
Why is there so much confusion about the names?
The confusion surrounding the name and label of self-focusing binoculars was almost certainly caused by clever marketing strategies employed by the major manufacturers of this type of binocular in an attempt to make them appear more sophisticated than they actually are.
Whatever you want to call them, fixed focus or always in focus binoculars have been around for several decades and have their uses. There are some excellent quality fixed focus binoculars available.
What are the Benefits of auto focus binocular?
Due to the reduced number of moving parts, they are much easier to manufacture and thus tend to be more affordable, robust, and frequently much longer lasting. This also simplifies the process of making them completely dust- and waterproof. As you can see, fixed focus binoculars are ideal for use in harsh environments and are therefore popular among military and marine personnel.
Due to the fact that they have fewer parts, they are frequently lighter than standard instruments.
Due to the fact that once you’ve adjusted the binoculars to your vision, no further focusing is required, using them is faster than with binoculars that require you to focus on every object you look at. This is ideal for fast moving erratic objects, and thus they could theoretically make excellent birding binoculars, provided that a good close focus distance is not a priority (Fixed focus optics usually have minimum close focusing distance of around 35 – 40ft).
Due to the lack of a focussing wheel, the binoculars are simplified and thus much easier to use, which is ideal for children, the elderly, and those wearing thick gloves, for example. Thus, they are well-suited for use in cold or harsh environments and make excellent ski binoculars. They are also well-suited for marine use in colder climates.
Binoculars without a focus typically have a wide field of view.
If you have a significantly weaker eye than the other, these may be a good option for you because they typically have a large Dioptre Adjustment Range. For additional information on this subject, see this article: Individual Focus Binoculars or Single Diopter Adjustment?
Disadvantages of auto focus binocular
Always in Focus Binoculars sound great, but are widely regarded as a compromise in design, well-suited for convenience but not well-suited for work outside their intended range or uses.
Auto focus binoculars (fixed focus) do not typically have a close focusing distance and many only focus from about 35 to 40 feet, which is why they are more popular for use in wide open areas such as the ocean. They are therefore ideal for Marine Binoculars and would not be suitable for applications requiring a close minimum focusing distance, such as Butterfly Binoculars.
Fixed focus binoculars rely on your eyes’ flexibility to maintain a clear and focused image. This is not a problem for children and adolescents, but as we age, our eyes gradually lose their ability to focus, and for many people over the age of about 40, these binoculars may cause significant eye strain.
While self-focusing binoculars have their place and uses, because they are customised to your individual vision, they are less suitable for sharing with others (unless you share the same vision). Therefore, do not bring them to a sporting event or safari vacation with another person.
Which is more effective: the central focus knob or the individual eye focus?
I recently received a question from a reader who inquired, “Does it matter whether the binocular you’re considering has individual eye adjusters or not, and which is preferable, the central focus knob or individual eye focusers?”
I believe it is more a case of horses for courses in that both have their advantages and disadvantages and thus which is better will depend heavily on the situation or purpose for which they are used.
For purposes such as astronomy, marine observation, observing a sporting event, or just about any long distance observation, where you do not require a close focus and the majority of what you observe is far away, you do not need to constantly adjust the focus, and thus, once you have set up the binocular using the diopters on each eyepiece, you will never need to make any further adjustments. Thus, an individual eye focus binocular is unquestionably a viable option in this case.
For the majority of other general uses and activities such as birding, wildlife observation, and so on, where you require the ability to quickly shift focus from close objects such as a bird in a nearby bush to distant objects such as a deer in a field or even the stars, I would suggest a binocular with a central focus mechanism is a far superior option.
Automatic Focusing Binoculars were first popularised by the brand “Jason” in 1947 in Kansas City. Jason produced a line of self-focusing binoculars that gained widespread popularity in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. Bushnell acquired the Jason brand of binoculars and rebranded them as the PermaFocus line of auto focus binoculars. Jason Binoculars, as far as I am aware, are no longer in production.
The following are a few of our favourite Auto Focus Binoculars (Fixed Focus)
Steiner MM30 8X30 Auto Focus Binoculars
Steiner’s MM30 auto focus binoculars feature military and marine-grade features, a rugged body, and high-quality optics. When it comes to auto focus binoculars, it offers the best price/value ratio.
Steiner’s “sports auto focus” system ensures that each shot is always sharp. Without refocusing, you will have brilliant 3D images from 20 yards to infinity (other brands start from 30 yds).
Additionally, they not only offer a reasonable amount of zoom but also a wide field of view.
These binoculars’ 30mm objective lens allows for 8x magnification and a field of view of 390 feet at 1000 yards.
With the fully multi-coated objective lens, you will spend less time adjusting the focus and more time on target.
It is constructed of Steiner’s patented NBR rubber armour, which makes the automatic focus binoculars highly resistant to impact and the optimal choice for on-field use. Additionally, these binoculars come with a variety of accessories, ensuring that you are prepared for any situation that may arise.
Steiner Navigator Pro 7X50 Auto Focus Binoculars
Although the Navigator Pro is designed for marine use, it is equally at home in any environment. Additionally, a version with a built-in compass is available.
The Steiner Navigator Pro autofocus binoculars perform admirably in low light conditions. The 50mm objective lens on these binoculars allows for increased light gathering and a clear, bright image.
You can focus on distant objects and zoom in whenever you want with a 7x magnification. Despite their high magnification, these binoculars have a useful field of view of 370 feet at 1,000 yards.
You can keep a close eye on what’s happening around your target.
These self-focusing binoculars feature a high-quality Porro prism, which makes them slightly delicate to use. However, with Steiner’s NBR rubber armouring, this device is ideal for field use.
Your binoculars are waterproof and can be used in a variety of conditions. You will always be on target.
Bushnell Spectator Sport 12X50 Auto Focus Binoculars
Bushnell autofocus binoculars with 50mm objective lenses and a magnification of 12x. They ensure that you get the best performance possible regardless of the lighting conditions.
If you’re looking for high-quality at a reasonable price, there is no better option. Bushnell designed these binoculars to ensure that you can zoom in on your target regardless of the purpose.
These binoculars are suitable for both hunters and general observers. Bushnell equipped these binoculars with a Porro BaK4 prism for enhanced image clarity. You will never have to deal with washed-out images regardless of the lighting conditions.
These instafocus binoculars have a 50mm objective lens and can collect the maximum amount of light available from the environment, providing you with a cellar view. Naturally, with the automatic focus feature, you can pan quickly across the area to observe the action.
Military-Marine Steiner MM1050 10X50 Auto Focus Binoculars
The Steiner MM1050 features 50mm objective lenses and a magnification of 10x.
Normally, with this much magnification, the field of view is limited, but not with these auto focus binoculars.
At 1000 yards, the MM1050 military and marine-grade binoculars provide a field of view of 327 feet.
As a result, you can keep a close eye on things from afar.
The MM1050 is ideal for professionals in the field and is the best choice for military and law enforcement applications due to these features.
Although these fast focus binoculars are lightweight, they can withstand an 11 G impact. Thus, if you are a hunter who enjoys working in difficult conditions, the MM1050 binoculars will prove to be an excellent companion.
SightMark Solitude 10X42LRF Auto Focus Binoculars
The SightMark Solitude automatic focusing binoculars feature a 42mm objective lens with a fixed magnification of 10x.
The clarity achieved by these binoculars is simply outstanding. The rangefinding binoculars with lasers are best suited for hunters.
These binoculars have an accuracy range of up to 1200 yards. If you are a short- to medium-range shooter, this is the device for you.
The binoculars are extremely easy to use, with a simple two-button operation.
With the LCD, your images and views will not be washed out, even in bright sunlight. The body of these binoculars is rugged yet lightweight, and it is armoured with rubber.
Additionally, SightMark has made them water resistant by using nitrogen-purged o-ring seals. As a result, you can use them comfortably in a variety of situations. These self-adjusting binoculars are comfortable to use even if you wear glasses due to their adjustable eyecups.
Steiner M80 20X80 Military Auto Focus Binoculars
The Steiner M80 auto focus binoculars have an objective lens of 80mm and a fixed magnification of 20x.
That’s a lot of power, and if you’re looking for a pair of binoculars that perform well in low light, these will not disappoint.
Auto focusing binoculars are simple to use and can be used in a variety of conditions. You can practise them in an urban setting or in the wilderness, or from a ridgetop.
Steiner is a well-known optics brand known for its low-light performance and is a prefered choice of military and law enforcement personnel.
These no-focus binoculars are constructed to be impact-resistant and waterproof, with rubber armouring. Due to the high quality optics on these Steiner auto focus binoculars, they are slightly heavier. If you have shaky hands, zooming in at higher magnifications will disadvantage you.
Night Owl Nexgen Night Vision Auto Focus Binoculars
The Night Owl Nexgen auto focus binoculars have a 24mm objective lens and a magnification of two times.
These night-vision goggles feature Generation 1 night vision, ensuring that nothing will escape your eye even in complete darkness.
These non-focusing binoculars are designed for use in the field and are capable of operating in all weather conditions.
You will not need to concentrate on your target because your NVG Nexgen will do so automatically.
These binoculars feature two light intensifier tubes that ensure the maximum amount of light is gathered to produce a crisp image that allows you to see your target even in low light.
Additionally, these binoculars include an integrated infrared illuminator that allows you to view your target without disclosing your location. To ensure the highest quality, Night Owl used all-glass optics on these binoculars.
Konus 10X50 Wide Angle Auto Focus Binoculars
These versatile wide-angle auto focus binoculars from Konus have a 10x magnification and 50mm objective lenses. They are always ready for use.
If you’re looking for a viewing device that enables you to capture a moving scene quickly, the Konus binoculars 1050 are an excellent choice.
The images will remain sharp as ever and perform admirably in bright light.
However, even if the light conditions are not favourable, these binoculars will continue to deliver clear, sharp images.
The Ruby coated optics on these binoculars deserve a lot of credit. The light that enters these binoculars’ tubes creates a brighter image, ensuring that you never miss any action.
Additionally, the binoculars have a field of view of 288 feet per 1000 yards, even when zoomed in to 10x magnification. All you need to do is avoid having shaky hands.
Barska 9X25mm Auto Focus-Free Compact Binoculars
These Barska Focus Free binoculars place a premium on affordability and portability.
These binoculars have a 25mm objective lens and a magnification of 9x, which is quite good for their size.
The focus-free binocular is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a device to use in a stadium or other location where you don’t want to miss any action at a medium to close range.
As a result, it is not an excellent choice for anyone looking to purchase a device for long-range shooting or viewing over water.
These binoculars are easy to carry due to their light weight but are rugged due to their rubberized armour. This autofocus binocular is also well-suited for mid-range wildlife observation. Additionally, a carrying case and a neck strap will be included in your package.
Barska 10X50mm Auto Focus Binoculars
The Barska 1050 binoculars feature a 50mm objective lens and a 10x magnification.
These auto focus binoculars will keep you connected to the action on the field when there is a lot going on and you don’t have a lot of time to focus.
These are perhaps the best auto focus binoculars for covering a large area at a high magnification.
Even at 10x magnification, you can enjoy a wide field of view of 367 feet at 1000 yards.
The Porro BK-7 prism system and fully multi-coated lenses enable these binoculars to accomplish this feat.
Despite their high magnification, these binoculars are extremely lightweight. The rubber armour design allows for a secure grip even with one hand. These binoculars are ideal for any activity that requires a great deal of movement.
Bushnell 10X40 Spectator Sport Roof Permafocus Binoculars
Bushnell auto focus binoculars with 40mm objective lenses provide sharp images even in low light.
Additionally, they feature a 10x magnification and a field of view of 305 feet at 100 yards.
As a result, you can comfortably view what you desire in sufficient detail. These characteristics make binoculars ideal for a variety of different activities.
They are ideal for hunting, shooting, and wildlife observation in the field. They are fairly lightweight to hold in your hands and you can even hold them for an extended period of time without becoming fatigued.
However, if you wear glasses, these binoculars may not be suitable for you because they have a 14mm eye relief.
One of the reasons these binoculars are lightweight is that they use the BaK4 roof prism system, which is lighter than Porro.
Tasco 7X35 Binoculars with Zero-Focus
As with the 7x35mm Tasco binoculars, these Tasco auto focus binoculars have a smaller objective lens and a lower magnification.
Porro prisms are used in these binoculars. As a result, even with a smaller objective lens, clarity and sharpness are obtained.
Additionally, these binoculars have a 488-foot field of view at 1000 yards. Tesco used fully multi-coated optics and the device weighs only 20 oz.
Your purchase will include a strap and a case; the body of these binoculars is made of rubber for added durability, and the eyecups feature a fold-down design.
The Different Types of Auto Focus Binoculars
The terms autofocus and self-focusing binoculars are extremely ambiguous. This is primarily due to the fact that manufacturers market their products using these terms.
These binoculars are more precisely referred to as always in focus binoculars or focus-free binoculars. On the market, there are two distinct types of auto focus binoculars. There are binoculars that are always in focus and binoculars that are individually focused.
Binoculars that are always in focus are ideal for immediate viewing. If you’re not a fan of adjusting the focus on your binoculars, these are the devices for you.
These viewing devices are not equipped with a focusing mechanism. They are designed with a large field of view, which can range from approximately 40 feet to infinity. As a result, they have a relatively large hyperfocal distance.
Individual focus binoculars, on the other hand, lack a single focus wheel. You can adjust both tubes independently using two distinct diopter adjustment controls.
These controls are located on the eyepieces, and they allow you to adjust the focus independently for both eyes. These diopters are ideal for people who have a left and right eye with different vision.
Despite the fact that you have independent control over each of your eyes, you still lack the close focus range that always in focus binoculars provide.
How do binoculars with auto focus work?
These binoculars make use of your eye’s natural focusing ability. This is where the term “autofocus” comes from. Autofocus binoculars make use of the lens fitted at each end of the scope.
The objective lens is one of these lenses; it is used to focus on the subject. On the other end is the eyepiece lens, which aids the human eye in visualising an object.
The first lens (objective lens) collects light from the object and transmits it to the eyepiece lens, which creates a vivid image. The eyepiece lens is then used to magnify the object, allowing it to be seen up close.
All of this occurs instantly, and you have the impression that your binocular is autofocusing on the distant object.
There are two types of autofocus binoculars: one with adjustable focusing barrels and one without. These binoculars have a fixed field of view that ranges from approximately 30 feet to infinity.
Binoculars with an adjustment feature adjust to your eyesight. Simply adjust the diopter on the eyepiece to suit your vision. When you’re finished, the binoculars will no longer require adjustment.