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Spie Press Book

Field Guide to Binoculars and Scopes
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Book Description

Modern binoculars and scopes meet a variety of user needs. This Field Guide provides readers with a concise, organized reference that explains the functions and configurations of instruments commonly used by bird watchers, hunters, amateur astronomers, and military and law-enforcement members. This book also addresses the rationale behind instrument design choices, with hardware examples illustrating specific arrangements and features.

Book Details

Date Published: 27 June 2011
Pages: 152
ISBN: 9780819486493
Volume: FG19

Table of Contents
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Glossary of Symbols and Notation
What Are Binoculars and Scopes?
How Are These Instruments Used?
Basic Optical System Parameters
Instrument Size and Weight
Pertinent Eye Parameters
Structure of the Eye
Pupil Size
Interpupillary Distance
Resolving Power
Stereoscopic Capability
Luminosity and Chromatic Sensitivities
Basic Configurations
Galilean Systems
Keplerian Systems
Binocular Types - General Considerations
Compact Binoculars
Mid-Size Binoculars
Full-Size Binoculars
Giant Mounted Binoculars
High-Magnification and Wide-Angle Binoculars
Military and Law Enforcement Binoculars
Astronomical Binoculars
Monoculars and Spotting Scopes
Spotting Scopes
Riflescopes and Weapon Sights
Weapon Sights
Astronomical Scopes
Refracting Form
Newtonian, Cassegrain, and Gregorian Forms
Schmidt-Cassegrain and Schmidt-Gregorian Forms
Maksutov-Cassegrain Form
Richest-Field Form
Mounts for Astronomical Binoculars and Scopes
Light-Duty Mounts
Heavy-Duty Mounts
Tripod Attributes
More about Equatorial Mounts
Dobsonian Mounts
GOTO Drives
Binocular and Scope Performance
Stereoscopic Vision Through a Binocular
Resolving Power with Optics
Binocular/Scope Efficiency
Handheld-Binocular Efficiency
Distortion Effects
Limiting Magnitude of a Binocular or Scope
Diffraction Effects
Obscuration Effects
Atmospheric Scatter Effects
Atmospheric Seeing Effects (Elevated Path)
Atmospheric Seeing Effects (Horizontal Path)
Optical System Considerations
Focusing for Different Target Locations
The Diopter Adjustment
Erecting Prisms
Prism Refractive-Index Effects
Lens Erecting Systems
Eyepiece Configurations
Selection of Interchangeable Eyepieces
The Field Stop
Light Transmission
Stray Light
Light Baffles
Variable-Magnification (Zoom) Systems
Image Stabilization Techniques
Rangefinding Techniques
Mechanical System Considerations
Overall Size of a Binocular
Weight of a Binocular
Environmental Considerations
Housing Design
Binocular Hinge Mechanisms
Binocular Collimation Mechanisms
Object Focus Mechanisms
Diopter Adjustment Mechanisms
Sealing and Purging
Photography Through Binoculars and Scopes
Basic Photography Techniques
Interfacing the Camera
Integral Cameras
Maintenance of Binoculars and Scopes
Protection and Cleaning of the Instrument
Testing the Instrument
Test Setups and Methods
Modular Construction
Desirable Instrument Attributes
General Considerations
Attributes for Bird Watching Binoculars
Attributes for Hunting Binoculars
Attributes for Military Binoculars
Attributes for Astronomical Binoculars
Attributes for Spotting Scopes
Attributes for Astronomical Refractor Scopes
Attributes for Newtonian Scopes
Attributes for Catadioptric Scopes
Equation Summary


The intent of this Field Guide is to explain the functions and configurations of various types of binoculars and scopes to the beginner as well as to the experienced user. We also attempt to show why a given instrument is designed the way it is.

Binoculars of various sizes - ranging from pocket size to giant models, high magnification and wide angle types, and ones used for military, law enforcement, marine and amateur astronomical applications - are considered. Scopes include small monoculars, spotting scopes, riflescopes, weapon sights, and astronomical types as large as 300 mm. Mounts for the larger instruments are also considered. Theoretical explanations of optical and mechanical systems performance are summarized.

We acknowledge with thanks Bushnell Outdoor Products, Carl Zeiss AG, Carl Zeiss Sport Optics, Leuopold & Stevens, Moller-Wedel GmbH, Questar, Schultz Optical, Inc. Loupe Direct, Steiner, Swarovski Optik KG, and the University of Arizona's College of Optical Sciences for technical information and illustrations included here.

We also thank John Greivenkamp, Wright Scidmore, and Bruce Walker for reviewing the manuscript and offering valuable suggestions for corrections and clarifications.

Any mention of specific hardware in this Field Guide is not meant to be an endorsement, but rather, it is intended to cite an example of a certain instrument configuration or design feature of potential interest to the reader.

The authors dedicate this Field Guide with love to the memory of Paul's late wife, Betty, and to Daniel's wife, Suzanne.

Paul R. Yoder, Jr.
Norwalk, Connecticut

Daniel Vukobratovich
Tucson, Arizona

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