A detailed comparison between 10×50 vs 20×50 binoculars. Which one is better?

In the modern era, binoculars are fiercely competitive, making it challenging to pick the best pair for various outdoor activities. This post will compare 10×50 vs 20×50 binoculars to decide which is best based on user purpose. Here is a detailed analysis of binoculars 10×50 vs 20×50.

What do 10×50 binoculars and 20×50 binoculars mean?

Have you ever been perplexed while purchasing binoculars because of the description? Let’s find out what the description of the binoculars means.

Why are they called 10X50 binoculars?

10x is used to describe the magnification power of 10X50 binoculars. With a 10x magnification, the actual thing will appear ten times larger. The diameter of the objective lens is 50 in a pair of 10×50 binoculars. Millimeters are used to measure it. The capacity of binoculars to capture light is enhanced by larger objective lenses.

If you use 10x magnification binoculars to pursue your target, the buck will appear ten times larger than it is. The image will appear brighter the larger the circumference.

What do 20X50 binoculars mean?

Similar to this, in 20X50 binoculars, 20x stands for magnification, and 50 is an objective lens’s diameter. In comparison to the actual size of the target object, the image will be 20 times larger.

Key differences between 10×50 vs 20×50 binoculars

Understanding whether 10X50 or 20X50 binoculars are ideal for outdoor experiences depends on a variety of criteria. Here are some key differences between 10×50 vs 20×50 binoculars:

  • These 10x and 20x binoculars are excellent in terms of how they specialize. The performance of binoculars is determined by the user’s needs. 10×50 binoculars are used for hiking, sightseeing, or bird watching. 20×50 binoculars are suitable for astronomy, sightseeing, or stargazing.
  • Each pair of binoculars has a unique magnification capacity. A binocular’s magnification power will be higher if it is designed for astronomy or stargazing. In contrast, binoculars designed specifically for hunting will have a lesser magnification.
  • The steadiness of the image is the most important consideration when choosing between 10X50 and 20X50. Higher magnification power will decrease the stability, the image will be wobbly.
  • The exit pupil size correlates with low light performance. Larger exit pupils can collect more light and provide us with an acceptable image. In the low light environment, binoculars with smaller exit pupils won’t provide a clear image.

Let’s dive into a detailed analysis of 10×50 vs 20×50 binoculars:

10x50 vs 20x50 binoculars
Differences between 10×50 vs 20×50 binoculars

Shape and size

20×50 binoculars will normally weigh more than 10×50 binoculars if they are of the same brand and type because the 20x lens will be significantly thicker than the 10x.

The shape and size of binoculars depend on the types of prism: Porro prism and Roof prism. Porro prisms can be significantly heavier and more difficult to operate than conventional binoculars. They are also a little more delicate. When you want a broader field of view or an exceptionally clear image, Porro prism binoculars are generally what you should select. They work well for close-range birdwatching, hunting, sporting events, and other outdoor activities.

Roof prism binoculars are significantly simpler to carry than clumsy Porro-style binoculars. Because No simple horizontal zigzag or zag exists, they are more streamlined, lighter, and more portable. 

Viewing distance relates to the magnification of 10×50 vs 20×50 binoculars

With 10x magnification and a larger aperture, you have excellent viewing capabilities for daytime and some low-light use. Everything that your eye can see, but 10 times larger or closer. For instance, at a distance of around 12 miles, you may see a ship sailing across the horizon. Your binoculars can thus see 12 miles away and will enlarge the ship by ten times

By contrast, 20×50 binoculars will provide further magnified views of the intended item. 20x magnification binoculars will work for you if you need to see something far away.

Which magnification is better?

Each is beneficial in its way. You should choose binoculars with larger magnification if you’re buying them for astronomy, sightseeing, or stargazing. The zoomed image is produced via strong magnification.

For hiking, sightseeing, or bird watching, 10×50 binoculars are more than adequate. With a respectable field of view, you will have the best zooming power.

Stability of image between 10×50 vs 20×50 binoculars

The steadiness of the image is the most important consideration when choosing between 10X50 and 20X50. Your binoculars are outstanding and provide a completely enlarged image but the image is unstable, it is a waste of money.

The handshake is often enlarged when the image is magnified by the binoculars. A 10x pair would therefore magnify a picture by a factor of 10, but it would also amplify little hand motions by a factor of 10. Similar to how 20x binoculars would magnify the image 20 times, they would also make the hand 20 times shakier. 20x binoculars have worse picture stability while having a higher magnification than 10x.

How to test the stability of the image?

To compare the visual stability of 10x and 20x binoculars, do the test below!

Stand about 30 feet away, and place a bill of money on the wall. Use a pair of 10x binoculars to try to read the writing on the note. Then repeat the process with a pair of 20x binoculars.

Do you see the distinction? Despite being greatly enlarged, reading with the 20x pair is nearly impossible. How come? Because tiny motions have been magnified 20 times as opposed to the 10x binoculars’ 10 times.

How can the stability of binoculars be improved?

The instability can be somewhat reduced by using a tripod stand. On your journey, you will need to have a tripod stand with you.

Make sure the binoculars you purchase will work with your tripod stand. Put your binoculars on a tripod for a steadier view.

Field of view (FOV) between binoculars 10×50 vs 20×50 

It indicates the area that people can observe without moving their binoculars. You will have more room to find your target if your field of vision is larger. For those binoculars intended for use on hunting expeditions, it is essential.

Binoculars with a field of vision of 10X50 have a superior field of view of roughly 400 feet. The ideal FOV is 400 feet, especially for stalking and birding excursions.

Unfortunately, the FOV of 20×50 binoculars, which spans from 150 to 270 feet, is not adequate. The majority of outdoor activities do not call for this field of view. It is thought to be worse for birding and other comparable pursuits.

This field of view is wide enough to provide a magnified and larger image of the targeted objects for astronomy and stargazing, at over 200 feet.

You can read the article: How to choose binoculars for your money and needs & 11 Ultimate guides to buy binoculars in store

Exit pupil between binoculars 10×50 vs 20×50

The exit pupil size correlates with low light performance. Let’s first discuss how humans see in low light before getting into the performance in low light.

The human eye’s pupil can move around a lot. It can relax and contract to provide us with the clearest vision. To receive enough light during the day and produce a brighter image, our pupils contract. Daytime illumination is more than sufficient, so the pupil contracts to focus on just the right amount of light.

Have you ever had a clear view of the sun? The strong light causes the eyes to reflexively close. Our eyes close, and our pupils constrict.

However, under dim light, the pupil enlarges to let in more light and improve our vision. Because of our flexible pupils, we can see in both bright and dim light.

The exit pupil is set to a particular size and is not malleable. Therefore, binoculars with larger exit pupils perform excellently in low light. Larger exit pupils can collect more light and provide us with a good image. In low light, binoculars with smaller exit pupils won’t provide a clear image.

Source: Nikon

How to calculate exit pupil?

There is an easy formula to use to get the precise exit pupil of any pair of binoculars. We can get the exit pupil by dividing the objective lens’s diameter by its magnification.

Diameter of objective lens/ magnification = Exit pupil

The exit pupil of 10X50 binoculars, 50mm in diameter, and 10x is magnification power =>Exit pupil = 50/10= 5 mm

The exit pupil of 20X50 binoculars: 20x is magnification power and 50mm is the diameter of the objective lens. => Exit pupil = 50/20 = 2.5 mm

The exit pupil for 10×50 binoculars is 5 mm, which allows them to better capture light and produce brighter images.

Their exit pupil of 2.5 is insufficient to display a respectable image in low light. We advise you to get 10X50 binoculars rather than 20X50 if you intend to use them in cloudy conditions with insufficient light.

Eye relief between 10×50 vs 20×50 binoculars

The distance between your eye and the eyepiece that enables you to view a complete and clear image via binoculars is known as eye relief. You won’t care at all if you have less eye relief if you don’t wear glasses.

Less eye relief, though, can be a significant issue if you usually use glasses. To accommodate your spectacles, you’d need to get a pair of binoculars with larger eye relief. Unusually, eye relief decreases as magnification increases. The eye relief of most 20x binoculars will be less than that of most 10x binoculars.

Source: Nikon

10×50 vs 20×50 binoculars: What are they used for?

10×50 vs 20×50 binoculars for birding

Two things need to be taken into account when choosing a pair of binoculars for birding, wildlife viewing, or other outdoor activities: portability and handheld observation. The 20×50 binoculars would not be the preferred option for any birdwatcher or nature viewer due to any of the aforementioned concerns. In actuality, what you’ll need in this situation is a compact, transportable set of waterproof, weatherproof binoculars with a maximum magnification of 10x for handheld observation.

This does not imply that you cannot use these binoculars to view wildlife, birds, or other natural phenomena. If you don’t mind carrying around extra weight and using a tripod, you can accomplish it quite effectively and enjoy yourself in this situation. Due to the lack of contrast in your image, you won’t have the best experience if you are doing observations at dawn, dusk, in a forest, or in any other low-light situation.

10×50 vs 20×50 binoculars for hunting

Hunting is typically done in large, open spaces. In this situation, long-range binoculars are essential for successful hunting. 10x magnification power gives enough power to see every minute detail of the targeted buck.  Its capacity to detect details and gather all of the exact points of your target will undoubtedly improve shooting accuracy.

Also, 10×50 binoculars would be the pick to go with during prime hunting periods of dawn and dusk when your pupil is dilated to 5-7mm. This is because their exit pupil (which is 5mm) is equivalent to your eye’s pupil. This will provide a vivid and distinct image.

10×50 vs 20×50 binoculars for astronomy

The magnification of 20X50 binoculars is ideal for stargazing and astronomy. They can be utilized for long-distance viewing due to their great magnification power. As a result, if you use them for long-range viewing, they are superb in practically every way. However, the exit pupil of a pair of 20×50 binoculars is quite small just 2.5 mm, these binoculars are suitable for urban areas where the sky is quite bright because of light

When stargazing at dark nights or seeing deep-sky objects, a larger exit pupil is recommended. In this case, 10×50 binoculars may be a better choice. Tripod mountable is recommended for high-power stabilization with any binoculars when coming to stargazing. 

10x50 vs 20x50 binoculars


The 10X50 binoculars are not designed for excessive zooming on stars, as was already explained. They work best when hunting or watching birds. The targeted buck may be viewed in all of its finer details at a 10x magnification. Another advantage of 10×50 binoculars is the stability of images. It makes sense to consider 10×50 binoculars because of their steady focus.

20×50 binoculars will be useful for long-distance viewing and stargazing. Nearly all 20x binocular users complain primarily about instability. Focusing on the target becomes challenging since the visuals appear unsteady. If you decide on 20X50, be sure to invest in a tripod stand.

If you’re expecting a straightforward answer as to which pair of binoculars—the 10×50 or the 20×50—is better, you’ll be disappointed to learn that it is not so straightforward!

Although each pair caters to a distinct application, none of them is better than the others. We have described detailed characteristics of both types, now it is up to you to decide what fits your needs best.