Binoculars accessories can expand and extend their use
Here’s our short list of nice but not necessary, binocular accessories and adapters to help you get the most out of using your binoculars. Online you will discover an array of online sellers, many from manufacturers. For example, type an accessory name like “cell phone adapter” in your brower’s search box and you’ll certainly find photos, details and product descriptions of the item. Get the most use out of your binoculars with accessories that sharpen your view and make it easy to operate.
Adapt your binoculars with a tripod for stable viewing
A binocular tripod is a three-legged support that attaches to the base of the optic with a universal thread attachment. It stabilizes the image you see looking in binoculars. Controls on the tripod make it easy to raise or lower the optic especially if you’re using heavy high powered binoculars with large objective lenses. If you are getting a tripod check out the models that have a built-in detachable stick which is more verstile. Pricewise a tripod can cost between $25 and $100.
Along with a tripod you’ll find binocular accessory tripod mounts and tripod adapters of different sizes and shapes that secure the optic onto a tripod. These mounts give you steady hands-free viewing and fit many different devices. These adapters are most useful with high magnification optics that amplify movement therefore you get a motion-free viewing experience. These range from $15 to $25.
Monopod works nicely with a monocular
A monopod, also called a unipod, is a one-legged support for binoculars and spotting scopes that looks like a walking stick. It’s basically a collapsible sectional pole with a universal thread attachment at the handle end. The height is adjustable so it comes in handy whether you’re sitting or standing. We use ours to steady binoculars and a spotting scope especially on uneven ground surfaces. A monopod usually costs about $40.
Parallelogram for a heavy optic
A parallelogram is a binocular mount that fits on a tripod that we discovered at a star party. It’s a binocular accessory designed to hold heavy binoculars stable and steady. This accessory allows you to move the jumbo binoculars around and adjust the direction while staying on a fixed target. It lets you turn for a new view or change its orientation without disturbing the image. Most have a counterweight to balance the binoculars and an adapter to attach to any binoculars with a tripod adjuster. The parallelogram costs around $175 not including the tripod.
Red Dot Finder
When viewing a sky full of stars it’s difficult to find what you are looking for. A Red Dot Finder is designed to act as a gunsight for your binoculars or spotting scope. It is an inexpensive device costing from $20 to $50 depending on the design. It has no magnification therefore you see exactly what the sky looks like. In the center of the sight window is a red dot produced by a small focused light. The sight can be adjusted right or left and up and down.
Window mount for a binocular and spotting scope
A car window mount for a binocular or spotting scope is a great accessory. It holds the ‘nocs steady and hands-free when viewing from inside a vehicle. You place the optic on the mount and then secure the mount over the window. The neoprene jaws of the mount clamp over the window glass and lock it in place. This mount provides stability for the scope and once focused on the target provides hands-free viewing. You may need an adapter to connect the device to your optic. And it can also used it on a fence or deck railing or any other horizontal structure. They range in price from $25 to $75.
Dress for success with a binocular harness
A harness designed for binoculars is one of two kinds. A binocular harness strap is a simple binocular pouch device with soft, usually nylon straps that fit over your shoulders and hold binoculars close to your chest. It distributes the weight of large binoculars and also keeps compact binoculars from flopping around while you move, Most importantly your hands are free.
A suspender harness is more substantial accessory and has wide adjustable straps that fit over your shoulders and a quick release waist belt. Most incorporate a zippered front and back pouch with pockets for storage. It secures to the barrel of the binoculars with a Velcro strap and a safety tether. Prices range from $20 to $100.
Cell phone adapter
A smart phone adapter lets you use your cell phone with binoculars or a spotting scope to take pictures or videos. Most cost less than $30 and are adjustable.
Improved viewing with a cleaner optic
Eye protectors are small accessories shields that fit over the eyepiece of a binocular. They are designed to block glare from the sides and look like sunglasses for your binoculars. They’re in the $20 price range.
Lens cleaning kits remove smears and smudges and protect your optic equipment. We have two types of cleaners: a lens brush keeps glass clear with a retractable brush and cleaning tip with a non-liquid compound on a natural chamois tip. The other is a small microfiber lens cleaning cloth in a clip-on storage pouch which is handy to keep the lens clean. We use ours for our eyeglasses, too. Both are priced under $15.
Are you a Bird Lover? If you are looking for remarkable limited edition prints, original artwork and books about birds, take a look at the work of Julie Zickefoose at her website www.juliezickefoose.com. We recently had the good fortune to meet Julie and share our enthusiasm for her expertise and artwork. If you read BWD magazine, the new Bird Watcher’s Digest, you’ll see the lovely cover art on the July/August 2022 edition is by Julie
You’ll find binocular accessories at retail sporting goods and photography stores and online at Binoculars.
Gene and Katie Hamilton are long-time writers about using binoculars for boating, bird watching, stargazing and traveling. They are members of the Outdoor Writers Association of America.