10X50 vs 16X50 Binoculars – Which One is trustworthy in 2024?

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One of the most difficult tasks for optics users is to choose the best one from two options. In previous guides, I’ve told you that binoculars with different specifications are available in the market. 

10×50 and 16×50 binocular models are one of the top binos that outdoor activities usually use. But when it comes to choosing one of these two options, everyone, even senior pros, looks confused and knows which one is ideal for their outdoor activities. Here is a brief comparison of 10×50 vs 16×50 binoculars.

10X50 Binoculars come with decent magnification power and the wider field of view is ideal for hunting, bird watching, and hiking. 20X50 binoculars have strong zooming power but a compromised field of view and are used for stargazing, astronomy, and long-range hunting.

I use 10×50 binoculars and my personal experience is going to benefit you in making your buying decision. Stay connected so that you don’t miss any information.

Related Article: 7×50 vs 10×50 Binoculars

What is the Difference Between 10×50 and 16×50 Binoculars?

During the introduction of this article, I have given you a brief knowledge of the difference between these two binoculars’ specifications. But, it’s time for you to go into more detail and get the information that has a massive impact on the performance and usability of these binoculars. Without wasting any more time, let’s get into the main part of this article.

1- Magnification power

Image by 10x50 binoculars in sunny day captured by my iPhone handheld
Captured by iPhone
Image by 16x50 binoculars in sunny day captured by my iPhone handheld
Captured by iPhone

Magnification power is the ability of binoculars to give you a bigger vision of the targeted object. 10×50 binoculars have a magnification power of 10x which means that these optics will give you ten times bigger visuals of the object you’re looking at.

On the other hand, 16×50 binoculars give you 16x magnification power which means that you’ll be able to see a sixteen times bigger visual of the targeted object. Many activities like hunting and bird watching require less magnification and 10×50 does a pretty good job.

In contrast, 16×50 binoculars are used for outdoor activities where you are supposed to see objects that are very far away from you—for example, long-range hunting and stargazing. 

Winner: I love 10x magnification and I’m sure you’re also going to love it. However, choose 16×50 if you’re going for long-range hunting or stargazing.

Also Read: Comparison of 10×50 and 12×50 Binoculars

2- Field of view

The field of view is the area that you see through the binoculars. Those binoculars which have higher magnification power give you a shorter field of view and vice versa. The wider field of view is very important when you are going to find the buck while hunting.

When your binoculars have very high magnification then the FOV becomes shorter and compromised and does not help you locate the target for hunting. It’s totally up to you and your personal choice. However, I love the wider field of view which is provided by 10×50 binoculars. 

Point to Remember: If you choose 16×50 binoculars, then you’ll have to compromise on the field of view.

3- Image stability

My used 16x50 binocular mounted on tripod to get stable images
Image of my binocular mounted on a tripod stand some info about image stability

Visual stability and magnification are opposite to each other. When the binoculars have higher magnification then it becomes very sensitive to small movements of hands. When you use such high-magnification binoculars, then the slight movement of hands which you actually ignore has a big impact and gives you shaky visuals.

10×50 binoculars have lower magnification power and give you a very stable image when you use binoculars. Even if you keep walking while using them the images will still be steadier. However, 16×50 binoculars are poor in this aspect and don’t give stable visuals until you hold the binoculars very tight and don’t move at all.

Winner: 10X50 binoculars have lower magnification and they give better visual stability.

You Might Also Like to Read: What is Eye Relief in Binoculars?

4- Lowlight usability

Both of these binoculars have the same objective lens size i.e. 50 mm so both capture the same amount of light and their low-light usability is almost the same. As said earlier, I own 10×50 binoculars so I can tell you that these binoculars have slightly compromised low-light usability than 16×50 binoculars. 

To prove my statement, I did a little test and used both of these two 10×50 and 16×50 binoculars early in the morning when the sun was not out. I captured the visuals that I got with these binoculars whose images are attached below. You can see clearly that the image that I got with 16×50 was better and brighter as compared to the image I got with 10×50 binos. Keep in mind, both images are taken at the same time and conditions.

Image got by using 10x50 binoculars early in the moring when sun was not out.
Image got by using 16x50 binoculars early in the moring when sun was not out. I captured image with iphone

I have used 16×50 binoculars too and their low light usability is slightly better I don’t know the reason why because both of these binoculars have the same objective lens size. I’m pretty sure that 16×50 binoculars will give you better results before dawn or after dusk.

Winner: 16×50 binoculars give good low-light usability and are the winner here.

5- Size and Shape

Size of my used 16x50 binoculars
The exact size of my 16×50 Bino that I used for testing!

Both 10×50 and 16×50 binoculars usually have the same size. The reason is that both of these binoculars have the same objective lens size of 50 mm. As I have said in my previous guides, the size of binoculars usually depends on the objective lens size.

As these binoculars have the same objective lens size they have overall the same size. However, the 16×50 binoculars are slightly bigger due to the usage of more powerful magnifying lenses which make them slightly bulkier.

Winner: 10X50 is slightly better in terms of shape, but both have the same body size.

6- Price & Affordability

Most of the time, the prices vary from brand to brand. However, 10×50 binoculars are slightly cheaper and give you a kind of affordability. On the other hand, 16×50 binoculars are more expensive and if you have a very tight budget then buying them can break your budget as well.

Winner: 10X50 binoculars as they are cheaper and affordable.

Usage of 10×50 binoculars

Binoculars are used in a variety of outdoor activities, but here I will be talking about the ideal usage of 10×50 binoculars and give you in-depth information about what this specification is perfect for.

1- Boating

While boating, you always remain in continuous motion. So, choosing 10×50 binoculars helps you in getting stable visuals without any problem. The shakiness of your hands or over-body movement will have no impact on the visuals of these 10×50 binoculars.

2- Hunting

During hunting, locating the buck is the most important task, and with higher magnification binoculars, it becomes very hard to locate. The reason is that when you choose a binocular with higher magnification then the field of view gets compromised which destroys your buck-locating power. 

On the other hand, choosing 10×50 binoculars gives you a wider field of view as the magnification power is comparatively on the lower side. Many hunters prefer using 8x or 10x magnification due to their stable visuals and wider field of view.

3- Birdwatching

Bird watching is one of the most famous hobbies of many people. However, choosing 10x magnification makes the day perfect as it gives you stable visuals with an excellent field of view. I have seen almost all birders using 10×50 binoculars, however, it is not ideal and many birders believe that choosing binos with 8x is more satisfying.

However, if you’re going to choose 16×50 binoculars for bird watching, you’re putting yourself in big trouble as you won’t be able to see flying birds with visual stability and control.

Usage of 16×50 binoculars

After reading the above part, you might be thinking that 16×50 binoculars are bad and I don’t need them at all. This is wrong. Everything made on this planet has both good and bad. Likewise, these 16×50 binoculars also have their own usability. Below are some activities that require 16×50 binos.

1- Stargazing

Stargazing is an activity that requires very high magnification power to see distant objects. For this purpose, buying 10×50 binoculars will be a total waste of money. So, I recommend you use 16×50 binoculars for stargazing and to get a closer view of distant objects.

2- Observing Sport Events

If you’re planning to watch a sporting event from a distance, such as in a stadium, it can be helpful to have a pair of high-magnification binoculars to get a better view of the action. 16×50 binoculars offer a good level of magnification and can provide clear, detailed images of the players and the field. They are also suitable for use in low-light conditions, making them a good choice for evening or night games.

3- Nature Observation

If you love natural beauty and going out to spend a vacation in such a place that is full of natural beauty, then 16×50 binoculars should also be in your bag. It is a fact that you cannot walk all day to see things that reflect the beauty of nature. So, I recommend you to have 16×50 binoculars and sit in one place and see the objects that are very far away. You won’t have to walk to see things.

10×50 Binoculars — Advantages and Disadvantages

Everything made on this earth has two faces and both of them go hand in hand. The same goes for these binoculars as they have both advantages and disadvantages. I have made a table that will help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of 10×50 binoculars.

Advantages of 10×50 binocularsDisadvantages of 10×50 binoculars
Decent zooming powerPoor close-up performance
Stable visualsLowlight usability is compromised
Wider field of viewHeavier and bulkier
No need for a tripod standCompromised magnification power
Cheaper pricesNot good for extended usage due to heavyweight

16×50 Binoculars —Advantages and Disadvantages

What I have said above for 10×50 binoculars is also true for 16×50 binoculars and these binoculars also have potential pros and cons. Below is the table showing the good and bad of these binos.

Advantages of 16×50 binocularsDisadvantages of 16×50 binoculars
Excellent for long-range viewingThe field of view is compromised
Good low-light usabilityNo stability in the visuals
Good for astronomyNeed tripod stand
Easy to useHeavier and bulkier
Can be a replacement for a basic telescopeExpensive and cause affordability problems

Which One is Better: 10×50 or 16×50 Binoculars?

I have gone into depth and given complete details. Both of these binoculars are very good and have different usability. If you’re going hunting, hiking, and bird watching, I would suggest you choose 10×50 binoculars as they provide decent magnification power, a wider field of view, and stability in visuals.

On the other hand, if you are going for long-range hunting, stargazing, or sports event watching, I would like you to have 16×50 binoculars in your bag as they provide more magnification power and help you see objects that are very far away.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better for hunting: 10×50 or 16×50 binoculars?

10×50 binoculars are generally better for hunting due to their decent magnification power and wider field of view. This allows the user to locate their target more easily and see more of their surroundings.

What is the low light usability of 10×50 and 16×50 binoculars?

Both 10×50 and 16×50 binoculars have the same objective lens size of 50 mm, which allows them to capture the same amount of light. As a result, their low-light usability is almost the same. But 16×50 binoculars give slightly better results in lowlight conditions. However, the difference is negligible.

Is it better to choose 10×50 or 16×50 binoculars?

The choice between 10×50 and 16×50 binoculars surely depends on your specific needs and preferences. 10×50 binoculars offer decent magnification power and a wider field of view and can be good for hunting, bird watching, and hiking. On the other hand, 16×50 binoculars are good for stargazing and astronomy.


10×50 binoculars offer decent magnification power, a wider field of view, and stable visuals. On the other hand, 16×50 binoculars help you see objects that are very far away. However, the choice is yours; I’ve given you complete and hope that this informative article will help you understand everything about these two binoculars.

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