This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a small commission for purchases made through the links. Learn More
10×50 and 20×50 binoculars are two famous options that are available in the market. It won’t be wrong to say that the 10×50 vs 20×50 binoculars comparison is the most discussed among experienced outdoor enthusiasts. Both are very good at giving you visuals of distant objects with optimal clarity.
But the confusion comes when you have to choose from these two binoculars. As I said both are excellent, and their performance is also top-notch. So, choosing one of them is a really hard task. But don’t worry as I am here to help you out.
So, What is better, 10X50 or 20X50? Both are excellent in their own way. 10X50 binoculars are better for hunting, and birds watching. 20X50 binos are good for stargazing. However, I would go with 10×50 binoculars due to their stable visuals, and bigger-sized exit pupil size.
This was just a brief introduction, but I have a lot more information to share with you. So, keep reading as I going to explain these two binoculars in complete detail.
Related Article: Difference Between 10×50 and 12×50 Binoculars
Meanings of 10X50 and 20X50 Binoculars
First of all, before we go into the details, and the differences between these 10×50 and 20×50 binoculars, I would love to give you some basic information about the specifications of these two binoculars. Without having basic knowledge you won’t be able to understand the complex information that I am going to give you in upcoming sections.
What Do 10×50 Binoculars Mean?
10X50 numbers in these binoculars show that they have 10x magnification and 50mm size of the objective lens. They are considered very good pairs as they offer a nice combination of performance and optimal viewing range.
Let me tell you that in the numbers of binoculars, the first number written before the X represents the magnification power, and the second number written after the X represents the objective lens size. These 10×50 binoculars will allow you to see the visual of the target 10 times.
What Do 20×50 Binoculars Mean?
In these binoculars, you get a magnification power of 20x and an objective lens size of 50mm which makes these binoculars very powerful. With the help of these binos, you will be able to see the 20 times bigger visuals of the targeted object. In fact, their larger objective lens makes them a very good option to be used in lowlight conditions.
What are the Differences Between the 10X50 and 20X50 Binoculars?
So, now you understand their basic differences. I am sure that you will be able to understand all the differences in a better way as you have already gotten the introduction of these binoculars in the start. So, without wasting a single second, let’s dive into this comparison and know which is better for you, 10×50 or 20×50 Binoculars.
Also Read: Difference Between 7×50 and 10×50 Binoculars
1- Magnification Power
In 10X50 binoculars, you will get the magnification power of 10x. On the other hand, the 20×50 binoculars offer a magnification power of 20x which means that 20×50 binoculars are very powerful. Am I right? But hold on! That’s half the truth.
Actually, the higher magnification power of binoculars makes the visuals very shaky. So, when you use 20x magnification binoculars, the image becomes shaky and you find it hard to focus. But if you use 10x magnification binoculars, then visuals would be stable as the 10x magnification is not very strong.
So, I consider 10×50 a better option when it comes to choosing one of them. However, 20x magnification power in 20×50 binoculars will allow you to see distant objects. So, if you aim to use the binoculars for stargazing, then I suggest you choose 20×50.
Winner: 10×50 is an excellent option for hunting, bird watching, and many other similar activities. In terms of magnification, 20×50 binos are only suitable for stargazing. You will get better stability when using the 10×50 binos.
2- Lowlight Performance / Objective Lens Size
In binoculars, lowlight usability is a very important factor that is directly associated with the objective lens size. This is why I am going to explain the lowlight performance, and the objective lens size together.
Both 10×50 and 20×50 binoculars come with similar-sized 50mm objective lens which is decent and allow you to optimal visuals in the lowlight conditions. Actually, the size of the objective defines how much light will be captured by your binoculars.
Bigger-sized objective lenses capture more light, and smaller-sized objective lenses capture less light. But as both binoculars share the same size of objective lens size, so their lowlight usability is the same. Keep in mind that 50 mm size is optimal, and you will be able to get decent visuals in lowlight conditions.
Winner: It’s a tie between 10×50, and 20×50 binoculars as both have the same objective lens size.
3- Stability of the visuals
As I mentioned earlier, the stability of the visuals is directly related to the magnification power. The higher the magnification of the binoculars, the lesser will be the stability of the visuals. So, 10×50 binoculars offer lesser magnification, and 20×50 binoculars offer more powerful magnification.
Also Read: 10X50 vs 16X50 Binoculars
It shows that you will be able to get more stable visuals when using 10×50 binoculars. With 20×50 binos, you would get shaky visuals. So, I suggest you use a tripod stand to get perfectly stable visuals. Keep in mind that higher magnification in binoculars makes them sensitive to the slight movement of hands.
But when you use the tripod stand, then there would be no slight movement of your hands. Your binoculars will be mounted on a tripod, and offer you perfect stability. But again you cannot use a tripod stand for hunting and bird watching as you will have to be moving here and there while using binoculars.
Winner: 10X50 binoculars as they will offer more stable visuals as compared to the 20×50 binoculars.
4- Field of View
The field of view is also related to magnification. Both magnification and the field of view are inversely related to each other. So you get a higher magnification power of 20×50 binoculars affects their field of view, and you will have shorter or compromised FOV with these binos.
On the other hand, you will get lesser magnification power in 10×50 binoculars. So, you will be able to enjoy a wider and better field of view. For hunting, and birding field of view matters as you will need more space to track the buck. So, I recommend you go with 10×50 binos.
Winner: 10×50 binos as they offer a wider field of view.
5- Size & Weight
The size, and weight of binoculars are other very important factors that must be checked when buying or making a final decision. So, the question is which one of these binoculars is user-friendly in terms of weight and size?
Look, the size, and weight of binoculars depend on the size of the objective lens. If a binoculars has a bigger objective lens then it would be heavier due to the bigger objective lens size. On the other hand, a binocular with a smaller objective lens size makes the binocular lightweight, and compact.
But the question is which one is lightweight when it comes to 10×50 vs. 20×50 binoculars. As you both of these binoculars have the same size of objective lens. So they both have almost the same size and weight. You won’t find much difference.
But still, I believe that the 20×50 binoculars are slightly heavier due to the use of a thicker magnifying lens as they come with 20x magnification. However, this difference in weight is very small and you won’t even note it. However, 10×50 binos are slightly more lightweight.
Winner: 10×50 binoculars are slightly lightweight which makes them the winner.
6- Tripod Adaptability
Almost all the 20×50 binoculars come with tripod adaptability because if you don’t use a tripod stand with 20×50 binos, you won’t be able to get perfect stability in the visuals. But 10×50 binos don’t have tripod adaptability, as they have smaller magnification power so you won’t need the tripod stand.
Winner: 20X50 binoculars due to their tripod adaptability features.
7- Exit Pupil and Image Brightness
Exit pupil is another very important factor that has an impact on the visual quality. Smaller exit pupil size means that the images would be less bright. The binoculars with the larger exit pupil mean that you will be able to get more brightness in the visuals.
But the question is: What is an exit pupil? Actually, is the small hole or aperture from where the beam of light leaves the binoculars after it has been processed in the binoculars, and enters into the eyes of users. Better exit pupil means that you will get brighter visuals.
But the question is how to know if the 10×50 binos a better or bigger exit pupil or 20×50 binoculars. Don’t worry as I have got you covered. You can calculate the exit pupil size by dividing the objective lens size of the binocular by its magnification power.
Exit pupil Size of 10×50 Binoculars
The magnification power is 10 and the objective lens size is 50 so,
50/10 = 5mm
Exit pupil Size of 20×50 Binoculars
Here you get the magnification power of 20, and the objective lens size of 50 mm.
50/20 = 2.5mm
So, which one is better, 10×50 or 20×50 binoculars in terms of exit pupil? You will get 2.5mm of exit pupil size in 20×50 binoculars, but with 10×50 binoculars, the exit pupil size gets better, and you will get 5mm of exit pupil size which makes the 10×50 binos better and you will get better visual brightness.
So, exit pupil size is a smaller thing but it has a great impact on the visual quality. I highly recommend you choose 10×50 binoculars if you aim to get better optical performance from your binoculars.
Winner: 10×50 binoculars due to bigger 5mm objective lens size.
8- Viewing Range
Both binoculars offer an ideal viewing range. But as you know the 10×50 binos offer slightly smaller or lower magnification power, then you won’t be able to get to see the very distant objects which is kind of a con.
But if you look at the 20×50 binos, you are going to give you 20x magnification power which is amazing. You will be able to see more distant objects very clearly, and won’t have any issues.
In the above two images, you can see the viewing range. I captured those images using my iPhone. However, it is important to note that the antenna present on the building looks smaller with 10×50 binoculars. But that antenna looks bigger, and brighter when I used 20×50 binoculars. It shows that my viewing range would be greater with 20×50 binoculars. Compare the above given images carefully to get insight.
Winner: 20×50 Binoculars are better due to stronger magnification power.
9- Pricing & Affordability
It is probably the most important factor for many people. If a binocular is out of our range, we usually don’t buy it. Am I right? So, the question is: Which one of these two binoculars is more affordable? I would say 10×50 binoculars are more budget-friendly as you will be able to get a nice pair in less price.
The 20×50 binoculars are usually more expensive, but this price difference is not too much. Because of their small pricing difference, I would say that the decision of which one should be picked won’t come into their pricing. Both are optimally priced and they won’t break your budget.
Winner: Both are available at similar pricing so I would say it is a tie.
Which One Should You Choose 10×50, or 20×50 Binoculars?
I won’t tell you to buy any specific binoculars at the moment. Look, every outdoor requires different specifications. Whether you should choose 10×50 or 20×50 binoculars ultimately depends on what activity you are going to do.
For example, binoculars that are good for stargazing won’t be ideal for hunting or bird watching. So, the ultimate decision-making factor is the outdoor activity. In the section below, I will discuss different activities and suggest which one would be best for you.
Hunting is a popular outdoor activity, which requires a wider field of view, lightweight, compact size, and optical magnification in the binoculars. You get all these features in the 10×50 binoculars. So, if you aim to use your binoculars for hunting then I recommend you go with 10×50 binos instead of 20×50.
2- Birds Watching
Again, for bird watching 10×50 binoculars are going to be suitable as their wider field of view will allow you to see more area to spot the birds. Moreover, the lightweight, compact size and better exit pupil size will allow you to get perfectly brighter, and sharper visuals.
3- Stargazzing / Astronomy
For stargazing and astronomy, you will need powerful magnification power, and bigger sized objective lens, so I suggest you choose the 20×50 binoculars for the stargazing. Also, keep in mind that they come with tripod adaptability which will allow you to fit the binos on a tripod and enjoy the visuals of stars.
4- Nature Observation
I would still rank 10×50 binoculars a bit higher as they are lightweight. While enjoying the beauty of mother nature, you won’t like to get tired while carrying bigger-sized or heavier binoculars. I don’t suggest you to choose 20×50 binoculars.
5- Hiking & Travelling
Both hiking and traveling require the specifications that you actually use for birding and hunting. You will love to be comfortable while traveling or hiking, so 10×50 binoculars would be a good option for you.
|Outdoor Activity||Recommended Binoculars|
|Bird Watching||10×50 Binoculars|
|Stargazing / Astronomy||20×50 Binoculars|
|Nature Observation||10×50 Binoculars|
|Hiking & Traveling||10×50 Binoculars|
|Long Range Hunting||20×50 Binoculars|
|City Viewing||20×50 Binoculars|
Which one should you choose? If you aim to use the binoculars for stargazing or similar activity you will need 20×50 binoculars. But for hunting, birding, and all those activities where the target is not too far away, then I recommend you to choose 10×50 binoculars and enjoy the outdoor activities.
Frequently Asked Questions
I would say these binoculars are good in their own way. If you use aim to see distant objects, then you should choose 20×50 binos, however, for hunting, hiking, birding, etc. where you see the target is not too far away, then 10×50 would be a good option for you.
Yes, 20×50 binoculars have powerful magnification power which will allow you to see distant objects so yes, they are suitable for stargazing.
I don’t consider 20×50 a very good because their higher zooming power would give you shaky visuals during the bird watching.
In this detailed guide, I have given you all the information that you need to make a decision. End of the day, the decision is going to be yours: however, I have explained everything in this guide to ensure that you don’t feel confused while making a decision.
You should choose 10×50 binos if going to hunt or watch the birds. But for viewing distant objects 20×50 binos will be excellent. With the hope that this guide will add value, I am stopping my fingers.
I’m a passionate outdoor activist who has got special love for optics. The school studies in optical mechanics and the travelling experience has made me an expert in optics like binoculars, scopes, and other devices. Stay connected with us for in-depth knowledge!