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In previous times, binoculars used to come without any special coatings so the performance of binoculars was below par. When you use old binos, you feel like the image quality is very bad. But modern binoculars come with binoculars lens coating which not only improves the visual quality, but they help you see them in low light conditions.
Before I go down into more details and give you more in-depth knowledge, it is important for you to know what coating actually is!
The binocular coating is a thin layer of any specific anti-reflective material which is applied on the lens of binoculars to reduce the loss of light which usually gets scattered. Different types of coatings are being used which improve the visual quality.
Modern binoculars come with multiple coating layers which make them stand out from the old optics. One thing which you should keep in mind is that the high-quality coating makes binoculars very expensive.
Related Article: Why Do Binoculars have Red Lenses?
What is Binoculars Lens Coating?
To increase the visual quality in terms of sharpness, brightness, and color resolution, the manufacturers apply a thin layer of the specific material on the lenses of binoculars.
These thin layers help in reducing the glare production and loss of light which falls on the lens of binoculars. As a result, binoculars get enough light to produce high-quality images with excellent resolution and brightness.
Types of Lens Coating of Binoculars
Initially, the technology was restricted and few coating types were available. With the passage of time, things have changed and different types of coats have been introduced to increase the quality of visuals. Below are some types;
- Single lens coating
- Multi lens coating
- Fully lens coating
1- Single lens coating
In this type of coating, only a single or one layer is applied on the outer surface of the lens of binoculars. To be honest, single layers don’t have a big impact on the visual quality of the binoculars. However, the coating layer protects the lenses of binoculars from scratches.
2- Multi lens coating
In this type, multiple layers of anti-reflective material are applied on the outer side of the lenses of binoculars. They have a very good impact on the visual quality of the binoculars and give you. Binoculars with multi-coated lenses give you the excellent resolution with maximum brightness and color contrast. Not only do they increase visual quality, but they also protect lenses from scratches.
3- Fully lens coating
In this type of lens coating, thin layers of anti-reflective materials are applied to all surfaces of the lens. Both the interior and exterior of lenses get the coating. So, when the light falls on these lenses, the chances of light being lost are literally close to zero and you get perfect visual quality without glare production.
Note: Better coatings will provide better image quality, more durability, and longer-lasting protection, and they even help you see in low-light conditions.
What is Phase Correction Coating in Binoculars?
Let me tell you the fact that binoculars consist of prisms for the proper functionality of optics. Binoculars use prisms to reflect and redirect the light that enters the binoculars, allowing the user to see an inverted and reversed image.
But, just like in a microscope, the light waves passing through the prisms can become out of phase with each other, which can lead to a loss of contrast and resolution in the image. In this situation, the phase correction coating comes handy as it adjusts the phase of the light waves when they pass through the prisms.
There are different types of phase correction coating which are mentioned as follows;
- Infrared (IR) Coatings
- Ultraviolet (UV) Coatings
- Anti-Reflective (AR) Coatings
1- Infrared Coatings
Infrared (IR) coatings are applied on prims of binoculars to block the amount of infrared light that passes through the lens. These types of coatings are very important for improving color balance and contrast in images taken in bright sunlight.
2- Ultraviolet (UV) Coatings
Ultraviolet (UV) coatings are used in binoculars because they block ultraviolet light that passes through the lens. If the UV rays are not filtered or stopped, they cause bluish or tint effects on the visuals and affect the sharpness of visuals.
3- Anti-Reflective Coatings
Anti-Reflective coatings are majorly used to reduce the amount of light that is reflected off the surfaces of a lens. These types of coatings are present in almost all modern binoculars and they have become a kind of necessity. Their major function is to remove glare production and improve color balance.
Point to Remember: All the types of coatings that I have mentioned above can be applied singly or in combination, depending on the specific requirements.
Also Read: How to Fix Binoculars that Got Wet?
How does Binoculars Lens Coating Work?
All the optics, especially binoculars, consist of lenses and prisms to provide a magnified, inverted, and reversed image of the viewed object. The visual quality majorly depends on the amount of light that reaches these lenses, as well as the amount of light that reaches the eye.
If the proper light does not reach the lenses and it gets lost, the quality of the visuals will be affected. Binoculars lens coating comes in handy in such cases as it helps the binoculars to get maximum light and they reduce the scatter of light!
Different types of coatings are applied to the lens and each of them has its own advantage. These coatings prevent the light from falling here and there when the light reaches the lenses. The result is the reduction of glare and an increases in the amount of light reaching the eye.
Reaching more light to the eyes means that you’ll get brighter and sharper visuals. The coating on lenses works wonders in low light conditions and they can also improve the color balance and contrast of the images.
Point to be Noted: The type of coating used on a particular binocular can vary depending on the manufacturer’s choice.
How is Lens Coatings applied?
To make it simple and easy to understand for you, I have written the process of application of the coating on lenses in steps which are mentioned below;
- First of all, the lenses where the coating is to be applied are cleaned properly to ensure that no contamination remains on the lenses.
- The refractive material which is being used for coating is vaporized under very high pressure in the vacuum.
- The fully vaporized material is then deposited on the lenses of binoculars in the form of thin layers.
- The thickness of applied layers is controlled during the process to avoid the thickness of the layer.
- Some lenses are also multicoated which means they are applied with more than one coating. Multi Coating is also applied in the same way.
This process is called vacuum deposition as all the process is done in the vacuum by keeping the pressure very high. Some manufacturers applied both an anti-reflective coating and a scratch-resistant coating to its surface. The process for applying the dual coating is also the same as mentioned above.
What are the Benefits of Binoculars Lens Coating?
During the explanation of different types of lenses, I did mention the benefits of each type and how they help the binoculars to give better visual quality. However, I’m going to provide you with a list of advantages so that you don’t remain confused.
- The coating on the lenses of binoculars improves the transmission of light
- They protect the lenses from scratches and smudges
- The lens coating enhances the image clarity and contrast
- They make binoculars to be able to be used in low light conditions
- Color balance and contrast become more perfect in the image
Frequently Asked Questions
Fully multi-coated lenses are considered the best option because they have multiple layers of coating applied to all air-to-glass surfaces, which increases the light transmission and gives you a perfect viewing experience even at low light conditions.
The cost of multi-coating on the lenses of binoculars can vary widely depending on a number of factors, like brand and model. However, binoculars with fully multi-coated lenses can cost several hundred to thousand dollars.
Lens coating is important in binoculars because it can significantly improve the quality of the image viewed through the binoculars. In fact, with lens-coated binoculars, you can use binoculars at low light conditions without any trouble.
Many manufacturers will indicate on the product packaging or in the product description if the lenses of their binoculars are coated. Moreover, you can ask the manufacturer about the coating type if it is not written on the box.
Although the coating is very useful in giving you exceptional visual quality, it also adds to the cost. If you are going to use your binoculars in low light conditions, then the extra cost of coated lenses is surely worth it.
Since the introduction of lens coatings, the performance of binoculars in low-light conditions has improved significantly. Today, the majority of modern binoculars come equipped with lens coatings, making it a standard feature. In this guide, I’ve provided comprehensive information about the various types of coatings and their benefits. Hopefully, my effort will be beneficial in your decision-making process.
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!