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Zoom binoculars tend to have lower image quality compared to fixed-magnification binoculars. This is because the additional moving parts and lenses required for the zoom feature can introduce distortions and aberrations into the image. Additionally, zoom binoculars often have a narrower field of view and less light-gathering ability than fixed magnification binoculars, which can make it more difficult to locate and observe objects. The high magnifications offered are rarely of any use, being too shaky to use handheld, and if you’re bothering with a steady mount and tripod, a telescope is a better choice. Another issue with zoom binoculars is that they are generally less durable and more prone to failure than fixed-magnification binoculars. The additional moving parts in zoom binoculars can be prone to wear and tear and may require more frequent repairs or maintenance.
“Ruby-coated lenses” are often used to block out certain wavelengths of light to hide shoddy optical quality in binoculars. This reduces light-gathering ability and is also a general indication of a low-quality unit to begin with. Avoid any binoculars with such claims, even for non-astronomical use.
Binoculars with an aperture smaller than 35mm should be avoided due to both quality concerns in lower-priced units and the lack of capabilities offered by such smaller apertures.
“Perma focus” and other similarly advertised binoculars are an attempt to sell low-quality units that lack a focus mechanism as somehow advantageous. They are essentially a scam; avoid them.