How To: Use Binoculars

By MDC | November 1, 2022
From Xplor: November/December 2022

Binoculars are a great tool to get a close look at faraway critters. But focusing on a bird (or any other tiny creature) can be a challenge for first-timers. Follow these tips, though, and you’ll be a binocular pro in no time.

Binocular Anatomy

  • Focus Wheel
  • Eye cups
  • Neck Strap
  • Center Hinge
  • Barrels

Adjust the Eye Cups

First things first: Binoculars cost a lot. You don’t want to drop them! Put the neck strap over your head so the binocs hang securely from your neck.

Most binoculars have adjustable eye cups. They help hold your eyes at the right distance from the lens.

Adjusting the eye cups is easy. If they’re made of soft rubber, the rim of the eye cup folds up and down. If they’re made of harder material, they twist in and out. If you wear glasses, the eye cups should be down. If you don’t wear glasses, the eye cups should be up.

Adjust the Fit

The sides of the binoculars (the barrels) swing up and down on a hinge. To get the binoculars to fit your face, gently pull the barrels as far apart as they’ll go. Lift the binocs up to your eyes. You’ll probably see two separate images (one through each eye). Slowly squeeze the barrels together until you see only one image — a perfect circle. Now you’re ready to find something to look at.

Find the Critter

Let’s say you spot a bird and want to look at it through your binoculars. The key is to keep your eyes on the bird and not on your binocs.

Find the bird with your bare eyes. Without taking them off your feathered friend, lift the binoculars up to your eyes. The bird should appear in the center of the image.

If you don’t see it, lower the binoculars and try again. Remember: Don’t look at the binocs, keep your eyes glued to that bird!


Once you’ve found the bird in your binoculars, it will probably look fuzzy and out of focus. Don’t worry, it’s easy to fix. Simply turn the focus wheel one way or the other until the image becomes clear and sharp. With practice, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for and focus the binoculars in one smooth motion.


Also In This Issue

head scratcher

Need something fun to do on the long drive to grandma’s house? Or a joke to tell to Uncle Mark? Xplor’s here to help with some wild and wacky puzzles and jokes.


Missouri is often visited by UFOs — just not the kind filled with little green aliens.

This Issue's Staff

Artist - Alexis (AJ) Joyce
Photographer – Noppadol Paothong
Photographer – David Stonner
Designer – Marci Porter
Designer – Les Fortenberry
Art Director – Cliff White
Editor – Matt Seek
Subscriptions – Laura Scheuler
Magazine Manager – Stephanie Thurber