Although binoculars have been on the market for more than a hundred years, at first glance it might appear that only minor changes have been made in their design. Outwardly they still look the same and they are still used in much the same way as they were 100 years ago. In reality, however, significant improvements have been made in areas including magnification, field of view, transmission, focusing, eye relief, and image quality. These improvements have led to decreases in volume, weight, and cost. After a brief review of the history of binoculars, I focus on recent improvements in lens design that have led to the appearance of new, attractive, and lightweight binocular designs.
by Walter Besenmatter