What does 12 x 32 binoculars mean?

If you are new to the world of binoculars, shopping for them can be rather cumbersome. With numbers, types of prisms, and several other specifications gracing each, you are very likely to be puzzled regarding the pick!

Many questions will arise in your mind: Which magnification can I choose? What do the numbers on binocular indicate? What does 12 x 32 binoculars mean? How far can a 12 x 32 binocular see?

To rid your brain of such confusion, you need to learn some more about magnifications, eye reliefs, lens size, etc. That way, you can always find yourself the perfect pair of binoculars for each occasion. Let us take you through this learning journey and assist in shopping for the right kind!

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What Do the Numbers on a Binocular Represent?

What does 12 x 32 binoculars mean

While purchasing a binocular, you will be presented with numbers that represent certain specifications. Here are some things that the number will be indicating:


All binoculars will have something like ‘a x b’ written on their body. The ‘a’ always indicates the magnification of your binocular. It hence, shows you how many times the optical wear can zoom into a view. For example, a binocular whose numbers are 12 x 32 can zoom into the image 12 times.

8x and 10x are the most common magnifications found in binoculars. Those with a magnification of 8x can be used for bird watching, wildlife viewing, paddling, hiking, etc. As a binocular with a magnification of 10x offers better quality, it is used for hunting or stargazing.

Lens Size

The number that comes right after the magnification is the lens size. So, it is the ‘b’ of ‘a x b’ meaning that if we followed the previous example, the lens size of a 12 x 32 binocular will be 32 mm.

Lens sizes will determine how wide your range of vision is, how much light is let in, and also the size of your binoculars. They are categorized into three groups – compact, midsize, and full-size. Compact binoculars have lenses with diameters that are smaller than 30 mm. In contrast, midsize lenses are greater than 30 mm but lower than 40 mm. They are perfect for outdoor activities since plenty of light is let in. Lastly, there is the large size option which has lenses that are bigger than 40 mm. They offer a big field of vision and often offer bright images to all their users.

Eye Relief

Another common number associated with binoculars is their eye relief. It impacts the strain caused to your eyes and hence, should be looked into before purchasing.

Eye reliefs of 9 mm to 13 mm are ideal for users who will utilize the binoculars using naked eyes. Although 9 mm is ideal, remember that it might require you to hold the equipment too close to your eyes.

Anyone who wears spectacles should go for a 14 mm to 15 mm eye relief. This is because glasses are usually placed 13 mm away from the eyes so users can effortlessly place the binocular in front of it.


Weight is a factor that people tend to ignore while purchasing binoculars for the first time. However, it is a crucial detail that affects your user experience. Lightweight binoculars are always appreciated since they can be carried around and used for a long time. Small lens sizes usually offer this, making them ideal for strenuous use.

On the other, heavy binoculars are rather hard to use since carrying them for a long time can cause pain in joints. Carrying them around is also an issue since they take up a lot of space. Binoculars with Porro prisms and big lenses are usually the more weighty kind.


How far can 16 x 23 binoculars see?

The 16 x 23 binoculars can be used to analyze most movements within 200 yards (183 meters). You can hence, consider it as a suitable choice for birdwatching, hunting, or paddling. However, do keep in mind that they can only be used during the daytime and in sunny weather.

What does 10 x 30 mean in binoculars?

If your binocular is said to have 10 x 30 magnification, it means that you can utilize it to zoom 10 to 30 times onto an object. A lever is usually provided to get this done and you can rotate it in different directions to zoom in or out as per the situation’s demand.

How far can military binoculars see?

Military binoculars can let soldiers observe movements that take place at a distance of 4000 meters. Any small object or body that exhibits movement can be easily noted as long as it is within 2500 meters. This shows that military binoculars have a very high resolution.

What binoculars do snipers use?

Snipers use high-resolution like the Steiner 7 x 50rc M50rc Commander Military Tactical Binoculars. These are capable of increasing the brightness and zooming into objects or people that are hundreds of meters away.


Binoculars are extremely popular optical wear that comes in various types. The features and numbers can make the shopping process rather confusing so, we provided an article for assistance!

If you have thoroughly gone through every word, you probably know what the numbers on a binocular depict! They display magnification, eye relief, lens size, weight, etc., and thus, should be properly looked into before making a purchase. As each type of activity will require a particular magnification for ensuring proper vantage, do not forget to research prior to shopping!

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