Compact vs full size binoculars: The Ultimate Guide

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When you set out to buy a binocular, you need to determine the purpose. After determining the purpose, You will easily understand which type of binocular you need: Compact Or Full-Size Binoculars. But, If you are a newbie, you will get into a puzzle if you don’t understand these two types of binoculars. There are lots of differences you will notice as a newbie. These two types of binoculars come with a few advantages and disadvantages. So, Let’s drive into it and find out which one is perfect according to your needs: Compact or full-size binoculars.

Difference Between Compact and Full-Size Binoculars

Physically, Size and weight is the main difference between these two types of binoculars. The size and weight varied due to the objective lens diameter. 

Generally, Objective lens size from 20 mm to 32 mm is categorized as compact binoculars and around 40 mm or higher objective lens diameter are categorized as full-size binoculars ( 42 mm is most popular and common value). 

Also, You find differences in the exit pupil. However, You won’t notice any difference in the magnification part. 

Besides, You’ll find price differences. Generally, Full-size binoculars are more expensive than compact ones. The price depends on the binocular’s material quality and the features they offer.

Compact Binoculars


  • The weight of compact binoculars is less than 1lb which makes these binoculars lightweight.
  • Due to the lower objective lens, you’ll get a stable image.
  • As these binoculars are lightweight and small in size, offer better portability.
  • Suitable for all ages.


  • Since compact binoculars come with lower objective lens diameter, they won’t provide better performance in low-light conditions.
  • Limited Field of view.
  • You can’t look longer using these binoculars due to the lower eye relief.

Who should use compact binoculars?

Compact binoculars are an ideal option for use in sporting events or stadiums. Because At stadiums or sporting events, You only use them for a short time.  Also, If you’re a traveler or hiker, you can select a compact binocular for better comfort.

Full-Size Binoculars


  • For a large objective lens diameter, You will get a wide field of view.
  • Full-sized binoculars generally come with better light-transmission features, so you easily get a bright and crystal clear image. 
  • Better performance in low light condition.
  • As these full-size binoculars come with longer eye relief, You can use them comfortably, and the glass wearer won’t find any problem to getting a targeted view.


  • You will get a less stable image than compact binoculars due to weight.
  • Not suitable for children.

Who should use full-size binoculars?

Full-size binoculars are generally known as universal binoculars and suitable for all types of activities. If you’re a hunter, then are Full-Size Binoculars extremely recommended. Besides, a Full-size binocular is best for nature observation, bird watching, and other general uses.

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