In this post, we’ll research and investigate whether or not binocular eyecups can help improve the usability and overall viewing experience.
Are you looking for a way to improve your viewing experience with your binoculars?
First and foremost, if you aren’t using a tripod with your binoculars, get one and use it! I’ve seen far too many amateur astronomers hoisting a Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15×70 Binocular up to their eyes for a view of the stars. Needless to say, after a short period their arms and shoulders begin to burn and the binoculars begin to shake as they struggle to continue viewing. Once they start shaking, the viewing enjoyment drops to zero and then they drop their arms from the unplanned workout!
Now that the tripod recommendation is out of the way, let’s shift our discussion over to the main topic of Binocular Eyecups.
WHAT ARE EYECUPS?
The eyecups are constructed of a flexible rubber-type material, as such, they are lightweight and easy to store. They are designed to attach to the eyepieces of binoculars by stretching and sliding over the eyepieces such that the “wings” of the eyecups are positioned to facing up and away from the eyepieces.
HOW DO EYECUPS WORK AND WHAT DO THEY PROVIDE?
The primary purpose of the eyecups is to connect the binocular’s eyepieces to the eyes of the viewer that is using the binoculars. They work by cradling the viewer’s eyes and acting as a shield that prevents ambient light from entering into the space between the eyepieces and the user’s field of view, thus helping to eliminate lens glare.
PUTTING EYECUPS TO THE TEST
Rather than just rely on our own personal experience, we decided to take several pairs of binocular eyecups out into the field and have random people try them and render an opinion based upon their experience.
Please keep in mind that our little outing was a completely un-scientific field test and survey. We visited a local public park and approached random people asking them to try out our binoculars and tell us what they thought. The first set of binoculars were completely stock, no additional modifications. The second set had a pair of binocular eyecups attached. In each case, the tester spent a minute or two trying out each set of binoculars.
Here are several comments that we received from people after they tried them out:
“I was amazed at what a difference these make…. they do an excellent job at keeping the light out of the eyepieces.” – Eric
“They go on super easy and are very soft & flexible. When you don’t need them you can just fold them back over themselves w/o taking them off.” -Nick
“Great item” -M.L.
WE DID UNCOVER A SLIGHT PROBLEM
During our informal field testing, we did encounter a problem using a set of the eyecups with a smaller opera/sporting event-type of binocular. Due to the small size of the binocular and eyepieces, the eyecups were somewhat loose and didn’t really “grab a hold of the eyepiece” when we installed the eyecup. As a result, the eyecup tended to rotate on its own such that the “wings” were incorrectly positioned. This forced the viewer to rotate the eyecups back into a useable position. Also, one of the eyecups ended coming off fairly easily and frequently whenever it got bumped or caught on something.
So in all cases, you’ll want to pick the proper size eyecups for your particular situation so that you can avoid operation issues due to the loose fitting.
If you’re wondering if binoculars can be used for astronomy, be sure to check out our article that delves into the possibility of viewing the stars and planets above with astronomy binoculars.
WRAPPING IT UP
We found the binocular eyecups to be a welcome addition to our binoculars. They were comfortable to use and relatively easy to install. So we would recommend them to anyone that uses binoculars on a regular basis. It is a tiny investment for the improved viewing experience that they provide.