How to Collimate Binoculars
Collimating binoculars is quite a daunting experience, and it requires specialist equipment and skills to perform the task. Therefore, it will take more than just the basics for you perfectly collimate your optical device and enjoy a quality performance.
With the right tools and skills, the process of collimating binoculars is easy. With perfectly collimated optical devices, you will experience professionalism with every view. However, if you are an outdoor enthusiast and you love taking care of your equipment, learning how to collimate binoculars could be your next new thing.
In this blog, we’ll take you through a couple of steps on how to collimate binoculars at home and attain professional results. In fact, with these tips, you might even learn a new skill that could help you earn a few more bucks while you are out with friends. Without farther ado, let’s jump into the process and equip you with essential knowledge.
What Is Collimation?
Collimation is a term that defines the alignment of optical elements along the optical axis. To tell where your binoculars or other optical devices have collimation issues, whenever you view objects through the lenses, you would see double images or misalignment. Correcting this issue was often done by adjusting the objective lens as you view. However, if the condition does not resolve, then making critical adjustments becomes automatic.
What Causes Binoculars to Lose Collimation?
Several factors contribute to your binoculars losing collimation. However, one of the leading factors to such a problem is when you don’t take good care of the device. For instance, if your binoculars keep falling while you are on the run, there are chances that it will develop this problem.
When your binoculars keep falling, the prisms experiences a gradual shift. If this continues for long, the prisms move with every drop, and eventually, your lenses will be completely misaligned. Some binoculars lose collimation to the point that when you look through the lenses, you cannot see through even objects that are not placed at a distance.
Additionally, the problem can also occur as you try to clean the binoculars. For instance, if you feel the need to clean the inner sides of the lenses due to mist formation, this could result in misalignment. Therefore, if you are not professionally equipped with relevant mounting skills, you shouldn’t consider doing this.
Here is a simple step by step procedure on how you can correct the issues and enjoy the enhanced performance of the binoculars.
Materials and Tools
As previously stated, the process will require specialist tools to collimate perfectly. Therefore, the first thing in your tips is to ensure you gather all the essential materials and tools. Whether you are experienced, or you are starting up, tools and materials are critical, and you should not consider bypassing either of them.
Some of the things you will need for the job include:
- Sticky tape
- Small flat-head screwdriver
- Head torch
- Elastic bands
- Bahtinov masks
- Hinge clamp
- The binoculars
The bahtinov masks are ideal to use as your target while aligning your binoculars lenses. Print them on a transparent printer for easy usage without having to trace the masks or cut them out.
Step 1: Assess the Problem
Once you have the masks ready, using the sticky tape, place the masks hanging at an appropriate distance. For easy observation of an issue on your binoculars viewing, try by sticking the masks at a range of approximately 100 yards. However, you can always move the objects far from closer, depending on your binoculars magnification power.
However, apart from using the bahtinov masks, you can also draw a plus sign ‘+’ on a paper and mark the distance in inches from one to 12. This will allow you to view through the lens and spot where the alignment is off for easy collimate alignment.
It is now time to take your binoculars into testing. Focus on the masks or the sign that you have placed at a distance. Ensure to adjust your focus to evaluate the results and determine when there is a problem.
If you spot a double image while viewing, it could indicate that your binoculars collimate badly off. Therefore, you will require to open the binoculars and work on the issues to enhance the performance of the device in the future.
With such an assessment, it becomes easy for you to tell which lens is badly off and requires more attention. Once you have identified the problem, clamp down your binoculars for the operations. Get ready by wearing the head-torch, and lower your sleeve for the real deal.
However, if your device arrives with collimation issues, check on the guarantee, and see whether it is protected. If the guarantee is expired, then it is time for you to get your hands to the matter to avoid frustrations.
Step 2: Unscrew the Binoculars
With your binoculars perfectly cramped on your working table, turn on the head torch to facilitate vision. The screws on binoculars are quite small and will require sufficient lighting to spot them and unscrew without damaging the device effectively.
Additionally, you also need to remove all the adhesive covering on the devices using the right screwdrivers. This will guarantee that after you have aligned the collimation, you will lock your binoculars in place without any challenges.
Step 3: Adjust the Lenses
With open binoculars, start adjusting the lenses based on the results you previously received. If possible, you can mount the binoculars on a tripod for firm and consistent performance. When you use it while on a stable platform, it becomes easy for you to determine how far or close you are from aligning it.
The process could take a while before you are completely satisfied with the results you get. This is why it is ideal for working while the device is placed on a stand. You can also increase the distance or even start viewing from an angle. All you need is to get consistent results after several observations before you start screwing it back.
Step 4; Tighten the Screws
Once you are satisfied with the results you are getting for your binoculars, its time now to start tightening the screws back. However, as you do this, you ought to be as gentle as possible to avoid misaligning while screwing back. Therefore, ensure to keep observing through the lenses to guarantee that the binoculars retain the same quality performance. Make sure to screw them in slowly and gently as you observe. By doing this, it becomes easy for you to notice even the slightest move on the lenses hence correct it before you have completely assembled the entire binoculars.
When you start to screw the binoculars, you can lubricate the screws with oil to protect them against rust. Lubrication also facilitates easy screw passing through the thread. Therefore, this is an essential aspect that should not be bypassed under all circumstances.
Frequently Asked Questions FAQ
Is It Possible For My Binoculars To Lose Collimation When Not In Use?
Yes. There are instances when your binoculars will lose collimation even without being in active use. When it is in the storage state, nothing prevents the binoculars from falling and other risks. Therefore, your binoculars could lose alignment without your knowledge. Additionally, if you have never used the device since you got it, it could be possible that it arrived with alignment issues.
Is It Possible To Fix the Collimation Problem with Professional Assistance?
If you are willing to take the risk, then yes, it is possible. Fixing the problem is all about your ability to follow the right procedure and willingness to do the right thing.
Are The Tools Available?
Some of the tools involved in aligning the binoculars are basic tools that are involved in other tasks too. Therefore, you don’t have to complicate the process of finding tools. However, if you are considering doing this professionally, it is ideal to find tools that can perfect the process for you.
Your binoculars are an ideal device, especially when you are on an outdoor adventure. It makes it possible for you to identify objects at a long distance, hence satisfy your reason for going out. However, when it is impaired, it complicates every step you make.
If you are out in the forest and your binoculars are inaccurate, it not only limits your ability to explore but also keeps you in danger. Having double vision makes it impossible for you to tell the distance between you and the animal ahead. Therefore, it makes it difficult for you to make the right call, especially when you are getting in danger.
However, with the above step-by-step guide, you can effectively correct the issue and experience quality performance form your binoculars. On the other hand, if you don’t have the time to go through the entire process, there is no shame in finding someone to do it for you. If you feel your binoculars are badly off and correcting the problem could take more than the expected period, you can also invest in other binoculars from reliable brands.