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Eyecups - in or out (or in between)? (1 Viewer)

More and more, binoculars are coming on the market with eyecups that twist-up with detents. Some have 4 settings - from all the way in to all the way out, plus two in between. Eyeglass users, should, of course, use the fully in position.

I am curious how many non-eyeglass wearers use an intermediate setting? My old Leicas 10x42s have a pull-out 2 setting positions and I see perfectly in either position. The Swarovski ELs have 2 setting twist-up eyecups. Others brands have twist ups with multiple detents. I have seen some binoculars where one eyecup collapses too easily in and things seem amiss until discovered.

So here are my questions (and maybe it should be done as a poll):

1. Do you think more than 2 eyecup positions really add true function?
2. What eyecup position do you use on your binoculars and why?

Hi Bruce, as it's your first post here, a belated welcome to birdfroum from all the staff here.
Personally, I think binoculars offering multiple eye-cup positions can only be beneficial for the birders. We all have different facial build, our eyes are not all positioned the same... some have deep-set eyes. A binocular that fits the individual is paramount imho, especially when the differences in optical quality of the top binos is so marginal these days. Comfort and 'feel right' is very very important.

As for myself, I use the Zeiss 10x42 FL (with multi position eye-cups) and have the eye-cup one step in from the maximum.


An interesting question. When I initially evaluated the new HGL binoculars from Nikon, one of the first things I noticed that was different from the HG version was the multiple stop eyecups. I immediately questioned the utility of having more than 2 positions - it just didn't seem to make much sense to me. I later brought my 8x32 HG binoculars to the dealer selling the new 8x32 HGL model, and compared the 2 side by side just to make certain that my first impression of the optics being identical was correct.

My conclusion was that there was no difference at all between the HG and HGL optically, but I did find (interestingly enough) that I preferred the HGL eyecups because it just felt more comfortable and less "strainfull" with the eyecup set one click in from the fully extended position. This is probably an artifact of my own facial structure, and will probably not be shared by everyone who tries those binoculars. However, it dispelled once and for all my previous opinion that there was no need for multiple-stop eyepieces... at this point I think it is a great idea and that more future binocular models should incorporate that feature.

Best wishes,
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Hi Bruce,

Good Question - I use the full out position on my Leica 10x42 BN's as i find it the most comfortable, but am fortunate to have perfect eyesight (thankfully)

However I do beleive that multi position eyecups are beneficial as 2 friends both use a series of rubber 'o' rings to hold their eyecups in the optimal postion on their bins - one is a Swarovski user & the other a Nikon user.

I do find that on the Leica 20-60 zoom eyepiece I need to adjust the eyecup as I go through the zoom range to maintain correct eye relief & full field of vision.
I wear glasses but usually prefer the eyecups not quite pushed in as far as they can go. I find that the image blacks out a little bit when I do that so I like to have them pushed out by about a millimetre. It just feels more comfortable on my eyes this way.
I am a spec wearer and have the cups on my 10x42 EL's fully out. In fact I have tried these bins without my specs with the cups in various positions and they never seem right.
Now on my 8x42BN's with the specs I have the cups half way out.

I am also an eyeglass wearer who uses the eyecups pulled out to the first position on my Pentax 8x28s. I get "blackout" problems with them pushed all the way in. I think this is because of an eye relief that is actually too long for my particular face and glasses.

So, I think it is definitely beneficial to have multiple pull-out points. If all I had was full-in and full-out, it would be pretty poor.
Just like RAH I get "blackout" problems when the eyecups of most binoculars I have tried are pushed all the way in, so their being able to be pushed 'half-way' would be better.
So, having multiple points is a lot better. I really wish the binocular companys would have come out with that a long time ago.
I use a pair of Minolta 10x compacts with the eye cups half way in, fixed with rubber bands. This gives the biggest field of view. Otherwise I wouldn't care, but the field of view is a bit narrow.
As can be gleaned from above comments, different people with different facial anatomies, different types of glasses etc. will find different eyecup extension optimal with one and the same binocular. This is enough of a reason to consider multiple click-stop eyecups a worthwhile development.

An additional benefit, for those of us who do not wear glasses, is the possibility to easily twist the cups in one or two clicks when birding in cold and damp weather, where fully extended eyecups which seal well around your eyes tend to fog up very quickly. So, even for a single viewer one single eyecup setting is not necessarily optimal under all circumstances.

With multiple click-stops becoming more common, it would be nice if they would also have a simple marking which would tell you at a glance which stop you are at. Of course, if there are only one or two intermediate setting, this makes no difference really, but if there were click-stops at every millimeter, it would facilitate adjustment once you have determined which settings work for you, your wife or husband, your child etc. and when.

Well...I just learned something today. Most people use their eyecups. ;)
Honestly; I didn't know that before. I have a pair of Bushnell H2O 10x42's and I can't use my eyecups at all. If I put them out, I start seeing a blurry ring around the image and the further out I go, the wider the ring gets. :h?:
Andrew Whitehouse said:
I wear glasses but usually prefer the eyecups not quite pushed in as far as they can go. I find that the image blacks out a little bit when I do that so I like to have them pushed out by about a millimetre. It just feels more comfortable on my eyes this way.

Same here.

Jacamar said:
Bruce(or anyone), what is a detent?

I thought it was a made-up word or a spelling mistake until I looked it up in a dictionary.

It means: A catch or lever that locks the movement of one part of a mechanism
Eyecup settings, eye relief, etc.

Jacamar said:
Bruce(or anyone), what is a detent?
As has been mentioned, detents refers to the "in between" settings on the eyecups. It is to make eyecups distance from the eyes adustable for comfortable viewing while wearing eyeglasses.
Bruce Webb
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