How to adjust binoculars

by Genius Sky September 23, 2021 4 min read

How to adjust binoculars - SkyGenius Online

As a beginner, you may wonder how to adjust binoculars correctly. Some do not get a sharp view or see black edges. But this does not indicate that your new binoculars are defective. It's rather a matter of adjustment. How to properly set up your binoculars for the first time and what to look out for. We have put together the step-by-step guide and some FAQs for you.

Understand the binoculars

 How to adjust your new binoculars - understand the binoculars construction

Every binoculars have two focusing wheels. But the location of these wheels varies among brands and models.

One wheel is called the central focusing wheel. It is located between the two barrels.

You need to adjust it when you go from looking at something far away to something closer. it's a wheel you'll use most often, which is easy to reach when you hold the binocular up to your eyes.

The other wheel is called the diopter. For some binoculars, it can be located between the two barrels or it can surround one eyepiece (usually the right).

Few people have identical vision in both eyes. So the diopter accommodates that difference. You'll need to use the diopter when you adjust your binoculars for the first time, and each time after someone else focuses it for their eyes.

Adjusting binoculars -  short summary

  • Twist or fold down the eyecups if you are wearing glasses
  • Adjust the distance between the eyepieces until there is an optimal field of view
  • Diopter compensation is set to 0
  • Aim at a distant target
  • Cover the eyepiece with diopter with your hand. Keep both eyes open in this step.
  • Use the center focus wheel to focus until the image is sharp.
  • Now cover the other eyepiece with your hand and turn the diopter compensation until you also get the desired image
  • Info: If you do not need the diopter compensation at all, it should always remain at 0
Twist the eyecups if you wear glasses

1) Twist or fold down the eyecups if you wear glasses


adjust the binoculars to your eyes - width

2) Adjust the distance between two eyepieces


Adjust the central focus wheel

3) Adjust the central focus wheel


Adjust the diopter ring on the right eyepiece
4) Adjust the diopter ring on the right eyepiece



The eyecups - Do you wear glasses?

The eyecups define the distance between the binoculars and your eyes. 

If you look into the binoculars with glasses, you may notice that the field of view is too small. 

If that’s the case, the eyecups should be screwed out or twisted out. In this way, you can get closer to the lens with the glasses and use the full field of view. 

If you have slightly longer eyelashes and use binoculars with eyecups, your eyelashes could probably touch the glass. So you might be seeing strange black lines in front of the lens. Of course, you don’t have to worry - just twist down or fold down the eyecups! 

fold down eyecups for glass wearer


Twist down eyecups for users who wear eyeglasses

The correct width between the two eyepieces 

Unlike monoculars, binoculars have two eyepieces. The width of which should be optimally matched to your eyes. To see the same image, binoculars must be properly adjusted and aligned. 

The distance between the two eyes varies from person to person. For this, you can adjust the distance between the eyepieces. This works by pulling both sides of the binoculars apart or squeezing them together to increase or decrease the distance.

It would be better to look at an object a little further away when adjusting the distance, until the field of view becomes more comfortable for your eyes. 

It also helps to keep one eye closed at a time to check if the setup is ok. When this step is done, you should see exactly the same thing with both eyes.

Correct focusing & Diopter compensation

The trickiest part here is getting the right focus in conjunction with the diopter compensation. 

First, the diopter compensation should be set to 0. It is usually located on the right eyepiece, but in some rare cases, it is also on the left. 

Once done, the next thing to do is aim at a distant target. 

Then cover the eyepiece with the diopter with your hand. So only the other eyepiece can be seen. 

Now adjust the center focus wheel until the image is sharp. 

It is important that both eyes are open during the setup process.

And then cover the other eyepiece with your hand. Turn the diopter compensation until you also get the same image. 

You can use the dioptric number for every further observation in the future. Unlike the center focus, it doesn’t have to be adjusted again and again.


Why do I get double vision through my binoculars?

Rough handling during shipping can cause double vision in a new pair of binoculars. The optical components are not aligned properly with one another. If that’s the case, contact the seller to get a replacement for free if your binoculars are still under warranty.

How to adjust binoculars with double vision

We do not recommend dissembling the binoculars by yourself if you are a total beginner.

Always contact the seller first to see any chance to get a replacement under warranty.


How to adjust a new pair of binoculars?

This guide applies to the majority of binoculars. Including but not limited to:


  • Bushnell
  • Celestron
  • Kowa
  • Leupold
  • Meopta
  • Mercury
  • Nikon
  • Pentax
  • Simmons
  • SkyGenius
  • Swarovski
  • Vortex
  • Zeiss


  • Porro prism and roof prism
  • Compact and full size
  • Adult and kids

What happens if I use the misadjusted binoculars?

Proper adjustment of the binoculars is very important. The wrong setup not only leads to blurred images but also makes observation less fun. In addition, headache or eye pain can occur in the long term, as well as the symptoms of fatigue. 

Genius Sky
Genius Sky

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