The Triangular Arm Brace Hold

Many adults feel that 10x50 binoculars have too much magnification to be handheld. For several decades I have run astronomy clubs for youngsters and we have used 10x50 binoculars as our "standard" instrument. By teaching this way of holding binoculars, I have enabled children as young as ten years old to effectively use these binoculars for observing. If the detail they report being able to see is any indication, they are seeing noticeably more than adults using the normal hold.

Hold the binocular with your first two fingers around the eyepieces and the other two fingers around the prism housing. Then raise the binocular to your eyes and rest the first knuckle of your thumbs into the indentations on the outside of your eye sockets, so that your hands are held as if you were shielding your eyes from light from the side. Rest the top knuckle of your thumb against the indent in the bone at the outside of your eye socket and the second joint against your cheekbone (Figure 6.2). Each of your arms is now locked into a stable triangle with your head, neck, and shoulder as the third "side," thus giving you a much more stable support for your binoculars. The position of your thumbs keeps the eyepieces a fixed distance from your eyes. You cannot normally reach the focus wheel on center-focus binoculars when you hold them this way (although you can with roof prisms), but you should not need to refocus during an observing session. This grip does feel unusual at first, but it is so superior to the normal way that it soon becomes second nature.

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