Skip to content

12×42 Vs. 12×50 Binoculars | Optics Trade Debates

Hello and welcome to yet another of our Optics Trade Debates. In this episode, we are going to be discussing the difference between two similar configurations of binoculars: 12×42 and 12×50.

These are not as popular as 8x or 10x magnification models for quite some reasons. Such binoculars provide the user with a more detailed image, but with more details also comes more handshaking, which can be a problem. For this reason, we would not recommend them to beginners. They are suitable for hunters, hikers, birdwatchers, etc. – basically for everyone who has a specific taste.

Let us begin with the difference, which is the size of the objective lens. The 12×42 has a 42 mm objective lens, and the 12×50 has a 50 mm objective lens, which means that the exit pupil is wider on the latter (4.2 mm) than on the former (3.5 mm). This also means that the 12×50 binoculars will perform better in low-light situations, even though none of the two are made for such use.

Due to the bigger lens size, the 12×50 binoculars are bigger and heavier when comparing them to 12×42 – the difference is around 100 g. So, the differences are the lens size and everything that comes with it.

When would you choose which? This debate is meant for people who are decided on buying binoculars with a 12x magnification and a more detailed image. The only thing that you have to decide is whether you want a smaller or bigger lens size. If you want binoculars that are not as heavy, then go with the 12×42. If you would like to have binoculars that perform a bit better in low-light situations, then go for the 12×50.

Products mentioned in the 12×42 Vs. 12×50 Binoculars debate:


Follow us on social media:




  • I want to get a monocular or binoculars that are good for watching sporting events (baseball specifically); and that will work well while travelling via an automobile. what would you suggest. beginner’s skills (or lack thereof). Also, weight could be a factor as a male and female will be using the item. As always, cost has be factored in. Want the best for less; but will to pay a tad more. what about compatibility with a smartphone and small tripod. Good brand name associated with quality. I know, I know, not asking for much (lol)

    • Based on the description, I would suggest compact binoculars with lens diameter from 32 mm to 36 mm, or maybe even a full size binocular with a lens diameter of 42 mm (standard size). Are you looking at a specific price range? If you want to select from a wide range of accessories, I suggest buying binoculars from a renowned European manufacturer (Leica, Zeiss, Swarovski). These start at 1000 €.

      To get more information, please write an e-mail to [email protected]

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *