Twilight Factor


In the past, twilight factor was an important value in determining the brightness of the optics. The manufacturers were using the same kind of technology and materials of the lenses therefore the optics were comparable. Nowadays, they use different types of lenses and modern coatings so the twilight factor has lost its meaning, because the brightness of the optics depends more on the quality of the coatings than on the twilight factor.

Twilight factor is calculated by the square root of multiplying magnification and lens diameter.

Twilight factor of 8x42 binoculars is a square root of 336, meaning 18.33. All the binoculars with this kind of magnification and lens diameter have the same twilight factor, but not the same brightness. If you look through an old pair of binoculars made in 1950s and a new pair with the same magnification and lens diameter you could see the difference in brightness even though they share the same twilight factor. The new pair is significantly brighter due to better lens materials and coatings.

Though manufacturers still specify the twilight factor, we recommend you to ignore it as it’s not important.