Unlike the cinema, actors in theater appear rather small – it’s easy to miss important details of the play when you are sitting far back in the audience. Using binoculars in a theater is a very common thing to do and has been around for a while. Binoculars allow you to get a closer look at the performers’ facial expressions, gestures and costumes, providing for a more immersive theatrical experience. Classical opera glasses have a fairly distinct look and style and can still be used nowadays, however there are many more options today on the market to choose from.
When trying to find the best binoculars for theater, you should look for certain features that will make them particularly suitable for this task:
- Limited magnification: the distance between the seats and the stage is relatively small, therefore using 10x magnification will simply be too much – you may see the individual hairs of the actors’ heads, but you won’t be able to actually grasp the entire scene.
- Small size and weight: you don’t want to tire your hands too much while using the binoculars.
- A look suitable for theater: showing up with a huge military or marine style binocular will make you look rather silly.
So here are some options to consider:
These interesting looking binoculars are made specifically for spectators of sports and other events, which makes them very suitable for theater or musical use. They provide 4x magnification, which is decent for this purpose: you will still have a wide view of the stage but will also find yourself much closer to the action on stage. They have good eye relief and should be usable with eyeglasses. They have multicoated optics and BaK-4 prisms, which means bright and crisp images. Keep in mind that they are produced by Bushnell – one of the foremost manufacturers of binoculars and other optics in the world, rather than by some obscure little company.
If you want to look real classy, check out this item from Vixen Optics. You get 6x magnification, which is good, and an excellent set of optics on the inside. They have a huge 14mm eye relief, meaning they’re comfortable to hold up to your eyes and can be easily used with spectacles. These are likely one of the best binoculars for theater, indoor concerts or other performances on the market, but they are also somewhat pricey.
Here’s another interesting product, this time from Nikon – a well-known manufacturer of optical equipment and cameras. These are tiny – they will fit anywhere, are easy to hold and will do a great job at magnifying your theatrical experience.
Lastly, if you want to go for the classical opera glass look, then these are a pretty good choice. They look great and are well built. The magnification is only 3x, as is typical of opera glasses. This will bring you somewhat closer to the stage, but don’t expect to see minute details of the performance.