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Finding the Right Opera Glasses

When you are at the theater or the opera, it can be difficult to see everything on the stage, especially if you aren't sitting near the front. Opera glasses give you a closer view of the action.

What Are Opera Glasses?

  • Opera glasses have been used for hundreds of years. They are a type of binoculars most often used in the theater. They are used to get a magnified view of the stage.
  • They are typically designed to be lightweight and compact. This is because they don't have to be especially powerful as they are used at quite short distances. Carrying a bulky, heavy pair of high-powered binoculars to the theater would also be a lot of effort.

Which Features Should I Consider?

  • The further away you sit from the action, the more powerful they need to be, although the size of a theater means that they aren't usually as powerful as outdoor binoculars. Typically they will have magnification of around 3x or 4x, although you can also find more powerful models. A lot of styles will also have a center focus control so you can focus on whatever you want to watch.
  • Bigger objective lenses provide a brighter image, especially in a dimly-lit theater. This can be a bit of a trade-off though as bigger objectives mean bigger, heavier binoculars.
  • Opera glasses are often designed to be beautiful as well as functional, particularly vintage models, which makes sense given the environment that they are designed to be used in. Manufacturers like Tasco make them in a lot of different materials and designs so you can pick a style that speaks to you.
  • Some models are designed to be held by a handle while others hang from a chain. Chains make it more difficult to lose your binoculars because you can wear them around your neck. However, a handle can be used as a rest while you are watching, saving you from having to hold them up through the whole performance.

Which Accessories Might I Want?

  • A protective bag or case keeps your glasses safe when you take them out. Using one is a good way to protect the body and lenses from scratches. There are a lot of different materials to choose from, ranging from classic and understated black leather to more ornate styles. Some models from companies like Tasco even come with their own protective presentation box.
  • A dedicated optical cleaning kit can help to keep your binoculars in good condition. The glass can often get dusty or dirty over time, affecting visibility, but harsh materials and cleaning products can cause damage. This is especially true of advanced designs with anti-reflective lens coatings.

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