How To Use Your Smartphone With Binoculars: An Easy Hack!

If you’re like me and you got really frustrated in trying to line up your smartphone camera with your binoculars, then you’re in luck. I found a simple and (almost) cost-free way to do so. It’s time to say goodbye to the unnecessary holders/adapters that add too much weight and bulk to your binoculars!

To use your smartphone camera with your binoculars, you can strap your phone to phone to your binocular with 4 rubber bands, then line the iris of the binoculars with the camera such that it aligns well. You can then zoom up until 2.5x on your phone and ensure that the image fills the entire screen.

Now if you found it hard to follow along with that short summary above, then here’s where I made a video to help you out. If that’s still difficult to follow, then read on to find out how to get set up really quickly step by step with pictures!

Video Demonstration

Some Details Before We Begin

In this guide and in the video above, I will be demonstrating how to fasten your smartphone camera to a pair of binoculars. The pair of binoculars that I use is the Celestron Nature DX 8×42 Binoculars and because I am a beginner birder, it’s a great buy. If your pair of binoculars looks a little different from mine, I’m sure this method will still work well for you. Just make sure that the rubber bands are strapped securely before you pick up because you don’t want your phone to fall off.

Step 1: Gather Needed Materials/Items

If you’re reading this, chances are that you either don’t want to waste money on a smartphone holder/adapter to attach to your binoculars. Here’s what you will use to replace the function of the holder/adapter: just 4 rubber bands!

Items you need beforehand:

  1. 4 rubber bands
  2. Binoculars
  3. Smartphone

It’s totally fine if you can’t find rubber bands around! Some alternatives to rubber bands include hair ties or rubber straps! Of course, we pick rubber bands to be the best choice because of their rubber material that helps to grip the phone and keeps it from slipping off the binoculars.

Step 2: Remove Neck Strap

One thing I found annoying while trying to set this DIY rubber band hack is that the neck-strap will get in the way when you are trying to strap the rubber bands on. You will definitely want to remove your neck strap on your binoculars before we begin. So do that first.

Step 3: Place Smartphone With Objective Lens Caps Facing Down

Ok so I don’t want you to have any accidental slips that will damage your phone or your binoculars, so make sure you are sitting down when you do this. Place your phone with your objective lens closed and facing down on the ground or on a stable surface like a table. This is so that we avoid dropping anything or scratching your objective lens.

Step 4: Strap 2 Rubber Bands Across the Left Side of Your Phone

What you want to do next is to place your smartphone horizontally on your binoculars eyecups, then strap 2 rubber bands on either side across the middle section of the binoculars and your smartphone screen. This will secure one side of your phone.

Step 5: Strap 2 Rubber Bands Across the Right Side of Your Phone

Next, you’ll want to strap 2 more rubber bands across the other side of your phone and the middle of the binoculars. Check that your smartphone is secure and firm and you’re good to go.

Step 6: Align Eyecups of Binoculars With Smartphone Camera Lens

What you’ll need to do next is to align the eye cups of the binoculars with the smartphone camera lens. Make sure you don’t skip this step so you won’t be fumbling around in the next step. It doesn’t have to be an accurate alignment, a rough alignment will do.

At this point you’ll want to make sure that your phone is fastened nice and tight and does not budge. You don’t want to risk your phone from dropping when you pick up your binoculars. If you think it isn’t tight enough, then add more rubber bands until you feel secure!

Step 7: Turn on Smartphone Camera App

Next, you’ll want to turn on your smartphone camera app and pick up your binoculars/phone. Then you will need to do some fine alignment of the binoculars iris with your smartphone camera aperture. If you do it right, it should look like a light in a circle like this:

Step 8: Zoom In To 2.5x Or To Fill The Screen

Next, you’ll need to zoom in to about 2.5x. As this may vary between different phone models, you just have to make sure that the image on your screen is fully shown, without any blackening out of the edges. Once you are done with that, you are good to go.

Step 9: Take Beautiful Pictures of Birds!

Now you should be able to see images clearly on your phone through your binoculars! Aim at your bird or animal of choice and snap those pictures away! As a birder myself, this method has helped me capture pictures of beautiful birds. Here’s a picture of a Crested Goshawk I saw outside my window.

Final Thoughts

If you’re read to the end, then thank you so much! I hope this tutorial has helped you out in saving money and being able to take pictures of your favorite birds to share with your friends and family! Thank you so much for reading and happy birding!


Justin is a hobbyist birder that hopes to share his birding knowledge with the world. His favorite bird is the Large-tailed Nightjar and he really loves potato chips!

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