Opera glasses come in the following models, or options: 1) Traditional, 2) Chain, 3) LED Light, and 4) Lorgnette Handle. These options may be combined to form six style combinations. Let's take a look at each option and see how it may be combined to find your personal style.
1) Traditional: Traditional theatre glasses come with no chain, light or handle option.
Pros: These glasses are the most simple, as well as affordable.
Cons: Because they lack a chain, they may fall from your lap when not used. They are not as convenient as those with a lorgnette handle. They lack a light for viewing a playbill during performance.
2) Chain: These are the Traditional model, plus a chain necklace. The most attractive opera binoculars have the chain attached to the lateral sides of the optical barrels. Some manufacturers attach the chain at a single point in front of the focus mechanism.
Pros: The chain allows you to safely secure the glasses around your neck when not in use, without fear of being dropped on the floor. Glasses with a chain may be combined with the LED light (See option 4).
Cons: There are no cons, other than the fact that chains sometimes bind up if not carefully wound around the glasses when being put away. The chain option cannot be combined with a handle (Option 3).
3) Lorgnette Handle: When extended, the lorgnette handle allows you to comfortably rest your elbow on the arm rest while holding the glasses to your eyes. When finished, the handle easily folds over the top of the glasses for convenient storage.
Pros: The handle helps you avoid the fatigue of holding the glasses to your eyes for prolonged periods. It may be combined with the LED light option (Option 4).
Cons: The Lorgnette Handle model takes up slightly more storage room than other models and it may not be combined with the chain necklace (Option 2).
4) LED Light: Models equipped with a light allow you to view the playbill during a performance. The light emits a very narrowly focused red light while depressing a small button.
Pros: The light is very convenient when you want to read the program in a dark theatre. This option may be combined with all the other options.
Cons: Some theatres discourage the use of the light because it may distract other theatre patrons.
One other binocular style suitable for the theatre is Compact Binoculars. These are more powerful binoculars commonly used outdoors, but are very compact and nearly as small as opera glasses.
Pros: Because they are more powerful, you can get a closer view of the stage. They are more suitable for lighter venues, or when further from the stage.
Cons: Compact binoculars do not let in as much light as your typical opera glasses. Their dual focus mechanism requires two steps to focus upon initial use.