Binoculars

Ken C.

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I am planning a trip to Yellowstone next year with the family and I am in need of new binoculars. I have been looking online and testing in store on several models and I keep coming back to this model by Nikon.

http://www.binoculars.com/binocular...oculars/1022x50actionzoomxlwtripodadapter.cfm

Can anyone enlighten me as to what I should look for and what I should be spending for high quality binoculars? The last pair I had were Mil. Issue Steiners I used in Saudi Arabi and I had to give those back.
 
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That pair of binoculars will pretty much only be useful if you have it mounted on a bipod, tripod, etc. They will be very heavy. Hand shake will be amplified so much at that power that you won't enjoy them, and variable power binocs typically don't have the image quality of a single power pair. Without getting into boring detail, here's a great resource to help you decide what pair will be best for you:

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/Publications/LivingBird/Winter2005/Age_Binos.html
 
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Go to: National Camera Exchange and Eagle Optics. You'll be in good hands! Take your time and get a Quality pair. You won't regret it!
 
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Mar 24, 2007
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Simple question, how much do you want to spend? $$ = quality up to around $800. $800+ and the differnece is there but slight.

Simple answer is

Swarovski
Leica
Zeiss
 

Ken C.

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I'm on a budget and I can't spend more than $200. They also have to be kid friendly and tough with a wide field of view.
 
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Ken,

You don't necessarily need "Alpha" bins (e.g. Leica, Swarovski, Zeiss) at all. Do some research by reading the following forums which give binocular perspectives from the three major user communities: hunters, birders, and astronomers. There are many bins in a much more moderate price range that could serve you well.

http://www.24hourcampfire.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php/ubb/postlist/Board/16/page/1

http://www.birdforum.net/forumdisplay.php?f=112

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/postlist.php/Cat/0/Board/binoculars

I agree with the earlier counsel to stay away from high power and zoom bins. Stay with the 8x power and under units. 10x will probably prove too much to hand hold for longer viewing sessions. If your family has little ones you'll also want to look for bins with a IPD adjustment range that allows for viewing with closer set eyes youngsters have (e.g. Leupold Yosemite series). Field of view is also important unless you enjoy the sensation of looking through straws. As you can see there are a number of specs/factors to weigh when making a choice.

--Bob

Bins: Swarovski 7x42B SLC; Leupold 9x35IF Gold Ring/8x30 Yosemite; Minox BD6.5x32IF; Pentax 8x32DCF-WP/9x21UCF;
Jason #138 7x35 11.5°; Binolux 7x35 11° & 10.5°; Carson 8.5x42 11°; Orion 9x63 Mini-Giants

Addendum: I see we posted at the same time. With that budget I strongly recommend auditioning the Leupold 6x30 and 8x30 Yosemite bins which will run no more than $100 each. They are one of the few bins that will fit adults and the very young plus the optics are excellent for the price. My Yosemite 8x30s are my backpacking bins :)
leupold-8x30-yosemite-nwtf_px300.jpg


Some reviews:
http://www.birdforum.net/reviews/showproduct.php?product=171
http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthre...1629191&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=all&vc=1
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=82107
http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthre...2489452&page=5&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=all&vc=1
http://www.24hourcampfire.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showflat/Number/2355295/page/1
 
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Danbo

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Pentax makes some very good binoculars for a lot less money than something like Zeiss, Swarovski, Leica, etc...
 
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A concurrent thread that may be useful -

Recommendation? Good Optics (Monocular, small Binoculars)

Suggest reading

Binoculars Reviews at ConsumerSearch.com

where they claim to be reviewing the reviews -
ie: survey all the available reviews and come to some concensus -
what we would do if we had the resources. Their picks -

Best all round - Nikon Monarch ATB 8x42

Compact - Pentax Papilio 6.5x21

Budget - Nikon Action 7x35

--
Vincent
http://picasaweb.com/UnknownVincent
http://UnknownVincent.Shutterfly.com
http://UnknownVT.Shutterfly.com
http://groups.msn.com/UnknownVincent/shoebox.msnw
 
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Generally speaking, the more moderate powered 7x35 and 8x30 binos are better suited for all around use.

They're lighter, they offer a wider field of view, and the magnification is not so great that they will "shake" the hell out of the image if they're hand held.

The "7" in a 7x35 refers to the magnification, and the "35" refers to the diameter of the objective (the front) lens in millimeters. The larger the objective lens gets, the brighter the image becomes. This is why 7x50's tend to be used aboard ships and boats because the greater light gathering ability of the larger lens produces a better image in low light conditions. However, in addition to greater cost, the bino becomes larger, and heavier as well.

The Japanese brands Nikon, Pentax and Minolta make a great product for the price. The German makes Leitz and Zeiss make better ones, but that's another story.
 
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Guys,

The OP specifies "kid friendly." The Pentax, Nikons, etc. et all are all good bins but their IPD adjustment will NOT accommodate small kids. The Yosemites were specifically designed with an IPD adjustment range to provide a quality bin for youngster use. That's why I've recommended the OP audition them.

-Bob
 
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Oct 29, 2005
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call eagle optics. i spent quite a bit of time on the phone with them, and they were more than helpful in choosing a pair. they didnt push any particular model.

i would recommend a roof prism, and nitrogen purged. adjustable eye relief (with detentes) is also a plus. birders like a good close focus feature and wide field of view.

and 8x is about the limit for hand helds. 10x's are extremely hard to hold still.

8x42's offer great light gathering ability, but can be cumbersome. for hiking and such, 8x30's are a good balance of weight and objective lens size.

and for the kids, any quality optic with a rubber coating should be durable enough.

why not try another pair of steiners? although at your price point, they will be porro's, mine have served me well. (i do intend to upgrade to a set of leicas eventually).
 

rdg

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Oct 30, 2002
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Nikon Monarch ATB's are pretty darn good. I've been watching the 8x42's on a popular auction site and they seem to go for around $200-230. They've gotten really great reviews and frankly I'm very tempted to try them. Might be something for you to consider.
Bob
 
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Always select bino's that have a central focusing wheel - those with levers are harder to focus accurately. I also dislike bino's that require too much action on the focus wheel - I want to be able to focus in and out without cranking several revolutions on the wheel. Other than that, it has all already been said: stay away from zooms, go 7 or 8 power, 30 - 35 mm objective lenses, close focus and field of view based on your intended use. Rubber-armored glasses are quite durable and might even prevent damage in a drop on rocks.
 
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Gosh! Can't go wrong with any of them. I've used all the best brands and have shot with Nikons all my life. I always sneak over to Zeiss Binos and Monos. Not much difference at the top though. One hot tip. Unless you plan to use them a lot over the next 20 years- buying used will save you a lot of money. I've run my compact 8X20 Minoltas into the ground but the lenses are still pristine and at what I paid- feels good to have gotten such great value.
Like any other type of glass, context is everything- pick a pair that matches your long term subject matter.
RE "a trip to Yellowstone next year"
an 10X is the right mag for that. Slip an 8X22 or 8X32 Mono along and you're covered.
http://www.gearninja.com/Images/Mono_1.jpg
 
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mckrob

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See this post for my thoughts on Nikon binoculars, I personally would not buy another Nikon product and would never recommend them to anyone.

Based on a lot of research and great advice from fellow forumites here, I went with the Leica 10x42 Ultravids and couldn't be happier with them, but these are certainly pricey, and I would probably have a heart attack if anyone under the age of 12 even touched them!

Personally, I would buy a cheap pair until you can spend some real money on a high quality pair of Zeiss, Swarovski, or Leica's just for yourself. I have a pair of waterproof 10x25 camo rubber armoured Bushnells that were great value for the money, and at $50 you won't be worried about the kids dropping them. The focus adjustment may not be the easiest for small fingers, but with a bit of instruction I am sure they'd get it.

Here are the Leica's next to the Bushnells, with a Busse Active Duty for scale:

binos_lowres.jpg
 
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Check out Orion Telescopes and binoculars. Search online they will come up. They import a lot of optics from Japan and have some house brands that are outstanding optically for the price. Their better glasses are fully multi-coated optics and are very bright.

I have a pair of 8X56 "Little Giant" from them that are better than the brand name Japanese optics. I think they run about $175.00 at this point.

Comparably sized Leitz and Steiner etc are better, but will run $2000.00 or more.

Orion has a Vista series that are very nice in smaller sizes than what I have in the same price range.
 
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