Author Topic: Binoculars: What to look for?  (Read 2310 times)

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Offline Gratiot

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Binoculars: What to look for?
« on: July 25, 2010, 09:43:53 PM »
I've never bought a nice pair of binoculars before, now I'm looking for a pair.  Any suggestions on what I should be looking for?

Offline LC EFA

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Re: Binoculars: What to look for?
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2010, 02:32:09 AM »
It really depends on what you're going to be doing with them and how portable you want them to be.

What to consider -

How strong magnification will be acceptable
What FOV are you looking to get at maximum zoom
Do you need the ability to zoom in and out
Do you need them to be waterproof
Do they need to operate in low light conditions
Do you want a large bulky setup or something compact enough to fit in a pocket

I recently picked up a pair of Bushmaster 16X50 binos for game spotting and bird watching. They're "okay" in good light for searching a few hundred meters out from the observer but tend to become unusable fairly fast as the light drops out or at closer ranges.  They also have no zoom ability so one must point them fairly much at a suspect target or it wont appear in the FOV resulting in you having to pan and scan for it (painfull).

Offline Gratiot

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Re: Binoculars: What to look for?
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2010, 08:43:54 PM »
Mostly game viewing with some trail scouting.  Lisa and I are heading to southern Africa, for our honeymoon.  Primarily checking out Kruger National Park, Zambezi river and Victoria Falls, and possibly the Okavango Delta.  I'm actually considering picking up a pair of binos.  One compact and rugged enough to have with us on hikes, and possibly a larger pair to keep in the vehicle.

With optics, I hear it rings true, that you get what you pay for.  However, ideally, I'd like to stay under $200 per bino, as there's always a fair chance of losing them on the river.  I'd rather spend more on the compact pair, as it will get far more usage.  

I have Pelican water proof cases for emergency gear and dry bags, so being water proof isn't absolutely essential.  However, I'd really prefer them to be, or at least water resistant.  I'd likely be willing to go over my budget, for exceptional low light viewing capabilities.  Portability, remains important though.  I imagine I should be considering having coated lenses for glare, no?

I honestly am not sure what magnifications, field of view, zoom/auto-focusing, or lens size I should be looking at.  

So your 16x50 Bushmaster bino's don't fair well in low light?  Is it something besides lens size that determines low light capabilities?  I was under the impression that about 50 is what you needed for dust viewing, if not starting to consider night viewing, no?

Some I started looking at:

Steiner 8x30 Safari Pro

Steiner 10x26 Safari Pro

Bushnell Excursion EX 10x42 or 8x42

No Swarovski Optik suggestions please  :o
« Last Edit: July 26, 2010, 09:15:18 PM by Gratiot »

Offline LC EFA

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Re: Binoculars: What to look for?
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2010, 01:45:39 AM »
With optics, I hear it rings true, that you get what you pay for.  However, ideally, I'd like to stay under $200 per bino, as there's always a fair chance of losing them on the river.  I'd rather spend more on the compact pair, as it will get far more usage. 

To a point this is true - although I doubt the casual user would really be able to tell the difference between a $150 bushmaster set and a $1500 Swarovski set.

Quote
I have Pelican water proof cases for emergency gear and dry bags, so being water proof isn't absolutely essential.  However, I'd really prefer them to be, or at least water resistant.  I'd likely be willing to go over my budget, for exceptional low light viewing capabilities.  Portability, remains important though.  I imagine I should be considering having coated lenses for glare, no?

Binoculars do you no good in a case - but need them to be fairly tight in case you get rained upon or trip over at a inappropriate moment.

Quote
I honestly am not sure what magnifications, field of view, zoom/auto-focusing, or lens size I should be looking at.   

There is a good writeup on how those things effect what you see Here . It explains it better than I can.

Quote
So your 16x50 Bushmaster bino's don't fair well in low light?  Is it something besides lens size that determines low light capabilities?  I was under the impression that about 50 is what you needed for dust viewing, if not starting to consider night viewing, no?

I expected something more from a $150 pair of binos than what was really fair given the circumstances. They perform okay I suppose. I could still track targets at dusk but it gets hard to pick out your object from the background on an exponential curve.

Quote
Some I started looking at:

Steiner 8x30 Safari Pro

Steiner 10x26 Safari Pro

Bushnell Excursion EX 10x42 or 8x42

No Swarovski Optik suggestions please  :o

Out of those I'd probably go for the Bushnell 8x42 pair.

Offline Wineslob

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Re: Binoculars: What to look for?
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2010, 02:05:12 PM »
This place:  http://www.telescope.com/control/binoculars/astronomical-binoculars/orion-scenix-10x50-wide-angle-binoculars   will have ANY kind of bino you could wish for at a reasonable price. I've bought all my telescope eyepieces (their "brand" ortho's) from them and the quality was excellent.
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