/ Binoculars

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Philip on 15 Jun 2010
Not quite cameras, but close....

A few years ago I paid about £70 for a nice pair of binoculars. Now looking to spend a little more ~£100-150 for a slightly better pair - lighter, better dioptic adjustment, brighter. The current pair are Helios Naturesport 10x50. Looking for 10x42 or 10x50.

Had a play with some Vikings at an RSPB reserve and couldn't really see much difference with the ~£300 pairs.

Is it me? Anyone recommend a good brand of binos for nature watching?

Blue Straggler - on 15 Jun 2010
In reply to Philip:

Not at all my field of expertise but I'm told that in your price/specification/useage range, Opticron give good "bang for your buck".
I bought my dad a pair for general hiking a few years and promptly borrowed them to take to Chamonix, where I hardly use them as I don't "get" binoculars, but they seemed bright and clear and rugged and light.
Philip on 15 Jun 2010
My mum has an Opticron spotting scope and that is quite nice - I'll have a look. Thanks.
Adam Long - on 15 Jun 2010
In reply to Philip:

I think binoculars are a bit like tripods - you mess around buying cheap ones, waste your money, before finally stumping up for a decent pair and never regretting it. I went through had a few pairs of ~£100 bins that all lost alignment after a couple of knocks - even slightly cross-eyed is very tiring to use. Image quality tends not to be obvious on a quick glance but becomes very obvious with regular use. Try to spend some time in a decent shop and see which you prefer.

There seem to be a only a couple of price brackets with 'cheap' going up to about £200, then 'decent' £600 plus (Zeiss, Leica, Swarovski), with not much in between unfortunately. Brands in the middle ground to look at are Nikon, Vortex, Minox etc, plus look for reviews on the birding sites. My main piece of advice would be to buy second-hand - decent optics are made to last. I'd either shop very carefully if you buy new, or scour ebay for a slightly used better quality pair. I got a pair of ex-display Minox 8x33HG off ebay for £350 - had to swallow hard at the time but money well spent - pleasure to use and 30 year guarantee.
andi turner - on 16 Jun 2010
In reply to Philip:

I'd agree with Adam. There's a choice, you either get some nice cheap ones which you'll replace again and again or bite the bullet and spend a few quid.

If you want to go cheap then Lidl (I'm not kidding here) do a very good pair from time time of Bresser 10x50's for a tenner (waterproof, Bak 4 prisms etc) and at that price when you finally drop them off the crag, sit on them in your back or reverse over them, you won't be too fussed. I just have mine slung in the boot in the off chance a Great Grey Shrike or a UFO fly past.
Adders - on 16 Jun 2010
In reply to Philip: i have opticrons 10x28 bga's and they are outstanding value for the quality you get. waterproof and very clear with comfortable eye pieces. think i paid £170 about 4 years ago.

try a few becuase dif brands have dif eye pieces and some are more comfortable than others.

leica is big bucks but considered one of the best

i've been a to a few rspb reserves over the last few weeks and everyone there seems to have the massive spotting scopes or massive lens rigged up to their slr's.

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