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rockmeister

Binoculars

42 posts in this topic

lots to say and a bit to ask

Been looking and looking and have decided the following:)

10 x mag is perfect but heavy for all day use. 8 X is fine really. 8 X 40 ish is best for twighlight, but since Barn Owls are rare 8 X 30/32 is ideal to use all day BECAUSE:

Lighter weight, not too small (weight adds some stability), a tad better VFM, bright enoug and very portable. I want rubber (who doesn't?) nitrogen filled and waterproof.

Best VFM for that spec is Bushnell etc, but Ive used these and they don't outdo my current pair (Swift Osprey) which I'd like to achieve, so....

I've narrowed down to Minox / Kowa and Nikon HG (all around the £700/800 mark, so 1/2 the cost of Leica etc).

Anyone got any experience of these before I buy the Kowas and sod it?:dunno:

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Not considered the Steiner Skyhawks? Always well reviewed, good vfm, and have used them loads - mind you, I do know the diff if you go for a real expensive spotting scope, for example, it's substantial..:shock:

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Had Leicas for years myself - birding use - but bought Minox for the wife. Light, great image quality & well made. Definitely one to audition. You ARE going to audition before you buy, aren't you?:)

Oh, and 8x are my choice (40 or 42mm) best compromise between magnification, light gathering & field of view IMO.

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I use 8x42 for bird watching but when I bought mine the chap in the shop (In-Focus at Martin Mere) was using 7x42. Given he had the pick of his stock that has to be some sort of recommendation. I could barely tell the difference in the view between the 7x and 8x but I preferred the balance and weight of the 8x42. Don't rule out 7x. Anyway, I had a go with the Nikon HG and very good they were too but I made the mistake of looking through some Zeiss and I was smitten.

Are you prepared to go pre-loved? There are some fantastic bargains that way. I have bought a used pair of bins for my daughter from

http://focusoptics.eu/Pages/home.html

and got fantastic service but I notice the used section of the website hasn't been updated for a while.

If you have nowt better to do, have a look at

http://www.birdforum.net/forum.php

Scroll all the way down the page and have a look at the binoculars section. If people thought we could get a bit anal in here, we are nothing compared to those who inhabit the Birdforum binoculars section. You will get loads of info there. As Paul says you ARE going to audition aren't you?:^

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Yeah, 7x are good for rainforest birding - I know, I've tried a pair and the extra light gathering is worthwhile - but not too many around.

The Zeiss optics are fantastic Peter, but obviously higher priced than the OP's budget - in line with Leica, Swarovski etc.

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I spent ages researching bins a few years ago.

Quite a few people 'in the know' all recommended a brand called Opticron. I bought a pair and have been delighted.

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OK, I have looked through more pairs of bins than you can shake a stick at, in every type of habitat you can imagine. My "other" interest (apart from music & hifi) is birding.

Opticron, Bushnell, Swarovski, Leica, Minox, Nikon, Zeiss, Steiner, Swift - need I go on? With bins, possibly more than any other consumer item I can think of, you get what you pay for.

Optically, the top brands (Leica, Zeiss, Swarovski) are unbeatable. Build quality - same story. Reliability - same. However, there are compromises. As I said in an earlier post, I bought Minox for Mrs Mac and they really are good optically (slightly below Leica etc) the build quality is very good (better than Bushnell, Opticron etc but not as good as Zeiss etc.)

You DO need to audition though, please do not buy them on line based on reviews/advice. I really do not think that there is enough difference between Leica, Zeiss and Swarovski to choose, other than personal preference. At each descending level, the same applies, until you get to the real bottom of the pile (which I am sure you have no intention of visiting)

I don't know how urgent your purchase is, but if you are going to Scalford, I could bring my Leicas and, as Mrs Mac is going, she will bring her Minox. You could try them there and see what you think.

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Have a look at the binoculars section on BirdForum here http://www.birdforum.net/forumdisplay.php?f=112

These apparently, are very, very close to the alpha binoculars at a fraction of the cost. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hawke-Frontier-ED-43-Green/dp/B001MX983E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1295684254&sr=8-1

This is what I'm currently using and they are superb. http://www.pennineonline.com/acatalog/Vortex_Razor.html

Geoff.

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John,

I endorse everything that Paul has said particularly about looking through the bins. But (and there is always a but) it might be worth a phonecall to Penine Optics. They have a used pair of Swaro 8.5x42 EL at £899. (use Rapid17's link and look in "clearance corner"). Above your budget but a very good bin at that price. Do the distance selling regs apply to used purchases from a shop? I suppose they must. Might be worth a 7 day trial!

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well thank you chaps

I've been looking at lots of online stuff....hence the X 32 ish choice and looked at Nikon Monarchs at that mag. to see if size/heft etc was about right in jessops....

Yes I ought to look of course but WHERE???? Fine for londoners, but in dorset/devon borders? Nearest I can find is 135 mile drive!

Kowas are 'apparently' as near as dammit to Leica quality, a tad better than Minox and = to Nikon HG (my summary of massed online opinion) but I'll look at the birdforum you suggest too...many thanks again.

PMac, that's a kind offer. I HOPE to go to Scalford....we'll see...Please god let me remember to let you know in time!!!:dunno:

Bottom line is, my current 2 pairs (Swift Ospreys 7.4 X 45 and Zeiss T* 10 x 22) are two ends of what I need and use...also 98% birding...been at this quite seriously since I bought the Ospreys in 1982, but do not twitch...too busy with other bits of life! So it kinda makes sense to compromise on a pair that will do most of what you want....my theory is that the easier they are to pick up in any situation (crap weather, cold and foggy, long long walks etc) the more they'll be used.

Budget is def limited to 800 MAX.:)

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If budget is limited to £800 max, I suggest you are slow to look through Swaro, Zeis or Leica. Upgradeitis will definately take hold. Have a look at In-Focus optics or RSPB sites. Very often there are "field trial days" at RSPB or WWT places. How far is Slimbridge from you?

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well thank you chaps

I've been looking at lots of online stuff....hence the X 32 ish choice and looked at Nikon Monarchs at that mag. to see if size/heft etc was about right in jessops....

Yes I ought to look of course but WHERE???? Fine for londoners, but in dorset/devon borders? Nearest I can find is 135 mile drive!

Kowas are 'apparently' as near as dammit to Leica quality, a tad better than Minox and = to Nikon HG (my summary of massed online opinion) but I'll look at the birdforum you suggest too...many thanks again.

PMac, that's a kind offer. I HOPE to go to Scalford....we'll see...Please god let me remember to let you know in time!!!:dunno:

Bottom line is, my current 2 pairs (Swift Ospreys 7.4 X 45 and Zeiss T* 10 x 22) are two ends of what I need and use...also 98% birding...been at this quite seriously since I bought the Ospreys in 1982, but do not twitch...too busy with other bits of life! So it kinda makes sense to compromise on a pair that will do most of what you want....my theory is that the easier they are to pick up in any situation (crap weather, cold and foggy, long long walks etc) the more they'll be used.

Budget is def limited to 800 MAX.:)

Do you live near any of the LCE stores? Look on here:

http://www.lcegroup.co.uk/NewProducts.asp?New=6&Binoculars

They usually have a massive range available and some of my birding friends in the South swear by them.

Btw, I don't twitch either. Still manage a trip to Isles of Scilly each October though, in the hope of finding that "biggy" amongst the migrants. More interested in "World birding" now. Got a trip to India planned in a couple of weeks (if our visas ever arrive!). I'll be back in time for Scalford though!

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Is this shop worth a visit ? http://www.acecameras.co.uk/

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