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Old 08-04-2010, 06:08 AM
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Default Binoculars

I know this is very random and only slightly if at all related to fly fishing but I figured someone might give me some suggestions. I'm really curious to buy some binoculars for hiking and what not. I've never bought a pair of binoculars in my life. What should I be looking for? What do you sacrifice by getting a more compact pair? What brands should I look for?

Thanks!
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Old 08-04-2010, 11:35 AM
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Default Re: Binoculars

If you buy compact and buy quality you sacrifice very little and gain a lot in the light weight and portability. I have owned a pair of Zeiss 10X25 Minni's since 1982 and they are with me constantly. My wife had a pair of Bushnell Minni's when we met and they were not quite what I would call good optics so I got her a pair of Nikon Travelite V center focus 9X25s and they too are really good glasses.

In price shopping I would say the Nikon Travelites are about as good as I've seen at a value price. I've tested a bunch and also own a pair of Steiner Military/Marine 10X50s and the Nikon's stack up really well against the Steiner and are very close to my Zeiss in optical quality The Nikon can be had under 150 dollars take a look at them.
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Old 08-04-2010, 12:51 PM
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Default Re: Binoculars

I did the search a couple years ago for a set of compact Binos and I read a lot at the birding forums. Bird watches are extremely critical of glass, they want to see every detail and true colors of the birds.

Anyway as far as budget compacts I picked the
Amazon.com: Nikon ProStaff ATB 10x25 Waterproof Binocular: Camera & Photo Amazon.com: Nikon ProStaff ATB 10x25 Waterproof Binocular: Camera & Photo
and I have been very happy with everything about them.
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Old 08-04-2010, 02:32 PM
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Default Re: Binoculars

Found some Nikon Travelite V 10x25 for $65. What is the number stand for?
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Old 08-04-2010, 02:46 PM
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Default Re: Binoculars

The designation Travelite 'V' would discern a series or generation of the model, the 10X25 infers that the magnification is 10 power and that the objective lens (front glass) is 25 mm in diameter.
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Old 08-04-2010, 02:54 PM
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Default Re: Binoculars

Yeah sorry, just found that out by a search on the internet. So do you think that's a good price?
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Old 08-04-2010, 03:13 PM
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Default Re: Binoculars

For the quality of image delivery, light gathering abilities and size, the price is killer.
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Old 08-05-2010, 02:53 AM
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Default Re: Binoculars

I have a Bushnell 8x21 POWERVIEW.. under 20bux.. it's pretty durable and quite nice..
you break it, you buy another one... and it comes with a lifetime warranty
or if you are looking for something water proof, you could go with a H2O series.
I also have Bushnell 8x25 H2O.

IMO, 8x is more than enough for me...
I'd save $50 and buy the 8x rather than buying a 10x
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Old 08-05-2010, 04:12 AM
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Default Re: Binoculars

Question - what other activities do you plan on doing while using the binoculars besides hiking ?

If you want to take them fishing (boat or wading) then make sure you look at waterproof binos - the Nikon ProStaff, the Nikon Travelite and the Bushnell H2O are all waterproof.

If you want to do some serious bird watching, you may want to consider something with better light transmission (e.g. how bright/dark the view will get), like an 8X40 (8 power with a 40mm objective lens) the larger front lens will gather more light during low light levels (dawn & dusk). The down side is that a bigger lens means more weight to carry.

I recommend staying away from any of the zoom binos -they are mostly gimmicks, and the light transmission gets pretty bad when you zoom them up to max power. Also, only the really expensive zooms are waterproof.

Make sure you try out a couple pair of binos to see what power you like. Many folks find that 8X is about the strongest power they can hand-hold comfortably without getting too much shaking due to the magnification; next most popular is the 10X. Keep in mind, the lighter the weight, the more "shake" you will see while viewing through them.

Last but not least, look at the eyepieces - if you wear glasses you will need to adjust eyecups to see the full field of view. On some binos you "roll-down" the rubber eyecups, while better binos have "Twist-up" eyecups. Twist-up eyecups are much easier to use if you will be sharing the binos between people and one of them wears glasses. If you are the only person who will use them then you can go either route with no issue.

I agree with Ard - the Travelites are a good deal at $65 ($15 off Cabelas current price). Based on my needs I purchased the Nikon ProStaff 8X25 binos for when I am fishing from a drift boat or hiking. When my kids were still pretty rough on equipment, I bought them Bushnell H2O 8X25 binos. It hurt a lot less when they would beat up $45 binos vs $100 binos.

Bottom line - try them before you buy them. See what is most comfortable for you and what is the easiest to use for where you plan on using them.

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Old 08-05-2010, 12:33 PM
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Default Re: Binoculars

^^^I agree with Brewmaster. When I did some research to buy a pair a couple of months ago the consensus seemed to be 7X25 to 35; or 8X25 to 35 was the best for the average guy for bird/wildlife watching. I wound up with 8X35. Just right. I agree on passing on the zoom too.
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