Viewing 26 posts - 1 through 26 (of 26 total)
  • Binoculars – general use max £150 – what should I get?
  • yoshimi
    Full Member

    For a mates 40th –  I wouldn’t dream of spending this on a mate usually but he did with me so…

    He’s into walking, not hiking, just nice longs walks in the countryside / coast – he’s mentioned a few times about getting some nice binoculars so seems a good idea

    Although I understand the basics, I just don’t really know enough about them.

    I’d rather get him some ‘proper’ ones as opposed to the mini style ones – but nothing too cumbersome.

    I’ve seen these ones – Nikon PROSTAFF P3 10×42 Binoculars – looks like the sort of thing I had in mind.

    Any ideas from people whio know about these things welcome – thanks

    kormoran
    Free Member

    I’ve got some retro 8×30 carl zeiss jena that are 40 years old. Image quality is superb, proper normal size binos. You can still pick them up if you peruse dealer websites

    They are lovely to hold and use, so as thats what  I have I recommend them and I would be delighted to get them for my birthday. They have a stitched leather case, really nice kit. I have some tiny Pentax too, horrible and plasticy in comparison

    WorldClassAccident
    Free Member

    My wife bought me some Hawke Endurance ED Waterproof 10×42 a year or so ago.

    They are not too big and heavy, rubberised so don’t slip when wearing wet gloves and are easy to use. They cam with a load of info about focal length etc but basically are good enough to zoom in on the birds in the bushed on the other side of the garden or sheep on the other side of the the mountain valley. It makes them great for when you are out and about walking as they are pretty much capable of zooming in on anything you see.

    WorldClassAccident
    Free Member

    Just checked and from my desk I could see a bumblebee on a flower about 35m away, the little hoverfly flitting around behind it and a couple of ants walking up the leaves. Without them I can see a bush with a few flowers on it.

    retrorick
    Full Member

    I bought a pair of Opticron binoculars a while back. They seem nice and should last forever. Unless I drop em.

    dovebiker
    Full Member

    I work in a shop that sells binoculars, primarily to tourists with a price range from £30-£300.  Basically, as the price goes up, you pay for better quality optics, weatherproofing/waterproofness and for some, a premium for brand name etc. At the top end, there are the likes of Leica, Swarovski and prices go into hundreds if not £1000+.  For £150 the main difference is multi-coated optics vs ED optics on higher price models. ED optics give a slightly brighter image and less colour-fringing/ distortion at the edges – for most casual users looking at a moving object they’d probably not notice.

    intheborders
    Free Member

    +1 for Zeiss, mine must be at least 45 years old.

    Just taken a look on ebay, looking at £175 for the same model with an original case.

    dovebiker
    Full Member

    In terms of general use, many prefer an 8x magnification as you get a broader angle of view which makes it easier to track moving objects. With higher magnification, it accentuates shake plus they are heavier. Bigger front optics (eg 42 vs 32) improve light transmission, but make them heavier. Optical coatings degrade with age, particularly exposed to moisture.

    tewit
    Free Member

    I’ve got Hawke like WCA but 8×25 as I much prefer the smaller bins when out walking. I’ve some Opticron 8×42 which are also great but I don’t use now as I don’t like the size, and I don’t want them round my neck. Prefer some that I can stick in my pocket. The Hawke are noticeably brighter too. You can get them for £150.

    Blazin-saddles
    Free Member

    We’ve got some Vortex Diamondback that are v.good and compact/light.  We paid around £150 but that was a while back and I suspect they’ve gone up since.  Worth a look.

    zippykona
    Full Member

    @dovebiker where do you get your £30 bins from? Are they any good?
    We are a gift shop and I would like a man’s gift other than the usual socks or beer glasses.
    Every man on the planet loves binoculars.
    I couldn’t find any at the NEC this year.

    Pauly
    Full Member

    I have had the Nikon ProStaff 7S 10×42 for a few years now and they’re a great compromise between portability, magnification and price. I think I got them for approx £175.

    MadBillMcMad
    Full Member

    As @dovebiker says I was advised to go 8×42. I chose a cheaper hawke model, very pleased.

    dakuan
    Free Member

    i find opticron offer great value at the lower end of the price range for bins

    Scapegoat
    Full Member

    As others have said, go for 8x rather than 10x as the difference in weight and holdability outweighs the extra magnification.

    Hawke, Vortex all do really good binos at that price point, with not much difference in quality. Worth bearing in mind that Vortex do an unconditional lifetime waranty, so send them any knackered pair (even accidental damage) and they’ll repair or replace them. Hawke do a similar deal.

    No experience of Opticron, but they are highly regarded, as are GPO.

    yoshimi
    Full Member

    Thanks for all the very useful advice here 🙂

    Based on all the above I’ve gone for Hawke Nature-Trek 8×32

    Its easy to get price creep but I think/hope he’ll be happy with these

    Thanks again

    derek_starship
    Free Member

    I would get the 8x mag equivalent of the Nikon or if not available in Prostaff range pick from another range of Nikon. I speak from experience. For the money they are excellent.

    joshvegas
    Free Member

    Find your local auction house. There are ALWAYS binoculars for sale.

    duncancallum
    Full Member

    Opticron

    Viking

    hawke

    All solid bins just go and try some.  People have different preferences

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    Based on all the above I’ve gone for Hawke Nature-Trek 8×32

    We’ve those exact ones. Superb for the ‘oooh, What’s that?’ moments. They’re small enough to pop in the bike bar bags, powerful enough to see.

    dyna-ti
    Full Member

    Fancied the Celestron Nature DX 10×56 About £140-150.

    Good for looking up too.

    BigJohn
    Full Member

    I’m just wondering (because I have wonky eyes and binoculars don’t work well for me), does a monocular (or telescope) do the same job.

    breninbeener
    Full Member

    Dont the RSPB shops have a range that can try?

    benp1
    Full Member

    If you’re looking at monoculars you really want to be looking at Opticron

    It’ll do the job just fine if you struggle with bins. I often carry a Zeiss mini quick 5×10, it’s only usable in good light but I’m always surprised by how useful it can be. Have taken it in my waist pack on bikepacking trips

    For bins I personally find anything up to 8x magnification to be the sweet spot. I have them ranging from 8×20 up to 8×42, although my main pair are 8×30. They get used most days

    kormoran
    Free Member

    Yes monoculars are great for wonky eyes, there are plenty on the market. Same rules apply as binos really.

    I also use mine to look at interesting bugs and creepy crawlies. If you look through the wrong end and get the eyepiece really close it acts like a very powerful magnifying glass. Moths and beetles look amazing close up

    You can do it with binos too but it’s a bit awkward

    vazaha
    Full Member

    Olympus 8×40 DPS worth a look at the lower end of the price range – not a pair you can easily put in a pocket but solid and great bins for the price.

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