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Thread: Binoculars

  1. #1
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    Default Binoculars

    G'day all,

    Not sure if this is the correct place to post this as binoculars are not really related to photography equipment, but rather as a compliment or bird watching in general.

    I have a pair of fairly crap binoculars; 12x50 which are too heavy and cumbersome and have poor performance in low-light conditions, so am thinking of upgrading sometime this year. I think something around the 8x42 mark is ideal for birding? I was wondering if anybody could recommend a good pair of binoculars that are good, but not going to break the bank too much (I am still recovering after the 500 f/4 purchase!). Not really sure how much i am willing to spend, but definitely not in the realm of Leica and co which are $3000+

    Thanks for your help.
    Aust. Life List (IOC) - 315 (Rufous Owl- 11/09/2014)
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Binoculars

    I've got some Nikon Monarchs which I've had for about 4-5 years now, they're 10x50 and are superb. they're light, good in dark conditions, and i love them. If I upgrade them, I'd probably be looking at the Pentax range, they're Leica glass, but around $2K less at $1Kish. The monarchs were about $600-650. I'm currently saving for a 500/4 though, so I'm not about to upgrade my bins or scope any time soon.

    Get yourself to a decent store (Bintelshop or something) and let them know how much you want to spend, and then spend the next hour or so trying out everything in that price range.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Binoculars

    you really need to try Binos, they can be quite personal. The nikon Monarchs are a good recommendation and the Pentax are also very nice. try them out and see what you like. 8 x 42 is a good size. A lot of people quite like the 8 x32s as well and they are quite a bit lighter. 10 x 42 is another option, but it depends on how well you go holding 10x binos steady.
    Chris Ross
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Binoculars

    I've got Kowa 10x42 (and my Dad has Kowa 8x42) and i love them. They were about $800-$900 a few years ago. I tried out the equivalent Pentax at the time and preferred the Kowa purely because the focussing knob was easier to turn. A great example of why you need to try before you buy as Troy and Chris said.
    I'm pretty sure that as i get older I will want 8x42 as I am already finding the 10x42 a little harder to hold still. If I'm wearing a cap its now worries as i put my little fingers over the brim while holding the bins up to my eyes which adds alot of stability! (hope you can work out what i mean here! )
    If i had unlimited funds i would love to have Leicas or Swarovskis but i put the money into a Swarovski scope instead which is where i think the extra dollars are more worthwhile.
    Cheers, Dave

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Binoculars

    correctionm - my monarchs are 10x42.

    but yeah - try everything you can. I've used some leica 7xsomethings (i think 42? maybe 38) and they were fantastic. The magnification difference between 10x and 7x isn't really that much, although the lightness of the gear and the brightness of the image was definitely noticeable.

    as Dave says - if i had unlimited funds i'd have the absolute top of the range business, but when you don't, you get the best you can afford. The Kowas are also very nice bins - i haven't tried Daves, but i've used some others and i quite liked them
    Aus Life List: 508 - Grey-backed Storm-petrel, Sydney Pelagic, 13/8/11
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Binoculars

    +1 for the Nikon Monarchs. I bought a pair of 8x42 Nikon Monarchs for just over AUD$300 from the US (they are $600 plus here) a couple of months ago and have been very impressed. If you live in a remote location and can't go to a good optics store to try binoculars, these are a good bet.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Binoculars

    Haha, another one for the Nikon Monarchs. Perfect binoculars for me, very light (well, coming from someone who habitually carries around a 300/2.8) and great optics (not so good towards the edges, but hey, you get what you pay for). Great build, fast focusing knob, waterproof (or so they say, never actually chucked it in the water, but withstood many rain showers) etc. Very cheap here in Japan, a little more expensive in Australia. I reckon 10X42s are ideal, so long as you don't need the extra wide-angle view to locate the birds in the bins. But like others have said, try different types.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Binoculars

    Thank you all for your replies! Looks like the Nikon Monarchs are quite popular. There are no decent bino stores close to me, so will have to try and squeeze in some time when I am in Sydney for uni in April and see if I can visit the stores down there.

    Sorry about the late reply, had a big storm here on Friday where a bolt of lightning travelled through the telephone, roasted the modem and roasted the Network Card in my desktop. Lucky I have the laptop still up and going!
    Aust. Life List (IOC) - 315 (Rufous Owl- 11/09/2014)
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Binoculars

    If you're waiting till you get to Sydney, go to Bintel at Glebe, they have a good range in stock and are generally pretty helpful, they all use the equipment they sell.
    Chris Ross
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Binoculars

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisRoss
    If you're waiting till you get to Sydney, go to Bintel at Glebe, they have a good range in stock and are generally pretty helpful, they all use the equipment they sell.
    But also make sure you ring ahead, as sometimes, they may be out of stock. This happened with my Mum,and it took here a while to try out some of the binos she wanted,

    By the way, she got Monarchs, 8x42s, and my Dad uses Monarchs, 10x42, so we're a Nikon family (but not for cameras )

    Ashwin
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Binoculars

    Guess I'm the odd one out then I got my bins as a present so had no choice, but they haven't let me down...yet...
    Dad got me a pair of Bushnell 10x42 Waterproof bins and couldn't ask much more of them really.

    Basically you wan't a pair between 8-10x42 (50 is a bit big I think and heavy too) from a reputable brand.
    Max Breckenridge
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Binoculars

    As an aside, it is true that trying them is very important. I for example did not enjoy the Swarovski experience at all -- the Leicas and Zeiss binos on the other hand...

    You can never tell by reputation or reviews. Especially with binos as there is nothing objective about them. Different eyes match different optics.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Binoculars

    Quote Originally Posted by Bird freak
    Basically you wan't a pair between 8-10x42 (50 is a bit big I think and heavy too) from a reputable brand.
    I agree with that statement and if it was me I would get 8x42's. - Has a larger exit pupil than the 10x42s hence better in low light situations.
    Cheers,
    Geoff


    reposts welcome

  14. #14

    Default Re: Binoculars

    I agree that binoculars are very much personal preference and what works for one person will not work as well for another. I will be buying Steiner Skyhawk 8X42. Tried them out and they are fantastic.
    Hoppy


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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Binoculars

    Be sure though to check out prices from overseas before buying them.

    I'm another who is very happy with my Nikon Monarch's. In Australia they sell for around $600-700, I imported mine from the US for about $330 Australian.
    "the responsible thing to do -- the enlightened 21st century thing -- is to pony up your money and your time and save them. Because they are birds; and that is more than enough reason for anybody." - Colleen Mondor

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