Binoculars - any recommendations

BillN

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Binoculars

I need to upgrade - mine are not very good - will be used for nature watching and spying on the neighbours - must be "carry around" weight

Budget - don't want to pay more than about £700 = $1,100 - could stretch to a little more

Nikon and Pentax have always appealed but you guys in the US have Swarovski

Looked at used Swarovski EL 8x32 WB on Ebay

Have any of you guys got any recommendations - makers, sizes, etc.

What are the problems, buying used

Cheers
 

grebeman

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Hi Bill,
As a keen lifelong ornithologist I've used Swarovski for the last 35 years, excellent binoculars and an after sales service second to non, under their lifetime guarantee they virtually rebuild a pair for no cost to you (had it done twice over the years for what were originally quite minor defects). However they have now become prohibitively expensive new. I have always used 10x40 or these days 10x42, capable of being hand held in windy or cold conditions without too much shake.
I used to know a rep who demonstrated binoculars on field days and for the price I was impressed with Opticron. For about £400 you can get a very good new pair.
Personally I would avoid the very small pocketable types, I certainly never can get on with them. I've not tried 8x32, be aware of the field of view, too narrow and you might struggle to home in on your target, also the speed of focus adjustment, working in woodland in particular can require an ability to quickly refocus from very near to more distant, you don't want to be for ever winding the focusing wheel while your intended target beats a hasty retreat.
Like all things it depends on how much you intend to use them, I've been in the habit of using mine most days and so was willing to pay a premium price for a premium product, for lesser usage then I would seriously consider Opticron.
Barrie
 

paulkbiba

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I love my Canon 10x30 image stabilized binoculars. I have never been able to hold a 10x binocular steady and previously had to stay with my 7x Nikons. The image quality on the Canon is excellent - crisp and clear.

The stabilization feature is fantastic and makes bird watching into a much more pleasant experience. My dream is to get the 18x stabilized ones, but they are extremely pricey. In the US Amazon has the 10X for $350 (the 18X are about $1,100). They also make an 8x25 stabilized unit and it goes for about $250 and a 12x36 that runs about $600 at Amazon.
 

peterpix

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Canons

I second the recommendation for Canons. I have both 10x and 15x. Worth every penny. Sharp, plenty of light coming through, and the stabilization is great.
 

BillN

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Hi - thanks for the Canon recommendations - I was keen on those, but read reports that if they were knocked the image stabilisation could fall out of line
 

cosinaphile

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canon is 10 x 30 is what i own , the difference between IS binocs and non is night and day

i know leica and zeiss and swav. make better instruments optically but the canon IS are an amazing in use and panning is like drifting across a still lake ... they are bright and contrasty

if you have a chance to try them youll be hooked
 

BillN

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Djarum - No tripod use - just carry arounds on my (morning) walks
 

cosinaphile

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I second the recommendation for Canons. I have both 10x and 15x. Worth every penny. Sharp, plenty of light coming through, and the stabilization is great.
I third it!! i own the 10 x30 and they are light years ahead of non stabilized they are amazing and make birding a pleasure

the 8x25 offer inferior stab. and the build quality is not so great,but the 10x30 has much nicer build quality and is the least expensive QUALITY stabilized that canon offers
 

dannat

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8x42 is a good size..do you want a roof prism? (both barrels have eyepieces in them) they are smaller & lighter but cost more than a porro (eyepieces are inside the front lens)
Pentax are a good choice, there binos are usually sharp close to the edge but have slightly less field of view. nikon are also good.
I have bought a number of used name binos & i don't have a problem doing this - but then i am familiar with image quality thru bino glass & what to expect.
I would not go for a 25mm front lens- 32mm is about the smallest - 42mm is probably the biggest if you don't want a heavy weight.
You may want to look at ED binoculars - they are good for daytime viewing with little CA
 

Danny_SWE

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I bought myself a new allround-bino, got it today! Loyal to the brand... :)

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Olympus 10x50 DPS I. Got it on discount, a cheap one got even cheaper! I have read about it, many thought it was really much bang for the buck. And I agree, feels a little cheap in the details but optically they look good to me.

Use the same strap also :) perfect with those PD anchors.

Have already a 8x32 binocular and this was a blast when birding and such. Better 3D-effect with porro prisma also.

It takes a steady hand for using a 10x without stand though. On my previous job I bought some Canon IS ones with L-glass. They were amazing!! But cost a month salary. This will do for my basic needs just perfect.
 

ac12

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I shoulda bought one of the Olympus 10x50 when they were on sale.
BUT, I can barely hold a 7x stable. I have to use a 10x on a rest of some kind, so 10x w/o IS did not make sense, for me.
So, depending on YOU, IS may or may not be a big issue.
 
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Mattie

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Minolta !

Blew the dust off these old 10x50 for use on walks along the coast during the Covid time.

Excellent size in use, with soft rubber eye cups. Not sure I would want to walk far with them around my neck though.

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My wife and I each have a pair of Zeiss. Hers are 10 X 40, and 23 years old, still like new. Mine are 10 X 42 and 2.5 years old. Mine have a lifetime warranty, I am unsure about hers. PD connectors on both.

For those that have trouble holding them steady, rest your thumbs on your cheek bones while looking through the knocklers.
 
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Here's a revolutionary thought… a 500mm mirror lens and your favourite image-stabilized camera body! Hold the shutter half-down, and IBIS kicks in.

The OM-D E-M1 Mark II and the Olympus OM Zuiko 500mm ƒ/8 Reflex is fantastic for walk-about sighting. Using IBIS, I can read the name and registry of marine vessels many miles away, which would not be possible with non-IS binocs.

And the combo is similar in size and weight to a pair of 10x50s, but with more light-gathering AND reach — plus, you get photos, if you want them!
 

ac12

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Here's a revolutionary thought… a 500mm mirror lens and your favourite image-stabilized camera body! Hold the shutter half-down, and IBIS kicks in.

The OM-D E-M1 Mark II and the Olympus OM Zuiko 500mm ƒ/8 Reflex is fantastic for walk-about sighting. Using IBIS, I can read the name and registry of marine vessels many miles away, which would not be possible with non-IS binocs.

And the combo is similar in size and weight to a pair of 10x50s, but with more light-gathering AND reach — plus, you get photos, if you want them!
But you have to use the OLYMPUS 500 mirror.
Some of the other 500 mirror lenses are much larger/heavier.
I was surprised at how small the Olympus 500 mirror was. :)
 

Holoholo55

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I thought the Wirecutter article was informative. https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/the-best-binoculars/

My first decent binocular is an old Pentax 8x21 compact I bought decades ago at a clearance sale at an old camera shop. Still have it and it's still good. Got an even better Canon 8x23 non-IS compact binocular on clearance sale that's waterproof and nitrogen filled. I didn't want or need a big binoculars. I even have a West Marine 8x32 waterproof roof prism binoculars that isn't bad, won at a raffle at a fishing show. Not as good as the Pentax or Canon, but for free, who cares? :)

I recently bought the little 6x16 Olympus monocular with the Rewards program coupon. It's waterproof, tiny, sharp, and clear. Perfect for packing along on a hike for a quick look for a bird or distant object. I had a cheap Celestron monocular before that, and it's so bad, it wasn't even worth the little I paid for it. The Olympus is far superior.
 
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I rely on binoculars for polar bear safety literally every day.

The Vortex Crossfire 10x42 is my set, popular with Inuit. Their new HD model is good, but their Razor and Viper lines gets raves. My next will be the Viper HD 10x50.

https://vortexoptics.com/binoculars/vortex-crossfire-hd-binoculars.html

I‘ve tried Swarovski...overpriced. I’d look at the Vortex line before others. Every guide I’ve seen has a pair of this brand.
 

Holoholo55

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I shoulda bought one of the Olympus 10x50 when they were on sale.
BUT, I can barely hold a 7x stable. I have to use a 10x on a rest of some kind, so 10x w/o IS did not make sense, for me.
So, depending on YOU, IS may or may not be a big issue.
Agreed. Holding an 8x is about my limit. A 10x is too much. Those Canons with IS would be great, but not a serious birder or wildlife chaser, so it would be hard to justify.
 

Holoholo55

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I rely on binoculars for polar bear safety literally every day.

The Vortex Crossfire 10x42 is my set, popular with Inuit. Their new HD model is good, but their Razor and Viper lines gets raves. My next will be the Viper HD 10x50.

https://vortexoptics.com/binoculars/vortex-crossfire-hd-binoculars.html

I‘ve tried Swarovski...overpriced. I’d look at the Vortex line before others. Every guide I’ve seen has a pair of this brand.
For you, a good pair is a matter of life and death! :)
 
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