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Nov 8, 2021 - 6:27:57 PM
7216 posts since 2/14/2006

We've been spotting a pair of bald eagles along a stretch of highway recently, and I've always wanted to get a decent set of binoculars for birding. So I looked at several different companies online today and settled on microscope.com, and found some birding binoculars for $99. It comes with a phone holder attachment so I can record video or take pictures with my phone through the lenses. I'm very much looking forward to getting them. I realized something though.. even though I found a set at a decent price, when I shopped around for hunters' binoculars, wow they can get expensive! I was seeing binoculars from $150-$3000 on some other sites. Someday I'm going to invest in a telescope. I want to search for stars and identify them.

Nov 8, 2021 - 10:17:03 PM
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Brian T

Canada

18992 posts since 6/5/2008

To a large extent, you will get what you pay for.

The front lens, the objective lens, gathers the light. 50mm diameter will be a lot brighter than 30mm with the most noticeable difference at dawn and dusk. What comes out of the ocular lens to your eye, should be a fair match for the pupils that allow light to enter your eyes. 7 - 8mm is OK.
When will you be out? Mid day? 30mm would be OK.

I've hunted for decades with Pentax 7 x 50 binoculars. Great in bad light. Shockingly crude when I get to use Leica or Zeiss 7x50 Boy! Are those bright! Lens grinding precision, anti reflective coatings and so on, the cost adds up.

We have a large area of high breeding refuge for Mountain Goats and Mountain sheep.

When company comes to visit, I like to take them out "game spotting" for the usual as well as the goats and sheep. For that, I have a Nikon Prostaff 82mm spotting scope, 20X - 60X but 45X is really the practical top limit. You can count the legs on a goat 5 miles away. It's big and heavy and it sits well on a heavy-duty surveyor's tripod. Even has it's own little spotting scope on the side!

Best selection for window shopping has to be B&H Photo in New York. 500 models on line?

Across the valley is maybe 5 miles as well. Mid winter from my house, I can tell you what color the rider's coat is, I can see the sled tracks, that's about it.


Nov 9, 2021 - 12:16:54 AM
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Tommy5

USA

3973 posts since 2/22/2009

Why wait.? Many musicians are amateur astronomers , telescopes will give you a hobby that will last a lifetime. If you live in a rural area , you already have a nice dark sky that urban and suburban amateurs only dream about. Observing the stars, galaxies, planets, moon will give you a bigger perspective on life, calm the nerves, let you see how insignificant your life and problems are but also that you are part of something bigger then all of us. It’s not really expensive , there are numerous websites that can get you started. The Co-Vid has caused some bottlenecks in the telescope supply chain so you may have to wait for the scope of your choice. Here is a sketch I made of Mars during one of its closer oppositions, through my 6 inch refractor.


 

Edited by - Tommy5 on 11/09/2021 00:17:29

Nov 9, 2021 - 1:43:48 AM
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4097 posts since 4/22/2018

For general birding or hunting a pair of 8x40 or 8x42 should be more than enough. An objective lens less than 40mm will perform badly in poor light. Go up to,50mm and they start to be too cumbersome to carry about - you want to be wanting to pick them up when you go out rather than thinking ‘do I have to lug those about?’ 8 x mag is more than enough, any higher and it becomes difficult to pick the subject up and also is getting on the verge of needing a rest/support to avoid the shakes impeding your view. If I had the option, I would always go for higher end 40mm over lower end 50mm.

Nov 9, 2021 - 3:38:11 AM
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phb

Germany

3112 posts since 11/8/2010

quote:
Originally posted by Doug Knecht

even though I found a set at a decent price, when I shopped around for hunters' binoculars, wow they can get expensive! I was seeing binoculars from $150-$3000 on some other sites. Someday I'm going to invest in a telescope. I want to search for stars and identify them.


A fine pair of binoculars is worth its money, you will see (literally) a big difference with the top quality ones. I want to buy a good one but not before my youngest child is old enough to not break it. 

Nov 9, 2021 - 4:31:02 AM
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rinemb

USA

14243 posts since 5/24/2005

I purchased Nikon Prostaff , I believe from a recommendation here from an earlier topic. They were at a price point I desired at the time. Several sizes available in the 125.00-160.00 usd range?
Too much and too bulky for backyard birding, nice for bald eagle watching on river cutting through town.
If I used them more, I would love to a pair that you have to spend several hundred dollars on.

I want next a small set with good optics for backyard bird and critter watching.
Will follow, brad

Nov 9, 2021 - 4:49:21 AM
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5799 posts since 12/20/2005

Several decades ago, I went through a time when I was making a really good salary.
I have often seen that a person would purchase a Rolex watch during favorable times
I don’t have much use for an expensive watch but I do like binoculars
I bit the bullet and got a new set of binoculars.
Leica 8x40 to be exact
I’ve used them countless times over the years and I love them.
They are bright and crisp even in low light conditions.
I use them for hunting. I personally believe that for a hunter, binoculars are the most important tool for you to have when you go into the woods, next to your rifle. For me, every time I look through them, it’s just simply awesome and rewarding. You can’t hardly put a price on that.
When I made this purchase Leica’s were the best. I don’t know if still holds true. And maybe what is available today with multiple brands, would outshine my old Leica’s. I have no idea.
I believe, like banjos, when it comes to binoculars, you owe it to yourself to purchase the best you can afford.

Nov 9, 2021 - 6:21:05 AM

Owen

Canada

10052 posts since 6/5/2011
Online Now

Brian: "To a large extent, you will get what you pay for."

Leslie: "... you owe it to yourself to purchase the best you can afford."

Reminiscing, more than giving any worthwhile advice.... my BPE grad gift  was $20 from my mom.  I got a pair/set/?? of .... just a sec while I dig 'em out and get it right... "AMC brand / model 606 / T.T # 8-8210 / 7 X 50 mm / lightweight" binoculars with "fully coated optics / 376 ft. field of view at 1000 yards."

I'm not particularly knowledgeable about specifications and applications, but they've served well-enough for general purposes [whatever that means].  They might have been "lightweight" 5+ decades back, but as for nowadays, I have serious doubts. 

Edit: By the looks of it a pair like them was worth about $10.00 a couple of years ago on   https://www.shopgoodwill.com/Item/73143038   Good thing I wasn't counting on selling them as part of financing my retirement.

Edited by - Owen on 11/09/2021 06:33:50

Nov 9, 2021 - 7:33:05 AM
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7361 posts since 9/5/2006

these are the ones i got for christmas

amazon.com/Celestron-SkyMaster...579&psc=1

Nov 9, 2021 - 7:59:38 AM

4097 posts since 4/22/2018

quote:
Originally posted by rinemb

I purchased Nikon Prostaff , I believe from a recommendation here from an earlier topic. They were at a price point I desired at the time. Several sizes available in the 125.00-160.00 usd range?
Too much and too bulky for backyard birding, nice for bald eagle watching on river cutting through town.
If I used them more, I would love to a pair that you have to spend several hundred dollars on.

I want next a small set with good optics for backyard bird and critter watching.
Will follow, brad


Brad,if the optics I'm aware of available in the US I believe  Vortex optics and higher end Hawke have something in your price/performance requirement bracket 

Nov 9, 2021 - 8:00:53 AM
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2472 posts since 7/20/2004

I learned about the difference in glass years ago when I was shopping rangefinders. Comparing Bushnells, Nikons, and finally the Leica was an eye opening experience, pardon the pun. I couldn't afford the Leica then, but after my FIL died in 2008 I inherited his 8x40 Leica binoculars. They're the best I've ever used.

Nov 9, 2021 - 8:04:11 AM

4097 posts since 4/22/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Leslie R

Several decades ago, I went through a time when I was making a really good salary.
I have often seen that a person would purchase a Rolex watch during favorable times
I don’t have much use for an expensive watch but I do like binoculars
I bit the bullet and got a new set of binoculars.
Leica 8x40 to be exact
I’ve used them countless times over the years and I love them.
They are bright and crisp even in low light conditions.
I use them for hunting. I personally believe that for a hunter, binoculars are the most important tool for you to have when you go into the woods, next to your rifle. For me, every time I look through them, it’s just simply awesome and rewarding. You can’t hardly put a price on that.
When I made this purchase Leica’s were the best. I don’t know if still holds true. And maybe what is available today with multiple brands, would outshine my old Leica’s. I have no idea.
I believe, like banjos, when it comes to binoculars, you owe it to yourself to purchase the best you can afford.


Completely agree with everything you've said there Leslie.

Nov 9, 2021 - 8:08:07 AM
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4097 posts since 4/22/2018

quote:
Originally posted by CW Spook

I learned about the difference in glass years ago when I was shopping rangefinders. Comparing Bushnells, Nikons, and finally the Leica was an eye opening experience, pardon the pun. I couldn't afford the Leica then, but after my FIL died in 2008 I inherited his 8x40 Leica binoculars. They're the best I've ever used.


Rick, my hunting buddy uses Leicas they are by far the best optics I've ever used - out of my price/justification range for now, but they are absolutely superb.

Nov 9, 2021 - 8:10:35 AM
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530 posts since 5/29/2015

Another feature to think about with binoculars is how close they focus. My Nikon Monarch binoculars focus to 6 feet allowing the observation of small easily scared critters (Monarchs) or close up view of right hand technique of your fellow banjo player.

Nov 9, 2021 - 8:25:17 AM
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doryman

USA

1106 posts since 11/26/2012

If you are willing to spend $100 - $200, you will find some perfectly fine binoculars with which you will satisfied. You will be happy to have them and your life will be full of wonder as you gaze at those far off Eagles.

However. if you go this route, my advice would be to never, ever, look through a pair of $2500 Leicas, Zeiss or Swarovski binoculars. Happiness, satisfaction and wonder will be replaced with disappointment, lust and envy and you will never again be content until you possess such rarified optics. Even if it means selling your banjos.

Edited by - doryman on 11/09/2021 08:26:21

Nov 9, 2021 - 9:27:56 AM
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rinemb

USA

14243 posts since 5/24/2005

quote:
Originally posted by doryman

If you are willing to spend $100 - $200, you will find some perfectly fine binoculars with which you will satisfied. You will be happy to have them and your life will be full of wonder as you gaze at those far off Eagles.

However. if you go this route, my advice would be to never, ever, look through a pair of $2500 Leicas, Zeiss or Swarovski binoculars. Happiness, satisfaction and wonder will be replaced with disappointment, lust and envy and you will never again be content until you possess such rarified optics. Even if it means selling your banjos.


Is one banjo worth that much, anymore?  ;-)  ;-(  Brad

Nov 9, 2021 - 9:33:03 AM
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slammer

USA

3473 posts since 12/30/2008

I inherited my Grandfathers binocs years ago. MontgomeryWards 7 x 50 with an old leather case. I cherish them as they are the best optics I have ever seen, and I have been to many a good sporting stores and looked at very expensive binocs and NONE come close to the clarity and brightness of my old ones. The lenses of course were not made by Montgomery Wards, they are German made Zeiss lenses and impress me every time I use them. Wouldn’t trade em for anything!!! Grandpa didn’t have a lot, but he only bought the best !!!  They are probably from the 40's or 50's
Slammer!!!

Edited by - slammer on 11/09/2021 09:38:38

Nov 9, 2021 - 9:48:52 AM
Players Union Member

rinemb

USA

14243 posts since 5/24/2005

Any issues with the coatings on the older binocs?
What about recoating?
Brad

Nov 9, 2021 - 11:19:31 AM
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Brian T

Canada

18992 posts since 6/5/2008

Not the lens coatings but the gas seals around the optics.
My Pentax binocs are broken. Hunt in the rain/wet snow then warm up
and it takes a few days for the internal fogging to dry up.
Too many days of freeze/thaw, freeze/thaw.

Game spotting with the Nikon, we are usually out at dusk and 50F and dry or better. I have no concerns about wrecking the lens seals.
I paid $600.00 USD for the Nikon Prostaff. I don't regret that for the entertainment value it offers.
Big old wooden surveyor's tripod, lot of space in the back of the Suburban to lug it around.
I always ask visitors to bring binoculars if they own some.
Regrets? I should try to find a compatable, point-and-shoot, digital camera mount.

Nov 9, 2021 - 6:57:04 PM
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7216 posts since 2/14/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Wet Spaniel

For general birding or hunting a pair of 8x40 or 8x42 should be more than enough. An objective lens less than 40mm will perform badly in poor light. Go up to,50mm and they start to be too cumbersome to carry about - you want to be wanting to pick them up when you go out rather than thinking ‘do I have to lug those about?’ 8 x mag is more than enough, any higher and it becomes difficult to pick the subject up and also is getting on the verge of needing a rest/support to avoid the shakes impeding your view. If I had the option, I would always go for higher end 40mm over lower end 50mm.


These birding binoculars I found at microscope.com are 10x42mm

 

https://www.microscope.com/shop/best-binoculars-for-birding-750?category=53#attr=

Edited by - Doug Knecht on 11/09/2021 18:59:35

Nov 9, 2021 - 7:00:34 PM

7216 posts since 2/14/2006

quote:
Originally posted by 1935tb-11

these are the ones i got for christmas

amazon.com/Celestron-SkyMaster...579&psc=1


those are awesome

Nov 10, 2021 - 4:00:41 AM
Players Union Member

OM45GE

USA

111774 posts since 11/7/2007

The Nikon Monarch M7’s are a great pair of binoculars for less than $500. 10 X 42. Very wide field of view and RUGGED

I’ve been shooting Nikon cameras since the 1970’s and love their glass.

Nov 10, 2021 - 12:56:29 PM
Players Union Member

DC5

USA

21959 posts since 6/30/2015
Online Now

I have an inexpensive Sears pair, 7 X 35. So far they seem to do most of what I need them to do, and the vision is better than my eyes. I think I might have paid $50-60 for them some 30 odd years or so ago. Someday I'll get a better pair for astronomy, but I kind of want a decent telescope first. After I get cataract surgery in a few years, and don't need to wear glasses for distance anymore, I'll go shopping for better binoculars. Glasses and binoculars are a PITA.

Nov 10, 2021 - 2:01:12 PM

Owen

Canada

10052 posts since 6/5/2011
Online Now

Onto a tangent, Dave, but my cataract surgery about 3 years ago did indeed improve my distance vision. Alas, it did a number on close-up... with or without glasses.  I'm unable to find a comfortable reading distance / angle.   My vision is better in two different optometrist's offices than it is in my house.  Dunno how prevalent my situation is.... but it too is a PITA.

Nov 10, 2021 - 2:08:16 PM
Players Union Member

DC5

USA

21959 posts since 6/30/2015
Online Now

@Owen, my vision now is better at the optometrist's than it is at my house. They tell me I can see fine, I tell them I can't. I have the same issues with my Audiologist and ENT. I'm concerned about the close vision. Now I take my glasses off when I'm working close as the graduated lenses are nearly useless. I will miss that. I'm told you can get one eye focused for distance and the other for close up. Don't know how I'd like that either.

Nov 10, 2021 - 3:08:10 PM
Players Union Member

OM45GE

USA

111774 posts since 11/7/2007

DC5 I had cataract surgery a few years ago. I got variable lenses and can see fine both closeup and far away (and everything in between. The lenses have concentric rings with progressively more correction. It took my feeble brain a couple of weeks to get used to what my new eyes were sending it but they’re great now. Other than sunglasses, I don’t need glasses for anything for the first time in almost 60 years.

The only odd thing is that at night, lights have halos around them - sort of like van Gogh’s Starry Night painting. It’s actually quite pretty. I told my eye doctor that I spent a lot of effort as a teenager trying to get that effect. He said he wondered if they halos would go away if I got high again. LOL

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