Jan 19th, 2002, 03:49 AM
Jim Bobo
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We are going on an African safari and I need to purchase a good pair of binoculars. Any suggestions?
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Jan 19th, 2002, 05:27 AM
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Get a really decent magnification and if possible, I understand some of the new ones have digital image stabilization which would help.

Also, if there are two of you, get two binoculars, one of ours broke, and we had to share, though at least for most of the time, we were SO close to the animals it didn't matter, we had our camera lenses which we could look through for zoom, and the guides often had spares to share with us.

Make sure the eye piece is comfortable for you, I like the ones where you can "fold" the binoculars to adjust the distance between the eye viewers, as my face isnt as wide as my husband's!

Check they are very easy to refocus.

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Jan 20th, 2002, 10:15 PM
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Dear Jim,

As a long-time birdwatcher, I would suggest that you buy a pair of Swift "Audubons". I think that they represent one of the best values for the money out there. They run about $225-$250 out of the photo ads in the back of photagraphy magazines. No, they are not cheap, but in binoculars YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!!! They are consistently highly rated and have a magnification of 8 1/2 by 44. They are fairly bright for shady situations, have a good big field of view and crisp resolution. They are a bit heavy, but I use them with a spongy,stretchy "Op/tech" strap that makes me forget that they are around my neck. Be very careful not to bang them against anything hard as you will knock them out of alighment. But, at least with these, they would be fixable, unlike cheaper binos. I now use Bausch and Lomb, "Elites", but they cost over four times more.

I would also suggest that if you can afford it, you buy a spotting scope. The Bushnell "Spacemaster" is a great standard instrument and really brings the animals/birds up close and personal. It runs $250-300, and you also need a sturdy tri-pod, preferably with a "fluid head" on it to make it much easier to use, probably in the $100 range.

The birding magazines often do reviews of optical equipment, so you could most likely find one of these on line. Don't get confused with the enormously powerful binos that are meant for viewing planets, the moon and stars. We do, however, have great fun looking at the moon and planets with my spotting scope. Good luck and email me if you have further questions.

Go to a good photo shop or a bird store (i.e. Wildbirds) and have a look at what is available. There are some great small binos available now, but the better ones are quite pricy.
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Jan 21st, 2002, 10:15 PM
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I'm a serious birdwatcher and I have used Olympus 7x35 for years, most recently on my trip to Botswana. They are great and not too heavy. When I passed them around, all the other people in the Land Rover loved them, too! They cost about $150.00.
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