Binoculars - Night V's Day - Advice Sought

Old Feb 15th, 2007, 10:42 PM
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Binoculars - Night V's Day - Advice Sought

We have a pair of binocs each - that seemed perfectly adequate for the last trip. they were not expensive! As we are now truly smitten with Southern Africa and anybody who has seen us post over the past month or so would know we are KEEN to get the very best out of our 2008 Mega-Safari.

So questions are
1.What kind of binocs are best Night or Day?
2.Would it be worthwhile to have (at least one pair) of night binocs
3.Can these also be used during the day? (We are worried about weight here.)
4. Any reccomendations fr a reasonably priced pair of night binocs?
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Old Feb 16th, 2007, 12:28 AM
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santharamhari
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Night binocs......i dont know the answer, others can give their opinion.

Yes, carry a good pair of binocs for the day-time....if you are two people you rather carry one per person....

From memory, you are going to the top camps....so, even though your guides will have a good pair in the car...i recommend you carry your own...
 
Old Feb 16th, 2007, 12:51 AM
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After my first safari, binoculars were one of my first sacrifices in the interests of travelling light. Camera equipment is more important to me. But if you can fit them into your baggage limits and there are two of you, why not take one of each? I think you'll get far more use out of day binoculars, but if you want to cover all bases, and are happy to share (which I generally do not favour), why not adopt a compromise? Or take two day-time and one night-vision pair so you have to share only at night?

Sorry, I can't speak with any authority about makes and prices. My only binoculars are extremely good glass Nikon, and my interest in taking them to Africa expired after my first safari.

John
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Old Feb 16th, 2007, 01:34 AM
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useful for birding.....
 
Old Feb 16th, 2007, 06:53 AM
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If you have never tried image stabilized binoculars, take yours to a shop that has them and compare. I'll be suprised if you don't want a pair. Ibut probably sold 50 pairs for Canon (wish I was a salesman) by loaning ours to people on game drives with us. For the average person the difference is striking.
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Old Feb 16th, 2007, 02:26 PM
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The vast majority of the binocular use I get is for birding. We definitely need two pairs because we are both interested in the birds. If you're not looking at birds then I'm not sure how much you would need your own pair, most mammals get pretty close to vehicles.
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Old Feb 16th, 2007, 04:37 PM
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our canon image stabilization binocs were awesome!
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Old Feb 17th, 2007, 03:42 AM
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I have a pair of Zeiss binocs (10x42) that I got before my first trip in 2001. It was the best purchase I made. Even though expensive the advantage to a binoc with a large diameter (10x42 vs 10x30 for example) is that it allows more light in and this is especially useful very early around sunrise and later in the day and even at dusk and evening. I think their optics are spectacular. While I am a big Canon guy I have never liked the image stabilized binocs. but I know many do. I do think it is important to try a number of pairs, Zeiss, Nikon, canon, pentax,Olympus,
Steiner, Schneider are all well known names that have different options at different price points. The better ones are a bit heavy so if there is an issue with steady hands the image stabilized ones may be a good idea (10x30 or 12x36 ...i think the 15x45 is overkill).
For my late teen early 20's kids I got 10x30 Nikon
Diafun binocs that are certainly acceptable and while sturdy, are much lighter than the Zeiss ones I use.
Regards,
Eric
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Old Feb 17th, 2007, 09:06 AM
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I absolutely love my Pentax waterproof binoculars! They've been with me on every safari, and even in the worst weather conditions, I never have to worry.

http://www.pentaximaging.com/product.../dcf_wp_ii.jsp

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Old Feb 17th, 2007, 01:28 PM
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Hello,

I have a pair of Leica 10x42s and I agree with Eric on the advantages of the larger objective -- I was able to see a lot more at dawn and dusk than my companions with 10x25s.

I do think that binoculars are one area where you pretty much get what you pay for -- the higher-end ones have phenomenal optics and are built to last, whereas less expensive ones may not. A good mid-range pair like the Nikon or Pentax seems to serve most people well.

One thing to consider re the night vision vs day binoculars question is that most nighttime game-viewing is done with a spotlight. I'm definitely not an expert in this area, but my understanding is that this will render night-vision binoculars pretty much useless as they read the infrared portion of the spectrum -- you'd be able to see anything outside the spotlight, but nothing that was actually being spotlit.

It might be fun to sit around camp and look out into the dark and see what's looking back, though...

Cheers,
Julian
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Old Feb 17th, 2007, 02:52 PM
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I like the waterproof feature of my binocs as well.
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Old Feb 17th, 2007, 03:57 PM
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Thanks all for your advice - leaning towards just using the binocs we have!

Julian said
"One thing to consider re the night vision vs day binoculars question is that most nighttime game-viewing is done with a spotlight."

Hadn't thought of that...makes sense.

and "It might be fun to sit around camp and look out into the dark and see what's looking back, though..."

OR maybe not!!!!
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Old Feb 17th, 2007, 08:06 PM
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Julian,

There are two kinds of "night vision" devices. Some rely on detecting infrared radiation (IR) and in that case the spotlight would not help or hurt. The animals themselves would emit more IR because they are warmer than the background. These are usually quite expensive and are used for search and rescue, etc. The other devices use visible light (or in some cases near-IR which is very similar to red light but just outside the visible range). These just amplify the available light and are often called starlight scopes (or binos) and will benefit from the use of a spotlight. The ones that operate in the near IR will include a small built-in IR light for illumination. These are the ones normally sold to consumers.

George
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Old Feb 18th, 2007, 06:41 AM
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Hi George,

Thanks for the info - as I said, I'm definitely not an expert on the subject and it's good to learn a bit more about it.

Personally, with the spotlight and my Leicas (also completely waterproof) I've never felt the need for night vision binoculars on safari -- they just seemed like one more thing to lug around.

Cheers,
Julian
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Old Mar 11th, 2007, 07:57 AM
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I'm in full agreement with Stakirk and Tuckeg. The Canon image stabilized binos are fantastic. I have never lent them to anyone who didn't want to replace their current binos for the Canons after a try. I'm sort of a bino collector in that I have Nikon, Zeiss, Leica, Fujinon and Minolta binoculars. I bought them all before the Canon image stabilized were available. I used to use them for sailing and for birding. Now however, I use the Canon image stabilized for everything. As one of the earlier posters suggested, go to a store (some Ritz camera shops sell them) and try a pair. Ther is really no way to appreciate the difference without trying them for yourself. As far a night vision for safari, I wouldn't think of it. The slightest bit of light will blind you and unless everyone, including the driver and tracker are wearing them and all lights are turned off, they will be useless. Also, the image seen through night vision optics is less than ideal. I use them for night sailing and they can be useful for making landfall after dark but I would never bother taking them along on safari. The image stabilized Canon 10 X 30 are small, water resistant and can be had for just over $300 from well known online photo sellers like Adorama.
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Old Mar 11th, 2007, 07:59 AM
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By the way, you cannot use night vision optics during the day.
Chuck
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Old Mar 11th, 2007, 12:14 PM
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Thanks for the extra info safarichuck - Will definately go to a photo optical store and try a pair of Canon IS binocs - they sound great.
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Old Mar 11th, 2007, 01:08 PM
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You might have encouraged me to make the jump to image stabilization.

I feel I must have at least 10 x 40. Plus they must be waterproof. That feature is not so much for Africa, but other wetter spots.

In searching around the web I saw these, which are apparently new.

Canon 10x42L IS WP Image Stabilizers - Waterproof - New Model!
sku: 0155B002

The bad news is they are around $1200.

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Old Mar 11th, 2007, 01:36 PM
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Hi atravelynn,
The model you refer to is really more for boating (sailing) and extreme conditions. Forgive me if I'm telling you something you already know, but the second number in the equation 10 X 40 refers to the exit pupil of the binocular lens and is a direct measure of the light gathering ability of the optic. The first number (10) refers to the magnification. Usually there is plenty of light on safari (except for night drives) so that an exit pupil over 30 is really unecessary. Not only unecessary but undesireable as well because it makes the binoculars larger and much heavier. Heavy binoculars are difficult to keep steady for more than a few moments and looking through them for an extended period of minutes really causes a lot of eye fatigue. My wife is used to handleing heavy marine binoulars (7 X 50) but they are just used for a few moments to verify navigation marks at sea. On safari these cause us both to shake and we can hold them steady for only a minute or two. The small 10X image stabilized binos can be held for many minutes without any eye fatigue and a perfectly stable image. Last year on the Serengeti, my wife watched a Cheetah stalk prey for nearly 10 minutes and let me know just before it launched so that I could capture it with a big telephoto camera lens. I couldn't keep my eye on the camera viewfinder that long (it was about 105 degrees). Canon also makes a slightly smaller 8X image stabilized binocular but I don't recommend them because they use a less effective stabilization method than the 10 X 30 pair I first recommended. In fact that system is pretty much the same as the one in the $1200 pair you mentioned in your post. Hope this helps at bit.
Chuck
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Old Mar 11th, 2007, 08:09 PM
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In 10x40 binoculars, the second number, 40 is the diameter of the objective lens in mm. The exit pupil (in mm) of the binoculars is the second number divided by the first in this 4mm.

For more info:

http://focuscamera.com/sc/infopage.a...ame=binoculars
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