Binoculars - Night V's Day - Advice Sought

Old Mar 12th, 2007, 01:25 AM
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One number that's rarely mentioned when talking about bins, but can be quite important (especially for spectacle wearers) in the eye-relief. This describes how far back from the eyepiece your eye can be and still see the whole image. Glasses wearers obviously cannot get their eyes as close to the eyepiece as non-wearers. So they need a longer eye relief.

It's the only thing I dislike about my 10x30 IS Canons, and why I take a pair of 8x42 non-stabilised bins on Safari.
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Old Mar 12th, 2007, 02:29 AM
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Atravelynn & Thembi,
I just oticed that the 10 X 30 Canon IS binos are on sale for $329 at Adorama and the 8 X 25's are $225. Sometimes Canon runs a $50 rebate deal in the spring so you might want to keep an eye open for that deal. Also I note your interest in "waterproof". Only the marine binoculars are truely waterproof and you will pay a fancy premium for these, However the 10X30's are rubber coated and water resistant. A light spray or driz wont harm them. Not so for the 8X25's.
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Old Mar 12th, 2007, 08:26 AM
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More good info. Thanks!

Fbirder, wouldn't poeple wearing sunglasses experience that same problem you descrice as those who wear glasses to correct vision?

Don't most binocs have an eye cup that rolls up or down to account for this? I adjust my eye cup on my current binocs for sunglasses or naked eye.
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Old Mar 12th, 2007, 04:20 PM
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Yes, most, but not all, good quality binoculars use fold down eyecups to get around the eye relief problem. However if you plan to wear glasses of any kind when using the binos, you need to check this before purchasing.
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Old Mar 13th, 2007, 04:38 AM
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Good quality bins have eycups that twist up/down which make them a lot easier to adjust, especially if you find you need them halfway up.

I find some bins difficult to use even with the eyecups all the way down. My current ones (Swift 8.5x44) need them raised by around 2mm.

I guess sunglasses would cause the same problems.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 03:54 PM
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been to southafrica three times if you go to the right private game lodge they put you up so close to the animals binocs are a waist youll never youse them
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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 04:57 PM
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Blackwell, but you could still need a pair of binoculars for those skittish birds. I know what you mean about getting close though. When I used lenses, sometimes I had to put the 100-300 away if I wanted to get the animal's whole body in the shot.

On Image Stabilization:
I talked to a guy who has run a sporting goods store for decades and it carries a large selection of binocs. It is THE binocular store for a wide area. He has a reputation for being honest and above board. It is where I bought my current binocs, among other things. I would agree that his lofty reputation is deserved.

I asked him about image stabilization binocs and if he thought I should get some. I reminded him that I had bought my current binoculars from him about 5 years ago. He sells a variety of image stabilization and traditional binoculars. His response was something like...

There is no need to replace your current 10 x 40 binoculars. The image stabilization feature turns a $100 pair of binoculars into a several hundred dollar pair. You are much better just buying higher quality traditional binoculars. You don't need image stabilization until you get to at least a 15 magnification on a big heavy pair. Image Stabilization is not worth it on anything that is 7 or 8 times 25 or 30.

I have no vested interested in any make or brand of binoculars, whether image stabilized or not. This was just one mans opinion, but hes a knowledgeable guy, so I thought Id share his strong opinion on the subject.


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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 06:18 PM
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Rather than relying on someone's opinion, next time you are going to the bino shop, take yours and ask to compare them to a similar pair of image stabilized (IS) binos. If you don't see an improvement, then you don't need them. I can tell you that I use optical instruments professionally, and even with 10x I find a better image with image stabilized. I recently attended a presentation on binos given by one of the largest distributors in South Africa to a group of rangers. He didn't carry IS but I brought a pair. When it was time to view through his high end and mid-range binos guess which binos these very experienced observers were most interested in? He wasn't a happy camper.
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 06:33 AM
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I agree with Tuckeg entirely. I also use sophisticated optics professionaly. I use them daily in the medical profession and I train others (medical interns and residents) in their use. I never look through any optical instrument without thinking and consciously evaluating resolution and estimating fatigue. I have had identical experience with veteran guides enthusiastic response to IS binos. I expect your sporting goods salesman means well but to rely on his opinon as "expert" is foolish. Image stabilization is perhpas the single best way to increase resolution in any optical instrument that is not permanently fixed without adding a hudge amount of weight and cost. One simple test is to look at a street sign at distance and try to hold it steady enough to read the numbers for 60 seconds. Now, try that same exercise with a pair of image stabilized binoculars. I would be amazed if you didn't see an enormous difference. The eyestrain over the course of a safari day would give me a headache. If your hands are particularly steady (this ability decreases with age) and you are of sufficient strength to hold a reasonable sized pair of binoculars (women are more likely to have a problem) then any moderately price pair of 8-10X binoculars will work. I would hope this thread interested people looking to buy a new or initial pair of binos to at least go to a store and try this fantastic technology. In many ways this discussion reminds me of the first days of image stabilized photographic lenses and we allknow how that turned out? By the way, I use Zeiss and Leitz optics routinely and I'm a great fan of their high quality however, I would choose any image stabilization (Canon, Fuginon, or Nikon) over their binoculars any day.
Chuck
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 06:36 AM
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Sorry "Fujinon"
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 09:08 AM
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I'm surprised this far into the discussion the importance of the objective lens (the number after the X) hasn't really been discussed beyond the fact that it lets in more light.

So many people want small and compact that there seems to have been a big movement to small diameter objective lenses, 10 x 30 or 10 x 25 for example. But not only are you losing light but also depth of field and most importantly to me field of vision.

As with anything it is all about how you want to use them but if you want to truly see all the details on birds or smaller animals including seeing the field marks to identify them the standard recommendation is that the objective lens is at least a multiple of 5 of the magnification. Thus, 7x35, 8x40, 10x50 would be recommended. A slightly larger diameter allows for more light and detail -- I use an 8x42 for this reason for general use. My absolute favorite are my owl optics 8x56 which allows for amazing detail but they are too heavy for general travel use but are a beast in low light.

Just as important is the larger field of vision. This lets you find the object much quicker because you do not have to put the binocs in the exact correct spot like you do with a small diameter objective lens. This is critical for not missing behavior and wasting time trying to find your object. Try following a flying bird or even a cheetah in a hunt at top speed and the larger field of vision could determine if you see the event or totally miss it -- to me that is more important than any other binoc consideration.
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 09:21 AM
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That's a nice overall summary by PredatorBiologist. I think the one thing that keeps being overlooked in this thread is that general game viewing and birding (whether in Africa or elsewhere) may each require different binoculars. It also helps me explain to my wife why I need so many different pairs.
Chuck
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 06:23 PM
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The thing is that different people need different things from their binos. If you are using them for astronomy, you want as much light as possible so large objective lenses and relatively high magnification. Friends of mine from Germany just took a pair with 150mm (6") objective lenses to Namibia. If your a birder and will be walking a lot you want something light but with a reasonably large field of view with great detail. Those folks generally know what they want and may not want IS binos (although my 10x30 Canons give a great view of the moon. As an aside I just had a flashback to Dave Rattray raving about that when he used them last December. Still can't believe it). So my recommendations are for the average person who does have a specialized use and just wants good views on game drives.
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 06:56 PM
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Most or all manufacturers will state the angle of view (4,5,6 degrees or something similar) and the field of view (300 feet at 1000 yards for example). These are useful numbers to determine what Tuckeg was suggesting as a useful measure of suitability for a particular time of viewing. Once people buy binoculars they seem to keep them no matter what. It's far better to try out different makes and powers at the store than to aquire a pair you are unhappy with. I would suggest not buying them by name only. All of the major makers produce decent quality glass, its the overall design and your intended use that must fit.
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 07:02 PM
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I love my Zeiss 10x42 binocs but I just saw Canon makes a 10x42 L image stabilized binoc. Now that is one great combination...ah the binocular money pit
Regards,
Eric
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 07:11 PM
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Eric,
Yes and they are waterproof and fogproof. I have sailing friends that think these are the best thing yet. Not only are they completely waterproof but they weigh only about 36 oz. Lets see.....I think that works out to about $35/oz.
Chuck
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 07:14 PM
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Eric,

I used a pair of those a French couple had with them. Very nice. Gave a noticeably better view of the Moon when compared to my 10x30s.

George
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 07:23 PM
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Chuck, maybe they will come down in price. Wasn't silver once about $35/oz around 1980?
Eric
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 07:30 PM
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Eric, yes I think it was, now it's about the price of an ounce of single malt scotch. So instead of ordering single malt, just order 35 Serengeti beers instead. With the money saved, buy the binos.
Chuck
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 07:35 PM
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I think the image stabilization will certainly come in handy after 35 beers
Actually, I think I will more than image stabilization!
Eric
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