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Help with binoculars!

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Apr 1st, 2006, 04:04 PM
  #1
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Help with binoculars!

OK - I took my $40 pair that I got free for my 5-year-employment gift out to watch the Sandhills Cranes. Not going to cut it. I'm pretty sure I've got it nailed down to the Nike Monarchs but do I want 8X or 10X? If any of you are binoc experts, please weigh in here. (And no matter what, I am not going above $300!) Thanks!
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Apr 1st, 2006, 04:37 PM
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I purchased the 10x42's on Ebay for $230 and they were great, especially on the evening drives in the low light. I did alot of research and this board was very helpful. I didn't want to spend $1000 + more on binos since I had to buy new camera equipment.
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Apr 1st, 2006, 04:43 PM
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I have 10*40 which are excellent. On safari the second number is quite important, it refers to the amount of light let in, this really helps in low light conditions.
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Apr 1st, 2006, 04:48 PM
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I'd go for the 10X. I have 10 x 42 Nikon pair.
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Apr 1st, 2006, 05:28 PM
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Thanks you all..Yep, it's the 8 or 10x42s that I'm looking at. There were a few safari sites that recommended the 8x and I couldn't understand quite why. If anyone knows the difference and can explain this in plain terms I'd be grateful. Lynn, you did a wonderful job with "heads up..." ;-)


Thanks again!
Sharon
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Apr 1st, 2006, 05:29 PM
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I can't believe I wrote Nike!! I did mean Nikon of course.
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Apr 1st, 2006, 05:49 PM
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CoonCat
8X or 10X is magnification index -
10X has more magnification but a narrower angle, meaning with an 8X it is easier to find a flying bird...
but - the more u use your binocs the better u r framing objects
another tip - there r "wide angle" 10X
(i have to check but i think the non-wideangle is about 5 degrees, 6 or 7 degrees is better)

The second figure, like napamatt noted, has to do with light index
40 is OK, 50 is better at low light situations. But optical quality is important - some 40s r better than 50s

for 300$ you'll get a good pair - not a Leitz or Zeiss - but a Nikon or Olympus or Minolta etc'

aby
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Apr 1st, 2006, 05:52 PM
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mind u - most birdwatchers use Leitz or Zeiss 10X40 ...
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Apr 2nd, 2006, 05:15 AM
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Hi CoonCat,
We used the Canon 10 x 30 IS binoculars on our safari last month. They were fabulous and were image stabilized. Our guide, who had an excellent pair of binoculars, said they were the best binoculars he had ever used and wanted a pair. Take a look at them. With the frequently offered Canon rebates they will be under $300.
cj
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Apr 2nd, 2006, 01:21 PM
  #10
 
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Sharon-

I just ordered the 10x42 Monarchs on ebay myself, delivered for $230 but only by using a 10% off coupon. They were the top-rated 10x binocs in the Cornell Ornithology lab's 2005 survey:

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/Publica...Age_Binos.html

The conventional knocks against 10x binos are 1) narrower field of view and 2) harder to hold steady for long periods and 3) theoretically less light than an 8x with the same objective diameter. In the case of the Monarchs, FOV difference seems neglible (314 vs 330 ft at 1000 yards). Points 2 and 3 are affected more by the particulars of a given model than just by the crude numbers (8x42, etc).

The review site Better View Desired (http://betterviewdesired.com - check out the reference set)has some articles that are quite critical of calculated values such as twilight factor, etc. That site brought to my attention the Swift ultra-lite and audubon models, but unfortunately they do no comparisons with the Monarchs.

A later issue of Cornell's living bird compared the Swift Ultra Lites very favorably to the Monarchs, though they are a bit heavier than the Nikons:

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/Publica...tra_lites.html

The Swift Audubons come in a somewhat unique 8.5x44 configuration: just a bit more magnification than typical 8x and brighter than 10x binocs and probably most 8x as well. They come in both roof and porro versions. The roofs are lighter and nitrogen purged (porros are just waterproof, not fogproof). After much deliberation I felt the Monarchs were better for me because they were cheaper and much lighter.

Having said that, the Audubon porros deserve some consideration next to the similarly priced Monarch roofs. They are heavier (24.6 vs 21.1 oz) and much bulkier, but they have a huge field of view (430' at 1000 yards, but only if you don't wear eyeglasses). BVD compared the Swift porro favorably with Nikon Superior Es and Swarofsky ELs:

http://betterviewdesired.com/audubon/audubon.html

Sorry if I haven't provided much help on the Monarch 8x vs 10x issue. Cornell's survey rated the 8x better for handling, etc but my advice would be to handle both in a store. Unless the 8x felt way more comfortable, I would get the 10x. Swifts are hard to find in stores but you should take a look if you can. Good luck and please share your experience with whatever you purchase.

-Matt
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Apr 2nd, 2006, 04:21 PM
  #11
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Thanks again everyone! Matt- I did see that Cornell study which is what led me to the Monarchs. I tried them out in a store, and really I had no problem holdking the 10X steady. I will cehck them out again and then order them. Appreciate all the info. Where did you get that eBay coupon? Thanks again!
Sharon
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Apr 2nd, 2006, 08:14 PM
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has anyone ever taken night vision glasses
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Apr 3rd, 2006, 12:35 PM
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Hi Sharon,

Go with 10x42. When my 10x42s died at Londoz last year, I borrowed a set of very nice Zeiss 8x42s from my guide -- and spent the last day of my trip being aggravated by lack of magnification. I bought a new set of Leica 10x42s as soon as I got home.

Cheers,
Julian
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Apr 3rd, 2006, 02:34 PM
  #14
 
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Sharon-

If you've already given the 10x a spin I would just go with those without a second trial-run. Unfortunately the ebay coupon expired last week. Another unfortunate thing is that demand is high, so it is rare to get a pair below $240 (although I missed an auction where some fool had a pair for $75 buy-it-now!). Since they can be delivered for $250 from a real store I would probably go that route so you would definitely have the 25-year warranty.

-Matt
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Apr 3rd, 2006, 04:04 PM
  #15
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Hi Julian - Welcome back... from Egypt, I think? Thanks to you both. I'll price them out. ebay has several available, but maybe I'll just buy locally.

Cheers,
Sharon
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Apr 3rd, 2006, 07:06 PM
  #16
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cooncat:
We went back and forth between 8s and 10s (x 42) and decided on the 8s--but could have easily gone the other way. I am with Matt--if you have handled the 10s and they are comfortable then go for it.

My friend had the Nikon Monarchs and really liked them (as did our guide). Once I was in the field one of the most important features I liked was the ease of turning the focus dial. A quick focus was handy to catch some action. (and the Nikon Monarchs were very good for that. As were my Audubon glasses made by Eagle, for that matter.)
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Apr 5th, 2006, 07:14 AM
  #17
 
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Thanks everyone~I've ordered the Monarch 10x42s!
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Apr 16th, 2006, 05:04 PM
  #18
 
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Hello all-

My 10x42 Monarchs arrived and I've played around with them in the house a bit. My initial thought was how huge they looked compared to my 8x28 Pentax DCF MP set. The brightness of the two seems comparable and the extra magnification is nice, but there is less of a difference under low-light indoor conditions than I might have expected.

Just to complicate matters, Nikon is in the process of expanding their Monarch line. They are adding some 12x models (which most people would tell you leads to a distracting amount of hand shake). More interestingly, they are adding some mid-size binos (8x36 and 10x36). They only weigh about 10% less than the 42mm models but the difference in size is more striking. Since they have barely been released the prices are a bit higher than you'd expect (~270 USD for 10x36) but I suspect they'll come down.

Although enthusiasts will no doubt trumpet the merits of full-size binoculars, I think many people would be happy with mid-size binos (second number between 28 and 36). Given the great experience I've had with my Pentax set I know they can provide outstanding results, but the question becomes whether or not you can get a good set any cheaper than the full size binos. When space is tight or you actually have to haul them around on foot, however, the smaller size is nice.

-Matt
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Apr 17th, 2006, 07:11 PM
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Given a similarity in price, is the advantage of image stabilization in a bouncing vehicle as represented by the Canon 10x30 better than getting the Nikon Monarch 10x42 with presumably better light collection in the evening? Thanks.
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Apr 17th, 2006, 08:33 PM
  #20
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I know nothing, but I would be suprised if image stabilization would do much for you in a bouncing vehicle. I am very happy with my Monarchs. Thanks to all who weighed in on this one.

Sharon
50-something days to Zambia....
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