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ann Jul 25th, 2000 09:21 AM

Advice on binoculars
I'm thinking about buying a pair of binoculars to bring on our trip to Italy this fall - primarily for looking at mosaics in churches, the ceiling of the Sistine chapel, etc. <BR>I'd like something compact and lightweight, and not too expensive. Most of the "travel" binoculars I've seen advertised are 10x25 - would that be sufficient for indoor use, or do I need something that lets in more light? People gave such great advice on cameras a little while back, that I thought I'd see if anyone had any recommendations for binoculars. Thanks for any suggestions!

Bob Brown Jul 25th, 2000 10:11 AM

I have a set of Nikon Travelite III binoculars, 10 x 25 that are light in weight. The image is sharp, but they are not good in low light conditions. Also the field of view at 100 yards is really not quite enough. I also have a set of Busnell zoom binoculars that are 15 x 35. This model seems to let in a little more light. And the zoom feature is handy, but they are a good 75% heavier than the Nikon model. I think the only way to get a fully satisfactory pair is to test them. <BR>

Sheila Jul 25th, 2000 02:36 PM

Ann <BR> <BR>Please excuse me if I am teaching my granny to suck eggs. <BR> <BR>The two numbers which describe the binoculars refer to first, the magnification (8X etc) and second the size of the objective lense which determines how much light is let in. Given that you are not intending to use them to spot Jupiter, I would suggest that 8X magnification should suit you but you will need a larger objective lense for indoor use. Generally the larger the magnification the heavier the bins. <BR> <BR>When buying cheap bins you also need to watch out for colour distortion and object wobble. Cheap lenses often give a yellow cast and the object of your scrutiny can become distorted at the edges. <BR> <BR>I donít use compacts because the objective lense size is too small for my hobby ( birding) but I have looked up some reviews for you and suggest you check out the following:- Bausch & Lomb 8X36 Custom; Bushnell 8X32 Trophy; Canon 8X32; Deltaís compact range; Nikonís E series; Swiftís and Green range. These are all good makes and quality optics, but Iíve kept away from the seriously high cost. Iím sure they all must have web sites. You might like to consider phoning a Birding mag and seeing if they can send you a back copy with a set of reviews for compacts in it. <BR> <BR>Hope this helps. <BR>

April Jul 25th, 2000 08:18 PM

My small Pentax 8 x 24s are fine at the opera and reasonably adequate for bird watching. Hand shake is not as much of an issue as with more powerful lenses. You really do need to try binoculars for yourself though. Some feel right and others don't.

Luigi Jul 26th, 2000 09:06 AM

Hi Ann, As promised in my e-mail yesterday, I checked mine out last night. They are Pentax 8x21. At the risk of trying to teach a pig to sing (just trying to stay with the farmyard metaphors used by Sheila), I have heard you can calculate the amount of light by dividing the second number by the first. So in the case of the 10x25 you mentioned, the factor would be 2.5. In the case of the 15x35 Bob mentioned, it would drop to 2.33. Mine, on the other hand come to 2.62 which I think is why they seemed to be brighter than others I tried. <BR> <BR>Bottom line, as everyone said, you need to go somewhere that sells several and try them out. I went to Sports Chalet and the sales clerk and I couldn't even agree on which worked better! Cost was about $60, if memory serves me. Have fun and a great trip, whichever you choose.

ann Jul 27th, 2000 07:36 AM

Thank you all so much for the great information. I'll be heading off to comparison shop this weekend with your recommendations in hand!

Bob Brown Jul 27th, 2000 10:55 AM

I have two more suggestions: <BR>1. make sure that one eye piece can be independently adjusted. Few of us have two eyes alike. <BR>2. After you adjust, shut one eye <BR>and looke. Then shut the other eye and look. Do you see the same thing? <BR>In a really good pair there should be no parallax view. You should see the same thing through either eye. Also, check the edges of objects for tinges of red and green. If you see that, there is something wrong with the lens. It is showing you refracted light. <BR>And get a case to tote them in!!!

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