Binoculars - quantity and quality

Feb 26th, 2007, 08:53 AM
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Binoculars - quantity and quality

We will be visiting Costa Rica in March for 10 days - visiting both coasts and Arenal vicinity on a Caravan tour. We are 4 adults and 2 kids. I already have two, inexpensive binoculars (10x25 for one - not sure about the other).

Should everyone in our group have their own set? Is it worth investing in a larger and better binocular? Any recommendations?
singermom4 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 10:26 AM
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If you are an avid nature fan, a good pair of binoculars are a must. I did a lot of research before I bought my pair and I'm glad I did. You don't want something that is too heavy around your neck. There are many options to consider before you invest a few hundred dollars.

I doubt the kids will need them. If they are really that interested in the birds, etc. then let them borrow one of the adult's.
Mixter603 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 01:15 PM
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We each own a good pair but chose to take 2 between and didn't have any problems sharing. The cheapies don't work well in low light, such as early morning when the birds are out or in the jungle. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE my binoculars, great investment. Here's a link to a previous thread that has more information:

Happy trails!
hopefulist is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 01:57 PM
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We upgraded to Nikon ATB 8X42 Binoculars and now we are getting great views of the birds and animals we tried to see with our cheapies. Well worth the price at close to $300.

We added a binocular harness to keep the weight off our necks and keep them from swinging as we walk.

If the group members are serious about seeing the birds and animals I'd suggest they have their own pair.
Earthtraveler is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 02:25 PM
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There are no avid nature watchers in our group so we probably don't want to make too much of an investment of get anything too bulky.
singermom4 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 02:42 PM
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We invested about $300 as well and I have been very pleased. The harness has been really helpful as Earthtraveler says. Many people have binocs that cost close to $2000. Wish I had some of those as they are terrific (maybe one day), but right now I am quite content with the moderate pair--they work just great. I have Leupolds, Wind River Cascades 10X42, great size and weight.

I enjoy birdwatching enough that I wouldn't want to use anything less. With nature viewing, more really is more!
shillmac is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 03:47 PM
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I would call my binoculars mid-sized. When I'm with others who have smaller, inexpensive binoculars and we trade, I often can't even see the bird in question and it pops out as if illuminated with mine. It's all about the amount of light the binoc lets in and the convenient, tiny ones don't let in much light. You might want to consider having one decent pair if wildlife and bird watching is of any interest at all.

Here's a link to one (also in the old thread I posted, above) that is an incredible binocular for the price; the description lists good features to look for in case you want to look locally or at other brands.
hopefulist is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 07:28 PM
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Many thanks for your help! Unfortunately the the first link you posted didn't seem to have anything to do with binoculars!

I did take a look at your second link and the specs seem similar to one of the small binocs I have:

Make: Roof Prisms
Power: 10x
Lens Diameter: 25mm
340ft / 1000 yds

Is this adequate? I'm pretty sure this one cost much less than the Campmor one because it was a stocking stuffer for my 6 year old.
singermom4 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 08:34 PM
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singermom4 - I thought if I did a search and then loaded the old thread I could cut and paste the address; not so. If you're still interested you can try searching for "celestron" and then choose the binoculars thread.

The probably with small binoculars, as above, is they don't let much light in. That will be a problem with any 25mm lens, I'm afraid.

In the end, you're going to have a blast no matter what binoculars you take, so I wouldn't lose much sleep over it. For me - even though I tend to be more interested in the people than the birds, good binoculars have added an amazing dimension to my travels.

Please post a trip report when you get home! Happy trails!
hopefulist is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 04:49 AM
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I remember asking this same question quite a while back. I ended up getting totally confused! I realized quickly that binoculars are a very personal thing to many. This forum has many very serious birders, which after years of birding have most likely gone through several pairs of binoculars in order to find their favorites.

I on the otherhand have only recently (over the past few years) begun to appreciate the beauty of birds and animals that are abundant in the forest of Costa Rica as well as my back yard.

We have a couple of pairs of small compact 12x25 that absolutely drive me nuts! Yes, easy to carry, but can't find a thing through them, difficult to focus and simply not wide enough. I got so frustrated trying to use them, that I simply quit. But, now I have a pair that are 8x40 and can find things pretty quickly. We only invested about $100. But has made the task of locating wildlife easier and so much more enjoyable.

My suggestion - go to a sporting good or hunting store - Bass Pro in my area. Try some. Try the focus. Consider the weight of each, etc. etc. Talk to the salesperson, let them know that you are a novice and ask for suggestions. Tell him/her up front the price range that you are looking for. Because yes, these things can get pretty expensive. But I think your experience will be much better if you have a decent pair of binoculars.

We looked at many and ended up buying the ones out of National Geographic. They have served my purpose as a novice wildlife watcher, well.

dfarmer is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 04:41 PM
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Celestron with a 50 mm objective for $50 - that should be fine then?
singermom4 is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 04:45 PM
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After research, I ended up getting Pentax Papilio 8.5x21 "extremely-close focusing" because I realized I don't just want to look at birds. I am very satisfied with them. They focus well at two feet so you can look at tarantulas on the night hikes, flowers, close hummingbirds at the feeders, and they are also good for distance. About $150 online.
They say 8 power is as high as you should go for normal ease of use.

emmajm is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 06:25 PM
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On the other end of the spectrum, maybe for the kids. I bought a little pair of Bushnell folding binoculars on Amazon for $13.99, with free shipping, in a little soft carry case. They fold to the size of 2 small digital camera stacked on top of each other, or about 4"x2" x2" . I took them bird watching at the Barnegat Bay jetty last winter, and once I got the hang of the adjustments was amazed by the strength of the magnificiation, the clarity and and the compact size. These were much better for me than the cumbersome, if easier to adjust things I bought at the sporting goods store. I hate, hate, hate to carry things. I am packing them for San Miguel and environs for sure. I haven't seen Costa Rica yet, enjoy!
ninasdream is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 07:06 PM
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Singer- Do you have a link to the Celestrons? The only Celestron I'm familiar with is the one in old threads you can search for. That sounds pretty big to me. Check also if they're waterproof - some binocs fog up fast in high humidity.
hopefulist is offline  

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