Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
How to select Binoculars?
Old 05-30-2017, 03:22 PM   #1
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 1,659
How to select Binoculars?

Anyone have advice for getting the right binoculars for me? Primary use would be football games (I have upper level season tickets), concerts, plays, and scanning the beachfront from our hotel balcony when on vacation. I haven't done it in my life, but I'm thinking about bird-watching as an occasional hobby so that would be another potential use.
I've had binoculars in the past, now lost or broken. They tended to be the lower end ones and I'm ready to sort-of treat myself. But I'm still looking at a budget of $150 give or take.
Suggestions what to look for, in terms of features/weight etc? Any brands or specific models recommended - or to be avoided?
__________________

mystang52 is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 05-30-2017, 03:41 PM   #2
Moderator Emeritus
braumeister's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Flyover country
Posts: 13,198
If you go to a store where you can try out really good binoculars, you'll wind up raising your budget by at least an order of magnitude, probably more.

So based on your condition, I'd say just pick something lightweight and don't bother with much of a search. At that price range they're pretty equivalent.
__________________

__________________
I thought growing old would take longer.
braumeister is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2017, 03:55 PM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Fedup's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Southern Cal
Posts: 4,032
I got a really nice one for 45 GBP last year when I travelled to the Lake District in UK. My husband got a mini one for even less, this is for going to the concerts, plays and ballets, etc..
Fedup is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2017, 05:02 PM   #4
Moderator
sengsational's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 5,437
I've been leaving the binoculars at home on my travels lately.

Surprisingly, my pocket digital camera with 12X optical zoom covers some use-cases.

For instance, navigating a pleasure craft, it was easy for me to find points of interest more quickly than those wielding binoculars. I'd maximize the optical zoom, take pictures along the shoreline, then zoom in on the pictures, scrolling along the shore to identify features.

I just did a demo in my back yard with a screwdriver. The first picture is what you'd see in binoculars, and the second is using the digital zoom in picture playback. The diagram in the lower right of the second pictures shows the portion of the picture being viewed.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_20170530_185747852.jpg (587.4 KB, 28 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20170530_185818427.jpg (532.5 KB, 30 views)
sengsational is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2017, 05:41 PM   #5
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 994
I had a pair of binocs for years. Never happy with them. I always had double vision that could not be corrected. I tried a pair of my DS's, Nikon Monarch's. I loved them but not the price. I looked around for a similar pair and found Celestron Outland X (8x42) had pretty good reviews by the birders and were about 1/5th (or better) the price of the Nikons. At $55 on Amazon, they are much better than the price would indicate. For slightly (and I mean slightly) better Binoc, you might try the Celestron Nature DX. They run ~120 on Amazon. Binocs seem to be very personal. What one person likes, another hates. YMMV.
CRLLS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2017, 05:50 PM   #6
Dryer sheet wannabe
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 11
I tried a pair of the stabilized Canon's - WOW. Super nice but over $150. The 10x30 Canon IS are ~$550.
bradner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2017, 05:59 PM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
pb4uski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vermont & Sarasota, FL
Posts: 22,379
We have two pairs... one at home and one at our winter condo... we have been happy with them. We have the 12x.

Bushnell PowerView Super High-Powered Surveillance Binoculars
__________________
If something cannot endure laughter.... it cannot endure.
Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.
Slow and steady wins the race.

Retired Jan 2012 at age 56...60/35/5 AA
pb4uski is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2017, 06:31 PM   #8
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 743
Not answering the OP's question, but DW and I used to be a bit into birding and ran across some serious binocular fetishists. Nothing but the "alpha" brands (Swarovski, Leica and Zeiss - all $2K+) were good enough for the real birders. Though I never got sucked in to this degree I did see that a few hundred bucks well spent really can give a more saturated, clearer image. My info is at least 10 years old, but I found that some of the mid-range Pentax binos gave an image comparable to significantly more expensive models from better known manufacturers. In the years since then I gather that some ED (extra-low dispersion) binos from Chinese manufacturers are providing surprisingly good images for not too much money, but I'm not up on what brands are best. As far as image stabilized binos go: I have a pair of Canon 15x50's. Big and heavy, but the IS does work well and they're good for night sky viewing. In terms of color and clarity, though, I actually prefer my Pentax 10x43's for a third the price.

Short summary: Go to a photo/astro/nature store that carries some different models of binoculars and try them out. You may see significant image quality differences you care about. But beware - that way lies (expensive) madness.
stepford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2017, 06:52 PM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Fedup's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Southern Cal
Posts: 4,032
My husband has a high power binoculars, this pair he bought from Germany years ago. But it's bulky, you can't bring that pair to a theater.
EDIT to add, my husband said it's Carl Zeiss Jena 10x50. I've read the bird forum and it seems like this one beats Nikon E1 and Nikon SE but similar to Swarovski.
Fedup is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2017, 07:02 PM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
travelover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 11,472
Love my Nikon Monarchs. Focus close enough for butterflies, thus the name, and really good optics for the money.
__________________
Yes, I have achieved work / life balance.
travelover is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2017, 07:53 PM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
audreyh1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Rio Grande Valley
Posts: 22,482
Quote:
Originally Posted by mystang52 View Post
Anyone have advice for getting the right binoculars for me? Primary use would be football games (I have upper level season tickets), concerts, plays, and scanning the beachfront from our hotel balcony when on vacation. I haven't done it in my life, but I'm thinking about bird-watching as an occasional hobby so that would be another potential use.
I've had binoculars in the past, now lost or broken. They tended to be the lower end ones and I'm ready to sort-of treat myself. But I'm still looking at a budget of $150 give or take.
Suggestions what to look for, in terms of features/weight etc? Any brands or specific models recommended - or to be avoided?
Eagle Optics online has a lot of good advice.
__________________
Retired since summer 1999.
audreyh1 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2017, 07:59 PM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
audreyh1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Rio Grande Valley
Posts: 22,482
Quote:
Originally Posted by stepford View Post
Not answering the OP's question, but DW and I used to be a bit into birding and ran across some serious binocular fetishists. Nothing but the "alpha" brands (Swarovski, Leica and Zeiss - all $2K+) were good enough for the real birders. Though I never got sucked in to this degree I did see that a few hundred bucks well spent really can give a more saturated, clearer image. My info is at least 10 years old, but I found that some of the mid-range Pentax binos gave an image comparable to significantly more expensive models from better known manufacturers. In the years since then I gather that some ED (extra-low dispersion) binos from Chinese manufacturers are providing surprisingly good images for not too much money, but I'm not up on what brands are best. As far as image stabilized binos go: I have a pair of Canon 15x50's. Big and heavy, but the IS does work well and they're good for night sky viewing. In terms of color and clarity, though, I actually prefer my Pentax 10x43's for a third the price.

Short summary: Go to a photo/astro/nature store that carries some different models of binoculars and try them out. You may see significant image quality differences you care about. But beware - that way lies (expensive) madness.
Yeah - we're in that group. Finally upgraded to Swarovski after a couple of year of really serious birding. Dropped my Nikon binoculars on a metal boat deck in Alaska and broke one of the seals ruining the nitrogen fill (fogged up). I realized how much I was using the binoculars and decided I should go ahead and get the best. Been using the Swarovski's for over 15 years. Amazing optics! Particularly great in low light.

BTW I sent those busted binoculars to Nikon for repair, and they returned them repaired for free!!!
__________________
Retired since summer 1999.
audreyh1 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2017, 08:55 PM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 15,281
I will go with the OP question...

I would go with the smallest and lightest that you can get for whatever money you want to spend...

I do not have any like some here, but I have a decent pair but it is big and bulky... we have taken it on trips but never seem to use it...

We also have a nice very small pair that magnifies pretty well and we have used them many times...

Weight and bulk are the deciding factors...
Texas Proud is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2017, 09:56 PM   #14
Moderator
Jerry1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 2,542
Can't recommend a brand, but I do have football tickets and I recommend the smallest lightest you can find for that purpose. My friend that I go to the game with has a large pair and they're a pain in the butt. "Here, hold these while I go to the bathroom. Have you see my binoculars? Wait, I have to get my binoculars out of the car. . ." He uses them maybe a couple times a game. Plus, even at $150, do you want to take them to a place where losing or dropping them is possible if not likely? Football is a wide field of view game. Not really something you need to zoom into.

I think binoculars are like some other things - like cameras. Buy what you need for a specific purpose. I think for all you mentioned, I'd go buy the best pair I could by for $150 keeping size/weight as a high priority. I think when/if you get into bird watching, you're going to want a better quality and strength binocular. Speaking of cameras, you might be better off spending money on a nice camera with a zoom for bird watching and photographing. Either way, I think you'll be over your $150 budget for that. Still, I'd use my light weight/small binoculars until I became dissatisfied. Being dissatisfied will help you understand what you really value when you go shopping for a pair specific to that activity.
Jerry1 is online now   Reply With Quote
How to select Binoculars?
Old 05-31-2017, 06:52 AM   #15
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 74
How to select Binoculars?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mystang52 View Post
Anyone have advice for getting the right binoculars for me?

Years ago, I did extensive research on binoculars and these were highly rated. I've recommended them to several people with a big thanks from all. Based on your needs, I would recommend the 10x42s.

[ATTACH]26009
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_0503.JPG (412.7 KB, 20 views)
dasranger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2017, 07:03 AM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Alberta/Ontario/ Arizona
Posts: 3,393
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradner View Post
I tried a pair of the stabilized Canon's - WOW. Super nice but over $150. The 10x30 Canon IS are ~$550.
Yes agree. The stabilization feature is fantastic. When I use unstabilized binoculars I get nausea. They do cost more but worth it in my view. I have given several sets as gifts and everyone comments on how great they are.
Danmar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2017, 07:08 AM   #17
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 493
An entire thread about binoculars and no one used the term "glassing" yet. That breaks my heart.

When im glassing ill use a small/cheap lightweight pair of nikon binoculars. Its not necessary for me to ever see into the soul of an animal...I just need to see what it is and if its legal to shoot.
ponyboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2017, 08:10 AM   #18
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Cedar Bluff
Posts: 497
Quote:
Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
Yeah - we're in that group. Finally upgraded to Swarovski after a couple of year of really serious birding. Dropped my Nikon binoculars on a metal boat deck in Alaska and broke one of the seals ruining the nitrogen fill (fogged up). I realized how much I was using the binoculars and decided I should go ahead and get the best. Been using the Swarovski's for over 15 years. Amazing optics! Particularly great in low light.

BTW I sent those busted binoculars to Nikon for repair, and they returned them repaired for free!!!
Birding/nature watching is the major hobby of DW and me, so much the same sich. There is no describing how much better the experience is with high-quality optics. I have Zeiss Victory HTs (10X42) and they were $2500. Many will recoil with horror but I consider them a lifetime worth of excellent optics and well worth the $.

But like audreyh1, we have also had two pairs of Nikon Monarchs and they are a good optics value at about $300. Both pair had the eyepieces break and in both cases Nikon fixed them for free, I believe they still have a lifetime guarantee.

We had some $150 binocs made in Korea and we were underwhelmed. As mentioned above, the zoom on your phone might serve just as well compared to cheap binoculars.

YMMV.
__________________
"Time wounds all heels...." - Groucho Marx
LRDave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2017, 09:38 AM   #19
Recycles dryer sheets
Dd852's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: London/UK
Posts: 287
I use these https://www.amazon.com/Nikon-16014-A.../dp/B00NM759YA so light and easy to carry yet clear and sharp. DW has a heavier more expensive pair that she usually "forgets" to carry - honestly in my book light and easy is a trump card.
Dd852 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2017, 10:20 AM   #20
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 1,659
OP, here. First, thanks to everyone for your replies. Now a follow-up question: I read that 10X can be difficult to stay in focus unless one has a steady hand, vs the 8X.
Is there that much of a difference in 1) the apparent magnification and 2) the stability of the image?
__________________

mystang52 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Looking through the wrong end of the binoculars? Asher Aion FIRE and Money 3 04-25-2015 07:20 AM
Vanguard Voyager Select Architect FIRE and Money 16 01-19-2009 10:37 AM
To our medical folks, why can't I select both doctor and hospital that I want whitestick Health and Early Retirement 22 08-16-2008 06:36 PM
iShares Dow Jones Select Dividend Index (DVY) Hillbilly Stock Picking and Market Strategy 7 03-16-2008 11:30 AM
Criteria - Why did you select your ER city/town/community? W2R Life after FIRE 29 02-27-2007 10:38 AM

» Quick Links

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:31 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.