2,379 Brands 450 Categories All Departments

need help shopping for 1st pair of binoculars

Not sure what brand or model of binoculars is right for you? We're happy to help! Discuss and review your latest binocular purchase, share your experience and help others.

need help shopping for 1st pair of binoculars

Postby Hi on Mon May 03, 2010 11:28 am

Hello all.
I'm shopping around for my first pair of binoculars and I could use some advice or suggestions. I will be using the binoculars for all around general purpose. Bird watching, checking out something of interest far away or not too far away like sports or something where i would need to look more closely to understand what is going on if that makes any sense. I don't hunt and I'm not an avid bird watcher but enjoy looking at nature. Something of good quality and reliability, waterproof i guess, and under $350. Something I can count on and will have for a long time.
Hi
 

Re: need help shopping for 1st pair of binoculars

Postby Jne_K on Tue May 04, 2010 7:42 am

Hi

Actually, this is an easy one. An 8x40,8x42, waterproof roof prism or porro prism binocular is about as universal as it gets in a binocular. 8x is not too much, not too little as magnification goes and a 40 or 42mm objective will get you all the performance you need for just about any binocular application, without making the bino too heavy or large. Most folks prefer the handling and feel of a roof prism, but you still get the most bang for the buck, optically, with a porro if price is a factor. The $300 price point is also the most bang for the buck in a binocular; after that you pay progressively more for much smaller increases in quality and performance. There are far, far too many binos to list at $300, since that is the most competitive price point in the bino market, but the Nikon Monarch 8x42 has traditionally been the best seller, here, for many years. Competition at this price point also means that no one really stands above the rest, so just about any 8x42 roof at this price is a good choice. Everyone, of course, will have their favorites; mine is the Swift 828 It is about as sweet as it comes for handling and optics and it is one of the very few binos left at this price still made in Japan. Nearly everything else at $300 these days comes out of China.
Thanks for posting with us
Joanie K - Your personal optics expert

Forum: http://www.opticsplanet.com/msgboard
Blog: http://blog.opticsplanet.com/
Store: http://www.opticsplanet.com/

Phone: (800) 504-5897
Fax: (847) 919-3003
Jne_K
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7665
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2003 3:09 pm

Re: need help shopping for 1st pair of binoculars

Postby roc865 on Tue May 04, 2010 12:56 pm

thanks for the suggestion. i'm going to look into those that you mentioned. how about the bushnell's? i was in the cabelas website looking at different models and the bushnells look decent also. how do they compare to the nikon's?? also, what's a good company or website to putchase binoculars?
roc865
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 9:15 am

Re: need help shopping for 1st pair of binoculars

Postby roc865 on Tue May 04, 2010 1:02 pm

Jne_K wrote:Hi

Actually, this is an easy one. An 8x40,8x42, waterproof roof prism or porro prism binocular is about as universal as it gets in a binocular. 8x is not too much, not too little as magnification goes and a 40 or 42mm objective will get you all the performance you need for just about any binocular application, without making the bino too heavy or large. Most folks prefer the handling and feel of a roof prism, but you still get the most bang for the buck, optically, with a porro if price is a factor. The $300 price point is also the most bang for the buck in a binocular; after that you pay progressively more for much smaller increases in quality and performance. There are far, far too many binos to list at $300, since that is the most competitive price point in the bino market, but the Nikon Monarch 8x42 has traditionally been the best seller, here, for many years. Competition at this price point also means that no one really stands above the rest, so just about any 8x42 roof at this price is a good choice. Everyone, of course, will have their favorites; mine is the Swift 828 It is about as sweet as it comes for handling and optics and it is one of the very few binos left at this price still made in Japan. Nearly everything else at $300 these days comes out of China.


also, those swift's that you said you own, is swift the company?? i've never heard of them. sorry, i only know the names that stick out from shopping around like nikon and bushnell's.
roc865
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 9:15 am

Re: need help shopping for 1st pair of binoculars

Postby Jne_K on Wed May 05, 2010 7:40 am

Hi

Certainly nothing wrong with choosing a well known name like Nikon or Bushnell. Keep in mind that both companies make everything from cheap binoculars all the way up to premium grade binoculars. This wide range of quality is very typical of all binocular lines until you get into the premium Euro lines such as Swarovski, Zeiss and Leica. Only then is it safe to use brand as an indicator of quality. Otherwise, let price, not brand, be your best indicator of quality. For instance, in the price range that you indicated, the Bushnell Legend HD is a great choice and a much better choice than the cheaper Bushnell models such as the H2O and so on.

As for Swift, they have been around for a very, very long time and have always been a very well respected name in birding circles. Swift has never gone that much into mass marketing, so you rarely see them in big box stores or outfits like Cabela's, but, make no mistake, that Swift 828 is a great binocular for the money. I have sold many of them to birders I know and have yet to have a single one of them do anything but rave about them.
Thanks for posting with us
Joanie K - Your personal optics expert

Forum: http://www.opticsplanet.com/msgboard
Blog: http://blog.opticsplanet.com/
Store: http://www.opticsplanet.com/

Phone: (800) 504-5897
Fax: (847) 919-3003
Jne_K
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7665
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2003 3:09 pm

Re: need help shopping for 1st pair of binoculars

Postby Guest on Wed May 05, 2010 8:25 am

Jne_K wrote:Hi

Certainly nothing wrong with choosing a well known name like Nikon or Bushnell. Keep in mind that both companies make everything from cheap binoculars all the way up to premium grade binoculars. This wide range of quality is very typical of all binocular lines until you get into the premium Euro lines such as Swarovski, Zeiss and Leica. Only then is it safe to use brand as an indicator of quality. Otherwise, let price, not brand, be your best indicator of quality. For instance, in the price range that you indicated, the Bushnell Legend HD is a great choice and a much better choice than the cheaper Bushnell models such as the H2O and so on.

As for Swift, they have been around for a very, very long time and have always been a very well respected name in birding circles. Swift has never gone that much into mass marketing, so you rarely see them in big box stores or outfits like Cabela's, but, make no mistake, that Swift 828 is a great binocular for the money. I have sold many of them to birders I know and have yet to have a single one of them do anything but rave about them.


those swift's definitely look solid and with good feedback. i will also look into the bushnell and nikon models that you mentioned. i mentioned earlier that i would be doing some bird watching, but i am by no means a hard core bird watcher. if i see a cardinal or blue jay in my backyard, or other nature interests, plus looking at mountains, trees, spots of interest, this is what i would be using the binoculars for. just an all around binocular. i think this is why you mentioned the 10X42 would be a good choice, right?
Guest
 

Re: need help shopping for 1st pair of binoculars

Postby roc865 on Wed May 05, 2010 8:28 am

i meant 8 X 42 or 8 X 40. the above post was made by me, roc865, i just forgot to login.
roc865
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 9:15 am

Re: need help shopping for 1st pair of binoculars

Postby ET on Wed May 05, 2010 7:41 pm

There are a number of 8x42s for very reasonable prices. The Bushnell Ultra Legend 8x42 is probably the best optics for 300. But the ergonomics may not be ideal for a the beginner. The older LEgends, 8x42, or 8x32 are OK Too.

Go for the Swifts. Good solid pair. Do not look at Swift porros, people have trouble with those.
ET
 

Re: need help shopping for 1st pair of binoculars

Postby roc865 on Thu May 06, 2010 6:35 am

ET wrote:There are a number of 8x42s for very reasonable prices. The Bushnell Ultra Legend 8x42 is probably the best optics for 300. But the ergonomics may not be ideal for a the beginner. The older LEgends, 8x42, or 8x32 are OK Too.

Go for the Swifts. Good solid pair. Do not look at Swift porros, people have trouble with those.


thanks for all the advice. one last question. :mrgreen:
just to reinforce what i would be using the binoculars for. mostly nature, objects from afar, scoping things out like signs.. the swifts you recommended, they aren't exclusively for bird watching right?
roc865
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 9:15 am

Re: need help shopping for 1st pair of binoculars

Postby Jne_K on Thu May 06, 2010 8:23 am

Hi

Really are no binoculars made that are exclusively for bird watching, but manufacturers long ago learned that it is relatively easy to add the features bird watchers want to just about any binocular - close focus and fast focus capability. You can use any binocular advertised as a birding binocular for almost any use, these days as long as it is waterproof (nearly all are). Those Swifts will do just fine for what you want to do.
Thanks for posting with us
Joanie K - Your personal optics expert

Forum: http://www.opticsplanet.com/msgboard
Blog: http://blog.opticsplanet.com/
Store: http://www.opticsplanet.com/

Phone: (800) 504-5897
Fax: (847) 919-3003
Jne_K
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7665
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2003 3:09 pm