binocular recommendations

Subject: binocular recommendations
From: "John Leonard" <>
Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2001 06:44:33 -0000
Since I wrote to Birding-aus about 10 x 40 bins I have done my research and made a purchase.

The first thing to say is that the only bins that got personal recommendations from more than one person were Swarovski 10 x 42 SLCs and ELs, which were recommended by several people. The SLCs are the older model, the ELs newer, with some new feature or other. Both of these are top of the range, over $2000, with the ELs being more expensive. They are also very heavy (around 890 gms).

Klaus Uhlenhut recommended Optolyth 10 x 40s, and I have tried these out and found them very good and very light. Unfortunately I don't think Optolyth have a dealer in Australia, so you'd have to get them from OS, and I don't know how much they cost.

After this I did my own research and found that all the information you really need is on the Web: you can go to the manufacturers' web-pages and find specifications, and a search using phrases like "binoculars reviewed" will find you various articles. Deb Colebourne was kind enough to send me this list of weights of various models:

Bausch and Lomb
10x42 Elite 794 gms
10x42 Natureview 709gms
Docter Optic
10x40 B aspherical 760 gms
10x40 ZCF 730gms
10x42 BA 890gms
10x42 Highgrade 745gms
10x42 action series 710
Sequoiah 10x40 630gms
Countryman 10x42 630gms
SLC 10x40 W 690gms
10x40 W GA 790gms
10x42 WB 870gms

I came to the conclusion after doing all this that I didn't want to pay top dollar, I wanted to find a budget priced roof prism model. The other problem was that I am in Canberra, where there are no specialist optical dealers, and was reluctant to buy anything by mail-order without trying it out first. In my quest for suppliers I found that the Birding Shop at Birds Australia was very helpful and seemed to have a good range of models of all prices. (NB for the month of July they have a 10% off sale on Leica, so the Leica 10 x 40s are only $1900 instead of over $2000).

However in a camera shop in Canberra I tracked down a pair of Pentax 10 x 42 DCF HPs at $529. For the price I reckon these are excellent value, and since I bought them I have given them a good test in the bush in rainy and sunny conditions and I think that the optics are comparable with my Zeiss 8 x 30s: bright, clear, very true colours. Obviously the top of range models would be better, but I have made my choice, and I think anyone who did buy this model would have a perfectly functional pair of 10 x 40s to play around with. The other advantage of them is that they are very light: 660 gms.

Hope this helps anyone thinking of making the transition to 10 x 40 bins.

John Leonard

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