Low light bins

To: Michael Hunter <>, "" <>
Subject: Low light bins
From: Tim Dolby <>
Date: Tue, 8 Mar 2011 04:46:49 +0000
Hi Michael,

In my opinion for decent 'birding' i.e. walking around with a pair of binos 
birdwatching, there are only two - possibly three - real options for 
binoculars, regardless of conditions:

. 10 x 40 (or 42) - good magnification, so requires a little precision and 
practice i.e. to see birds in flight, so can sometimes be awkward in forests / 
closed bush - but perfect for open environ and most birding conditions. Any 
reasonable pair will work o.k. in gloomy light.

. 8 x 40 (or 42) - smaller in size than above and has less magnification, but 
perfect for forest conditions i.e. to see birds in flight through trees. Good 
for close range. Any reasonable pair will work o.k. in gloomy light.

Any larger than this, such as x 50 etc, size becomes just too awkward and 
cumbersome (even creating neck problems) for birding. There are of course 
exceptions to the rule. Some people just like them, enjoying the extra contrast 
and image brightness with the top-end binos (such as Leica), or have a strong 
neck, such as rugby playing birders. Larger binoculars can also be worthwhile 
if they are linked to a specific task, such as birding from a wetland bird-hide.

Personally (apart from 10 x 40 or 8 x 40) I'm also quite partial to 8 x 32 - 
small, compact, easy to use, and they're great for casual stroll in the bush, 
particularly your own patch, where you know most of the birds, so exact feature 
identification is not that important. However I'd only recommend a good pair.

In essence when buying a pair of binoculars, purchasing a pair of x 50 because 
they're slightly better when glooming ignores a dozen other aspects of 
binoculars when birding, such as size, weight, focus, ease of use, 
accessibility and even aesthetics (for example do you really want to walk 
around with a large and silly looking pair of binos around your neck).


Tim Dolby

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Michael Hunter
Sent: Tuesday, 8 March 2011 1:02 PM
Subject: Low light bins

Hi All,

          While on the subject of binoculars, I am wondering whether 10 x 42 is 
the best magnification x lens diameter combination for gloomy forest conditions 
or other low light situations where the quarry is not more than about 30m  away 
from  the observer, and magnification is not the major requirement.

           Would optically equivalent (in quality) 7 x 50 give better light 
sensitivity and colour discrimination than say 10 x 42 or 10 x 50 ?

            Close focus distance and rapid focus also relevant, as well as 
waterproofness in rainy humid conditions if not for scuba diving.

                                                 Any suggestions?



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