Scopes and Binoculars

Subject: Scopes and Binoculars
From: Frank O'Connor <>
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2011 15:23:01 +0800

Binoculars are a very personal thing. What conditions will you be using them in? Bad light in rainforest or at dawn & dusk? And if so how often? Most birders very seldom experience poor light. Lots of dust? Again not very often. Lots of pelagic trips where they might get salty? Again probably not often. So unless you are an extreme birder, I doubt that you would need top of the range binoculars (Leica, Zeiss, Swarovski).

I would recommend that you test a pair of Nikon Monarchs. Then work up or down from there depending on price, weight, balance and feel, how serious and full on a birder you are, etc.

I currently have a pair of 10x42 Leica, but my neck is starting to complain and I often take them off when I am travelling rather than having them ready to go. My next step is to use a harness. But maybe I should be looking at a pair of 8x35 or 8x32 which are much lighter. I would not recommend using 10x magnification in the smaller size. The field of view is too small.

Close focussing is useful, but as others have said probably not for birds. I like close focus to look at reptiles, butterflies, frogs, etc from a close distance.

I know almost nothing about the lower price scopes. Go to a shop and try out whatever they have. Again, think about what you want to use a scope for. Seawatching? Waders? Open water or country? For seawatching, you probably would need a better quality scope as it is useful to wind up the magnification, and the better scopes have less distortion. For waders, it depends on how much heat haze, etc that you would normally experience. You can usually avoid the worst times of day, or position yourself to make the light better. For open country birding, any scope would probably do. I personally prefer a 20x60 zoom lens, but others swear by a 32x wide angle lens. Again, your choice. Other people have mentioned tripods. These can be relatively expensive, and are often heavy. I used to think that I needed a very sturdy tripod to counteract bad conditions (e.g. wind), but I now find it is much better to sit yourself low and keep your tripod and scope as low to the ground as you can. Your other choice is a straight lens or an angled lens. Again personal choice. It doesn't take long to get used to an angled lens. I have chosen an angled lens as my tripod doesn't go high enough without winding it up, and I find it more comfortable with the angled lens rather than stooping a bit. I can also use it by resting it on my drivers window (fill a bag with some sand to rest it on to keep it stable).

I have dealt with Bintel online and they were excellent. But as Tony Russell said, I bought my last binoculars online through Adelaide Optics as their price was significantly less than anyone else and they are located in Australia. I haven't tried ordering from overseas. But each time I knew what I wanted, so I was just looking for the best price and delivery.

Frank O'Connor           Birding WA
Phone : (08) 9386 5694 Email :

To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU