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02-12-2019, 04:46 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Michaelina2 Quote
. . . I found the best success and much more convenient to just use my lightweight and easy to maneuver wildlife kit (K-1 MkII+DA*300/4+HD1.4TC). Put the sun at your back, move slowly, find your subject in the viewfinder, adjust your position so the subject is framed against a favorable background, then take the shot. Fiddling with binos added an awkward step which slowed things down.

Cheers and Enjoy the Season... M
I always thought, perhaps in error, that the use of binoculars gave you a " wider " field of view so you don't miss an opportunity, then you take your camera and lens look for your " land mark " and get in " close " for the photo

02-12-2019, 07:35 AM - 2 Likes   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by murrelet Quote
I used to be a hardcore birder back in the day. Some things to consider, in no particular order:

Exit pupil: this is the amount of light that hits your eye. Calculated by taking the diameter of the objective lens and dividing by the magnification factor. So a 8X40 bino has an exit pupil of 5 mm, meaning a 5 mm diameter circle of light is hitting your eye. Bigger is better, but really comes into play at dawn and dusk or when you're chasing after birds hidden in the brush in shadow when the light is dim. Binos with larger objectives are going to be more expensive, generally.

A magnification of 8X or 10X is generally good for birding. 8X gives a wider field of view, so better for scanning. 10X gives you more reach but you'll need a steadier hand since it also magnifies vibration.

Weight. Just like cameras, the best binos are the ones you'll carry with you in the field. An optically superior bino is useless if it's heavy and stays at home.

Roof or porro prism. Porro prisms are the classic bino design. Roof prisms are the "two tubes" design. Roof prisms are generally more expensive by a factor of 2 or more. But, the design lends the optics to be housed in waterproof casings (focusing is internal).

And if you wear glasses, eye relief is an important factor. Longer is better. Eye relief is how far your eyeball can be to see the entire field of view through the eyepiece.

As with any kind of gear, set a price point you want to be at. Then see what you can get at that price point, and adjust up or down. As for brands, Pentax has always been a great value brand (good bang for your buck, just like with their cameras). Swarovski, Leica, and Zeiss are the premium brands, and to a lesser extent, Nikon. Vortex and Celestron are good value brands.

Oh... another piece of advice. Go to a birding outing with your local Audubon Society. Birders are friendly folks. Doesn't matter if you show up without a pair of binos. Chances are someone has a spare pair. Plus, they will let you look through their main pair so you can try before you buy.
I am very much into birding and along with my camera gear, I carry my binoculars with me along with my K-3 and birding lenses. The advice given here is excellent. and reflects the route I took when I got into birding. I started by joining local birding walks and trying the binoculars that my birding companions were using. Also I read reviews of binoculars on various birding and optics sites along with Audubon's website. What I found is that for birding an 8 by 32 or 8 by 42 is the sweet spot for birding. Magnification higher than 10x not only is difficult to hold for all but the steadiest hand but also the field of view is too narrow that when a bird is spotted you often miss it since while you are scanning through your glass to get a fix on it, it flies away and you miss it. Birds don't usually sit still for you while you are searching through your binoculars, so a wide field of view is important.
Price wise I found that mid price binoculars offer the best value. The build quality is far superior to cheaper binoculars and the optics can be close enough to very expensive glass that many would not notice the difference. In USD, mid price binoculars would be those in the $400 to $600 price range. There are very good Pentax binoculars in this price range, along with the Vortex Viper HD binoculars. I ended up getting the Vortex Viper HD 8X when I found them on sale for a good price. I really find them perfect for my birding needs, good magnification, good build quality, compact and a wide field of view. I'm 66 years old and have parkinson's disease so I do not have a steady hand but can still handle these binoculars fairly easily. Good luck and I hope you find what best suits your needs
02-12-2019, 07:52 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Michaelina2 Quote
In theory, you are correct.

However...

From my experience photographing insects, butterflies, . . . . I have greater success by just using my eyes (yes, I'm 76yo and wear glasses) to spot my subject with camera follow-up.

Anyway, if it makes more sense to the OP to try binos (or have a pair available to share with an assistant/hiking buddy/friend), my 8x42 Celestron Nature DX recommendation still stands. They are excellent and good 'bang for the buck'.

Cheers... M
I agree

never have tried to use binoculars in search of butterflies, moths or other insects myself

( and I was at best 20/400 before cataract surgeries in both eyes )

the OP and others will have to see what works best for them.
02-12-2019, 11:05 AM   #19
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The posts by members are really enlightening. Thank you everyone.

02-13-2019, 02:13 PM   #20
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I'd echo what everyone else has said. Both Pentax and Vortex make great binoculars. I have a pair of Nikon Monarch 7's that I got a good deal on that are also great.
If you have shaky hands, the Canon IS binoculars are good. I have the 10x42 L IS binoculars which I use for astronomy, and they are amazing, but neither cheap or light.

IMO the expensive German brands, Swaroski, Zeiss, etc, are better, but not enough better to justify the huge price premium.
02-13-2019, 08:42 PM   #21
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I got my first good quality binoculars this past summer, it's a Pentax SD 8x42 WP (excellent image quality, very happy with this model). While not specifically designed for star gazing, they're bright enough to make looking at stars quite a treat, but perhaps something lighter and less bright would suffice for daylight use.

Last edited by aaacb; 02-13-2019 at 08:50 PM.
02-14-2019, 06:42 AM   #22
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I like mine: Pentax 12x50 PCF WPII. 4.9 degree angle of view, about double that of my longest lens. Particular feature: extensible eye-cups for use w/glasses or to provide extended eye relief. Disadvantage: pretty much full-sized binoc's, neither compact nor lightweight.

04-05-2019, 04:52 AM   #23
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Hello everyone,

Thanks for the comments and advice.

I have finally short-listed two : (a) Pentax 8x40 S-Series SP WP Binocular (USD 74) AND (b) Pentax SD 8x42 WP Binoculars (USD 229) both brand new.

Any comments on the relative quality of these two Binoculars and whether the almost USD 150 premium is worth paying for the SD 8x42 WP Binoculars?
04-05-2019, 05:13 AM   #24
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are you certain on your designation and the price?

Pentax 8x40 S-Series SP WP Binocular

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1113194-REG/pentax_65871_8x40_sp_wp_b...2687c1bde03fa3

$139

Pentax 8x40 S-Series SP Binocular 65902 B&H Photo Video

$69

that might explain the price gap

Pentax 8x42 S-Series SD WP Binocular

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1113192-REG/pentax_62761_8x42_sd_wp_b...737938d2c503d5

$229

_________________________________

Perhaps this might be worth reading

" The B&H Binocular Buying Guide
By Christopher Witt |
Updated 3 months ago

" . . . There can be a huge range in price between apparently similar pairs of binoculars. For example, B&H sells 10x42 binoculars ranging in price from less than $30 to nearly $3,000. The main reasons for such a large price range are the quality of the optics, the types of coatings applied to the lenses, and other features that might be added, such as the housing material. Additionally, the prism type can be (and often is) a factor in determining price. Because of the physics involved in designing and manufacturing the compact roof prism form factor, you can have a pair of roof and Porro binoculars that seem identical as far as quality and performance, but the roof prism version will often be more expensive. The good news is that if the form factor isn’t an issue, many people find that they can upgrade the quality of their binocular by choosing a Porro-prism without reŽvaluating their budget. . . . "

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1113192-REG/pentax_62761_8x42_sd_wp_b...737938d2c503d5

Last edited by aslyfox; 04-05-2019 at 05:23 AM.
04-05-2019, 07:38 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by leonine Quote
whether the almost USD 150 premium is worth paying for the SD 8x42 WP Binoculars?
I have the 8x42 WP, the more expensive option. I have not used the other ones. But from what I've read, porro prism models are more cost effective for similar optical quality, so if it's value you're after get the cheaper ones. But as aslyfox points out, there are 8x40 with and without weather protection/resistance, I think the WP version is worth it not just for the weather protection, it also has longer eye relief, which matters if you wear glasses and don't want to take them off all the time (I do). For me, the weight difference (270g) and the discount the 8x42 had at the time was what made me get it over the 8x40 wp.

Last edited by aaacb; 04-05-2019 at 07:43 AM.
04-05-2019, 11:50 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by aslyfox Quote
are you certain on your designation and the price?

Pentax 8x40 S-Series SP WP Binocular

Pentax 8x40 S-Series SP WP Binocular 65871 B&H Photo Video

$139

Pentax 8x40 S-Series SP Binocular 65902 B&H Photo Video

$69

that might explain the price gap

Pentax 8x42 S-Series SD WP Binocular

Pentax 8x42 S-Series SD WP Binocular 62761 B&H Photo Video

$229

_________________________________

Perhaps this might be worth reading

" The B&H Binocular Buying Guide
By Christopher Witt |
Updated 3 months ago

" . . . There can be a huge range in price between apparently similar pairs of binoculars. For example, B&H sells 10x42 binoculars ranging in price from less than $30 to nearly $3,000. The main reasons for such a large price range are the quality of the optics, the types of coatings applied to the lenses, and other features that might be added, such as the housing material. Additionally, the prism type can be (and often is) a factor in determining price. Because of the physics involved in designing and manufacturing the compact roof prism form factor, you can have a pair of roof and Porro binoculars that seem identical as far as quality and performance, but the roof prism version will often be more expensive. The good news is that if the form factor isnít an issue, many people find that they can upgrade the quality of their binocular by choosing a Porro-prism without reŽvaluating their budget. . . . "

Pentax 8x42 S-Series SD WP Binocular 62761 B&H Photo Video
I meant this one @74 USD which is the one with description "
Pentax 8x40 S-Series SP WP Binocular Fully Multicoated Optics
Tripod Mountable"

Pentax 8x40 S-Series SP WP Binocular Fully Multicoated Optics Tripod Mountable 27075288676 | eBay

Its angle of view is smaller and it's 250+ grams heavier at 901.5 grams.

But I am getting tempted looking at the cost differential and feel this 8x40 SP WP might be an excellent value for money.

---------- Post added 04-05-19 at 11:55 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by aaacb Quote
I have the 8x42 WP, the more expensive option. I have not used the other ones. But from what I've read, porro prism models are more cost effective for similar optical quality, so if it's value you're after get the cheaper ones. But as aslyfox points out, there are 8x40 with and without weather protection/resistance, I think the WP version is worth it not just for the weather protection, it also has longer eye relief, which matters if you wear glasses and don't want to take them off all the time (I do). For me, the weight difference (270g) and the discount the 8x42 had at the time was what made me get it over the 8x40 wp.
Thank you. I am beginning to think that the 8x40 SP WP would be a sensible choice because I don't even know how regularly I would be using them once my trip to Masai Mara is over.
04-05-2019, 05:39 PM   #27
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This topic has been discussed extensively in several similar threads.

Bright 6X - 7X power binoculars are preferred by birders.
Though I am not an avid birder that is what I recommend.

Chris
04-06-2019, 05:41 AM   #28
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I have 2 , a small compact and light weight Pentax 6x, and a 7-22x Minolta with 40mm objectives. No matter what power I set to at the end, I begin scanning with 7x. High power binoculars are very difficult to find the target and hard to hold stable
04-06-2019, 02:08 PM - 1 Like   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by leonine Quote
Hello all.

I am not much into birding and wish to buy a decent pair of binoculars simply as a way to scan the surroundings to spot wildlife.

Can anyone suggest a decent make/ model which is not too expensive? I don't know the price range of these, but anything that does its job reasonably well while not creating a big hole in the pocket :-)

Thank you all.
First, you've asked for a suggestion of a specific make and model so here's mine: Nikon Trailblazer ATB Waterproof 8 x 25 (approx. $80). You can get the 10 power version which is exactly the same size and weight for $10 more (although, as other have said, I'd recommend the 8 power ones).

Why did I choose these over the 8 x 40 models? I have a pair of 8 x 40s, they're big and heavy and always left at home. Like you, I'm not really into birding I just want have binoculars with me when I'm out hiking or taking wildlife photos. These are small enough to always take and inexpensive enough that I don't stress about leaving them in the car between outings.

Why did I choose these over other similar, compact, models? Primarily because they had the widest field of view. It's more like looking out a window (with everything made bigger) than looking through two toilet paper tubes (with everything bigger). It's just more enjoyable. They are also good quality and a reasonable price so I was able to buy two pair. One for me and one for my wife. Everyone needs their own binoculars, no refocusing or adjusting between looks...

Probably the best advice I can give is to go to a store that has a good selection so you can hold them, look through them, see how they focus and overall how they work for you. What comfortable for me may not be for you.

Hope that helps.
04-07-2019, 09:40 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by JimS_256 Quote
First, you've asked for a suggestion of a specific make and model so here's mine: Nikon Trailblazer ATB Waterproof 8 x 25 (approx. $80). You can get the 10 power version which is exactly the same size and weight for $10 more (although, as other have said, I'd recommend the 8 power ones).

Why did I choose these over the 8 x 40 models? I have a pair of 8 x 40s, they're big and heavy and always left at home. Like you, I'm not really into birding I just want have binoculars with me when I'm out hiking or taking wildlife photos. These are small enough to always take and inexpensive enough that I don't stress about leaving them in the car between outings.

Why did I choose these over other similar, compact, models? Primarily because they had the widest field of view. It's more like looking out a window (with everything made bigger) than looking through two toilet paper tubes (with everything bigger). It's just more enjoyable. They are also good quality and a reasonable price so I was able to buy two pair. One for me and one for my wife. Everyone needs their own binoculars, no refocusing or adjusting between looks...

Probably the best advice I can give is to go to a store that has a good selection so you can hold them, look through them, see how they focus and overall how they work for you. What comfortable for me may not be for you.

Hope that helps.
I bought the Pentax SP WP 8x40 ��

Other than the great cost, what I considered was that in low light conditions, when a lot of wildlife action happens, I could witness those moments better with an 8x40 than by the smaller 8x25 etc.

Thank you all members for sage advice which allowed me to make, what I hope is, a rational choice and I was also enriched with various technical aspects of watching wildlife and birds. This may be the beginning of a new adventure.

Thank you.

Last edited by leonine; 04-08-2019 at 01:47 AM.
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