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Old Monday 6th November 2017, 06:50   #1
hr21
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Best setup?

Hi All,

I am looking at modifying my binocular/ scope setup possibly and wanted some advice,

My options would be,

Opticron Savanna 6x30 and a small scope such as Vortex Razor HD 11-33 or Opticron MM3 or possibly as it is only 250, Vanguard 65A. I may be able to get a set of slightly better binoculars (Opticron Discovery 8x42s...)

OR

Opticron HR.WP 10x42 / Hawke Frontier ED 10x43 binoculars (both of these seem to be highly rated - which is the best?) and then save for a scope at a later date, e.g. a Hawke Sapphire 80mm or the like...

I do varied bird watching - woodland/ coast/ hides so need versatility.

Thanks for the help.
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Old Monday 6th November 2017, 11:35   #2
14Goudvink
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The Opticron HR WP has a really small field of view and a *very* slow focusser. So, in woodland...
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Old Wednesday 8th November 2017, 07:10   #3
hr21
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Any other views? (I will take the HR WP out of my list)
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Old Wednesday 8th November 2017, 12:31   #4
JoeRawles
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Have you got anywhere you can go out and compare different models? The Disco 8x42 are good but for a small amount more the Explorer ED 8x42 are a lot better, or for less the T4 8x42 match the performance of the Discovery I think. Both the Razor and MM3 are very evenly matched and will be much smaller than the Vanguard Endeavor HD, but if size/weight aren't a big issue the Vanguard is very good optically for the price.

The Hawke Frontier 10x43 are very nice, on the large side, my only issue is the stiff focus wheel. What you spend most on will depend on what you expect to use the most, if you're not taking the scope out very often you won't want to spend a fortune on it. Your bins are most likely to get more use so it could be worth paying around 200 as I think you'll appreciate it.
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Old Thursday 9th November 2017, 01:56   #5
ailevin
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Originally Posted by hr21 View Post
Any other views? (I will take the HR WP out of my list)
I selected an Opticron MM3 60mm scope for portability and image quality. I am pleased with it, and would recommend it as very good value at its price point. It gets almost daily use at home since I have a nice view of a channel with seabirds. Yet I use it in the field much less often than I expected.

I've found that spotting scopes are like boats: it is much nicer to have a friend with a large high quality spotting scope than to own one yourself. Most of the time when I join a group to observe at least one person and often two people will have scopes and share the view. This seems to be the case unless the terrain makes it too difficult to haul scope/tripod in and out. And most often, the scopes are larger and of higher quality than my little MM3.

Of course it all depends on your viewing habits. Unless you think you will be primarily observing solo in circumstances where you would prefer a scope to a binocular, I would give priority and budget to a quality binocular first.

Alan
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Old Thursday 9th November 2017, 20:14   #6
hr21
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Which binocular circa 250 would you recommend?
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Old Friday 10th November 2017, 02:17   #7
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I have to start with disclaimers.
  • I'm not familiar with availability of various makes/models in the UK or their pricing. I will quote US prices in dollars.
  • I don't know your observing preferences or how a particular binocular will suit you, so my thoughts represent my preferences and needs.
  • When comparing different sized objectives, different magnification, or other physical attributes, including field of view, I assume we are comparing binoculars of similar optical quality.
  • Binoculars in the price range you mention go on sale here, and there are factory rebates as well. If a model is being phased out, this can sometimes double or even triple your purchasing power relative to list price.

First I want to echo what JoeRawles said. Consider what you like or dislike about your current binocular and then bring them with you to a shop, or a birding fair where you can compare a number of models side-by-side. Comfort in hand and comfort of view is of paramount importance and it varies from person to person.

I prefer 8x magnification to 10x and higher because I just can't hold the higher magnification steady enough to get much more detail. Many people prefer 10x. I also like an 8x32 binoculars because they are compact, lighter weight, and lower in price compared to a similar 8x42. At 10x I would definitely recommend a 42mm objective for general use. The added size and weight of a 10x42 will make it easier to hold steady, and the larger exit pupil will make it more comfortable to use. Even at 8x, a 42mm objective has advantages in comfort of eye placement and added light grasp under low light conditions. Also, it seems like mid-range 42mm binoculars tend to be better baffled and produce less in the way of glare. However, my experience is that a good 8x32 really holds its own under the vast majority of lighting conditions.

There are two 8x32 binoculars that are often recommended here as good performers at a moderate price and I own both. A year ago I purchased the Sightron II 8x32 for $179 and a couple months ago I purchased a Cabela's Guide 8x32 (said to be optically identical to the Leupold Mojave BX3 8x32) for $149. I prefer the Cabela's Guide, but both are very good, and I use both of them regularly. I have tried a number of other 8x32 binoculars and have not found any that I preferred to these two until I was up in the $400-$500 range. BTW, one very nice binocular in that higher price range was the Opticron Traveler 8x32 ED.

My experience and the sense I get from reading reviews here, is that there are sweet spots where you get quite good value. I expect it is partly the marketplace and also that more sophisticated designs/implementation become available at higher prices. The two 8x32 binoculars I mentioned at just under $200 are a huge step up from anything less expensive unless you are getting a known quantity on close out. The next break point seems to be around $500-$600, and then at the $1,000 point there is another very noticeable step up. I have looked through the $2,000-$3,000 binoculars briefly, but have never owned one and can't comment on the improvement at that level.

Someone else will have to help with 10x42 in particular and 42mm binoculars in general in your price range.
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Old Friday 10th November 2017, 16:37   #8
JoeRawles
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Which binocular circa 250 would you recommend?
I can throw a few suggestions your way but what other's say vs what you like can be completely different! We have had customers before come in with a certain binocular in mind, having read reviews online etc, only to come in and discover they don't like them at all. If there is anywhere near you to try a few different pairs out I would thoroughly recommend doing so before buying online. If there is no way for you to do this, a safe bet would be the Vortex Diamondback 8 or 10x42. Purely going on customer feedback rather than my own personal preference, they are one binocular where 95% of people get on with them.

Good luck!
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Old Friday 10th November 2017, 21:28   #9
hr21
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I've read a lot of good feedback on the opticron hr wp's that their optical quality is well above anything else at the price range.

My wife has a pair of Pentax SP 12x50 WP's which I think are good but I'm not a fan of such high magnification, prefer 8/10.

I'm still debating the Savanna 6x30, as I looked through these and liked them and then could grab a Vanguard 65a/82a scope for hide watching (which we do a fair amount, at least 50% of our bird watching).

I think from my own research I'm liking the following options

Savanna 6x30 w/ scope (65a/82a/vortex viper)
Pentax sp 10x50 wp and possibly add Savanna 6x30's
Hawke 10x43 ed
Opticron hr wp 8 or 10s
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