Originally Posted by paddy7
...He spoke of the reliance on the 'grey pound;; couples who retired to Norfolk/Suffolk and were looking for something they could gently do together in their later years. This was often birding, and - with little prior knowledge of birds, binoculars or anything related - would buy his and hers alphas without batting an eyelid.
He closed the conversation with that great British put-down - 'all the gear - no idea!'
Ah, yes, how very British indeed - that condescension (indeed, often more resembling barely-disguised contempt) towards those who, be it in the form of something as "tacky" as buying blue-tit tea towels, pay one's wages...
Bill (wdc) sums it up for me. If retired folks have the wherewithal to plonk down the cash for brand new alphas, what's wrong with getting a superb optic that will serve them for the rest of their lives, and after that, be handed down to their children/grandchildren, or make their way to those of us who gratefully buy our binoculars secondhand? It's a bit of an irony that the inexperienced amongst us, many of which do indeed in their inexperience end up with the cheap and nasty rather than matching pairs of alphas, actually need quality optics more than the likes of the veteran paddy7 spoke to, who could doubtless make a far quicker and surer ID with his 30-year old, gaffer-tape covered binoculars than the retired couple new to birding (that ability, of course, being one of the rewards of a life spent in the field...).
Maybe, some day, conservation organizations will be funded by the public purse generously enough not to need to hawk blue-tit towels to curious visitors. But until the "great British public" vote for that day...
Originally Posted by lmans66
...I bird with a Zeiss 10x42HT all the time. I have always had 10x's so am very used to a more limited FOV but can understand the need to have more. I believe the FOV on my HT is 110meters or 330 feet. It is limited but again, I am used to it.
So, at what number does FOV for birding wash out? 400 feet ...450? 465? How much FOV do you really need? I do nicely with 330 feet / 110 meters right now, so 'for me' ../moving up to 390 feet / 130 meters would be huge! That is what I am saying about the value of the 10x32SF over the 8x32SF. The latter perhaps has too much FOV and with only 8 power. Why not take the added power of 10x and still have close to 400 feet/ 130 meters FOV. A much better deal.
I was out birding yesterday and was looking way up in the trees above me, trees 'way across the way' and being able to ID the bird. I have a 10x. So that extra power comes in handy and not just for ocean or shore birding.
I would sooner have the 10 power and 390 feet/ 130 meters FOV instead of only 8x and a larger FOV. FOV is over rated unless you have a difficult time picking up on birds initially or following them in trees.
I think the answer to those questions re field of view and the advantage of 10x really depend on the type of birding you do. If the object of the exercise is to nail down IDs (I quite enjoyed Stephen Ingraham's description of 10x users in an article several years ago as "...a certain sort: steady handed; intently focused; experienced enough to know that he or she wants something more than the average 8 power glass; generally the type who goes boldly after the far and wee (or deep and dark) ID when all about him (or her) are hedging their bets...
"), I definitely agree a 10x has real advantages in doing that. 8x is traditionally thought to be better in woodland, but with today's fast focusers and the wide fields of view that 10x binoculars have, a birder could operate effectively in wooded environments with a 10x, no doubt - indeed, in some situations maybe even more so, as I recall a couple of threads discussing finding and identifying birds in very tall trees in which some pretty experienced guys noted that the extra magnification of 10x was a real advantage.
All that said, the historic and continuing popularity of 8x mag is testimony to its own set of advantages - greater steadiness and normally greater field of view. I get the impression that 8x mag seems to be more popular in Europe than in the United States, and it may be that 8x performs particularly well in typical European birding environments.
Regarding how much field of view does one really need
- I think most of us could probably operate quite effectively with smaller fields of view than we might want
. But alpha-class binocular purchases have little to do with what we really need, and a lot to do with what we want! Besides the practical advantages of being able to scan large areas more quickly, I find a large field of view makes for a very enjoyable viewing experience - it's the major reason why I keep and regularly use some old porro binoculars despite their much poorer light transmission and ergonomics (short eye relief) compared to modern designs. The two 10xs I use the most have 110m field of view, like your HT, and 130m (old Zeiss West 10x50 porro). The former is the more effective birding tool, certainly if you wear glasses as I do; but although the latter has its quirks, it is the more satisfying of the two to look through.