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Binoculars 8x40 or 10x50 which to use for birding

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Old Sunday 3rd December 2017, 10:03   #1
Earnest lad
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Binoculars 8x40 or 10x50 which to use for birding

Dear fellow birders
I have got two pairs of binoculars as above
Please can anyone advise which is best for me to use for birding.
The latter pair are, of course, somewhat heavier/bulkier than the 8x40 pair
Yours with thanks
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Old Sunday 3rd December 2017, 10:40   #2
Pinewood
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Helo Kasfig,

You have answered your own question. The bulk of the 10x50 is a major disadvantage, although its greater light gathering ability would be useful in twilight.

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Old Sunday 3rd December 2017, 17:02   #3
Paul Longland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kasfig View Post
Dear fellow birders
I have got two pairs of binoculars as above
Please can anyone advise which is best for me to use for birding.
The latter pair are, of course, somewhat heavier/bulkier than the 8x40 pair
Yours with thanks
Why not use both depending on where/what type of birding you are doing. If you are out and about in general or woodland birding the lighter weight of the 8x40 is obviously the best bet. If seaatching or longer distance reservoir watching the 10's win out. Higher mag, wider field of view and more light collection. Also in this type of situation the extra weight is often not an issue as you will be supporting them resting your elbows on a hide shelf. Personally i would keep in the boot of the car and use whichever fits.
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Old Monday 4th December 2017, 19:47   #4
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bins

Dear Pinewood : Thanks for your useful insight
Paul: What a lovely suggestion: I am going to do just that: I never thought to use both!
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Old Sunday 28th October 2018, 19:47   #5
Peter Audrain
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It's a kind of convention on optics sites to tsk-tsk knowledgeably about 10-power binoculars ('You won't see any more detail, you'll only believe you do!'—'They're too bulky!'—'It's madness to prefer them!').

But if 10x50s work for you—which they tend to do, if you find you do have the arm tone, hand size, overall bulk, or whatever it is that makes them seem perfectly all right by you—then they work great. In short, they can legitimately be preferred to 8x40-somethings, particularly if you're not incessantly warblering in dense forest cover. (And if you are, you should maybe even think about 7x35s.)

Check out the ur-assessment of this question by Ken Rosenberg, no mean birder, for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

http://static.birds.cornell.edu/Publ...g99/binos.html

And, of course, since he wrote, the light transmission and fields of view on lighter-weight 10x42s have only gotten better, too. So go with your heart. You're not birdwatching for someone else.

Last edited by Peter Audrain : Sunday 28th October 2018 at 21:15.
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Old Sunday 28th October 2018, 20:36   #6
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I agree with Paul in #3. Most of the time, my 8x33 or 8.5x42 work very well for me around my normal locations where I'm walking and already carrying camera gear. I'm usually looking mat most only 50 - 200 yards/meters. When I go to Alaska or when I go out touring, 10x42 is what I bring, and I find them plenty bright (Zeiss Victory HT) that I do not feel compelled to 10x50.
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Old Sunday 28th October 2018, 21:20   #7
Peter Audrain
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I am, God only knows, the last person to claim that you shouldn't have more than one pair of binoculars

I only regret, a little, the uniformity of the advice to avoid making your first pair a 10x, even though it's fine advice.
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Old Thursday 27th December 2018, 23:06   #8
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All your inputs are highly valued and the articles referenced are truly informative.

Having considered all this at some length, the conclusion you colleagues helped me to reach is that at least for myself, 8x magnification in a pair of binoculars would prove to be better for birding than 10x.

Keeping the bird in view as it moves along the shrubbery for foliage; Getting the bird into the binocular's view with relative ease; enjoying a lighter pair of binocular rather than potentially getting weighed down. These factors I now understand to be particularly pertinent.

As a postscript sadly I lost the 8x40 pair during the last summer. I left them by mistake hanging on some railings adjacent to a Common & Arctic tern colony in Lancashire. However they were only a cheap pair. I am now seeking a pair to replace these.

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Old Sunday 30th December 2018, 08:32   #9
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8x every time
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Old Sunday 30th December 2018, 08:41   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kasfig View Post
Dear fellow birders
I have got two pairs of binoculars as above
Please can anyone advise which is best for me to use for birding.
The latter pair are, of course, somewhat heavier/bulkier than the 8x40 pair
Yours with thanks
I would pick the 8x40 for most birding situations.
In low light or long distance viewing (on tripod) the 10x50 might be an alternative.
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Old Friday 7th June 2019, 20:53   #11
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I found my 10x42 to be a good compromise
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Old Thursday 13th June 2019, 09:12   #12
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Like most birders (of a certain age) i have have a few sets of binoculars ranging from compact 8x30 which alth have light-gathering limitations do store nicely if not being worn - they are Ziess West so the optics are superb.

I have several pairs of 8x 40>42 and this is the spec that i would reccomend everybody have as a primary or secondary set. This spec fits the 5x magnification ratio to objective lens size that is the benchmark.

I also have 10x 40/42/50 all of which have their uses when a slightly higher magnification is required viz-a-viz the trade off in light-gathering. These days due to the use of modern alloys weight for the larger diameter spec is not really the issue that it was in the days of Zeiss East neck-breaking Jenoptems

One set that i picked up out of curiousity from a 2nd hand military shop was a pair that caught my eye at the Princely sum of 27.50 about 20 years ago. Made by Avimo a company just producing military optics these were their 7x42 L11A1 reg nbr 2992. These should not have been for sale as they are Army property and at the time they were the only Nitrogen-filled binoculars afaik. They have no focusing wheel and can be adjusted by a screw for 3 distant settings plus right-eye dioptre with superb depth of field. They are used in conjunction with a scope for sniper spotting and general observation and particularly artillery strikes. They are either Black or Geen rubber armoured (mine are the former) and are still being used and can be seen in lots of photos from Northern Ireland thru to the Gulf and Iraq/Afghanistan.

I will finish with what i use now, depending on the situation, and what i take abroad.

I use Opticron 8x and 10x 42. These are very light and Nitrogen-filled and from their Explorer Wide-Angle range moderately priced at 180 and 220 respectively. I have found these excellent value for money and very light on the neck. I have also gone back to my Zeiss West 7x42 - i bought these for the bank-breaking sum of 400 back in 1981 to make my first trip to the Scillies. The light-gathering and quality of the optics is superb especially during the crepuscular period, forest/woodland and generally during the low-light weather we get in the UK.

I will post a picture of the Army ones for interest as they are pretty unusual.
Avimo did licence Rollei who produced a lightweight alloy spec Nitrogen-filled at several thousand

Good Birding whatever you use

Laurie -
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Old Thursday 13th June 2019, 09:17   #13
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As promised.....

Laurie
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