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Owling binoculars

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Old Monday 29th June 2009, 14:00   #1
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Question Owling binoculars

Hello everyone.

I am looking for a pair of binoculars which would be good for owling (low light situations). I am looking at 8X32 and 8x42 models.

Thank you.
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Old Monday 29th June 2009, 19:06   #2
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I'm sure no great birder, but some of the best fun I ever had was last summer, watching a pair of Great Horneds raise their brood. We'd start a bit after sunset and go as late as we could see. We were about 250 yds away and I hope we didn't annoy them too much. They seemed to get used to us. But, this year they are nesting someplace else, nearby because I see them occasionally, but I don't know where.

Anyhow, what size exit pupil works best depends on your eyes and how dark you mean by low light. And then, however much magnification you are comfortable with. If your eyes open up enough to let in the 8x42's entire 5.25mm exit pupil, it will give a 72% brighter image than an 8x32, and that ain't hay. I have seen studies of iris size in dying light, and I think an 8x42 would be enough for most people. I was satisfied with mine, although it isn't a particularly bright one. I have not used an 8x32. "Twilight factor" keeps climbing with magnification and aperture of course, but I find a 10x50 isn't worth the trouble.

One thing that was very important, at least in the setting where I was, was control of stray light from outside the field of view. The owls were often in dark holes in a cliff, against the still fairly bright western sky. That is a hard thing to simulate in a store. In the parking lot at dusk maybe. But mail ordering and trying the bino out in your own way would be ideal.
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Old Monday 29th June 2009, 19:41   #3
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For the same quality of binoculars, the larger the objective the more light you will get. So, for low light, 8x42 is really worth it over 8x32. Good quality product is recommanded for good light transmission lenses.

But, do you really need 8x? if the target is not that far, you might consider a 7x36 or even an 7x50 which will give you the maximum exit pupil.

In other words, for high quality products, you might be ok for an exit pupil of~5mm. For mid quality binoculars, I suggest closer to 7mm. It depends of your budget. Avoid below the middle range products for your purpose.

Last edited by SPARTACVS : Monday 29th June 2009 at 19:45.
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Old Monday 29th June 2009, 19:46   #4
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We went sort of owling. Found a woodcock and a nightjar. I did have a look at the nightjar through 8x binoculars, but I had already seen all. I was able to take notes with a pen and pad, no light needed. So it pretty much depends on how far north in Canada you are. Try 8x42 and 7x42.
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