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If you own both 10x and 8x, in what situations do you use each?

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Old Thursday 26th March 2020, 04:42   #1
HeadWest
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If you own both 10x and 8x, in what situations do you use each?

As I consider adding a pair of 10x42 to my current single pair of 8x42, I am interested to hear about which birding situations best lend themselves to each magnification. When do you opt for the 10x and vice versa? Thanks.
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Old Thursday 26th March 2020, 06:58   #2
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Hi,

my usual pair is an 8x30/32. The 10x42 only gets used when I know that I will mainly look for far away birds - e.g. over water or raptors...

Joachim
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Old Thursday 26th March 2020, 09:43   #3
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Hi

My situation is very similar to Joachim. In most habitats I find 8x is the most versatile, but when visiting places on the coast with big areas of sea and sky when birds, otters and whales may be very distant, then I will often take a 10x unless there are special reasons for staying with an 8x, for example if a bigger field of view is a better choice and the habitat suggests subjects may be closer.

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Old Thursday 26th March 2020, 12:57   #4
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My go to bins are the Nikon 8xx30 E II for most birding and other wildlife observation. The same series 10x35 are used less frequently for eagles, hawks and other far away critters.
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Old Thursday 26th March 2020, 13:22   #5
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I use 8x for closer in and generally all around birding for it's wider FOV, greater DOF and steadier hold and like Lee when I am in more open areas like over water or looking at raptors where the birds are likely to be more distant I use 10x for it's extra reach and additional detail.
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Old Thursday 26th March 2020, 14:13   #6
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Just echoing the same as above: Forest birding or situations where birds will be close - 8x30/32/42. Open country, water birds, raptors, etc - 10x42.
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Old Thursday 26th March 2020, 15:09   #7
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If I'm going birding then usually take 10x44 Steiners.
For just going out, or a walk generally, one of three smaller, lighter, more discreet bins. The 10x32 Leicas fit in my pocket which is useful.

It's just personal preference.
I now keep 9x63 Inpro in the living room to check out bird feeders and the moon, which means they are currently the most used!
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Old Thursday 26th March 2020, 15:32   #8
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I have a 10x50 (Docter Nobilem) and some 7x40 (CZJ EDF) and 7x50 (Steiner Commander) to chose from. The slightly heavy 10x gets carried and is used almost everytime as it's wide, bright picture is very nice and clear and I enjoy the high magnification. Only in very bad weather, on darker days and when hiking within dense forest or when packing deliberately light I use the 7x40. It's surprisingly good and doesn't feel like "only" 7 times magnification.
The bit bulky 7x50, my trusted long time companion, is almost retired as the first two always leave a perfect choice to cover any need.

After many years I upgraded from 7x to 10x and all I can say the higher magnification while it does not sound much makes a very big difference. I like to watch specific things not just landscape overviews and you are seriously closer to anything using tenfold magnification compared to seven. At the same time it's still hand holdable (especially if it is a little heavier bin like mine). The biggest surprise to me was the good low light performance, even at night. I sometimes watch the moon, stars, the ISS and such and it's perfectly fine to be used in the dark.

Last edited by Sebzwo : Friday 27th March 2020 at 07:55.
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Old Thursday 26th March 2020, 15:36   #9
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Indeed, this is a very individual thing.

I have 8 x 42s and 10 x 43s, I actually prefer the 10 x43s as they give me that extra detail of a birds plumage, but when in confined woodland trying to look at fast moving warblers I use my 8 x 42s.

There is no definitive answer as to which are overall best, the answer for me does not depend on which strength optic is best, but which suits your individual eyes best.
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Old Thursday 26th March 2020, 15:43   #10
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I use the 8's for general birding to get that overall FOV comfort in the countryside but 10,s in the garden or close to my house when I know what I'm going to see....Raptors near my house and perching birds in the garden.

It is nice though to get a crisp close up view using 10's.....just came in from the garden seeing a splendid Nuthatch from 6 feet away with 10's....what a view.
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Old Thursday 26th March 2020, 15:57   #11
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I once had both a L UV 10x42 and a CZ VFL 8x42. I was grabbing the 8x42 almost all of the time except when the I needed the extra reach to see waterfowl on the far side of the pond on which I live. Truth be told, I sold the 10x42 as it really didn't give me that much more ability make IDs. When I need more magnification, I reach for my scope. Without a scope, I'd keep the 8x and get a 12x.

Last edited by St. Elmo : Thursday 26th March 2020 at 16:00.
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Old Thursday 26th March 2020, 16:56   #12
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I know the Q wasn’t about the difference but here are some real life examples:

Roosting Serendib Scops Owl in deep shade. With 8s you could see the spots. With 10s, you couldn’t.

Lagden’s Bush-Shrike high in a canopy. We all borrowed a mate’s 10s for better views.

Pechora Pipit creeping through a dense patch of overgrown garden on Shetland. Mate with 10s couldn’t get on it, but ok with 8s. (he’d already seen it well by the way)

A warbler in brambles at the edge of a Dorset marsh the other day. Clearly a crest of some sort in 10s, just a warbler type in 8s. Was a Goldcrest actually.

I now use 10x all the time in Britain although I’d happily use 8s. I take both abroad though and often switch to 8x for a day in the forest. I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that there is no top of the range 9x35 or 36 on the market.
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Old Thursday 26th March 2020, 18:15   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jring View Post
Hi,

my usual pair is an 8x30/32. The 10x42 only gets used when I know that I will mainly look for far away birds - e.g. over water or raptors...

Joachim
Hello,

Like Joachim, my usual pair is an 8x32. I used to carry both a 6x32 and a 10x32 on occasion, which cover my needs in woods and open space. I have become lazy and do not care to carry two glasses very often. Neither is up to shore bird watching.

Keep safe,
Arthur Pinewood
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Old Thursday 26th March 2020, 19:07   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amears View Post
Roosting Serendib Scops Owl in deep shade. With 8s you could see the spots. With 10s, you couldn’t.
Excellent examples. Could you explain this one -- what happened with 10x? And what apertures?
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Old Thursday 26th March 2020, 19:38   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenex View Post
Excellent examples. Could you explain this one -- what happened with 10x? And what apertures?
Hi T. Both 32mm Swaros. The 8s just let that little bit more light in, and that revealed the spots. Was an intriguing comparison.

Edit: I guess they didn’t really let more light in, just produced a brighter image...

Last edited by amears : Thursday 26th March 2020 at 19:41.
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Old Monday 30th March 2020, 15:33   #16
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I have a 6.5x32, 8x32, and 10x32 and frankly
do not see that much difference in the three-- other then FOV.
The 8x is my most used for birding,
the 6.5 for more terrestrial and closed in areas,
and the 10x is my backup auto/truck pair.
I got the 10x for more detail with my old eyes,
but was more or less interchangeable with the 8x.

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Old Monday 30th March 2020, 21:44   #17
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I buck the trend. I used to use mostly 8x. Now I use almost exclusively a Canon IS 10x42. But I rarely carry a scope nowadays, so overall the load is lighter.
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Old Tuesday 31st March 2020, 02:31   #18
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7X to 8.5X almost exclusively. Even birding around Las Vegas I used a 8X32 SV exclusively and had the 8.4X42 in the floorboard. One couldn't ask for more open birding than that. Thing is, even in open terrain most birds end up pretty close! I DO use 10X and 12X sometimes around the seashore and in the winter when the leaves are off the trees.
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Old Tuesday 31st March 2020, 06:47   #19
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8x or 10x? Depends on my mood. Some days I feel I want to use 8x, and on some days I prefer 10x, even in woodlands. At the moment I tend to use 10x more often.

BTW, I don't get along with 7x that well. It's almost always too little magnification, as far as I'm concerned. Funny, because the difference between 7x and 8x isn't great. Still, I find I usually only use my 7x42s when I'm out in the late evening or at night.

And my choice of binoculars doesn't depend on whether I carry a scope along at all.

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Old Tuesday 31st March 2020, 14:14   #20
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I've just been sitting on the sofa using my 16x70, reflecting on magnification and that I've found 7x useful in very windy coastal conditions. Ideal for boats I suppose. This lockdown is giving me cabin fever.
Problem with the 16x when sitting at home is not shake, but distance; my garden bird feeders are too close
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Old Tuesday 31st March 2020, 14:33   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharleyBird View Post
Problem with the 16x when sitting at home is not shake, but distance; my garden bird feeders are too close
Turn the big binos around, pretend you're out in the open looking at distant feeders.
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Old Tuesday 31st March 2020, 17:24   #22
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There are many times when I just need as much magnification as I can carry (short of a scope), certainly 10x over 8. Or more. The other day we were observing a flock of Ruddy Ducks, inconsiderately just in the middle of a large lake. I swapped my 15x56 for my partner's 10x and she noted how much more she could appreciate of how they dove, their feet etc. I think she saw even more detail than I had. (Fortunately there was a railing at that spot to brace them on.)
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Old Tuesday 31st March 2020, 19:33   #23
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I concur with most of what has been said.

In my case, my most used binoculars are 7x42, followed by 8x30.

I'm currently enjoying a 10x42 (for the first time I'm getting on reasonably well with a 10x), and I carry them quite often, usually for waders/shorebirds, or sometimes for the sheer pleasure of using them (even on a dog walk around the nearby forest, where the birds are not that far). It also depends on my mood (I don't know if it's for the same reasons as Hermann). Some days I feel like I will be able to hold 10 more steadily, but some others (maybe because I feel more nervous or... because I've drunk more coffee!) I just think I'm better off with the steady view of 7x.

Then I also have a 12x, which is exclusively used when I'm not carrying the scope, as a compromise, or for distant seabirds (gannets, shearwaters, etc.).

Last edited by yarrellii : Tuesday 31st March 2020 at 19:45.
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Old Wednesday 1st April 2020, 03:10   #24
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I usually use 8x32, when I'm carrying camera gear. If only going with binos, then 8.5x42 swaros. If I know it's long distances (e.g. Alaska, ocean/beach, fields), then I might take 10x42. 10x42 is what I usually leave in my truck.

At shorter distances, I do not notice a significant difference between 8.5x42 and 10x42 in terms of magnification, but I'm not counting feathers either. At longer distances, I notice the difference more. What I do notice at shorter distances is that I need to fiddle with the focus more on the 10s to keep a crisp view, the 8's are more forgiving. 7's are even better in that regard.

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Old Wednesday 1st April 2020, 07:19   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amears View Post
Roosting Serendib Scops Owl in deep shade. With 8s you could see the spots. With 10s, you couldn’t.
Meaning the 8's were better in low light? I sometimes wonder if comparisons like this depend more on each pair's optics rather than just the magnification. Eg better coatings, leading to higher contrast, etc.
Quote:
Pechora Pipit creeping through a dense patch of overgrown garden on Shetland. Mate with 10s couldn’t get on it, but ok with 8s. (he’d already seen it well by the way)
Same reason?

One night a friend and I compared my 8x42's with his 10x50's looking at kangaroos in the near dark. We couldn't really tell the difference.
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