• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Advice on first binoculars, lightweight and £150 budget (2 Viewers)

Hereward72

New member
Hi all,

I'm looking for a bit of advice on my first pair of binoculars. Like many people, I've been working from home over the last year or so and whilst I've always had an appreciation of nature, spotting the birds from my office window has been a real lifesaver in keeping me sane. I'd like to get a pair of binoculars to see them more clearly and to also carry around on walks. Ideally, I'd like a pair of lightweight/compact binoculars. I'm happy to spend an absolute maximum of £150 but the closer to £100 the better.

I had my eyes set on the Hawke Endurance ED 8x25 as I like the size and particularly the way they fold, which makes them really compact. I've read mixed reviews though and part of me is wondering if I'd be better off with a pair of 8x32 (something like Opticron Discovery WP PC 8x32) to allow a little more light in. I'm just wary that if they are too heavy and cumbersome I will be reluctant to take them out, as for the moment I'm not going out specifically to watch birds but would like to be able to get a bit closer if I see them on a walk. FWIW I don't wear glasses.

I'm open to secondhand too but would prefer not to have to scour ebay for months before finding a bargain.

The choices seem endless and the more I read the more there is to consider, so any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks
 

Sprite1275

Well-known member
United Kingdom
I do like the look of the Hawke endurance ED 8x25. Would like to get a look at them at some point.

What I do have and can fully recommend is a pair of papilio ii 6.5x21. great little things and I was surprised how small they are. Can fit in a coat pocket easily.

I am also new to this so I'm sure there will be more clued up recommendations .
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
For 100-ish GBP I'd definitely check the Kowa YF 8x30. I've used both the little Kowa and the Opticron Discovery PC WP 8x32 for years and I value the Kowa much higher. If I was given 100 quid to give somebody a brand new light but powerful binocular, my money would go to the Kowa or one of its siblings, like the Opticron Savanna, Vixen Atrek, Leupold Yosemite, etc. The sharpness, brightness and control of chromatic aberration is outstanding for the price in my opinion. Whenever I use mine, I'm simply amazed.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I would recommend a Hawk Endurance 8x32. if you only have ONE pair of binoculars, and you want something a little smaller and lighter I would recommend a 8x32. A 8x25 or 6.5x21 are not really as good as a 8x32 for a full time birding or wildlife observing binocular, but they would be good for a 2nd binocular. The Hawk Endurance 8x32 is right at your price point, and it is an exceptional value.

 

KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
United States
I'm just going to jump in here and wish you a warm welcome to you from those of us on staff here at BirdForum (y)
We're glad you found us and please join in wherever you like ;)
 

Ivydwg

Well-known member
United Kingdom
I would recommend a Hawk Endurance 8x32. if you only have ONE pair of binoculars, and you want something a little smaller and lighter I would recommend a 8x32. A 8x25 or 6.5x21 are not really as good as a 8x32 for a full time birding or wildlife observing binocular, but they would be good for a 2nd binocular. The Hawk Endurance 8x32 is right at your price point, and it is an exceptional value.

Fully agree with this.

Especially moving up to 32 objective lens. Given that you are a UK resident like me, you will very much appreciate the extra brightness of image on a typical English dull overcast day!
 

dwatsonbirder

Well-known member
Some great advice so far.

Here are a few to consider at or below your budget, and all around 500 grams. I don't think any of these would be disappointing for the money!


Good luck, and I hope you will continue to enjoy the natural world - it has certainly been a lifeline for many, me included.
 

Hereward72

New member
Thanks all, really appreciate the warm welcome and some great suggestions. I'll take a look at them all now. If it develops into anything like my other hobby, cycling, there will always be a reason to buy another pair and spend a little bit more.
 

dconner

New member
United States
I do like the look of the Hawke endurance ED 8x25. Would like to get a look at them at some point.

What I do have and can fully recommend is a pair of papilio ii 6.5x21. great little things and I was surprised how small they are. Can fit in a coat pocket easily.

I am also new to this so I'm sure there will be more clued up recommendations .
I second this recommendation of the Pentax Papilio 6.5x21. I recently bough a pair and am very pleased after using them for a couple of weeks. Light, compact, nice wide field of view, and the ultra close focus of 0.5 meters is a great bonus. I see you are in the UK and am not familiar with their availability there. Here in the US they would be well within your budget.
 

Hereward72

New member
So, I've borrowed a pair of Opticron Taiga 8x25 from a friend to try and help me decide.

I appreciate 8x32 has been recommended and I don't mean to disregard any advice, but I have to say, I really like the size and weight of these 8x25's and feel close to clicking buy on the Hawke Endurance 8x25 after seeing a photo of them side by side with the 8x32. I appreciate they won't be as good as the 8x32 but I'm not sure if I want to carry around a pair of that size and weight on casual walks. I have no problem buying another pair in a few months if I really get into it...
 

Maljunulo

Well-known member
You might consider buying a better binocular and selling it if you don't "get into it"

With optics, it is usually a good idea to spend as much as you can in order to get the best mechanical and optical quality.

That might be better than two less expensive binoculars.

Your money, your choice, and good luck whatever you decide.
 

Sprite1275

Well-known member
United Kingdom
So, I've borrowed a pair of Opticron Taiga 8x25 from a friend to try and help me decide.

I appreciate 8x32 has been recommended and I don't mean to disregard any advice, but I have to say, I really like the size and weight of these 8x25's and feel close to clicking buy on the Hawke Endurance 8x25 after seeing a photo of them side by side with the 8x32. I appreciate they won't be as good as the 8x32 but I'm not sure if I want to carry around a pair of that size and weight on casual walks. I have no problem buying another pair in a few months if I really get into it...
Did you pull the trigger on the 8x25 ED Hawkes ?
 

Hereward72

New member
Did you pull the trigger on the 8x25 ED Hawkes ?
I did!

It's difficult to compare them to other binoculars as they're my first pair, but for what I was after they're perfect. The image is really clear and sharp (to my admittedly inexperienced eyes!) and the build quality feels great. They are about as compact as an 8x25 pair can be and I barely notice them in the inside chest pocket of my coat (without the case). I had to return the Opticron Tiaga 8x25 I'd borrowed before the Hawkes arrived, so I wasn't able to compare them directly but plan to in the near future. From memory, I'd say image quality wise they're pretty similar. The Opticron has a couple of mm extra eye relief which might be important for some. However, the Opticrons aren't quite as compact, aren't water/fog proof and come with individual lens covers rather than attached covers like the Hawke do and which I find really useful as it's one less thing to misplace.

They might not be the best choice for dedicated bird watching, but for myself, who likes to use them to look at birds in the garden and to stick in my pocket for walks in case I see something interesting, they're great.
 

Sprite1275

Well-known member
United Kingdom
Brill they sound great. At some point I'd like to try out some 8x25 as you can't beat there portability. I'll have to wait until the shops are open again.
 

Mr_K

Well-known member
You might consider buying a better binocular and selling it if you don't "get into it"

With optics, it is usually a good idea to spend as much as you can in order to get the best mechanical and optical quality.

That might be better than two less expensive binoculars.

Your money, your choice, and good luck whatever you decide.
I agree. Get the best you can afford. And try as many pairs as you can before buying. Try each at short, medium, and long range objects. Move the binocs up and down and left and right. Walk a few feet to get the feel of the weight. I prefer light weight myself. The higher price optics are my favorites. They will have a clearer image.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top