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Binoculars for around £500 (1 Viewer)

Owene

Well-known member
I am hopefully coming into a PPI payment in the next few weeks and was looking to upgrade my bins.

I'm currently using some Nikon Prostaff 7 10x42 s I like the picture quality (although obviously things could be even better) and I'm ok with the weight and size but find that I'm having to constantly refocus and as such am not making anything like the most of brief glimpses of birds particularly ones in vegetation or at fairly close range. I know that a lot of that is down to me but I get the impression some is down to the 10x magnification as well.


I'm looking to spend about 500 or possibly about 500 plus trading in the Nikons (although I'd be just as happy to also keep them unless the replacements outperform them in every situation as they are very good for longish range slow moving stuff)

I was thinking of limiting magnification to 8x but as I was ok with the size and weight I wasn't really sure about stepping down below 42. I'm not that up on the ins and outs though and am ready to be convinced if the case is made for something smaller. Image quality is my main driving factor really

Anyone got any suggestions in that price range, I'm open to second hand options
 

leonardo_simon

Well-known member
How about getting yourself to an optics shop and have a look at the different options (e.g. InFocus at Slimbridge shouldn't be too far from you depending on where you are in South Wales) --

I think having a look through a selection is very helpful especially in a specialist shop with proper viewing options outside it.

The only other consideration is to wait and save a bit more - e.g. until you've enough £££ to pay for a pair of second-hand alphas (e.g. Swarowski).

Just noticed -- there's an optics event at WWT Llanelli on 23rd Feb - so that would be another option
 

leonardo_simon

Well-known member
Also, I just bought a pair of Swarowski 8x25 CL pocket (cost £530 = standard price). These are amazing and definitely worth testing against bigger sub-alpha's for similar price
 

Ian Byrnes

Well-known member
Agree totally about trying them first.
I've had the Prostaff 7 and various other 8x42's over time and I thought I had a really good go to pair with my Zeiss 10x42 but while chatting in a hide the other day I tried a chaps Swarovski 8x32.
They blew me away- so bright, so sharp and brilliant FOV.....
So yes, try some of the Alphas and when you find the ones that wow you, try EBay or your local dealers to see what used pairs are available. As Interoception says, he got 8x25 CL's for £530.... There are bargains out there.
Regards Ian
 

mwhogue

Well Known Member
Supporter
Owene,

General input/opinion:Based on comparing with two friends a number of different formats to explore which best complement others we all thought a 7x, rather than an 8x, better complemented a 10x. So you may want to compare some 7's as well as 8's to go with your 10.

Since there are many good choices within your budget, IMO you should keep the Nikon 10x42 and get another binocular to go with it.

Mike
 

Owene

Well-known member
Also, I just bought a pair of Swarowski 8x25 CL pocket (cost £530 = standard price). These are amazing and definitely worth testing against bigger sub-alpha's for similar price

Im sure the optics are incredible and am seriously considering them but was a little put off them by the idea of two hinges. Do you find it noticeably slows you down getting on things.
 

leonardo_simon

Well-known member
Im sure the optics are incredible and am seriously considering them but was a little put off them by the idea of two hinges. Do you find it noticeably slows you down getting on things.

No I don't find the two hinges makes much difference to my experience with one-hinged binoculars.

Once they are round my neck on a strap then the barrels stay in position pretty well.
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
People can give you advice mate but as others have said go to a shop and try several pairs out - to see which suit your eyes.

Everyone can recommend good ones (I like RSPB HD range and also Hawke Frontier range). Critical also to see whether you like 8 x or 10 x.
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

good advice has been given, keeping the 10x42 as a longer range option and going to a show to get a feeling of what models you might like (even ones out of your budget which you might want to snag up used later).

A nice 8x30 pair will probably all you need for most days and if you know beforehand you will only observe at long distance, you could still take the 10x42 pair - or a scope...

Or try a 7x pair for the extra depth of field - I usually don't have to focus from 10m to infinity with my old Leitz Trini 7x42BA...

Joachim
 

Owene

Well-known member
Thanks for all the advice. Got some names in mind now and will be making a trip to the birdersstore in Worcester to hopefully try some in person
 

Elkhornsun

Well-known member
Nikon Monarch 7 8x42 binos provide excellent optics and a great value at their price. My pair are always in the car so ready for use and if stolen it is not as great a loss as my other binos.
 

leonardo_simon

Well-known member
I've just done a comparison between my two pairs of binoculars that both cost ~£500

1) Opticron Imagic BGA WP 10x42 (weight 705g)
2) Swarowski 8x25 CL companion (weight 345g)

Opticron gives a much brighter image, with a similar field of view to the Swarowski despite the greater magnification. There is some minor but noticeable chromatic aberration in the Opticrons - e.g. looking at a crow flying in the sky at a distance.

The build quality of the Swarowski is clearly superior. The image is noticeably sharper in the Swarowski and there isn't any chromatic aberration.

Personally, if I had to choose one over the other then I think I would prefer the Swarowski -- but I can see that others might choose differently. Comparing these has made it so clear that preferences are very individual, and that any choice is esssentially a compromise.

Therefore, my advice based on this - is to be open to testing a whole bunch of different binoculars including the compact alphas.
 

Owene

Well-known member
Thanks. That’s good to know. The 10x opticrons do sound good for the price but sound quite close (though an improvement) on what I have. I’m leaning towards the Swarovski but also quite like the look of the kowa bd I Xd and the Nikon monarch 7. I’ll make sure I try a few although I don’t think the store stocks Nikon
 

leonardo_simon

Well-known member
Hi Owene, if you're in the midlands then i can recommend Focus Optics near Coventry .

They have a good range of binoculars, and the shop assistant was very helpful.

The shop is kind of set up like a bird hide with a view to a bird feeder and a pond with ducks on it.
 

MandoBear

Well-known member
Thanks for all the advice. Got some names in mind now and will be making a trip to the birdersstore in Worcester to hopefully try some in person

+1 for the Birder's Store. Great choice of binoculars from inexpensive (but decent) to alpha, and excellent advice, and no pressure to buy or decide there and then. Bought from them several times. Very happy to let you try lots of bins and take your time. Great after sales support as well. Enjoy choosing!😀
 

Owene

Well-known member
Found a very cheap pair of almost new Zeiss conquest hd 8x42 on eBay in the price range. Feel like a total bargain and probably outclass the 10x in almost every situation given that I generally carry a mm3 travel scope as well for longish range slow moving stuff.
 

Ian Byrnes

Well-known member
Good choice.... I've got the 10's ... top quality optics... beautiful clear resolution. Hope you like them
Ian
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Good choice. I have the 8x32s. I am sure you will like them.

For more than 20 years I was an exclusive 10x user but now I mostly use 8x with occasional 10x according to the habitat I am visiting.

Lee
 

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