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Binoculars for Eagle Watching. (1 Viewer)

brandenbreaks

New member
United States
I was wondering if there is a preferred magnification for eagle watching. It seems the consensus for bird watching is 8x42. I was curious when specifically watching eagles due to how high they tend to fly, if a different magnification would be suggested.
 

John Cantelo

Well-known member
I'm not convinced that, in the UK at least, there is a consensus that 8x42s are best for birdwatching. I'd not made a formal study of the matter but I'd say that half or more of the keen birders I know use 10x42s. After decades of using 8x32/42s, I've just switched to 10x42s in large measure because I spend a good deal of time watching raptors on passage in southern Spain. It's not a straightforward choice as each specification has its benefits which makes me rather surprised that no major manufacturer has done the obvious thing & produced an alpha 9x36 model for equivocators!
 

Sangahyando

Well-known member
It also depends on what kind of weight you're comfortable with, and how precise you are at finding/following distant birds.
 

jurek

Well-known member
Birdwatchers use 8x42 if they have a scope. 10x42 is preferred as the only binoculars, especially if you will likely watch from large distance in open country - like with eagles.

In practice, quality of binoculars is as important as the nominal magnification. Here first choose the budget you are comfortable with. Then it is best to check models by yourself, in a shop or on special field optics days. Ask to take the bins out of the shop and try watching e.g. chimneys, or pigeons on a car park. Otherwise there is plenty of online advice about good bins within different price ranges.
 

pete seaman

Well-known member
Here in the UK it seems to be split between 8x and 10x 42 with the occasional user with the heavier x50mm configuration. Whatever you are happy holding still for long periods should be a big consideration. Often our raptor watching may mean a longish trek over roughh ground and decent 8x32 often have to suffice. Any decent bin will be good if you are watching great birds.
 

Patudo

Well-known member
It kind of depends on your situation. If watching bald eagles that are fairly accustomed to people an 8x should be fine. If watching golden eagles soaring high and over a mile away, 10x might be preferable if you can hold it steady; if not, 8x will still serve you well. Yes, they can fly high, but they're also very big compared to most other birds and relatively easy to follow.
 

Sterngucker

RⒶdneck
United States
... It's not a straightforward choice as each specification has its benefits which makes me rather surprised that no major manufacturer has done the obvious thing & produced an alpha 9x36 model for equivocators!
Don't get me wrong, I am in no way recommending this brand due to negative experiences twice, but ... ta-dah.
 

etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
The observer's eyes and experience are critical parameters here.
While hawk watching, I relied on a superb 12x50, but was far outclassed by other observers, who could spot and identify migrants with much lower power glass well before I could even pick them up.
The old 10x80 Flak glass on a tripod would probably be the ideal tool for this kind of observation, but no one has one available afaik.
 

Jeff Hopkins

Just another...observer
United States
I know a lot of the counters at my hawk-watch use 10 x 40's. I've tried using my 10x and have decided to stick with my 8x. I suspect that may have something to do with the fact that I wear transition bifocals, and the constant focusing with a moving target gets even worse with 10s.

There was also one guy who had a pair of 20x (image stabilized), but he only used them to confirm other IDs. We called them "the verifiers".
 
I was wondering if there is a preferred magnification for eagle watching. It seems the consensus for bird watching is 8x42. I was curious when specifically watching eagles due to how high they tend to fly, if a different magnification would be suggested.
Hi,
I have spent quite some time recently watching eagles, along with a lot of other Isle of Wight birders looking at the White Tailed Eagles. We’ve had close views (and some very distant ones) and to be honest the 10 x 42 and 10x40 Zeiss we are using are brilliant. I have always used 10x , though for light gathering some prefer 8x. Modern 10x are so good at light transmission even in low light I’m not sure the 8x would give that much advantage in brightness. For general use the 10x have always been my personal choice for all situations; portability, weight and size might be a consideration but even this is marginal with 8 or 8.5x 42s
 

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