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Car binos - what are your criteria? (1 Viewer)

Aotus

Well-known member
United States
I used to keep a pair of cheap nikon 10x56 in the car and used them very rarely. then I started watching, and seeking out birds during the pandemic. I bought a nicer pair of nikons (monarch 5 8x42) but would never leave them in the car. Now i've gone completely nuts and bought swarovski Els for my primary use and leave the monarchs in the car. Yesterday I stopped by a park for lunch and took a walk with my monarch 5s and started wondering if i need to upgrade my car binos, but, upgrading would likely conflict with two of my apparent criteria, a) inexpensive, b) lower tier and less-loved than my primary.

What are your criteria for binos you leave in the car, i.e., just in case you see something cool or decide to take an unplanned look-see?
 

jafritten

Well-known member
I used to keep a pair of cheap nikon 10x56 in the car and used them very rarely. then I started watching, and seeking out birds during the pandemic. I bought a nicer pair of nikons (monarch 5 8x42) but would never leave them in the car. Now i've gone completely nuts and bought swarovski Els for my primary use and leave the monarchs in the car. Yesterday I stopped by a park for lunch and took a walk with my monarch 5s and started wondering if i need to upgrade my car binos, but, upgrading would likely conflict with two of my apparent criteria, a) inexpensive, b) lower tier and less-loved than my primary.

What are your criteria for binos you leave in the car, i.e., just in case you see something cool or decide to take an unplanned look-see?
Haha. Your dilemma makes me laugh. I see your problem. I don't keep a pair in my car but in the garden shed. It's an inexpensive Bushnell Legend HD 10x42. For me it had to be (a) fairly inexpensive in case it fogged up or so and (b) the value for money had to be good enough to accept the optical and mechanical drawbacks so that I can find them enjoyable everytime I use them. I picked it up for 220€ new and I think they're just fine for a shed bin.
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

rugged enough so it will manage vibration and extreme heat, cheap enough so I don't care if they're nicked and more importantly, nobody will feel tempted to cut open my CV soft-top should they ever be visible...

My choice is a 50€ surplus pair of Hensoldt DF 8x30...

Joachim
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
In my case car/glovebox binoculars are simply "old binoculars" that weren't worth re-selling (because of their low price) and which I consider offer a nice view.

In the past I've had some slightly damaged binos (like an ever so slightly out of alignment Minox 8x25) but then I thought what was the point of having something not worth using when the right moment arrives. While not on a daily basis, I actually end up using them several times a year and consider them worth having (even if this means giving them a sure life sentence; since they're most likely to become damaged overtime from the exposure to extreme heat). I've seen some lifers with the car binoculars and they've served me and other friends enjoy magical moments.

Over the last couple of years I've had the lovely Kowa YF 8x30 that I bought for little over 100 € and that offers stellar view for the price... they have proved hardy enough to endure all this time in the very hot Spanish Summertime (they stay 100 % inside the glovebox, and the car stays 100 % of the time parked under the sun), which IMHO speaks volumes about its build quality (considering their price). But then, because there's usually two of us in the car, there's actually two sets of "car binoculars". The other one being a 7x42 Bresser Luchs Porro that seems pretty hardy as well.
 

Sebzwo

Well-known member
I don't leave any valuables in the car.
I deliberately pick a "good" binocular with me for a trip depending on the weather and use, like long walk or not or far away ships to look for or similar. And I am happy to carry this all the time.
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
I don't leave any valuables in the car.
I deliberately pick a "good" binocular with me for a trip depending on the weather and use, like long walk or not or far away ships to look for or similar. And I am happy to carry this all the time.

I wouldn't subject even mediocre optics to such abuse, nor would I enjoy using any but my normal glass.

I think the OP's question (or at least this is my take) is that the point of having a pair of binoculars in the car is to use them when you are not carrying your usual (better) binoculars because you are simply not going birdwatching, but maybe going to have dinner at your brother in law's house (and see a long eared owl for the first time in your life, happened to me), or see something remarkable on the way to the supermarket (happened to me), or any other opportunity where you are using your car but you are not birding (I assume you use your car for other things that going to watch birds). For me the whole point is that you never know when an unexpected opportunity may arrive and in those opportunities a lesser binocular is better than having no binocular at all.
 

Rob from Texas

Well-known member
I have an estuary on the way to the store, so leaving a pair in the jeep is paramount. For now, my 7x33 granites reside there. They are not alphas, so I'm comfortable with them in there. They are optically competent and have been handy for numerous sightings.
 

Sebzwo

Well-known member
I did not mean to offend people that leave their bins in their cars I just referred to what I am doing for comparison.
 

Aotus

Well-known member
United States
I think the OP's question (or at least this is my take) is that the point of having a pair of binoculars in the car is to use them when you are not carrying your usual (better) binoculars because you are simply not going birdwatching, but maybe going to have dinner at your brother in law's house (and see a long eared owl for the first time in your life, happened to me), or see something remarkable on the way to the supermarket (happened to me), or any other opportunity where you are using your car but you are not birding (I assume you use your car for other things that going to watch birds). For me the whole point is that you never know when an unexpected opportunity may arrive and in those opportunities a lesser binocular is better than having no binocular at all.
EXACTLY. I would love to have my swaros with me anytime I see something that I want to look at more closely, but fortunately, my eyes stay open even when the purpose of leaving the house is not to seek out birds, and unfortunately, that means I often don't have my best glasses with me when I see something unexpected.
 

Aotus

Well-known member
United States
The consensus so far seems to be, in order of priority:

1. Must be worth using.
2. Must be worth little enough to be ok with losing.

Then, I suppose, so few and variable criteria will lead to a tricky balancing act that will be different for people with more or less extra cash to throw at a new pair, or whether they maybe have an old pair, whether the weather or theft are bigger threats and whether they can be mitigated, and how frequently they find themselves wishing they had a better pair handy.

I've considered another criterion lately that's inspired me to consider a SECOND car bino...
a) sometimes I see something FROM the car, and then a high-mag, potentially heavier binocular will make for a nicer view from my seat.
b) sometimes I want to take a walk, then I essentially want my primary pair, or something comparable, smaller and lighter.

don't let me buy another $1k+ bin, that would not meet criteria #2!
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
I did not mean to offend people that leave their bins in their cars I just referred to what I am doing for comparison.
No offense taken 😊 I think it's great that there are so many different points of view and views on things (well, after all that's what makes a forum worthwhile).
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
a) sometimes I see something FROM the car, and then a high-mag, potentially heavier binocular will make for a nicer view from my seat.
Something similar has crossed my mind once or twice. Getting a really cheapo 3rd hand scope and one of those window mounts you can get for peanuts and thus having an easy long range setup... But (besides the cost of researching and buying) that would probably take more space than I'm willing to sacrifice inside the car for this purpose. So a pair of easy to use binoculars should do for the time being.
 

Aotus

Well-known member
United States
Something similar has crossed my mind once or twice. Getting a really cheapo 3rd hand scope and one of those window mounts you can get for peanuts and thus having an easy long range setup... But (besides the cost of researching and buying) that would probably take more space than I'm willing to sacrifice inside the car for this purpose. So a pair of easy to use binoculars should do for the time being.
i've had that thought too... I've eyed this thing a few times: Delta Optical Titanium 50ED
 

Maljunulo

Well-known member
Something similar has crossed my mind once or twice. Getting a really cheapo 3rd hand scope and one of those window mounts you can get for peanuts and thus having an easy long range setup... But (besides the cost of researching and buying) that would probably take more space than I'm willing to sacrifice inside the car for this purpose. So a pair of easy to use binoculars should do for the time being.
Too much "faffing about" as out British cousins so charmingly put it.
 

mwhogue

Well Known Member
Supporter
Something similar has crossed my mind once or twice. Getting a really cheapo 3rd hand scope and one of those window mounts you can get for peanuts and thus having an easy long range setup... But (besides the cost of researching and buying) that would probably take more space than I'm willing to sacrifice inside the car for this purpose. So a pair of easy to use binoculars should do for the time being.

Have you thought about using a 50 mm scope for this purpose? I did it once on a car trip through New Mexico, though not primarily birding. Used both a window mount and an ultra compact tripod. Worked quite nicely. Paired with a 10x32 bin. The bulk and weight were never an issue and I like light and compact for travel.

Mike
 

winginit

Active member
Like yarrellii, I've come across interesting birds (and other wildlife) while out doing other things. Too many times I didn't have binoculars with me. Now I keep a pair in the car for unexpected sightings. Currently, Bushnell 8x32 Trophys. The optics are decent and they're waterproof. If they get damaged or stolen, they're inexpensive to replace.
 

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