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General wildlife watching binos (1 Viewer)

Mikewander

Active member
Scotland
Hi folks.
I've got around £600 to spend on a decent pair of binos for birding and general nature watching.
I usually use them on walks, so weight is an issue. I've been using a cheap pair of compact Nikons for years, but looking to upgrade.
I have a monster pair of old Ranger 16x50 that i use from my car, but never carry them. They fog up really easily, so i'm not used to quality gear!
So i've been thinking about the Zeiss 8x25 Victory binos. A good choice? Or should i go for a lesser spec 8x32s?
Thanks.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
For an all around pair of binoculars I would get a 8x32 or 8x42 because they will perform better in low light, and they are more comfortable to use with easier eye placement. I would suggest at your price point the Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 or the Nikon Monarch HG 8x42. They are both lightweight the Zeiss weighing 22 oz. and the Nikon a little heavier but still light for a 42 mm at 23 oz. They are at the top of your budget but if you shop around I think you could get either one close to within your price range. You would probably also like the Swarovski Cl B 8x30, but it is a little over your budget.
 
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ClarkWGriswold

Carpe Carpum
Staff member
Supporter
Wales
Hi Mike. We’ve got some very knowledgeable people with regard to binoculars. It’s how I ended up purchasing a pair of Leica Trinovids 8x42 BN 10 years ago.

I know practically zilch about optics but those Zeiss you mention often have very positive feedback on here. The other thing is if you’re prepared to purchase used. This would open up Zeiss Conquest 8x32 HD and Leica Trinovids 8x32. Again, two well thought of binoculars.

I’m sure you’ll have a lot of vastly more experienced opinion before long so all I’ll say is good luck with your purchase.

Rich
 

PhilR.

Well-known member
We use 25mm binos when we are nature walks/hiking. This is when glassing is secondary to just being outdoors. However, when glassing is the main concern, such as when birding, then we use either 32mm or 42mm, depending on the circumstances. For your situation, I think the Zeiss you mentioned would be a great place to start, and you could always follow up with a larger bino if you ever feel the need. And with that particular Zeiss, you may well never feel that need.

Besides the Zeiss, you might also consider the Swarovski CL-P, and perhaps even the Zeiss Terra. We use the Swarovski, but I also had the opportunity recently to try an 8x25 Terra, and was very pleasantly surprised at how well it performed. I would highly recommend you at least try one if possible. It might suit your needs quite well.
 

tenex

reality-based
Mike, do you wear eyeglasses with binos? Without them, many don't get on well with the tiny eyecups of 20/25mm models, and those of the Victory 8x25 can also be too short for their eye relief. Otherwise it's a great choice, as something like the 32mm Conquest or Meostar would also be if that weight is acceptable.
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

if portability is the main concern over optical quality, a pair of 8x25 is the best compromise and the Zeiss Victory 8x25 is thought by many to be the best option available in that class and would be in budget new.

If the best view in a halfway portable packet is the goal, I would opt for a light 8x30/32 pair. The Nikon MHG 8x30 might be a good option at 450g and with a very nice view, albeit normally a bit over budget at 800 quid. The Zeiss Conquest 8x32 is very solidly built and it shows at 630g... view is ok for the $1000 class - in UK it's usually over 700 quid.

Also around 450g are the Nikon Monarch 7, Optricron Traveller ED, Kite Lynx HD and Maven B3 models in 8x30/32 - all quite similar and made by Kamakura (a very large Japanese binocular OEM which btw also makes the Victory 8x25 for Zeiss), all but the Nikon are made in Japan, the Nikon is a bit cheaper and made by Kamakura in the PRC. All are good options at their pricepoint.

If I had 600 quid for an 8x32 pair in the UK, I would probably try to buy the Zeiss FL 8x32 which seems to be still available at LCE... has some small blemish on the one eyepiece which is the reason why it is so cheap and which will not diminish the view in any way. That is former alpha glass and still one of the best 8x32 pairs to be found...

Joachim, who actually asked LCE if they would post to germany but has not gotten an answer - and probably would not want it any more as it seems we now get to pay customs and tax for EU to GB trade...
 
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Sprite1275

Well-known member
United Kingdom
The Zeiss look nice but you can get the swaro 8x25 for £480 new on eBay at the moment. I was in the same position as you but I've opted the 8x32 route.
 

edwincjones

Well-known member
For an all around pair of binoculars I would get a 8x32 or 8x42 because they will perform better in low light, and they are more comfortable to use with easier eye placement...............

I agree with the 8x42s as the best all around pair
or
the lighter 8x32s with a little less low light performance.

edj
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
8x42 or 32 for general nature watching. I have a pair of Zeiss 8x25s and for occasions when I have other priorities but still feel I need to carry a bino, they are great but when nature observing is the priority then a 32 or 42 is the way I go.

Lee
 

Mikewander

Active member
Scotland
Thanks for all the useful info guys. It's frustrating with all the stores being closed due to this virus, as i can't easily try out a few different pairs. I hadn't realised that the eyecups on the Zeiss Victory 8x25s can be a problem for some folk. I don't wear glasses btw. I could just manage to push the boat out a bit to the Zeiss HD 8X32s. The Swarovski CL 8X30s look the perfect compromise for me, but will need a bit more saving. Maybe i should stick with what i have until the stores start opening again.
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
My vote also for a 8x32 as a general wildlife device. Yes 8x42 will give you (a little) more on very dark days or at dawn/dusk, but I consider it as an "specialised" instrument for low light, given its 5 mm exit pupil and bigger objectives. A modern 8x32 is plenty bright 95 % of the time, and it's lighter and smaller 100 % of the time. One note of caution. While the Conquest HD 8x32 is certainly an impressive performer, it's on the heavy side for a 8x32 at 630 g. Bear in mind that there are very good 8x42 with nearly identical weight, the Nikon Monarch HG 8x42 being a great example, at 660 g (1 oz more).
Since you specifically say "weight is an issue", I'd look for something in the 450-550 region. I personally can tell a the difference after a long day on the field. The problem is that some nice 8x30 (Nikon Monarch 7, Opticron Traveler ED) that are great performers and way beyond your price limit (in the 300-400 $/€ range) could be a little fussy for some regarding eye position (I find the Traveler really comfortable and easy to use). On the same format (extremely light and handy 8x30), you have a couple of upper price levels, the Maven B3 and the Kite Lynx (already around 500 €/$) and the Nikon Monarch HG (that goes beyond your budget entering 1000 €/$ territory, although it can be found for less).

I think, as a matter of balance and compromise, if I was looking for a "general" binocular (not one for glassing for hours and hours while birding) I'd go for one of these options. The difference in bulk and weight between a 8x30 and a 8x25 is not that huge, and while the Victory Pocket surely provides a stunning performance (I've never used it), I guess a 8x30 is more of an allrounder and will probably be easier to use (bigger eyecups, bigger focus wheel, etc.).
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Thanks for all the useful info guys. It's frustrating with all the stores being closed due to this virus, as i can't easily try out a few different pairs. I hadn't realised that the eyecups on the Zeiss Victory 8x25s can be a problem for some folk. I don't wear glasses btw. I could just manage to push the boat out a bit to the Zeiss HD 8X32s. The Swarovski CL 8X30s look the perfect compromise for me, but will need a bit more saving. Maybe i should stick with what i have until the stores start opening again.
If you don't wear glasses then the Zeiss Pockets (probably all pocket binos) may need a change in technique. Having only 25mm objectives then necessarily the diameter of each optical tube and its eyecup are smaller than bigger binos. So if I use the Pockets without wearing spectacles I find the small diameter eyecups too easily get pushed deeply into my eyesockets leading to all kinds of blackouts/kidney beans. I need to brace the eyecups just under top of the eyesocket and I very soon found a comfortable position where I can see the full field of view and no strange shadows. Its just a familiarisation that is needed. But if choosing for general nature observation I would grab a Conquest HD 8x32, but there are other 32s that you would also find meet your needs.
Lee
 

Mikewander

Active member
Scotland
All very helpful info guys. Thanks.
I've decided to wait until i can actually try some binos, as i don't really want to be ordering and sending binos back until i find a pair that suit. I've managed with what i have, so hopefully the stores will open soon.
 

dries1

Member
Mikewander,

Good move to check the glass prior to purchase. I think you will prefer the 8X30/32 format over the 8X25 format which is more of a toy IMO. The 8X25 better than having nothing, but not as easy to use as an 8x32.

Andy W.
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

buying from a brick and mortar store is probably best for binoculars - especially if it's an expensive pair and you don't already have a favourite which you have tried fron a fellow birder before - let's hope this will be possible sometime later this year and there are still brick and mortar stores left by then.

Joachim
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
I would consider grabbing a pair of Opticron Traveler ED 8x32, which will give you an immediate upgrade for a small/light binocular with very good optics that's perfect for walkabout use. They weigh only 450g and punch way above their price point optically in all respects except for so-so glare control (for the price). It will be a massive upgrade from the cheap Nikon compacts. And they are way under your budget.

Then, later on, if you want something even better for "serious birding", you can supplement with a high quality 8x42 or 10x42, and you'll still have the Opticrons around for those times when you don't want to drag the bigger/heavier bin along.
 

cottonbase

Well-known member
Mikewander,

Good move to check the glass prior to purchase. I think you will prefer the 8X30/32 format over the 8X25 format which is more of a toy IMO. The 8X25 better than having nothing, but not as easy to use as an 8x32.

Andy W.
The Zeiss Victory Pocket is anything but a toy.

To quote from a recent post in the 28 page thread on them: "it replicates the view in my HT in all but the poorest light".

@OP you can currently try them for free for 48 hours.
 

Mikewander

Active member
Scotland
Just an update.
I had an hour borrowing the Zeiss Victory Pocket 8x25s from a friend of my daughters.
What can i say? I was blown away by the clarity and brightness from such a small pair of binos.
Even though it was a grey overcast day, they were excellent. I'm sure these will be perfect for my use.
I don't know enough to give any technical report, but i'm sold on these.
I've ordered a pair from Viking Optical for £548. I think that is a good price?
Thanks for the input from members.
 

mwhogue

Well Known Member
Supporter
Just an update.
I had an hour borrowing the Zeiss Victory Pocket 8x25s from a friend of my daughters.
What can i say? I was blown away by the clarity and brightness from such a small pair of binos.
Even though it was a grey overcast day, they were excellent. I'm sure these will be perfect for my use.
I don't know enough to give any technical report, but i'm sold on these.
I've ordered a pair from Viking Optical for £548. I think that is a good price?
Thanks for the input from members.

Mike,

Yes the Zeiss VP are fantastic binoculars. The price you ask about seems good, @$50 less than in the US.

Mike
 

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