• 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.

Help choosing a nice inexpensive "compact" binocular for walks etc (1 Viewer)

I'm interested in a set of binoculars for when out n about walking with the family and kids. countryside, woods, beaches, etc. Something compact, and small would be ideal. The binocular you take with you is better than one left at home...

Something small so can be put in a jacket or jean pocket would be nice. waterproofing also a bonus! Preferably Under £100, $125.

these are some I have found,

  1. Steiner Safari UltraSharp 8x22
  2. Vortex Diamondback HD 8x28
  3. Nikon Aculon A30 8X25
  4. Celestron 8 x 32 DX
  5. Opticron Oregon 4 LE WP
  6. Hawke Endurance ED 25mm
  7. Pentax AD 25mm WP



Would they be ok? (I know nothing about binoculars!)

Stay Safe
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi,

I'm interested in a set of binoculars for when out n about walking with the family and kids. countryside, woods, beaches, etc. Something compact, and small would be ideal.

You might want to consider the Pentax Papilio II 8,5x21 ... in case you (or the family and kids) are not exclusively interested in birds, it adds the capability to view small things at close range and large magnification.

First time I saw the Papilio in action, it was in the hands of a professional biologist who was catching and identifying insects in a natural reserve.

It has quite a number of fans here on birdforum, too.

Regards,

Henning
 
Hi,



You might want to consider the Pentax Papilio II 8,5x21 ... in case you (or the family and kids) are not exclusively interested in birds, it adds the capability to view small things at close range and large magnification.

First time I saw the Papilio in action, it was in the hands of a professional biologist who was catching and identifying insects in a natural reserve.

It has quite a number of fans here on birdforum, too.

Regards,

Henning
Thank you very much. I have actually been seriously considering those, but the lack of waterproofing and size does put me off slightly. but they do look really interesting, like a microscope!
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Hello Lostie

I have reviewed 6 Opticrons so far and am just writing up a 7th and have found without exception that they are value for money products, with good performance and decent build quality. I have no experience of the Oregon model on your list but the 8x32 has a super-wide field of view at 141 metres and focuses closer than 2.0 metres (so will be good for butterflies, dragonflies and flowers) and is light and compact. If the price is within your budget then this model should definitely be on your short-list.

Good luck and stay safe.

Lee
 
Hello Lostie


I have reviewed 6 Opticrons so far and am just writing up a 7th and have found without exception that they are value for money products, with good performance and decent build quality. I have no experience of the Oregon model on your list but the 8x32 has a super-wide field of view at 141 metres and focuses closer than 2.0 metres (so will be good for butterflies, dragonflies and flowers) and is light and compact. If the price is within your budget then this model should definitely be on your short-list.

Good luck and stay safe.

Lee
Edit: I assume you mean the Opticron Discovery WP PC 8x32. I've just read your review, they do look excellent and quite small for 8x32.

thank you! I think I may need a bit of hand-holding here. to be honest, I'm hoping for something compact that I can put in the pocket of a jacket and take with me always. much like a small compact camera that I also carry. reason being, "the binocular you take with you is better than one left at home" and I have a feeling, if I purchased anything remotely large, I wouldn't be inclined to take them out!

8 x 25 seems to be the popular consensus, there are just so many to choose from! what with phase corrections, multi coatings, magnesium bodies it's all quite confusing for the novice like myself. no doubt I will purchase a larger set one day, but I'm specifically looking at small sets because anything is better than the naked eye right?
 
Last edited:

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

another vote for the Papilio II - although I like the 6.5x version better...

Joachim
 
Hi,

another vote for the Papilio II - although I like the 6.5x version better...

Joachim
I am intrigued by this little set I will be honest. do you find it a disadvantage not being waterproof and having the fancy things like phase correction etc. of other "compacts" of similar price?
 

dipped

Well-known member
I'm interested in a set of binoculars for when out n about walking with the family and kids. countryside, woods, beaches, etc. Something compact, and small would be ideal. The binocular you take with you is better than one left at home...

Something small so can be put in a jacket or jean pocket would be nice. waterproofing also a bonus! Preferably Under £100, $125.

Stay Safe

Hi Lostinnature

Under a £100 I would forget any compact roof prism - I've yet to find one that works well having tried a Kowa and Nikon models and returned them both.

In the porro domain if you can find the Nikon 8x25 EX which is waterproof for under a £100 it is a good buy, but it doesn't handle sunny conditions very well which causes flaring. The RSPB compact 8x25 (porro), is a decent buy at its reduced price of £70 and handles bright conditions well with little to no flare. The only caveat is that it doesn't hang well if you have a small IPD.

The go to recommendation used to be the Olympus 8x25 PCI but I've never looked through a pair. They were Which magazine recommended I seem to remember. Not sure how generally available they are.

From your list the Celestron 8x32 DX would be my choice. Again I've not looked through a pair, but I know a man who has (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gahaDrGBULE), and they seem to be a bit of a bargain if you can get a good pair. Wouldn't fit in a jean/jacket pocket though.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I agree with dipped. At your price point stay away from compact roof prism's and the Pentax Papilio is good for close up viewing like butterflies and insects but at greater distances the view is only fair. I would say the best choice for you is the waterproof and fogproof Leupold Yosemite 6x30 porro prism. It is much sharper and crisper at distance than the Papilio in 6x30 or 8x30. From a review on the Papilio and I found the same thing with my pair.

"3.0 out of 5 stars Poor distance viewing
Reviewed in the United States on April 7, 2016
Verified Purchase
I must have read the description wrong; I thought it would work for long distance viewing as well; but I could not see detail of bird flying or in a tree in my neighbor's yard..
I had to return the product because it wasn't quite what I wanted; poor distance viewing on the Pentax Papilio ll."

https://www.leupold.com/binoculars/bx-1-yosemite-6x30mm
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Leupold-...157409&hash=item3fc34ff96b:g:bb8AAOSwfXFaquPb
 
Last edited:

jring

Well-known member
I am intrigued by this little set I will be honest. do you find it a disadvantage not being waterproof and having the fancy things like phase correction etc. of other "compacts" of similar price?

Hi,

I think waterproofing is overrated - I have lots of bins which are not and all have been used in light rain without problems. When it starts raining heavily, I put them in my backpack, under the jacket or in case of the Papilio, in a pocket.

When I go on a canoe tour or a three week camping trip in the jungle, I might take a waterproof pair.

As for phase coating - the Papilio uses (reverse) Porro prisms and thus does not need the crutch of phase coating to fix the flaw of roof prisms...

Also the Papilio is really great for kids because of the extra use for watching small stuff.
As for those who think the view is not so great at distance - please be so fair and compare them to another pair of pocket bins in the same price range. Obviously a 6x30 pair (which is also cheap but known to be a very good deal) will have a wider field, better low light performance, better resolution (although at 6x you need a magnifier to see that unless you are an eagle) and easier eye placement than a pocket pair.

Joachim
 
Last edited:
Thank you all
This has been very interesting to me.

Got me thinking some more. Perhaps it's worth spending a little more. Would a budget of £150 - £200 significantly increase my options for a quality compact binocular? Maybe I'm evening considering not so "compact", just not huge :) these look nice Viking Kestrel ED 8x32. as do the vortex hd 8x28.

as you can see, I'm still undecided. :)
 
Last edited:

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
Hi lostinnature. Welcome to the forum, I'm sure you'll find lots of interesting advice around here.
As per your last post, I'd definitely make a little effort and spend those extra 50-75 GBP, they can make a huge difference (you probably heard about the law of diminishing returns, from 1000 to 2000 there's some gain, but from 100 to 200 there's a lot of gain!). Obviously it is always hard with a first pair of binoculars, since you don't know if you're actually going to "amortize" your purchase).

I have (and like a lot) the Papilio. However, I would not consider them as a main and unique binocular, when compared with something like a 8x32 with decent close focus (as has been said). I enjoy them, and their microscope capabilities are awesome, but they're a small x21 device, and there's a price to pay for that in viewing performance and comfort (IMHO) compared to a 8x32. Wonders have been written here about the Sightron Bluesky 8x32, maybe 200 GBP can buy you a pair of them (or one of their siblings made by other brands).

On the other hand, I know it may sound risky or unfathomable, but 200 GBP second hand can get you a lot of glass. I've bought Nikon Monarch 7 8x30 for 175 GBP (twice!) both in excellent condition. So maybe it is an idea worth considering. I hope these tips help :)
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
I'm afraid this departure from you're original request happens too frequently and can lead to confusion. Personally I say stick to your original brief. Yes, you could end up spending a little more but where do you stop? And not having had a previous unit to judge or compare with leaves you in a slight quandary. As others may also wish to look through them, they need to be adjustable for smaller hands and faces.
Set a ceiling budget, get your research done and then choose a pair that meets your requirements. One final bit of advice,.....no zoom binocular please.
Cheers.
 

dipped

Well-known member
Thank you all
This has been very interesting to me.

Got me thinking some more. Perhaps it's worth spending a little more. Would a budget of £150 - £200 significantly increase my options for a quality compact binocular? Maybe I'm evening considering not so "compact", just not huge :) these look nice Viking Kestrel ED 8x32. as do the vortex hd 8x28.

as you can see, I'm still undecided. :)

Okay now we are in compact roof territory and these would fit the bill. Not seen them personally but those that have are impressed. These seem to be in great condition with an option to return and 6 months warranty but they are Zeiss so you should get good service if needed.

https://www.lcegroup.co.uk/Used/Zeiss-Terra-8X25_272536.html
 

ceasar

Well-known member
Thank you all
This has been very interesting to me.

Got me thinking some more. Perhaps it's worth spending a little more. Would a budget of £150 - £200 significantly increase my options for a quality compact binocular? Maybe I'm evening considering not so "compact", just not huge :) these look nice Viking Kestrel ED 8x32. as do the vortex hd 8x28.

as you can see, I'm still undecided. :)



Good idea increasing your budget!

Small + Cheap = Bad

The Zeiss 8x25 is a very good binocular at $349.99. I gave one to my son when he was in Brazil on a Fulbright Fellowship and it performed very well.

https://cameralandny.com/shop/brand...7834-0134-bb78-00163e9110c0?variation=1291164

Bob
 
Last edited:

jring

Well-known member
Good idea increasing your budget!

Small + Cheap = Bad

Bob

Sorry, for bins it goes as follows:

Small + Cheap + Roof = Bad

Small + Cheap + Porro (usually reverse) = can be OK.

But in general: if that pair is supposed to be the only pair in the foreseable future, I would certainly choose sth in 8x30/32 - maybe this 15 year old pair:

https://www.lcegroup.co.uk/Used/Opticron-8X32-Verano-BGA-PC-_265587.html

Was a well regarded 300 quid pair back then... will run circles around any of the list in first post, the Papilio and also the Zeiss Terra 8x25 - which are a good deal if you insist on a midrange pocket.

Joachim
 

Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
lostinature,
An excellent compact binocular at an acceptable price is the Bynolit 8x25 ED, price 300 euros. It looks like a Swarovski CL as far as body shape is concerned. Handling comfort is excellent, very good optical performance, transmission around 92%, which is very high in this price range.
A full test report can be found on the WEB-site of House of Outdoor under "Verrekijkers testen en vergelijken".
I know that it is not an 8x32, but it is certainly an instrument to consider.
Gijs van Ginkel
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top