• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

How many ditched their spotter for higher powered bino’s? (1 Viewer)

If you're just birding from a static position e.g. a hide I can imagine a pair of tripod mounted high power binoculars are a reasonable low power alternative to a low power scope, but if I go out to a hide I also want to scan the surrounding area where high power binoculars that require a tripod aren't great so I'd need to carry a pair of 7/8x or 10x in addition to a pair of high power binoculars. An ED50 with fixed 20/27 is much lighter that a pair of 15x56 and gives me more range. Or I could carry a pair of 7x50's and just use a doubler in the hide giving me 14x50 at barely any extra weight. Maybe for sedentary birding high power tripod binoculars are fine, but they're not exactly practical for walking round.
The ed50 is the perfect example why to switch

I own one and it’s a great piece of glass. But many would agree that the 27x eyepiece starts to dim and that the 16x and 20x eyepiece gives the best views

in that case why not just switch to a 18x binoculars for an even brighter image that outperforms it in dusk and dark areas, has a better FOV, comfort of two eyed viewing for longer observing, etc, etc…..
 
The ed50 is the perfect example why to switch

I own one and it’s a great piece of glass. But many would agree that the 27x eyepiece starts to dim and that the 16x and 20x eyepiece gives the best views

in that case why not just switch to a 18x binoculars for an even brighter image that outperforms it in dusk and dark areas, has a better FOV, comfort of two eyed viewing for longer observing, etc, etc…..
Mainly because you can't walk a couple of miles between hides using an 18x binocular handheld, so I've got to carry a pair of 7x50's or similar anyway and an ED50 and eyepiece weighs half of what 18x binoculars weigh. If a 20x eyepiece doesn't give enough magnification for the other side of the scrape, I can swap to a 27x eyepiece that weighs very little to carry as an extra whilst with 18x bins you've got nowhere to go. I'm also unaware of any good 18x - the only one's I know of are the old Canon IS one's that introduce pretty nasty artifacts because the image stabilization struggles (I did try a pair). I'm unaware of any truly good binoculars above 15x (there are some excellent 15), but I may be out of date. I can see high power binoculars as being okay for static activities, but they're not a lot of good for moving around and lack the magnification that a scope has.
 
I already have

I mentioned that scopes are pretty much extinct at PRS events, western hunt gorums are filled with those making the migration, and there was a recent discussion among astronomy forums with people know using binoculars as their sole instrument …just to name a few
I read through that thread in question:


The vast majority of on-topic responses indicate usage of BOTH low power (7-10x) binoculars AND telescopes (various sizes). Those who are binoculars-only mostly use heavy binocular telescopes (70+mm) on large tripods.

Maybe hunting and competitive shooting are different enough from birdwatching and astronomy that equipment trends in the first group of activities are not always relevant to the second group.

I use my spotting scope for astronomy. It is more portable and rugged than a conventional telescope. But I'm not going to insist astronomers should switch to spotting scopes. For most astronomers, a conventional telescope works better. And that's great, we can all enjoy the night sky together.

Ditto for birdwatching, let's enjoy viewing wildlife together. Whatever you use, be it naked eyes, binoculars, spotting scope, telescope, night vision, camera etc. No need to insist that any one method is the "best" way.
 
The ed50 is the perfect example why to switch

I own one and it’s a great piece of glass. But many would agree that the 27x eyepiece starts to dim and that the 16x and 20x eyepiece gives the best views

in that case why not just switch to a 18x binoculars for an even brighter image that outperforms it in dusk and dark areas, has a better FOV, comfort of two eyed viewing for longer observing, etc, etc…..
15-20x binoculars are commonly available only in 56mm or larger size. That usually means weight of at least 1.2kg. For me, at that weight I would choose a 16-48x65mm scope instead.
 
Last edited:
Well, I don't hunt nor do I know anything about hunting, but I think birding involves such a diverse array of habitats, climates and different conditions that making such broad statements is just missing the point about the variety of birding cirumstances.

So, for some people under certain conditions (such as hunting in the mid-west AFAIU) a tripod mounted hi-power bino is preferable. Well, that's fantastic, good for them, if that fulfill their needs, that's wonderful. There are many birders out there who simply find mounting a hi-power bino on a tripod simply does not fulfill their needs and preferences, as has been already explained.

So a 15x56 can show a lot in a confortable way... well, I'm sure a 50x80 can show more, and that can be crucial when it comes to ID distant waders, for example. As a personal story: some years ago I joined the local rangers for the winter waterfowl survey. Along with my 8x binoculars I was carrying a scope, as many birders do (the logic and benefits of a bino+scope combo has been already explained). I carried a light 15-45x60 mm Opticron, and my fellow birder carried a 20-60x80 Swaro. Well, there were times were ID was possible thanks to his scope. It was a gloomy day, and his scope shined in those conditions: your tripod mounted 15x56 would have been of little help, it would not have made many ID's possible, and it would have not allowed to quickly follow birds taking off... as our small 8x binoculars did. So there you go. Again, as many other times in any forum regarding any activity, what is valid for some users is of little use for others, and I guess that's the beauty of it all. If you think that, because of that, this forum is "slow to embrace blablabla", well, good for you, bearer of the truth.

Another example. Recently a poll was open by a forum member who assumed most birders (like hunters) would use harnesses or chest-packs to carry their binoculars. It turns out that, to the surprise of the OP, the vast majority of responders (+60 %) use the neckstrap provided. Are they dumb no to embrace harnesses? Well, I don't think so, maybe they simply know better than anybody else what works for them. As the OP has seen, the vast majority of responders to this post see little use in the original idea: Yes, a hi-power bino can be of great help in some circumstances (like the OP beach)... but that's just a tiny fraction of what birding is about, I'm afraid.
Well actually my post about how birders carry their binoculrs was actually more sophisticated than what you suggest. And I actually wasnt THAT surprised at the results. Instead, I suspected from the beginning of that post that the reason people on this forum seemingly preferred compact 32mm binoculars was because most of them were probably using neck straps. I couldnt understand why so many would recommend clearly inferior configurations unless they were solving a different problem like neck fatigue. While I was surprised that harnesses weren't more popular, I was not surprised at all that many were using neck straps, it actually confirmed my original suspicions. Thereafter I just wanted to raise awareness of the clear advantages that harnesses and chest packs provide over neck straps. You know, just try to share the good things I know to help some fellow birders out. Furthermore, I also suspected that I could learn something new about the subject from others as well, which I did! It turned into a pretty cool thread that exceeded my expectations imo. It was actually soo cool. But rest assured, Im not trying to pursuade any one to do something they dont want to do (warning, here comes the sarcasm). And by gosh, I wouldn't want to try to pursuade birders to do something that hunters do, because heaven knows hunters are too stupid to come up with anything useful and dont know a thing about birding. Please! My peers are professional wildlife biologists, most of whom are also serious birders. Each year the state chapter of the The Wildlife Society has an annual meeting which also offers a field trip, usually a birding field trip. So two years ago 40ish wildlife biologists showed up early that morning to go to a nearby birding hotspot guided by one of the local biologists. Sheesh talk about bashfullness in making ID calls! Many of them are not hunters btw, but I digress. Anyway, I recall looking around that morning to see which binocular everyone was rocking, and how they were carrying them, mostly because I was the loner with the chest pack. Well I didnt quantify it, but I recall that the VAST MAJORITY of them were using harnessed. In fact, I can't recall anyone using a neck strap. Furthermore, the vast majority of them had full sized binoculars. The number of people who had compact binoculars could probably be counted on one hand. I was just surprised that this forum hadn't yet figured out what the pros have known for at least as long as my 22 years in the wildlife profession, that harnesses are superior to neck straps for comfort in carrying a binocular and that full sized binoculars are the best all around tools for birding. And seriously yurellii, you didnt need to take a thinnly veiled shot at me, I was only trying to engage constructively on a subject I have experience with. Anybody who has actually tried a binocular on a tripod, even an 8x or 10x, can quickly see the benefit and utility of it in some situations. And you're right, its not for every situation, and it doesnt replace a spotter, but it is a pretty usefull tool for me in a lot of birding situation. Thats all the OP is saying. Had I let my prejudices keep me from trying something new, I too wouldn't know that. Who knows maybe I will even try a compact binocular one day. Only a fool thinks they know everything there is to know and refuses to learn from others (there see, I can take my own thinnly veiled shot).
 
Last edited:
@KevinL I am really sorry if you felt my reference to your post was ill-intended. Honestly, no offence intended at all. Regarding the "how do you carry your binoculars" post, I was simply reading what I assumed was your surprise:

I did not expect to see the original neck strap wind up in the majority. I remember wondering why manufacturers bother even including a stap because so many I know use a harness. Come to think of it, no one I know uses the original strap as all use harnesses. I thought it was a near universal default.

You say you did not expect to see neck strap being the most popular option, so I simply assumed "I did not expect" counts as a surprise. But, again, do accept my apologies if you felt my words had any criticism or malicious intentions.

As for this thread, again, I think the issue can lie in implying that one's thoughts/assumptions or ideas are "the best" (like the OP seems to be doing regarding hi powered binos on tripod). As a mere example, a few words from your last reply.
... I was just surprised that this forum hadn't yet figured out what the pros have known for at least as long as my 22 years in the wildlife profession, that harnesses are superior to neck straps for comfort in carrying a binocular and that full sized binoculars are the best all around tools for birding...

I'm all in for sharing and learning (that's basically what we all do here, and I really like it in here), but again, stating opinions as facts is not a good starting point. So, for you, in your very own personal opinion, "harnesses are superior to neck straps for comfort in carrying binoculars" and, again, for you, "full sized binoculars are the best all around tools for birding". But it turns out that there might be people for whom a harness is not a superior choice (in this forum, it turns out a majority if we are to believe the small number of participants in a poll means anything) and for whom a 8x32 or a 8x56, 8x25, 7x15 (or whatever floats their boat) is superior, for them. For example, for me a 8x42 is of little use. I've tried it, and it simply does not work for me. I rather have an 8x32 and then something really specialized for long reach or dark conditions. So, again, for me, the 8x42 is the worst of all worlds, but that's just me, I would never dare saying that "8x32 is the best and I'm surprised why not everybody has discovered it yet".

I think it is essential to always make a difference between facts an opinion. Are x42 brighter than x32 in dark conditions? Yes, they are, that's a fact. Does this make them better, "best all around tools for birding": well, not necessarily, because they're also heavier and bulkier, and for some users that might be a deciding factor in what makes "a best all around tool for birding", not even starting to think that in this forum you can find birders from Finland to South Africa, from Alaska to Japan and everything in between, so their priorities and needs are so varied that it's really hard to say what it's best for anyone... only each one will know... and I think that's the beauty of it, and what makes us share and learn what others think.

Again, no offence intended, accept my apologies. And, again, the world is a really broad place with plenty of opinions to learn from.
 
@KevinL I am really sorry if you felt my reference to your post was ill-intended. Honestly, no offence intended at all. Regarding the "how do you carry your binoculars" post, I was simply reading what I assumed was your surprise:



You say you did not expect to see neck strap being the most popular option, so I simply assumed "I did not expect" counts as a surprise. But, again, do accept my apologies if you felt my words had any criticism or malicious intentions.

As for this thread, again, I think the issue can lie in implying that one's thoughts/assumptions or ideas are "the best" (like the OP seems to be doing regarding hi powered binos on tripod). As a mere example, a few words from your last reply.


I'm all in for sharing and learning (that's basically what we all do here, and I really like it in here), but again, stating opinions as facts is not a good starting point. So, for you, in your very own personal opinion, "harnesses are superior to neck straps for comfort in carrying binoculars" and, again, for you, "full sized binoculars are the best all around tools for birding". But it turns out that there might be people for whom a harness is not a superior choice (in this forum, it turns out a majority if we are to believe the small number of participants in a poll means anything) and for whom a 8x32 or a 8x56, 8x25, 7x15 (or whatever floats their boat) is superior, for them. For example, for me a 8x42 is of little use. I've tried it, and it simply does not work for me. I rather have an 8x32 and then something really specialized for long reach or dark conditions. So, again, for me, the 8x42 is the worst of all worlds, but that's just me, I would never dare saying that "8x32 is the best and I'm surprised why not everybody has discovered it yet".

I think it is essential to always make a difference between facts an opinion. Are x42 brighter than x32 in dark conditions? Yes, they are, that's a fact. Does this make them better, "best all around tools for birding": well, not necessarily, because they're also heavier and bulkier, and for some users that might be a deciding factor in what makes "a best all around tool for birding", not even starting to think that in this forum you can find birders from Finland to South Africa, from Alaska to Japan and everything in between, so their priorities and needs are so varied that it's really hard to say what it's best for anyone... only each one will know... and I think that's the beauty of it, and what makes us share and learn what others think.

Again, no offence intended, accept my apologies. And, again, the world is a really broad place with plenty of opinions to learn from.
Yarrellii, I full heartedly accept your apology and forgive you. Thank you for your thoughtful response. I also offer up my own apology to you or anyone else I may have offended. Also I recognize you are right about opinion vs facts. I tend to learn more from listening to the WHY or reasons people chose what they chose. I find this forum full of great rational and experience. Sorry I got defensive.
 
For me most bird acquisition is done with the naked eye, see something and bring optics to bear to get a better look. I don't spend minutes at a time staring through optics searching for birds. Sometimes I will scan along the edge of a lake or a reedbed to see what is there, but I am not staring out into the distance with optics. Even when sea watching the bird is acquired with the naked eye.

In certain circumstances certain optics are better. It would be great to have "Men in Black" style expanding suitcase of optics that one could carry around for every eventuality, but we have to live in the real world. If I have to lug it around then 7x bins and an 80mm scope with a zoom is my preferred manpack load out.
 
Yarrellii, I full heartedly accept your apology and forgive you. Thank you for your thoughtful response. I also offer up my own apology to you or anyone else I may have offended. Also I recognize you are right about opinion vs facts. I tend to learn more from listening to the WHY or reasons people chose what they chose. I find this forum full of great rational and experience. Sorry I got defensive.
When are out nature observing (not just birds) in the west of Scotland I carry a backpack with shoulder straps, chest strap and waist belt. On the waist belt is a holster for carrying a DSLR + lens. The backpack contains a flask of tea, a waterproof cape and a folded sit-down pad.

Because of the back-pack's straps and belt I already feel like a trussed turkey and so carry my binos on a tailored neck strap. During the day I will frequently also have the camera strap around my neck as I photo stuff. The idea of having any kind of harness to carry my binos in addition to all this is not something that I find attractive. At all :)

Lee
 
Last edited:
I tried a bino harness and with winter layers it didn't work for me and preferred an upgraded strap (I seem to tolerate weight round my neck more than some - maybe it's being bull-necked and several tears of carrying heavy camera equipment). I can see a bino harness might work better birding in shirt sleeves in the summer when I'm not layered up - I'll certainly give it a go. @KevinL s thread was useful in that I'd never considered a smock with Kangeroo pocket which I shall now try as a a possible winter option.

I wander round more than I sit in hides (and walk to reserves rather than driving) so I don't think high-power binoculars would suit me (will be trying a 2x booster on my 7x50s as an alternative to carrying a scope though). It's good to hear alternative options explored, we've just got to be careful of not thinking we've found the one true way.
 
Warning! This thread is more than 2 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.

Users who are viewing this thread

Back
Top