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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Magnification of handheld binoculars (1 Viewer)

Which magnification do you prefer in handheld binoculars?

  • 6x

    Votes: 7 7.8%
  • 7x

    Votes: 33 36.7%
  • 8x/8.5x

    Votes: 57 63.3%
  • 10x

    Votes: 28 31.1%
  • 12x

    Votes: 3 3.3%
  • 12x

    Votes: 1 1.1%
  • 15x

    Votes: 4 4.4%
  • Other

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    90

GrampaTom

Well-known member
United States
Well bino nuts anyway. Connoisseur may overstate it.

I don't believe the online world is responsible for people buying higher X, ah... er.. blindly, ("see" the irony, ah! I did it again). That's been going on waay longer than the internet. In fact, I dont think people buy 10s blindly anyway. Though we have discussed this before...Haven't we?
 

ZDHart

Well-known member
Supporter
United States
When I FIRST decided to buy some serious binoculars, I bought 10x42 Conquest HD. And, backed myself up with a pair of 8x32 Conquest HDs. That was about 8 years ago. Over the years, I've cycled between those two countless times - with each becoming a "momentary winner" over the other, until the next viewing session.

Today? Having those two, plus a number of alpha grade bins in various configurations... I would probably lean toward the 8x32 (UVHD+ and SF). But still, with 10x32 (UVHD+ and SF) mixed in, just because they're awesome, as well.

I still have 7x42 UVHD+, 10x42 SF and 10x42 Conquest HD. But the 32s see the most use!

Between 8x and 10x? Kind of a toss up for me, still, but perhaps 8x might be the winner - for slightly more hand-held stability, and a tiny smidgen more brightness. Little bit of a tough call, still, though! That's why I usually have both 8x and 10x immediately at hand. And, I sure do love the magnificent view with the 7x42 UVHD+ bins, as well.

How's that for a perfectly muddy conclusion? :ROFLMAO:
 
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dorubird

Well-known member
Romania
to make the poll more interesting, only one option should have been voted on. In actual format we can vote for all the options, because they are each good in different situations. But the interesting question would have been if we were to choose only one power, hypothetically, the most versatile power for handheld binoculars
 
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Blue72

Well-known member
to make the poll more interesting, only one option should have been voted on. In actual format we can vote for all the options, because they are each good in different situations. But the interesting question would have been if we were to choose only one power, hypothetically, the most versatile power for handheld binoculars

I think the poll was perfectly stated. why over complicate it

members can state their case why their preference is better in the comments

with that said,I will argue that anything 10x or higher are not true handheld binocular. 😋
 

dorubird

Well-known member
Romania
Blue72,
There is no general categorical answer! Each has its own stabilization / power limit in hands.
Choosing the power of binoculars is not just only about shaking hands, it's about versatility in given applications too. If we are only interested in the trembling of the hands then the most stable and good binoculars is the 2x power one. But fortunately :) we are willing to sacrifice a little stabilization to have greater magnification in our hands. And I'm curious what everyone's limit is!
The sum of the votes has already exceeded 140% of the total number of votes and this does not seem productive to me, showing that many voted for several variants. It is better to ask ourselves, and to choose each one form him with courage a single option that is versatile in both general aplication: open field observations and closed field observations. It's just an exercise of imagination, only a play game, not a categoric answer ! For me the best compromise is the 10x binoculars. For many others, like you, the best compromise is 7x, for others 8x, etc. It is good to have different opinions! But to choose 7x and 10x variants all together it is easy answer, and it seems to me that this way our opinion loses its value. The question was not "which power pairs do you like?" This would have been an easy question!
 
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GrampaTom

Well-known member
United States
I wonder why those who favor 8 (or 7), tend to disparage, seem to look down on, even discount the judgement of those who go for say a 10? While those who like 10 rarely do the reverse? Why are those who like 10 characterized as sheep blindly following some lead ram with a jangling bell around its neck? Isnt it possible, one's physiology, fitness, holding technique, where they bird, or whatever other critters they view informs the preference?

Seems Dorubird's onto something here. Will this poll end up meaning anything?
 

Blue72

Well-known member
Blue72,
There is no general categorical answer! Each has its own stabilization / power limit in hands.
Choosing the power of binoculars is not just only about shaking hands, it's about versatility in given applications too. If we are only interested in the trembling of the hands then the most stable and good binoculars is the 2x power one. But fortunately :) we are willing to sacrifice a little stabilization to have greater magnification in our hands. And I'm curious what everyone's limit is!
The sum of the votes has already exceeded 140% of the total number of votes and this does not seem productive to me, showing that many voted for several variants. It is better to ask ourselves, and to choose each one form him with courage a single option that is versatile in both general aplication: open field observations and closed field observations. It's just an exercise of imagination, only a play game, not a categoric answer ! For me the best compromise is the 10x binoculars. For many others, like you, the best compromise is 8x, for others 7x, etc. It is good to have different opinions! But to choose 7x and 10x variants all together it is easy answer, and it seems to me that this way our opinion loses its value. The questin was not "which power pairs do you like?" This would have been an easy question!
Like I said in the post before yours, people can clarify in the comments

in addition I don’t choose 7x just for handholding. They are are available in super wide FOV's not available in other binoculars, better exit pupils, and the depth of view are amazing. But you can’t discount it’s amazing stability either
 

Blue72

Well-known member
I wonder why those who favor 8 (or 7), tend to disparage, seem to look down on, even discount the judgement of those who go for say a 10? While those who like 10 rarely do the reverse? Why are those who like 10 characterized as sheep blindly following some lead ram with a jangling bell around its neck? Isnt it possible, one's physiology, fitness, holding technique, where they bird, or whatever other critters they view informs the preference?

Seems Dorubird's onto something here. Will this poll end up meaning anything?

maybe not so much in the birding community. But in the Astronomy and Hunting community (Which many of us are from) 10x fans can be very disparaging.

Hence why I bought 10x a number of years ago and realized it’s just one giant compromise and a master of none
 

Binastro

Well-known member
It depends on the weight and size of binocular and users strength.
I used to regularly hand hold a Japanese Celestron 20x80 weighing 2.5 kg for astronomy.
Everyone in our group on La Palma agreed it was the best optic when viewing comet Halley, when an assortment of telescopes and binoculars were available.

My normal binocular was a 12x45 or 12x50.

From careful observations I find a 1x binocular, i.e. no binocular, gets an improvement in visual acuity of 10% by bracing my head against a lamp post.

As one increases the magnification the shake increases but depends on weight, balance, moment of inertia, strength, tiredness, length of time viewing etc.

I use or have used hand held.
1.8x, 2x, 3x, 3.5x, 4x, 4.4x, 5x, 6x, 7x, 7.5x, 8x, 8.5x, 9x, 10x, 11x, 12x, 13x, 14x, 15x, 16x, 18x, and 20x binoculars.

It depends on what is being observed.

Nowadays it is generally 8x or 8.5x with occasional use of any other magnification that is needed.

I appreciate that bird watching usually requires a narrower range of magnification.

Regards,
B.
 

Maljunulo

Well-known member
A have a sneaking suspicion that if the average birder (and many here) were handed one of a pair of identical models in either 8X or 10X with the markings obscured, they wouldn't know which one they were looking through, especially if it was an unfamiliar make or model.

Example: Zeiss SF 32.
 

GrampaTom

Well-known member
United States
A have a sneaking suspicion that if the average birder (and many here) were handed one of a pair of identical models in either 8X or 10X with the markings obscured, they wouldn't know which one they were looking through, especially if it was an unfamiliar make or model.
Just the one? OK, Id buy that. What about if they could look through both, one after the other, after the other, after the other...? Come on CT!
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Sorry, that wasn't the point.
Hi,

I see a certain justification to your point.

My girl friend always carried a Leica 10x50, I a Nikon 8 x 42. My eyesight was better, so we were very evenly matched in our ability to identify birds. If we found a bird we both could not identify because it was a bit too far away, she handed over her glasses to me, and I had to look to see if I could attain an ID with the greater magnification and the undoubtly higher quality glasses. Sometimes that worked, often it did not.

Based on that experience, I'd say that the difference in actual capability isn't all that relevant in practice.

Not to say the view through the big Leica isn't more enjoyable overall, but as your point was how evident the difference was based on magnification alone ... I believe I understand what you had in mind.

Regards,

Henning
 

Maljunulo

Well-known member
Hi,

I see a certain justification to your point.

My girl friend always carried a Leica 10x50, I a Nikon 8 x 42. My eyesight was better, so we were very evenly matched in our ability to identify birds. If we found a bird we both could not identify because it was a bit too far away, she handed over her glasses to me, and I had to look to see if I could attain an ID with the greater magnification and the undoubtly higher quality glasses. Sometimes that worked, often it did not.

Based on that experience, I'd say that the difference in actual capability isn't all that relevant in practice.

Not to say the view through the big Leica isn't more enjoyable overall, but as your point was how evident the difference was based on magnification alone ... I believe I understand what you had in mind.

Regards,

Henning
Thank you.

I think much of the "I can see much better with 10X than 8X is due to reading spec sheets and posts here, and the optical equivalent of the "placebo effect".

Your example is a very practical illustration of my point.

Many people obsess over differences in optical instruments which the average human eye is incapable of seeing, and many who pronounce two different price ranges as "the same" really should see an ophthalmologist.

Once again ........... just my opinion.
 
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PeterPS

MEMBER
Moin Henning, you may well be right. I thought about including a distinction between "scope" and "no scope", however, I thought it might make things to complicated. One of the problems is there are also some people (possibly an increasing number) who use cameras with long lenses (like the Nikon P1000) as a substitute for a scope. They make the ID later at home at the computer. That would have introduced another category.

But you're probably right, including a distinction between "scope" and "no scope" would have made things clearer. I myself sometimes (but not always) use a higher power binocular when I don't carry a scope. A friend of mine uses 8x when carrying a scope, and 12x when he doesn't.

Hermann
Hi Hermann,
Be sure to add up the votes for 12x and....12x.
Peter
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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