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New binoculars purchase up to £200 (1 Viewer)

Kwack

Member
United Kingdom
Hi

My 15 Yr old has recently been going out with her grandparents bird watching and has for the bug.

I am looking to purchase a set of 8x42 binoculars and want to get the best bang for buck I can find. I have been reading reviews and have a few I think are worth considering such as Bresser Condor, bushnell prime, nikon prostaff

Would really appreciate any advice on what else would be worth looking at.

For reference I have no clue about binoculars other than she has used RSPB Viking ones from her grandparents which she liked.

Obviously visiting a shop is not available at the moment

Thanks
Nigel
 

Maljunulo

Well-known member
"For reference I have no clue about binoculars other than she has used RSPB Viking ones from her grandparents which she liked."

They appear to be more than your limiting cost.
 
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leonardo_simon

Well-known member
Opticron worth checking out. Good quality for the price

second hand a good option too - if you are in the uk then infocus, cley spy, focus optics all have good selections and are reliable dealers.
 

leonardo_simon

Well-known member

Ivydwg

Well-known member
United Kingdom
Is that a valid review site?

To me the site just looks like product information copied from other websites, rather than any actual testing of the kit. Plus some sponsored links of course.
Very much so!

There is a lot of info on there, but he provides in depth reviews on binos that he has personally tested, sent by the manufacturers. It's just not a great website to navigate.

Of course you have to remember it is only his point of view, but could be a useful starting point.
 

leonardo_simon

Well-known member
Very much so!

There is a lot of info on there, but he provides in depth reviews on binos that he has personally tested, sent by the manufacturers. It's just not a great website to navigate.

Of course you have to remember it is only his point of view, but could be a useful starting point.
Ok - thanks
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

first of all, welcome to birdforum!

May I ask, what is the rationale for an 8x42 - I know, it's the default size, but many here prefer 8x32 pairs for general birding, trading a few minutes less observation time at dusk or dawn for less bulk and usually a wider field of view. Wearing glasses while using bins would be a common explanation as 8x32 pairs tend to have a bit less eye relief in general and some pairs might be not good to use with glasses.

In general, in the UK Opticron comes warmly recommended, they have good optics at very reasonable prices and we have a quite active employee of theirs in here which has helped countless people in case of problems.

Of their lineup, I'd look at the Explorer WA ED-R series, either in 8x32 or 8x42. They should be right in budget for the 8x32 model or 10 quid over for the 8x42 one.

It also ticks the usual boxes wanted like ED glass, multicoatings, phase coatings and both have good eye relief for use with glasses. Here is a review from Lee of the 8x32 pair, which is also quite light at 440g - about 200g less than your usual 8x42 pair:


Joachim

 
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Kwack

Member
United Kingdom
Thanks for the advice. Whilst I do not have much of a clue about binoculars. (we can't all be experts when we start out on hobbies) I have read reviews on Internet and going by what was on rspb site and looking at the ones that's were around £140 I followed that train of thought.

8x42 seemed to be what was thought to be the right ones to go for as she does wear glasses or contacts. I could also consider 8x32 to widen the net so to speak if that would make sense too. I could just go with what I have used which is the rspb ones but if there is something better for a few quid more then I'm all ears.

What I do want to ensure is that I spend a reasonable amount of money for her to enjoy the hobby rather than buy a £50 pair and then uogarde shortly afterwards

Finding the balancing act plus deciphering all the terms can be a little bit of a minefield.

I will seek out those brands mentioned earlier and see where I get to

Many thanks
 
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Sprite1275

Well-known member
United Kingdom
Viking Merlin 8x42 HERE for £176. Seem decent spec for the price.
  • Extra Low Dispersion glass objective lenses.
  • Fully multicoated optics.
  • Dielectric coated phase corrected BAK 4 Prisms.
  • Rubber armoured & fully waterproof.
  • Wide field of view.
  • Twist down eyecups for spectacle wearers.
  • Supplied with rainguard, case and strap.
  • 10 year guarantee.
THESE also look good for £170.

I've never looked through any of the above so can't say what there like.

Must admit though I do have THESE and they are brilliant little binos for the money (£93). So bright and easy to use. I've seen one of the presenters on winter watch use them.
 
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[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Hawk Frontier ED X 8x42. If you shop around you can get them for about $350. Here is a pair in the US on eBay for $325.

s-l1600.jpg
 

Sprite1275

Well-known member
United Kingdom
^^^^ I would of suggested them but you can't get them anywhere near £200 in UK. The Hawke frontier HD you can or the endurance ED.
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
As soon as I read the original post I was going to suggest an 8x32, just like Joachim did.
Regardless of how big/small your daughter is, or how fit/unfit she is, I'd rather take a light and small 8x32 as my first bincoulars. That way, I'd avoid the risk of them being too heavy and she not wanting to put them in the backpack or hauling them around. It's just and idea, but maybe worth considering.
By the way, do you know if she had used any particular model she liked? Maybe that can also be useful, if she has had the opportunity to try something, a nice way to create a bond would be to choose the same brand or model (just an idea).

If you do go down the 8x42 route, the Viking Merlin ED 8x42 seem to be solid performers. You can find them for as low as 205 GBP.
They have most things you could wish for: a quite impressive field of view (8,1º), phase correction and dielectring coatings (those should make the image bright and full of contrast), a reasonable close focus distance (2m) and a reasonable weight (720 g).

There is an awful lot of binoculars out there, so trying to navigate the endless models seems a daunting task.
I want to share a nice video of a fellow British going through the process of finding the right binocular (8x32 in this case). It is really informative (he is not an optics seller or anything), it gives you an idea of the different steps in the price ladder. You can see him playing with the devices (the sounds and image give a quite impressive sense of their weight and tactical quality of each).
 

Sprite1275

Well-known member
United Kingdom
If you do go down the 8x42 route, the Viking Merlin ED 8x42 seem to be solid performers. You can find them for as low as 205 GBP.
]
As low as £176 as I posted above while eBay has the 15% off code. I do like the look of the vanguard I posted though for less!
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

since the daughter is wearing glasses, eye relief (aka ER in the jargon) is important. Some guidelines are that 17-18mm or more is fine with the vast majority of glasses, under 15mm is usually a no-go. In between you got to try... which is not so easy nowadays...

So especially when looking at 8x32 pairs, check ER.

Joachim
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
As low as £176 as I posted above while eBay has the 15% off code. I do like the look of the vanguard I posted though for less!
My mistake, sorry, I hadn't seen that. The Vanguard VEO however seems to belong to a lower specced category than the Merlin ED (no dielectric coatings). A closer match to the Merlin is maybe the Vanguard Endeavor ED, that can also be found for less than 200 GBP, here for example:

I once had a Vanguard ED II and I guess my unit was not a good one, because the focus wheel was really mushy and vague and the whole device didn't really impress (although the ED II is well respected by many). However, both the Vanguard ED (at 122/1000) and the VEO 2 (at 110 m/1000) have much narrower field of view than the Viking at 142/1000.
 

Kwack

Member
United Kingdom
Hi

Many thanks for all the great advice. I spoke to one of the recommended retailers and we went through a lot of binoculars and ended up at the opticron explorer Ed in 8x32. This offered a great range of features and weight was pretty low as she did mention to me that the bins did feel a bit heavy after a while walking round the wood

Havent purchased yet.. More food for thought

Thanks
 

Kwack

Member
United Kingdom
So narrowed it down to the following two finally both in 8x32

Opticron explorer wa ed r

Vortex diamondback hd

Both around the same price. Been advised optically the optircron edges it very so slightly. Warranty and accessories on the vortex better

Any other food for thought and experience on these two to help me decide

Cheers
 

Kwack

Member
United Kingdom
As soon as I read the original post I was going to suggest an 8x32, just like Joachim did.
Regardless of how big/small your daughter is, or how fit/unfit she is, I'd rather take a light and small 8x32 as my first bincoulars. That way, I'd avoid the risk of them being too heavy and she not wanting to put them in the backpack or hauling them around. It's just and idea, but maybe worth considering.
By the way, do you know if she had used any particular model she liked? Maybe that can also be useful, if she has had the opportunity to try something, a nice way to create a bond would be to choose the same brand or model (just an idea).

If you do go down the 8x42 route, the Viking Merlin ED 8x42 seem to be solid performers. You can find them for as low as 205 GBP.
They have most things you could wish for: a quite impressive field of view (8,1º), phase correction and dielectring coatings (those should make the image bright and full of contrast), a reasonable close focus distance (2m) and a reasonable weight (720 g).

There is an awful lot of binoculars out there, so trying to navigate the endless models seems a daunting task.
I want to share a nice video of a fellow British going through the process of finding the right binocular (8x32 in this case). It is really informative (he is not an optics seller or anything), it gives you an idea of the different steps in the price ladder. You can see him playing with the devices (the sounds and image give a quite impressive sense of their weight and tactical quality of each).
Super useful video just watched thanks

Thinking viking merlin or kestrel seems to be great for that £200 mark. Although he hasn't tested the opticron one a dealer recommended
 

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