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Newbies (1 Viewer)


Active member
Hi -

My wife and I are new to birding, per se, but not new to cheap binoculars.

It's funny, we like taking nature walks. And we bought a pair of really cheap bins at a camera store in Hawaii about 15 years ago, a couple of $25 Nikons (retail $50?). Nothing special, but better than the compacting, completely plastic Bushnell labeled ones we had been using. They were just better than something you might have won playing skee ball at an arcade.

Anyway, back last September, we're visiting Cape May and an Audobon walk, when we stop for directions in a visitor's center. And it's laden with binoculars, ones costing anywhere from a hundred dollars to ones costing a few thousand.

While my wife is getting some advice on trails to seek out, I ask one of the clerks about where the sweet spot is when purchasing binoculars. Where is the point of diminishing returns?

A guy standing next to him chimes in. "Why don't you get a Swarovski?", he says. "If you amortize the cost over your next 10 vacations, it'll only cost you $300 per vacation."

First of all, I thought, isn't Swarovski that brand of man-made crystal jewelry you get in malls? What are they doing selling $3000 binoculars?!?

Secondly, I thought, that $300 per trip buys me the seat next to me on a jet to Europe.

I still couldn't get a straight answer about the sweet spot in binoculars buying. It turns out I was talking to a Swarovski rep.

Anyway, bringing this to the present, my wife and I have decided to treat ourselves to his and hers binoculars. We're looking at <$300 for a budget per pair. I'll write about what we have tried thus far in another post.


Lisa W

Staff member
Hi Jeff and welcome to the forum on behalf of the staff and moderators.
Yes, it can be daunting to try and get a pair of new binoculars at a decent price. I’m sure the people who hang out in the binocular forum can give you plenty of advice and help.


Picture Picker
Welcome to Birdforum! I am sure that you will find lots to interest you here, and I hope that you enjoy your visits. We visited Salem last autumn.


Active member
Thank You

Thanks everyone.

I posted a new thread regarding my search for bins in case anyone wants to chime in about that.


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