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very small format bins (1 Viewer)

mark clements

New member
I bought 2 pairs of 10x26 bins for the glove box of our cars. I needed something to grab and view whilst pottering around (not whilst actually driving), and went for a space saving format that was generally ok.
I always have decent bins in the boot/trunk but these are for those 'what was that?' moments.
I was staggered to see 8x25 through 10x26 etc ranging from 19.99 to over 600...
Does anyone use this format as their all day binocular, or only bins, therefore opting for the alpha badges?
In this format I tried about 15 pairs, looking at the same few views, before comprising on quality for price, and opted mid range.
I just wondered if anyone "needed" the really pricey ones, or if it is just 'badge collecting'?
I am happy to acknowledge, personal choice, wealth and usage are also factors, but a 600+ price difference seems a bit hard to explain.


Well-known member
My old 10x25 Docter is probably my most used binocular.
The rubber coat is worn and loose.
One eyecup looks moth eaten.
Probably not phase coated.
But very robust and it stays open exactly without collapsing. Thousands of times.
The view of aircraft at 35,000 ft is sometimes breathtaking.
It goes in my pocket without a case. I just take it out and use it.

I have used 10x25 extensively for decades.
Minolta, Nikon and others. Also £8 ones sometimes for solar projection.
I have no problem keeping them steady. If necessary I lean them on a lamp post or anything suitable.

I have a Swaorvski 10x25 and Leica 10x25. I don't like them.
They collapse and eye placement is difficult.

A low priced Dixons one is very high resolution, although very little eye relief and not ergonomic.

I understand that birdwatchers want phase coated, high transmission, colour true binoculars.
I just don't need these so long as the view is good and the observation is good.


Never look at the Sun with any optical instrument or even with unaided eyes.
Solar projection is safe so long as the binocular is held well away from anybody's eyes, and the Sun's image is projected onto white card or a light coloured wall.
The shadow of the binocular is a minimum size when properly lined up. So one uses the shadow of the binocular to get the image onto the white card.
One uses the focus wheel to get a sharp image.
10x25s are useful for this as they are not too large an aperture.
The eyepieces could heat up, so I only use cheap binoculars for safe solar projection.
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Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
...I just wondered if anyone "needed" the really pricey ones, or if it is just 'badge collecting'?...

Answer: YES, when it comes to pocket bins especially, the expensive ones are optically/mechanically/ergonomically _far_ superior to the cheapies. For those who push their optics to the limits under tricky conditions, the performance of x25 bins is inherently inferior to that of full-sized bins. One needs to get the very best pocket bins to get performance that is acceptable for critical applications.

I remember when I bought my first bin, which was an 8x42. I saw one model for $35 and another for $850 and for the life of me I couldn't imagine how they could be that different. Since then, I've learned a lot about binoculars.


Neil G.

Well-known member
Hi there hwinbermuda,
I did a similar thread just called "binoculars" where i asked the same question as you.......do people buy top end binoculars because there is a great diference in the viewing experience or does it become a "prestige thing" after a certain point.
I agree with the above poster to an extent about compact types....the really cheap ones don't give an enjoyable viewing experience in most cases but on the other hand you do not need to spend £600 on a pair of compact binoculars to get a fabulous viewing experience.
I do think after a point it can become a psycological or prestige matter......either people believe that the most expensive binoculars will give them a better image or they just want to be able to say "look at my expensive binoculars"........yes there are people like that.You have to spend a certain amount to get a really good viewing experience but after that "certain amount",image quality doesn't exactly improve in leaps and bounds.
I have a pair of Steiner wildlife pro which cost me less than £300....they are built like a tank,easier to hold for me than roof prisms and give me an image that to my eyes is very pleasing.I looked through a pair of the latest swarovski bino's not long ago that cost over £1000,there is no way that the difference in image quality is worth that price difference.In fact,i prefer the image from my Steiner's as they give a more three dimensional image rarther than a flatter one.
So yes,after a certain point i believe it will become a badge collecting excersize,it makes some people happy knowing they have the most expensive equipment.
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Well-known member
When I'm going out, and not specifically birding, I usually slip a pair of Pentax AD 8x25 WP binoculars in my jacket pocket, as opposed to my expensive 8x42 and 8x32 bins. When closed they are only 4.25 inches (107mm) x 2.5 inches ( 635mm). They have fully multicoated lenses, phase correction and bright coatings, great eye relief at 21mm, twist up eyecups that stay in any position, very nice smooth focus, hinges that stay open, very easy eye placement and a very nice crisp clear view. Not the widest fov at 96m, but I find it ok for different subjects on a day out. Great weight at only 300g and cheap enough at £104. These were the best specification and value for money for the intended use, I need long eye relief. Link below.



mark clements

New member
Thank you for your comments everyone, I am in the discussion with Mrs HW about the "need for" 6 pairs of binoculars, 3 Telescopes and 3 Cameras, plus accoutrements to attach the one to the other, and wondered how others felt.

Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
I don't care about brand prestige, I only care about performance. I own and have tried numerous pocket and compact binoculars from all the major bargain and prestige brands. You can get some nice functional performance for many tasks from a good and modestly-priced reverse-porro compact such as the B&L/Bushnell 7x26 Custom/Elite or the Nikon 8x25 ProStaff ATB. If you don't mind 10x and its many limitations of FOV and DOF, there is one bargain pocket roof that I can recommend--the Bushnell 10x25mm Legend Ultra HD (discontinued but still available as new old stock at the screaming good price of $143.63). Some will even prefer a good reverse-porro to a much more expensive top-end pocket roof such as the Leica 8x20 Ultravid BL, but the Ultravid will do better in tricky (e.g. back-lit) situations and is much more compact. Not everyone will appreciate the difference in performance. However, I am of the firm belief that with the advent of the latest premium pocket roofs, namely the Zeiss 8x25 Victory Pocket (currently $820), we've entered a new era as it sets a much higher benchmark of performance in small binoculars. The Zeiss 8x25 Victory leaves everything else in the dust with its easy view, superb contrast, wide FOV, and excellent handling. It's a pocket bin that can compete with x32 and x42 bins for serious rough-and-tumble fast-paced birding in most situations. I can't say that about any other compact or pocket bin.


mark clements

New member
@Alexis Powell
Thank you for that, I may well look out the Zeiss 8x25 Victory in May... significant birthday time :)

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