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What would you recommend? (1 Viewer)

Hi everyone,

We are planning a trip next year in May - June to visit Canada & Alaska by motorhome, obviously for the wildlife. Can any of you suggest the best binoculars / scopes for such a trip. I have a pair of Helios Mistral WP6 10 x 50 ED. I also have a Celestron 52306 Regal M2 100ED Spotting Scope in my shopping basket.
I would also welcome advice on the type of camera / lens that would be good enough for a rank amateur? I own a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 & an Olympus Digital Camera E-420 - 10 megapixel c/w Olympus Digital 14-42mm, 1:3.5-5.6 ED lens & Olympus Digital 70-300mm, 1:4-4.6 ED (140-600mm equivalent) lens.
 

gr8fuldoug

Camera Land / Supporting Vendor
Good afternoon. Joel from Camera Land here. Doug's brother. I run the photo side of the business. Today I would suggest the Olympus E-M5 Mark 3 with the 14-150mm (28-300mm in full frame terms. However, this month there is no rebate so I would wait until June. Though you mention next May/June for the trip and there will be deals for Christmas and some new models introduced between now and then. Happy to discuss options with you
Call me at 516-217-1000 whenever you are ready

Joel
Camera Land
 

qwerty5

Well-known member
United States
Hi everyone,

We are planning a trip next year in May - June to visit Canada & Alaska by motorhome, obviously for the wildlife. Can any of you suggest the best binoculars / scopes for such a trip. I have a pair of Helios Mistral WP6 10 x 50 ED. I also have a Celestron 52306 Regal M2 100ED Spotting Scope in my shopping basket.
I would also welcome advice on the type of camera / lens that would be good enough for a rank amateur? I own a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 & an Olympus Digital Camera E-420 - 10 megapixel c/w Olympus Digital 14-42mm, 1:3.5-5.6 ED lens & Olympus Digital 70-300mm, 1:4-4.6 ED (140-600mm equivalent) lens.
It all depends on your budget. How much are you willing to spend?

As far as binoculars go, for $200-$300, I would recommend Vortex Diamondback HD, they are excellent binoculars and cost $250. I own the 10x42 and have no complaints. The Nikon Monarch 5 costs $300, has slightly better optics, but has an extremely tiny field of view so I don't recommend it.

For mid-range binoculars (~$500), the best is Vortex Viper HD. I have researched bins in this range quite a bit and concluded nothing beats them for the price. Here is a good review: Vortex Viper HD 8x42 Review
Many people will recommend the Nikon Monarch 7, but from what I've read it's not as good as the Viper. Here is a comparison: Vortex Viper HD vs Nikon Monarch 7 vs Maven C.1: Battle of the HD binoculars - Baxter Bowman
Many people think that the Viper does nearly as good as many $1000 bins. I recently read a review that placed the Viper as good or better than the Meopta Meopro Air, which costs $979.

For a binocular around $1000, the different models each have different strong points, so it's best to look through them and decide which you like best. The tops in this range are Nikon Monarch HG, Zeiss Conquest HD, Leica Trinovid, and Vortex Razor HD.

I believe the Celestron Regal is a very good scope, so there is not a huge reason not to stick with it.
 

edwincjones

Well-known member
Alaska is a big, open country, so plan on mainly distant viewing.
What you have should work unless you want something different, or to upgrade.

If I were going I would take my 8x32s for the wide landscapes
and fujinon TS-X 14x40 IS as a substitute for the spotting scope
for the wildlife and boating.

I have had many trips, but Alaska and New Zealand have been the most spectacular.

edj
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

I personally would not buy another 10x pair - you have one and it seems to be a perfectly serviceable Made in China pair, at least from data and reviews.

I would certainly take an 8x32 pair along with the 10x50 if I was going on a trip with two persons... spotters are easily shared (especially when angled), bins not so much.
Edwin's argument for the Fujinon 14x stabilzed pair makes sense if you plan to do a lot of boating (and only then), as the Fujinon stabilizer is usually inferior to the Canon system for your usual shaky hands, but seems to have been designed for use on fast moving watercraft or helicopters... don't ask what for...

The 100mm ED scope sounds like a good choice for long distance - if you don't plan to hike with it. Please read up on star testing it before so you can test it inside the return period to ensure that you get a good example...
You also need a quite sturdy tripod and head for this too...

As for the camera I have to say that a travel companion of mine has the fz1000 and makes really stunning wildlife images with it... as long as its 400mm effective focal length are enough. Since you also probably are used to that camera and thus will probably miss less images than with a brand new kit that arrived a few days before departure. Although in your case, you still have got almost a year to learn a new system...

I would not consider a camera with less effective focal length than 400mm like an m43 body with a zoom up to 150mm (or 300 effective) for wildlife at great distance...
You could try to adapt your 4/3 70-300 with an adapter for an effective 140-600mm... if you are content with its performance. Be warned though that it will not be as fast focusing as a good native m43 long lens... so good for mammals across the plains, less so for birds in flight.

Joachim
 

qwerty5

Well-known member
United States
I personally would not buy another 10x pair - you have one and it seems to be a perfectly serviceable Made in China pair, at least from data and reviews.
My reasons for suggesting another 10x:
Alaska is a wide open country, so the extra magnification of a 10x would be helpful. Since his current pair costs $120, I suggest a significant upgrade, and I think it would be better to upgrade to a much better 10x, rather than an 8x. I seriously doubt he will be able to see more detail with his current 10x than with a new 8x, making his old 10x basically useless anyways. So if buying a new binocular will make his old bins obsolete, then I think he should get a new 10x42. Just my 2 cents.
 

jring

Well-known member
My reasons for suggesting another 10x:
Alaska is a wide open country, so the extra magnification of a 10x would be helpful. Since his current pair costs $120, I suggest a significant upgrade, and I think it would be better to upgrade to a much better 10x, rather than an 8x. I seriously doubt he will be able to see more detail with his current 10x than with a new 8x, making his old 10x basically useless anyways. So if buying a new binocular will make his old bins obsolete, then I think he should get a new 10x42. Just my 2 cents.

Hi,

I found his current pair at 250€ on sale over here... and the specs ticked the usual boxes like phase coating, fully multi coated and ED glass. The reviews to be found read not too bad either. But maybe Philip could chime in and tell us whether he found his current pair not good enough or just OK but might fancy a nicer pair...

Joachim
 

edwincjones

Well-known member
other thoughts

1- size and weight of all baggage
2- durability of optics with baggage handlers
(motorhome beds are nice places for optics to ride)
3- risk of damage or loss on a long trip
4- considering cost of trip does it make sense to skimp on quality

sounds like a great trip-enjoy
edj
 

qwerty5

Well-known member
United States
Hi,

I found his current pair at 250€ on sale over here... and the specs ticked the usual boxes like phase coating, fully multi coated and ED glass. The reviews to be found read not too bad either. But maybe Philip could chime in and tell us whether he found his current pair not good enough or just OK but might fancy a nicer pair...

Joachim
Ah, I was looking at the non-ED version of his bins. The ED are over $200.
 

wllmspd

Well-known member
I would replace the spotter zoom with a few fixed focal length wider angle astro eyepieces for better views. The Baader morpheus are a well regarded model, though there are plenty of alternatives. Do check to see if people have confirmed that those models do indeed reach focus with the Regal. 100mm should allow you to get some high powers (if the light and seeing allow)
Peter
 

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