Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ask the Avimor Bird Guy...binocular recommendations

From Jan H. (a new SOB to Tom) in Idaho:

My husband is really getting into birding and I need to get a new set of binoculars so I can actually see the birds! Any suggestions?

Avimor Bird Guy: Jan, I'm sorry that you have lost your husband to the birding addiction. My wife and mother-in-law can relate. It is a nerdy hobby, but it helps me give me the thrill of the hunt while enjoying the outdoors.

When it comes to binoculars...if you have even the faintest desire to enjoy is worth it to buy binoculars in the $300 range. You will see more and see it so much me! I spent the first two years of birding with $60 Bushnell's and they were horrible in comparison. I love my Eagle Optics Ranger SRT's 8x42. My father-in-law loves his Nikon Monarch 10x42's. I think Audubon Equinox binoculars are in that same price and quality range.

In the binocular world there is an incredible difference in quality and capability between $100 optics and $300 optics. Some big-time birders buy name brands that cost $1500+, but the difference in value from the $300 optics is not that much. But if I had the money, I'd go for the dream binoculars, Zeiss Victory FL's which run about $2400 (I hear they cook and clean for you).

When it comes to the magnification it is best to stick with 7x35, 8x42, or 10x42. These sizes give you the best amount of light and color transmission, best field of view, and best close-focus.

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