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How to choose birding binoculars?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/31/2015 at 09:51
Jania View Drop Down
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Hey guys. I love birds so much and have decided to get into birdwatching. I am missing the most important tool - a good pair of binoculars so I decided to go ahead and get them. My current budget is around $100-150. I've noticed that the most highly recommended are the ones by Nikon, Bushnell, Levenhuk and Pentax.  But which one is better and how do they compare to each other? Any advice and suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/31/2015 at 14:14
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I got a set of these lightly used a few weeks back.  They are a bit over your budget new, but IMO they are very nice bino's for the money.  Might be worth a look. 

http://swfa.com/Sightron-8x32-SII-Blue-Sky-Binocular-P48426.aspx
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/31/2015 at 15:11
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Welcome to OT, Jania!

I would cross Levenhuk off the list immediately. Stick with a name brand that offers products in multiple quality brackets, as you're way more likely to be able to get service on it if/when something fails.

In that price range, I would definitely be looking at porro prism binoculars rather than roof prism binoculars.

You might also add the Leupold Yosemite series porro prism binos.

However, if birdwatching is a serious passion, something you intend to do for the rest of your life, and you're willing to save your pennies a little longer, I believe you'd be better served to up the ante a little more. You'll be rewarded by significantly higher quality binos that will bring you many years of enjoyment. Factored over a lifetime of use, having better image quality in a hobby that emphasizes spending a lot of time looking through optics at colors and fine detail will be a wise investment. You can get some really nice binos these days starting at maybe a shade under $400. The porro prism design will always give you a bit better performance: price ratio than roof prism binos, but the only problem with that (at least as it pertains to new binoculars) is fewer manufacturers make truly good porro prism binos anymore because there's less demand for porros among birdwatchers and other serious optics users than in years past.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/31/2015 at 18:52
Klamath View Drop Down
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I thought I know all of the binocular brands, but Levenhuk?  What's a Levenhuk? Big Smile

With that budget get the Leupold Yosemite and don't look back.  Other very similar binoculars are the Vortex Raptor.

The linked Sightron is pretty spectacular.  There is everything you ever need to knlow about the Sightron here
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=211793

The Zen Ray ZRS HD is less than $250 and is quite good.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/31/2015 at 19:21
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Sightron blue sky 8x32. Trust us. They are worth saving just a little more $ than you planned. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/01/2015 at 07:35
Jania View Drop Down
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Its interesting. hmm. According to bestbinocularsreviews the most reliable ones are Celestron, Vanguard and Levenhuk
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/01/2015 at 10:08
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Don't know a lot about Best Binocular Reviews.  Some of the reviews on binoculars I also have experience with seem close to the mark.  I didn't see many poor reviews.  Seems to me they are into reviewing as many as they can and don't want to turn away ad money from producers/suppliers of review samples so they don't give many poor reviews.

I would not touch a Levenhuk with a ten foot pole, based on what I see there.  I see nothing more than a cheap binocular.

Celestron does come to market with some pretty good glass, as does Vanguard.

However, with your budget amount of less than $150, your overwhelming choices, in my opinion, are the Yosemite, the Raptor, and the Sightron.  That Sightron is butt kicking good.

Now the last thing should have been the first thing, welcome to OT Big Smile
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/01/2015 at 13:55
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Jania,

Speaking for myself, a lot depends upon the distances involved.

For the 'average' backyard/garden variety binoculars I like the Nikon 7x35 9.3 degree Field of View.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/01/2015 at 15:36
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Yes, get a Levenhuk, they are very good. Paperweights, as are the other two. 
I took a Celestron birding once. It lasted 7 hours.  



Edited by anweis - April/01/2015 at 15:41
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/01/2015 at 15:40
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Originally posted by Klamath Klamath wrote:

 That Sightron is butt kicking good.


Big Smile

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/01/2015 at 15:43
anweis View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Bird Watcher Bird Watcher wrote:

Jania,




This one has my BBBB  seal of approval. Birds, beer, etc.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/01/2015 at 15:45
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Originally posted by anweis anweis wrote:

Originally posted by Klamath Klamath wrote:

 That Sightron is butt kicking good.


Big Smile There are probably more owners of Sightron who posted 5 star reviews online than the total number of Levenstuff ever sold.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/01/2015 at 16:32
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If your budget is immoveable, then I would also recommend the Leupold Yosemite 8x30, or the Vortex Raptor 8.5x30.  Either one is good.  No other bino in your price range combines an excellent view with reasonable weight.  The 7x35 Nikon weighs over 1/2 pound more than these two, so if you will be hiking with your binos, you will be happy with the lighter weight.  Leupy and Vortex are also known to have very good customer service, should you ever have a problem with one of their products (which in my experience is a rare occurrence).

If you want a larger bino in your price range, look at the Olympus EXPS-1 8x40, which can often be found for under $100 at places that we are not allowed to mention here.  You can read a good review of these at the allbinos website.  They are better than the comparably-priced Nikons and Bushnells.  They are noticeably larger/heavier than the Raptor/Yosemite, but some people prefer some extra weight.  I do not.

If you would be willing to stretch the budget a bit, then I would also highly highly highly recommend the Sightron SII Blue Sky 8x32 that has also already been mentioned.  I've not seen a better roof-prism bino in the $175 and under category.  It's view, focus wheel, and weight are all excellent.  Personally, I would buy a Yosemite or Raptor and save the extra money for a really nice bino later on, but if you are certain that around $150 is all you would ever spend on a binocular, then spend a few extra bucks and get the Blue Sky.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/01/2015 at 19:09
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/06/2015 at 21:49
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I'll hop on the Yosemite bandwagon as well. I own a mid class is class Nikon for hunting, Swarovski EL ad Swarovski CL, my favorite, along with two Leupold Yosemite BX1 models. One for my truck one for my grandson.

For the price, $100 or so, they are a screaming bargain offering excellent benefits.
Wf.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/10/2015 at 12:00
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Same comments as everyone else.
 
At $170 I would opt for the Sightron Blue Sky SII 8x32
At $100 I would opt for the Leupold Yosemites or one of the clones...Opticron Savannah, Kow YF, etc...
At $50 look at the Celestron Nature 8x30 porro. Basically the same as the Leupolds.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/10/2015 at 12:04
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Where did you go, Jana?

Did you end up buying some binoculars?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/10/2015 at 15:11
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Guys, I think "we been trolled" by somebody looking to promote best binocular reviews and/or Levenhuk.  Got no real love for either so...poof. Big Smile
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/13/2015 at 23:02
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Originally posted by Klamath Klamath wrote:

Guys, I think "we been trolled" by somebody looking to promote best binocular reviews and/or Levenhuk.  Got no real love for either so...poof. Big Smile

Laser Zap
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/16/2015 at 11:18
Jania View Drop Down
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I bought Bushnells. Better 2 say not me but a friend of mine gave me a present.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/16/2015 at 19:18
Klamath View Drop Down
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Well I am glad to see you got something...and that it wasn't Levenhuk Big Smile.

However "a Bushnell" takes in a lot of territory.  Not all Bushnell's are anywhere near alike.

Oh yeah...I withdraw my troll comment Big Smile
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/17/2015 at 08:09
Jania View Drop Down
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haha. )))
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/17/2015 at 08:09
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ThanxBig Smile
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/01/2015 at 09:54
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Originally posted by Klamath Klamath wrote:


Oh yeah...I withdraw my troll comment Big Smile


Actually, I believe your first instincts were correct, my friend.

Hey "Jana," you wouldn't happen to know "Sophia12," would you?

She just happened to post a thread this morning asking essentially the same question as you, including asking about those cheap "L" brand binos, and lo and behold, her user profile said she was from "Tampa," same as yours. Yet, when I checked her IP address, it said she was in Russia. You and "Sophia12" are the only people who have ever asked about the "L" brand (don't want to give them any credibility by spelling out the name again) here on OT that I know of.  Now, within minutes of me suspending her account for being a spammer, you suddenly log into the forum. I'm sure all of this is mere coincidence, right?


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