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What's a good "prosumer" binocular?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/15/2011 at 13:51
Glenstr View Drop Down
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I'm using the "prosumer" description in the context of DSLR's that is, something that's better than entry level, but not near as much($$) as top of the line, yet carry some of the features top of the line does.  I know that's probably and apples/oranges comparison when it comes to binoculars, but it's the best description I can think of at the moment. I'm thinking along the lines of my DSLR, I paid about $1000 for the body, which does far more than entry level DSLR's did at the time, yet was only a feature or two short shy of models costing 4X that much. Not sure if the same levels of quality exist in the binocular world or not..

I want to get my better 1/2 a nice set of clear, sharp binoculars this Christmas, something that very good, if not exceptional sharpness and clarity, but won't drain the bank acct.  She does a lot of bird watching,  most of the trees she looks in are anywhere from 50 - 250' from our deck. We also live on a lake and she likes to watch the Ospreys and Pelicans, distances varying from 300' away to about 1 mile. So I'd like something fairly powerful, but still hand holdable. I'm thinking in the $200-$300 range, but I'll go as high as $500 if it means paying that much more for far superior glass.

A big new Cabela's just opened in the city closest to me (Edmonton) - is this a good place to get started?

Is this doable?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/15/2011 at 16:37
Bird Watcher View Drop Down
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For birding I really like the Pentax PCF WP II Porro prism binoculars.
 
 
Women with smaller hands may prefer the Nikon Action Extreme ATB Porro models.
 
 
The sporting goods store that you mentioned is a very good place for hands on testing, however, I do not believe that they carry the PCF WP II Porro models.
 
Stan


Edited by Bird Watcher - November/15/2011 at 16:40
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/15/2011 at 17:06
Glenstr View Drop Down
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thanks! those look good and in my price range - what in your opinion would be the max power one could use and still be hand holdable?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/15/2011 at 17:16
Glenstr View Drop Down
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ps. I forgot to mention that I see some of them have IS now, is this more a gimmick or is it actually a useful thing?

I was browsing around and came across XXXXX which are attractively priced but I've never heard of Image Stabilization in binoculars before.. 

1) I got a Canon 8x IS binocular for my wife.  She says it is the best she has ever used.  I tried numerous other brands, she hated everything until I got her the IS.

Please do not post links to competitor sites, as requested in the rules you are required to acknowledge before becoming a member of the OT Forum.  


Edited by Kickboxer - November/15/2011 at 17:43
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/15/2011 at 18:47
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Originally posted by Glenstr Glenstr wrote:

thanks! those look good and in my price range - what in your opinion would be the max power one could use and still be hand holdable?
 
The 'average' person can hand hold 8x binoculars without difficulty.
However, if the binocular is too lightweight that can also be a cause of image vibration.
Years ago I hand held an 8x32 which weighed only 20 ounces and I noticed considerable hand shake.  It was just too lightweight for me. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/15/2011 at 18:56
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[QUOTE=Glenstr] ps. I forgot to mention that I see some of them have IS now, is this more a gimmick or is it actually a useful thing? QUOTE]
 
Canon makes excellent Image Stabilizer binoculars but they can be expensive as you go up in magnification.
 
The biggest concern regarding Canon IS/Image Stabilization binoculars is, once the three year warranty is expired, the cost of repairing the IS system is quite expensive.
 
The 8x25 Canon IS binocular retails at $400.
The other consideration would be the need for good quality Lithium batteries, especially in cold weather.
 
Stan 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/15/2011 at 19:32
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IS is definitely not a gimmick.  I was sort of skeptical until I saw it at work at a Canon booth in a Birding Festival display.  You may have to go a bit over the $500 range, but for handheld stability it is hard to beat the IS feature.  It may be somewhat gimmicky in that you need a battery and the binocular looks sort of odd, but the images is great.
 
In conventional handheld binoculars, most people will find 8x will be more steady and as such may be more useful at longer distances for some than extra magnification.
 
In the lower end of your range there are several good deals.  I personally think the Zen Ray ZRS HD, the Theron Wapiti HQ and now the new Wapiti LP are the best around $200 or so binoculars I have personal experience with.  The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD gets good press from some but I've had two and don't like them a whole lot.  No need to go over $500 either.  Top out in that area with the Zen Ray ZEN ED 3, Vortex Talon HD, Kruger Caldera, or Theron Wapiti APO-ED and you will have a fantastic binocular you will have to spend 3-5X more money to beat a whole lot, if then.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/15/2011 at 22:17
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Originally posted by Glenstr Glenstr wrote:

She does a lot of bird watching,  most of the trees she looks in are anywhere from 50 - 250' from our deck. We also live on a lake and she likes to watch the Ospreys and Pelicans, distances varying from 300' away to about 1 mile. So I'd like something fairly powerful, but still hand holdable.
 
I'll probably get buried for this one, but here goes.
 
My wife & I were bird watching, several days ago, at one of our local lakes when this woman showed up at our location. She was slightly over 5' tall and must have weighed around 110 lbs. or so.  Around her neck she had an inexpensive Bushnell 8x42 Porro prism binocular.  After a little chit chat I handed her my Pentax 12x50 PCF WP II and told her to take a look across the lake, just for grins. Big Grin
She ended up looking through them for 15 minutes or more, she was verbally excited about the views and the magnification.
 I wrote the info down for her and she left insisting that she was going to get one for herself.
 
Stan
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/16/2011 at 11:10
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Thanks everyone for the great info!

And apologies to the Mod re posting an outside link, yesterday when I was looking for info I just googled binoculars forums and this site came up - did not realize it was a vendor site.

I am definitely going to check out the Pentax models, being a Pentax user in the first place (I have about 8 film SLR's and two DSLR's), also going to check out the other models suggested. The IS are a bit pricey, but I'm going to see if I can try some out and see how much better they are. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/17/2011 at 11:20
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If you are checking out Pentax then consider the new Pentax DCF BC 9x32. I have the Sightron version of it and would highly recommend it based on my experiences with the Sightron. Very ergonomic, reasonably lightweight, great optical performance and reasonably priced (considering your suggested price range).
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/08/2011 at 01:12
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She has the binocular at the same time inexpensive Bushnell 8x42 Porro prism on hers neck. After a young girl chatted me to hand over her my Pentax 12x50 PCF WP II, and told her to look at the spread-eagle lake, to grin.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/08/2011 at 13:05
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Originally posted by yingxuy yingxuy wrote:

She has the binocular at the same time inexpensive Bushnell 8x42 Porro prism on hers neck. After a young girl chatted me to hand over her my Pentax 12x50 PCF WP II, and told her to look at the spread-eagle lake, to grin.
Laser Zap


Edited by Bird Watcher - December/13/2011 at 16:50
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/08/2011 at 13:39
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Definitely a part of the "invasion"...

 

thank you for the heads up...

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