OT - Binoculars

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by John Cuthbertson, Nov 20, 2003.

  1. I know this is off-topic but I'll go ahead anyway.

    Do any of you own binoculars? What brand/model do you have? Do you recommend

    The reason why I'm asking is that me, the wife, and kid are taking Grandma
    and Grandpa to Hawaii in February as a Golden Anniversary present and I want
    to use the binos for some nice relaxing babe - I mean whale - watching from
    the beach.

    To get back on topic: I am taking my N90s, 50mm 1.8, and my 20-35mm zoom for
    photography. Normally I would also take the 80-200 2.8 and a teleconverter
    but those whales play with your head - I mean they *seriously* play with
    your head. The last time I was there (5 years ago) two whales were breaching
    about 500 yrds off shore. They did this for about an hour until I decided to
    go and grab a camera and I never saw them again. The same thing happened on
    a whale watching trip. So instead of trying to photograph whales I've
    decided that I'll save the film for less fickle subjects and watch them
    through some binoculars.

    For those who get really annoyed at non-35mm related questions - think of
    this as an accessory question. ;-)

    Right now I'm leaning toward the Olympus Trooper 7-15x15, or the Nikon
    8-21x40(50?). They are at BnH for $70 and $160 respectively.


    John Cuthbertson (start the email address at the 'h' for the true address).
    John Cuthbertson, Nov 20, 2003
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  2. John Cuthbertson

    Vin Guest

    Maybe if you are near the water, you would want something that is
    waterproof. I myself have been thinking about getting a Pentax PCFWP
    (Porro Prism, Central Focus Waterproof). [The DCFWP (Roof Prism)
    costs about 3x the Porro.]But not sure which Mag. to get. They
    come in 7x35,8x40,7x50,10x50 and are not too pricey and are
    nitrogen filled so that dont fog up. They are about A$300. Olympus
    also has them with probably a similar name.

    Vin, Nov 20, 2003
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  3. John Cuthbertson

    George Guest

    I've got quite a few pairs of binoculars (1 Nikon 7x35, 6 Minolta -
    autofocus, marine, and theater). I wouldn't worry too much about the brand
    as long as you stick with any of the following: Nikon, Canon, Minolta,
    Pentax, Leitz, Zeiss, Bausch & Lomb, Swarovski, Fujinon, Steiner

    Now for a few suggestions for your usage:
    1) Will you be viewing on shore or from a boat? If you'll be hand holding
    the binoculars, you might want to consider one of the newer vibration
    reduction types.
    2) You might want to consider AF binoculars if your subject appears
    sporadically in different areas (like whales).
    3) Typically, marine binoculars have an "exit pupil" (objective lens
    diameter divided by the magnification) of 7 or more because it can be foggy
    or dim and this allows more light in...so popular marine binoculars are
    typically something like 7x50 or so.
    4) The zoom binoculars you suggest would be virtually impossible to hand
    hold at the high magnification end of their range plus they would be very
    dim (the Olympus would have an exit pupil of 1 at its highest
    magnification)...I suggest you try before you buy something like this. My
    guess is that you'll find yourself bracing against a sandbag and then
    wondering what you're looking at because of the dim image.
    5) One other place you might want to look before buying is www.overstock.com
    as they sell quite a few "refurbished" binoculars and SOMETIMES they are
    priced about 1/2 the new price.

    Hope this helps.
    George, Nov 20, 2003
  4. John Cuthbertson

    George Guest

    The omission of Olympus was just an oversight on my part...I'm sure there
    are a couple more first rate brands I forgot.
    George, Nov 20, 2003
  5. Hi George,

    Thanks for the reply - see my responses interspaced wit your original

    Mostly it will be from the beach. I don't anticipate a boat-ride but you
    never know. I never thought to look at IS binos.
    Another excellent idea that never occurred to me.
    Thanks for the info - I'll bear it in mind. Such a large exit pupil would be
    good to have for trips to San Francisco (I live in the Bay Area) :).
    According to the specs both models I originally mentioned had an exit pupil
    of 2.3mm at the long end. Will they really be that dim? I'm not married to
    "zoom" binos. I really don't mind buying a fixed magnification model if they
    are really superior (I think there was a Nikon set that had an exit pupil of
    Thanks for the pointer - I'll check them out tomorrow. This is just the sort
    of information I was looking for as I am certainly no expert.

    John Cuthbertson
    John Cuthbertson, Nov 20, 2003

  6. How much do you want to spend? The Leica 8x32's are great, about $800, I believe.
    Michael Scarpitti, Nov 20, 2003
  7. John Cuthbertson

    Bandicoot Guest

    Monk - for marine types - Swift and Docter-optik come to my mind as possible
    additions to your list.

    I have Monk 7x50 marine ones, a compact Nikon pair that is OK (probably not
    representative of current stuff as they are old) a Zeiss 10x50 pair that is
    excellent, and a couple of Leicas. The Leicas are the best ones I have, but
    Swarovski ones I've borrowed in the past have been their equal.

    I wholly agree with your other comments: don't get too high a magnification
    to handhold, and don't forget to keep the exit pupil as a sensible value.

    Bandicoot, Nov 20, 2003
  8. Hi Michael,


    My budget is up to $300 dollars. I don't need the absolute best as I will be
    a casual observer at best. I don't think I will be using them for astronomy;
    I'm not a birdwatcher. What I'm trying to find is a set of binoculars that
    are "decent" - decent pulling power, decent clarity, decent contrast, decent
    brightness, decent handling. I'm not even definite that I want a set of zoom
    binos - those were just what I thought looked good based upon specs and

    Any ideas?

    John Cuthbertson
    John Cuthbertson, Nov 20, 2003
  9. John Cuthbertson

    Johnny the M Guest

    Johnny the M, Nov 20, 2003
  10. Hi John,

    At that price range, your best bet is Eagle Optics. I've purchased two pair
    of binoculars from them, as well as knowing several others who have, and we
    are all very satisfied. If www.eagleoptics.com doesn't work try any search
    engine. They also have a great catalog with tons of information. Good

    Robert Millard, Nov 21, 2003

  11. That's what they all say. Then they look through a $300 binocular and
    compare it to a Trinovid. Then they go to the bank to for the $500

    Nikon makes decent $300 binoculars, I believe.

    Call Gary Crickmore at Cord Camera in Columbus, Ohio 1-800-944-2673.
    He's got a closeout deal on 8x32 Leica Trinovids you won't believe.
    Michael Scarpitti, Nov 21, 2003
  12. Hi Michael,

    I'll tell you what - I'll buy the Leica binoculars if I can sleep on your
    couch after the wife throws me out ;-).

    John Cuthbertson, Nov 26, 2003
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