Binoculars

I would like to purchase a pair of binoculars for chasing purposes; however, I have no clue what to look for and a quick check online indicates that prices vary drastically. Can anyone recommend a good pair for chasing? I need something practical and not too expensive.

Thanks!
 
I have a set of Bushnell 10X50 that probably run about $50 to $70 at Wally World (Wal-Mart). Certainly not the greatest, but more than adequate.
 
I have 2 sets, both simmons, one is 8x40 which i love, the other is 10x50 sport. I prefer the 8x40 set myself.
 
This can be a bit of a loaded question, as the planned use for binoculars will limit your selection somewhat. For instance, I have a pair of Bushnell 10x50's that are great for astronomy and site-seeing, but are a bit bulky for the backpack. I also have some 7x35's that are quite compact and great for bird-watching, but don't have the magnification for long distance stuff. I suspect something in the middle of these two (8x40) or the 10x50's would be better for most storm-spotting work, however you can decide from this. Other factors that will affect the cost will include the brand name (quality), lens-coatings, weather-proofness etc.
 
Forgive me if I'm explaining more than you need to know, but...
the first number is the amount of magnification (7x, 8x, 10x). More magnification isn't necessarily better as every shake is also magnified. Most people can't handhold over 10x without the image shake becoming more annoying than they can handle. (Bracing yourself on the trunk of your car or something can help steady things).

The 2nd number is the diameter of the the objective lenses (a 7x35 has 35mm diameter lenses, 10x50 has 50mm diameter lenses). This is more important for night viewing (or astronomy) than daylight viewing, but all things being equal, the bigger the objective lens the "brighter" the scene will appear.

Assuming decent optics, the MOST important thing in binoculars is collimation. If you are buying a used set, make sure that both monoculars are pointing in the same direction. If they aren't you'll see a double image (using both eyes) or a shift in the image when closing one eye and then the other. Walk away from any pair that is not properly collimated. (I'd prefer to buy a pair in a store, over mail order, for this reason.)

Another thing to consider is how weatherproof, shockproof ect. they are. For daytime all-weather use, I like the armor-coated waterproof military Steiner (6x30s) - particularly if you can find them in a pawn shop where they have them priced at $25 like the beat up Bushnells beside them on the shelf. :twisted:

Darren Addy
Kearney, NE
 
I purchased a nice Nikon last winter. Retail was $140 but it came with a $40 rebate. As with camera lenses, good glass is a plus. Zeiss is propably the best but outside of most folks price range. If buyiing new, keep an eye on rebates and sale prices. Also check eBay for relative costs of used items.
 
All, thanks for the info.

I purchased a nice Nikon last winter. Retail was $140 but it came with a $40 rebate. As with camera lenses, good glass is a plus. Zeiss is propably the best but outside of most folks price range. If buyiing new, keep an eye on rebates and sale prices. Also check eBay for relative costs of used items.

What model number did you get? Also, where did you purchase it from?

Thanks!
 
I believe I have the Nikon 10x50 Action Extreme (purchased from Scheels All Sport but also available at many sporting goods stores like Gander Mountain and Cabelas .., and numerous places online) Suggested retail: $179. Purchased on sale for $139 with a $40 rebate for total cost of $99.

One of the best times of the year to buy gadgets for personal use is the Christmas shopping season. Lots of heated competition resulting in nice sale prices. The manufacturers also like to throw in rebates to tip the uncertain costomer in their direction.
 
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