Wednesday, June 9, 2010

comparing binocular weights?

Q, from Mary Lou: My husband and I are using Swift Audubon 8.5 x 44 Model #804 wide field binoculars. We enjoy their ability for close focus. They have a lot of metal in the construction, however, so are quite heavy. For some time now, we notice the focus drifts, making it difficult to find and observe birds.

Your company is highly recommended to us, and we would appreciate your recommendations for comparable strength birding binoculars. A friend recently got 8 x 42 binoculars from you, I believe.

Please advise us as to which options you recommend.

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A: Thanks for the question, Mary Lou. You didn't mention your price range, but I'll be happy to suggest some options. Your Swift Audubon weighs about 29 ounces, so it shouldn't be difficult to find a lighter option with close focus in different price points.
One nice one that comes to mind is the Eagle Optics Ranger 8x42. It weighs 21.8 ounces and has a nice close focus of 5.2 feet. It's one of our top sellers for birders in its price range at $329.99.
Another popular choice for birders is the Nikon Monarch 8x42. It has a similar weight as the Ranger, 21.5 ounces, but is not quite as bright optically as the Ranger, and not as close a focus (8.2 feet). The price is $279.95.
Moving up in price, I like the Leupold Pinnacles 8x42. At $439.00, it has a close focus of 6.6' and weighs 23 ounces.
If you can spend more, I would steer you toward the Vortex Viper 8x42. At $539.99 it is a definite step up in optical quality (nice sharp, bright image), with a close focus of 5.1 feet and weighs 23 ounces.
All 4 of these are waterproof, fogproof, and come with a case and strap. Nikon carries a limited 25-year warranty; Leopold has a limited lifetime warranty; and these Vortex and Eagle Optics products have a transferrable lifetime unconditional warranty (we will fix or replace them free).
FedEx Ground shipping is free, and Eagle Optics has a 30-day return policy so you may test-drive one before making your final decision.

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