Monday, November 8, 2010

Which binocular to choose?

Q, from Gretchen:
What size and type of binocular would you recommend for wolf watching (and other wildlife) in Yellowstone? We use the binocular to find the wildlife and then we use the spotting scope.

Met a guy in Yellowstone who had a pair of Brunton, looked to be either a 8*42 or 10*42 binocular. He said he paid around $350 for them and he loved them. They were large but he said the stability was great and they let in a lot of light. Interesting because on your site they seem to price out at around $1000.

I looked at the Swavorski binocular but they are very expensive.


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A: Good question, Gretchen.
In general, a 10x42 will get you a bit closer to your subject, but with the higher magnification, there are a few trade-offs. First, the field of view is more narrow; second, the 10 magnification will be a little harder to hold steady; and third, the 10x42 will not be quite as bright in low-light conditions as the 8x42 will be. Since you will be using the binocular as a companion to your spotting scope, I would choose the 8x for better light and wider field of view.
You didn't mention your budget, but since you talked about a Brunton at around $350, I'll start there. It's posible the fellow you met was using the Brunton Eterna which we sell for $319. The field of view on the binocular is not great, though: 315 ft./1000 yds.
One I (and many of our customers) like under $400 is the Atlas Intrepid. At $349.99, it has an exceptional field of view: 399 ft./1000 yds. With the ED glass, this model also boasts a clear and crisp optical quality that makes it quite a bargain for its price. When you click the link, be sure to read the customer reviews!
Another to consider is the Burris Signature Select at $389. Field of view is decent at 331 ft./1000 yds.; and lighter in weight than the others mentioned here at 22 oz.
If you have a little more to spend, I'd recommend the wonderful Minox BL Comfort Bridge. At $489., it has a field of view of 410 ft./1000 yds., and the slightly larger objective lens would be an advantage during low-light conditions.

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