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any recommendations on binoculars?

Zichron Yaakov...
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103 posts
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any recommendations on binoculars?

Hi there,

we're planning on visiting Alaska next summer. Searching the net, I found out that many people recommend on having binoculars (mainly in Denali Park, but also in the area of Inside Passage).

Does anybody have any specific recommendation regarding which binoculars would do the job? What lenses would fit the best if we want to see birds as well as whales and bears?

Thanks,

Iris

Adirondack, New York
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1. Re: any recommendations on binoculars?

Iris, you have to have them for your trip in Alaska. Not only for Denali National Park and Inside Passage. Everywhere you go you'll be glad you have them. Have one pair for EVERY member of your group.

You'll read and hear many opinions on binoculars. Everyone seems to have a favorite pair with specific magnification, lenses. This all interesting and helpful but it is not as easy as to just read suggestions and then buy them on line. My recommendation is to go to the store which carries them and try them out. I bought mine years ago at the Central Camera in Chicago and they let me take them outside. What works for me may not work for you. It really depends on your individual vision. I, for instance, cannot comfortably use my husband's expensive binoculars. On the other hand my inexpensive Nikon are fabulous and serve me well on all trips to Alaska, African safaris and so many trips around the world. Hence, before you buy your binoculars relying on somebody's recommendation do your homework by trying them out in person. Then buy them.

Zichron Yaakov...
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103 posts
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2. Re: any recommendations on binoculars?

Thanks, Places, for your comment. Of course we'll try the binoculars prior to buying any, only we have no clue how to start our search. So I'm trying to get a general idea of what we should look for when buying binoculars.

Thanks again,

Iris

Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: any recommendations on binoculars?

Because it can be rainy in Alaska, I've heard it suggested that you purchase waterproof/fog proof binoculars, to keep any moisture out of lens area. I ended up with an 8X42 waterproof pair, that fit me well, but may fit someone else differently.

Alaska
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for Alaska
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4. Re: any recommendations on binoculars?

At the entry/index page to the Alaska topics you will find a "search" box a bit above the index of topics. enter 'binocular' to find half a dozen earlier discussions and many opinions. My own from November read:

Optics, optics and optics - get the best optics that you can find for the money you choose to spend! The lens is all important, and it is hard to imagine a manufacturer who will put good optics in a bad mechanical package.

I don't mind turning to the pros when I am looking, even if I don't need professional quality. In this case one of the sites I came upon was

birdwatching.com/optics/pockets_chart.html

and in the last 30 years I have worked up a great respect for bird watchers and astronomers. They know their stuff. On that page I quoted they list a bunch of binoculars and four of them are under $60, and you can shop for a better price. If they even looked at them, I would expect the quality to be presentable at least.

Now 8x22 or 8x25 will do you just fine. The 8 power is quite respectable and the 25 will let in more light than the 22 will; at the same time a medium sized 8x35 will let in even more light, but you pay in weight and size carried.

You can do a lot of google searching form more evaluations, but another site did say you are on the right track: "Binoculars are available in a staggering range of prices. Most reviews cover binoculars in between about $55 to nearly $2,000. When it comes to binoculars costing $50 or less, we found the user reviews posted at Amazon.com to be the best resource. In this price range, durability is far from assured. For example, while many users are quite satisfied with the Bushnell Falcon 10x50 binoculars, especially for their low price (*est. $30), several Amazon.com contributors report that they suddenly disintegrated." at

consumersearch.com/www/…index.html

Of the $60 binoculars these were listed on the site above:

Eagle Optics Explorer $59 8x25

Tasco Amphibian $50 10x25 (will transmit less light than 8x and be harder to hold steady)

Olympus DCP1 8x21 $59

Mead Travel View $40 8x25

Finally, when you get them in hand, look at which side has the fine adjustment for the optics. Ignore that side for a moment and use the general focus to focus in USING THE OTHER EYE. When that is focussed, keep it in place and return to the fine focus and adjust the fine focus for your second eye. Don't ask how many years it took me to learn that simple method!

Above all, you are looking for the best optics you can find.

71

Zichron Yaakov...
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5. Re: any recommendations on binoculars?

Wow, what a great review :-) Thanks so much, 71. I surely have some homework to do on that issue. I'll take a look in all those links you mentioned.

Iris

albuquerque, new...
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6. Re: any recommendations on binoculars?

Nikon Monarch ATB 8X36. They are both waterproof and fog proof. They are also light weight. My husband manages a camera store, and knows about optics. This is what we purchased for our upcoming trip to Alaska.

Zichron Yaakov...
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103 posts
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7. Re: any recommendations on binoculars?

Thanks, lahad, for you recommendation. I checked it out, but I'm afraid it's too pricy for us.

We're not really the type of hiking people or birdwatchers or anything like that, so probably we won't be using the binoculars a lot. Given the fact that people here keep on recommending on having one binocular for each traveler, and that there are two of us, we're probably looking for something around $70 a piece.

Alaska
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8. Re: any recommendations on binoculars?

Iris,

Sounds like you are coming to some good conclusions for yourself. Others proposed one pair of binoculars per person, but for two people I will propose one set. In my experience one set for two people is perfectly adequate for most people. Two sets for three people is handy but not required.

It is much better to buy one good set of binoculars than two mediocre sets! You will enjoy them far more.

71

Please, any other opinions, chime in!

Zichron Yaakov...
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103 posts
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9. Re: any recommendations on binoculars?

Hi 71,

Well, I thought about it, but I'm afraid that by the time we'll pass the binoculars from one to the other, and start re-adjusting it, the second person might miss whatever it was we wanted to see...

Can't they just invent binoculars with memory for, lets say, two people? :-) This way, by just clicking a button, all the adjustments are done in like 2-3 seconds.

North Bend, Oregon
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639 posts
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10. Re: any recommendations on binoculars?

Hi Iris!

If it matters, and albeit in the latter days of your trip, you're welcome to try a pair of ZenRay Summit binoculars aboard the Can Can. They sent me 6 pair last season, and I'm quite pleased with them so far.

Power is 10x42, and they're quite light and compact. In the summertime, I keep all 6 on the boat for guests' use, and during hunting season I always make sure there's a set in my pack.

I am of the opinion that everyone should have their own pair. Some of the more spectacular moments around here only last a second or two, and I'll second the advice to get to a store with a good selection and try as many as you can to see what suits your preference.

-Case