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binoculars recommendation for viewing wildlife in CR

Chicago, Illinois
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736 posts
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binoculars recommendation for viewing wildlife in CR

I recently did a trip report through 100 pictures, but I thought of one more thing I wanted to recommend to anyone going to Costa Rica soon, particularly if you are going with one of your prime goals being to see wildlife, like insects, frogs, butterflies, and other critters, up close. Before we left, I knew I needed to update our binoculars, since they were too heavy and big to really be practical..I wanted a pair that could easily fit inside a pocket inside my camera bag, so they would always be handy. After doing some internet research, I settled on a pair that turned out to be simply awesome! They are marketed as "butterfly" binoculars, for viewing things up very close...indeed, they sort of function like having a traveling dissecting scope with you at all times...if you remember what that's like from high school biology - they're the ones with two oculars, where you look at things in three dimensions. These binoculars focus accurately at 0.5 meters (18 inches)so you can see insects up close and personal, in ways you never have before. It's sort of creepy and very cool, at the same time! They also function very well as regular binocs for viewing birds, monkeys, etc. They are lightweight (10 ounces - 290 grams), small (4.6 inches by 4.3 inches) and have a magnification of 8.5 x 21. The last number I just gave, the 21, refers to the amount of light they bring in, which is not great compared to much bigger (and heavier) binocs, but they did the job for me, just fine. You can look them up, if interested on Amazon.com for a quick look at them by typing in the name...

Pentax Papillo 8.5 x 21

They cost about $150 and I highly recommend them!

Note to Trip Advisor personnel...I don't know if you guys scan these posts for self-promotion of commercial interests, or not, but I have nothing to do with Pentax or Amazon.com. I just found these binoculars to be much fun for looking at critters like insects (leaf cutter ants through these binoculars are amazing...it's like watching a nature video!) and frogs, and caterpillars.

Even if you are not in the market for binoculars, and you have some already that you're happy with, don't leave them at home! I was amazed at the number of other tourists on tours with us who did not have binoculars with them...but clearly would have like to have had them handy. If everyone else is watching monkeys in the trees with their binocs and you don't have yours with, you will be pretty unhappy with yourself!

Enjoy Costa Rica!

Manuel Antonio...
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1. Re: binoculars recommendation for viewing wildlife in CR

Pentax is a excellent brand for optics, very reasonable price in compare to LEICA, Swarovski and Zeiss. I have pentax for our clients for birdwatching tours and my personal one in a Swarovski the I paid 5 time more money just for the name. They both are very much the same. NATUREGUIDE

Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: binoculars recommendation for viewing wildlife in CR

Thanks for the affirmation of Pentax's optical quality, especially for the price. I forgot to mention that they also focus MUCH faster than my old binoculars, with a very quick spin of the finger, up on top, which can be pretty important when you are trying to get a good look at birds moving within trees.

Raleigh, North...
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3. Re: binoculars recommendation for viewing wildlife in CR

I highly recommend one of the lighter cannon IS (image stabilization) Works great!

4. Re: binoculars recommendation for viewing wildlife in CR

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