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binoculars

florida
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binoculars

Hi...

We will be traveling this July to Yellowstone and Glacier with two kids (8 &12).

I have a set of binoculars that say they are 7 x 50 and 420 feet at a 1000 yards.

My question is will these be good enough to watch wildlife in the park or should I look into getting another pair.

What about scopes?

Also can you rent a scope in park? We are flying from FL.

Any help or suggestions would be great!

Thanks!

AKJ
Bruceton Mills...
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1. Re: binoculars

You can rent scopes in Cooke City I think but that may not be convenient. I was given a Bushnell scope that would have cost around $350 and it worked well. The problem is that you also need a monopod or tripod to have a chance of holding it steady.

Also there's a pretty good chance someone will let you look through their scope.

I'd worry more about one pair of binoculars and two kids.

I'm not sure how well yours will work. Some of what we were looking at was so far away that nothing would work real well.

Nashville
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2. Re: binoculars

All of my knowledge is third hand, so take it for what it is worth. I haven't been in Yellowstone since I was 12 years old in 1972 :).

We have close friends who went last year. They only had binoculars and said they saw plenty of wildlife. I have 2 good sets of binoculars that we will take. (My kids are 13 and 14.) At Christmas, Bass Pro Shop had a scope on sale for a very good price. I think it has a 15 x 45 to 20 x 60 magnification.

I bought it at the local store and brought it home to try. I know it isn't anywhere near the top of the line, but I tried it out and it is far superior to binoculars.

I sat it up on a tripod and looked at some electrical towers that are about 1/3 mile from our house. With my eyes, I could see the tower, with the binoculars, I could see the wires and make out birds, but with the scope, I could clearly see the birds, their eyes, feet ... A small bird took up the whole viewfinder at the highest magnification.

You might try checking Bass Pro Shop's website. The scope I got normally sold for about $150. I got it for less than 1/2 of that. It doesn't do well in low light, but I can see the moon and bright stars clearly once I find them in the scope. You will need a tripod to keep the image stable.

Wyoming & Sanibel
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3. Re: binoculars

There were 10 of us (actually 11, but the 4-year-old doesn't count for these purposes) in our last visit. Two pair of binoculars were fine. Most of the wildlife we saw (it was late August) were extremely up-close.

Given the ages of your children, you may want to have a second pair of binoculars or a scope, but if you don't, it shouldn't be a problem.

Green Valley...
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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4. Re: binoculars

Your binos should be OK. If, however, you want accuracy of color and definition, i.e., a quality "picture", you might want a higher end bino. You might compare yours to the many sold, for example, on this website: www.eagleoptics.com

We do a lot of wildlife and bird watching, so we purchased high end glass, such as Nikon binoculars and spotting scope; many other makes are available. The comparable difference is profound, but if you have only yours, you won't be noticing it, obviously. As noted previously, you will probably find animals close enough for your binoculars to do fine.

Also as noted previously, if someone has a spotting scope, they probably will be very receptive to sharing theirs. We share our scope all the time. The difference between a good scope and even good binos is profound, and you will see more distant objects that otherwise are just "out there, somewhere".

If you intend to enjoy watching wildlife, especially given this trip and living in Florida with its incredible birdlife, the rule of thumb is, for this lifetime gift, buy the best you can afford.

BTW, the view with a zoom lens, except on very high end glass, deteriorates rather quickly.

As suggested earlier, it would be nice to have at least two pairs to share among the family. But people will be uncomfortable or bored, perhaps, if the glasses put a strain on their eyes.

Have a great time; the kids will never forget this trip!

Green Valley...
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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5. Re: binoculars

I assume you have YNP reservations, but hope you do also for Glacier NP. This is high country, especially at GNP, so winter arrives early... So, bring layers of clothing.

florida
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6. Re: binoculars

Okay...

I looked at the eagle optics web site and also the bass pro site...which has a wonderful explanation of what all the numbers mean so that I can now make an little bit of an educated choice when buying.

I also looked on ebay and there seems to plenty there...with a 20x60x60mm running around $100 or maybe even less.

Which seems like a good deal.

The only question I have left is some of the scopes have a green or emerald lens coating....would I want that and also some say military scopes...which kind of throws me off too.

Anyway I have time we won't be there until the end of July...and yes I was so lucky to get reservations inside of both parks...four nights in each...plus we are going to stay two nights in Bigfork on the flathead lake and then taking the kids to spend a couple nights in a tipi on the blackfeet reservation...going to be a great summer!!

I am so excited and having a blast planning every detail of the trip!

Thank you so much for all the great suggestions!

Green Valley...
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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7. Re: binoculars

Did you see this specific page on Eagle Optics?

http://www.allaboutoptics.com/rev-bino.html

The lens color is snazzy but absolutely meaningless.

Military and hunting scopes do not compare to a quality spotting scope. The quality difference is obvious, especially when folks with hunting scopes ask to see through mine and exclaim about the waste of money on the former.

As you know from your reading, $100 binoculars are at the very lowest end of the scale, but usable. The problems associated with them are: lack of visual quality, could be "blurry", they might not be properly aligned (that's headache country, literally, and won't be used), they are not waterproof, etc. Please understand, I'm a user of these things, not their salesperson. It truly is "you get what you pay for" as I tried to define it in my earlier post.

West Yellowstone, MT
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8. Re: binoculars

Elk Mountain Photo in West Yellowstone also rents optics (scopes, binoculars).

florida
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282 posts
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9. Re: binoculars

Thanks Voyaging....

I am looking into getting a spotting scope...that's why I am asking so many questions.

I am new at this....glad to get the answer about military and hunting scopes...it can get quite confusing. I will check out the web site again and keep my eye out for sales!

Thanks again!

Asheville, North...
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10. Re: binoculars

We decided to invest in binoculars last year for a trip to Glacier. Once I learned a little about them, we went to a local pawn shop and purchased a pretty good pair, fresh out of box for 20.00, they would have been quite a bit more retail! I plan now to go see if I can find a scope that way. Figured I could see right away if it worked or not!

Question, on the scope, does it mount on a regular camera tripod?