The Binocular Thread

Apologies if this thread already exists in one form or another.

I was going through an old wardrobe and came across a pair of my dads old binoculars.
Growing up my dad was minor bird watcher and we constantly had multiple pairs on family holidays (some of my earliest memories are watching ships off a balcony in Spain).

Anyway I decided to get myself a compact pair, after a bit of research I’m pretty sold on the Bushnell 10x24 H20’s .

I notice there’s quite a few campers/photographers on here and wondered if there was also any advice/suggestions?

There are some gems of 1970s Japanese binos that were rebadged, all single coated, so not as good as modern multi coatings, excellent optics nonetheless, but they’re usually 35/42mm lenses and metal bodies, so heavier and larger. Can be a bargain if you find the right set and can decode the makers marks.

I’m also chasing a compact set, ideally weatherproof, something like the Oly 10x21 / 8x21 RC II WP, but I’m not settled on them. Those bushnells look pretty good.

I’m a bit of a noob, but I think you don’t want too much mag (the first number) for birding as your field of view and depth of field is too small and you won’t be able to locate what you’re looking at as easily. 8-10 seems to be the norm.

Don’t forget that smaller lenses (the second number) will be more compact but also dimmer.

Ell-P has a compact set that works well for his birding while biking/hiking.

My parents are avid twitchers but I never really got into it so couldn’t tell you one brand from another.

Agree re: Blakey on magnification though. Anything 12x plus is pretty hard to keep still if you want to properly look at birds. I have a pair of 15x75 astro-binoculars that pretty much need a tripod.

If you want compact then you’re probably looking at smaller aperture, so it might be best to grab an 8x in the biggest aperture you can. But if you’re only going to use them in good weather then you can get away with more magnification.

I read that anything over 10x and you’d really need a tripod.
Just bit the bullet on the 10x24 over the 8x24 just due to price.

Some of the Zeiss ones look gorgeous.

I’m always pleased by the breadth of subject matter that gets discussed here. It’s like the quintessential old man pub.


and here i was going to invoke “the belt rule”

Digi Direct.
Once binocular site had them as the mid price recommendation for $180.
They had them for $77 plus $9.90 delivery, however if you’re in Syd, Melbs or Bris you could pick them up.

I’ll have to check my old ones, this could become a collection.


I’ve narrowed my wants down to 8x25 BAK4 roof prism (porros aren’t as compact when folded), dual hinge ideally, multicoated or phase coated, waterproof & nitrogen purged, exit pupil ~3mm

Bushnell 8x25 H20 $89+10
Celestron 8x25 Outland $110
Olympus 8x25 WP II $129+10
Nikon 8x25 Trailblazer ATB / Sportstar EX $ $129+10
Pentax AD 8x25 ~$150
Pentax 8x25 DCF SW $250
Alpen Shasta Ridge 8x25 $250
Kowa BD 8x25 $balleur

Going with the Olympus’, little more money but slightly better lens coating and very short close focus plus a bit more relief for eyeglass wearing.

For super compact and super bargain, the Bresser Hunter 8x21 looks to be the go. ~$31 posted, very compact at the expense of brightness and waterproofing.

#summetoftwitching ?


On Blakey’s note: how do spectacle-wearers deal with binoculars? My eyes have two very different vision irregularities, and I can’t really use binos without glasses.
Is it just a matter of htfu and deal with it?

diopter correction on one eyepiece usually, so you correct that and then the focus that controls both eyepieces will be right for you.

yup, that’s what I do with mine.

I got a set of Nikon 'Aculon’s (model T01 - 10x21 5degree) for Xmas. they seem good.



I sold my packrafts last year and got a pair of Nikon monarch 5 (10 x 42). Pretty compact, very tough and the optics are so far ahead of other bins that I’ve tried. But i have very little experience. I really just use them for looking at a mountain range from my deck… I thought I’d watch birds and maybe I will one day.

In terms of compact and good, I got my daughter a pair of bresser kids bins. They seem to be the best kids ones, and in the reviews i read a lot of adults get them as super compact but still useful ones for the car or whatever. I think they were $40 or so? The Nikons were $400-$500 or so. The bressers are good for birds, the magnification isnt too much. Theyre the green and blue ones if you are looking for em.

Ah! and just saw the question re: glasses wearers. I used to take my glasses off and use the diopter, but a bird illustrator at work (who wears glasses and has used binoculars for many decades) told me to keep them on, just press the lens against the rubber shroud. Its fine for me, and means passing the bins around is quicker when people want to look at something together.

Bino’s make me dizzy. I’d be keen on a monocular though eh…


there’s a rad app that cornell have put together for bird watching…Merlin Bird ID. Makes identifying birds really easy.
Think it might be Nth America only, but maybe there’s something similar down there. Saves carrying a book around.

i just make sure i have Ell-P around. sure he is a bit harder to fit in your saddle bag but his identification and response time is an order of magnitude faster than any artificial intelligence.

plus when we have scared all the birds off we can discuss 90s hardcore.

FWIW, digidirect held my order up pending me calling them to confirm delivery address as their system didn’t autovalidate it, then they don’t carry stock so had to source it from Oly, then a week later they informed me that it’s discontinued. Refund requested.

Found an ebay seller with a few left for $129 express posted, waiting on those now.