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binoculars

uk
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binoculars

going to savo east in sept, takeing 300mm dslr. will i need binoculars aswell. and what strengh. many thanks

Hythe, United...
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for Kenya
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1. Re: binoculars

I would take a pair of binoculars along with you as well.

Amazon have a good offer at the moment for a pair of Olympus 8 x 40 DPSI Binoculars for £39.00 which are lightweight and perfect for taking on safari for animal as well as bird viewing

Washington DC...
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2. Re: binoculars

Some people love them, wouldn't go to Africa without them; others, not so much. I use my binoculars mostly while lazing in camps trying to spot birds. On games drives I hardly ever use them, preferring to take in the big picture and absorb the landscape. The guides are much better than I am in spotting game and, if something is way off, they'll drive you over for a close-up.

Lots of good info cited above. You could also take a look at african-safari-journals.com/safari-binocular… for a very brief primer on binoculars. The web site assigns just about everything reviewed into Budget, Mid-Range, and Deluxe to try to help people across the budget spectrum. Several years back I bought a pair of 8x42 Meade binoculars (the web site recommended them as Budget) and am very happy with them quality-wise.

Edited: 7:53 pm, December 30, 2012
Cardiff, United...
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3. Re: binoculars

Couple of tips I was given by a "seasoned safari traveler".

#1 Do NOT spend big bucks on the binoculars. If you don't have any now, the chances are, your not going to use them when you get back. Its pointless spending big bucks on a gadget for just 1 holiday.

#2 Do NOT go more than 8x or 10x.

#3 The second number in the specification is important .. ie, 8x42. The 42 means the size of the lens. Basically, the bigger, the better (more light gets though, so the picture you see will be better/brighter/colorful).

So look for 8x42 or 10x50. Anything more than 10x and your going to struggle to keep the bino's steady when zoomed in. Anything less than 42 and the image will be suffering.

I'm not sure if others who have infinitely more experience than I (who has 0) have any comments on the above ?

Fallen on Hard Times
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4. Re: binoculars

I agree with you Andrew. I have a pair of Vortex Diamond Back 7 x 36, a lot of people might scoff, with 7 magnification (and exit pupil of over 5). However, I only paid about £130 for them so if they get lost or broken (my last pair got smashed by a monkey at Southern Palms Hotel) I wouldn't weep too much.

Times 7 magnification allows for a larger depth of field, ie I can focus the binoculars on an object say 150 metres away and everything from 70 metres to 200 metres would be in focus, so I don't need to keep turning the focus dial. Higher magnifications like Times 10 have a narrower depth of field and a need to constantly refocus.

Times 10 have other uses but for safari, I'd stick with x7 or x8.

Bedfordshire England
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5. Re: binoculars

We have used several different binoculars for safaris, but we eventually got a pair of Canon 10x30 Image stabilised ones. They are not cheap, but are miles better for watching birds as well as animals than some of the cheap ones we tried first.

As to whether you need bins as well as as decent 300 or 400 zoom, it is a matter of choice. One thing to remember out in Kenya is that there can be a lot of shimmer in the afternoon and early evening. The shimmer will seriously degrade the picture you will get on the camera, but it is easily ignored though the bins because the brain can interpret the image in the shimmer whereas the camera just takes an instantaneous shot. We have definitely found the bins useful to view very distant animals when shimmer has virtually killed the long zoom on the camera.

leics
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6. Re: binoculars

I wouldn't travel without them - and good info above; 8 or 10x and 40-50mm. Get a decent make, the optical quality of the lenses will be far better. The Olympus from Argos sound like a very good buy.

The trick with binos is learning to aim & focus them. Many people scan around looking for the bird or animal for quite a while. I'd buy a pair sooner rather than later and get a bit of practice before your safari.

The views over the plains from places like Voi lodge in Tsavo East wil make them well worth while.

Cardiff, United...
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7. Re: binoculars

I'm considering renting binos ... £25 for Bushnell H20 10x42. Would cost in the region of £100+ to buy them, and I've little doubt that if I bought a pair, they'd never see the light of day again after I return.

Bedfordshire England
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8. Re: binoculars

Maybe your best bet Andrew. However, we thought that until we started using ours to see the birds in the garden. It is surprising how much use we get out of ours just sitting watching and identifying our garden birds - by the way, it is not a big garden either!

Sydney, Australia
5 posts
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9. Re: binoculars

With binoculars you get what you pay for. I have Nikon 10x42 binoculars which work great for traveling and are mid-range: procular.com.au/product/… but from all the reviews I read I would now go with the Canon 10x30: procular.com.au/product/… - they are $550 on sale but look amazing! And because they are stabilised they are built to use from a moving car. there's so many to choose from... not easy I guess. But def. get a good pair for Safari - I used mine non-stop.

Nashville, Tennessee
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10. Re: binoculars

I agree that you get what you pay for. I use binoculars at home regularly as well as on safari. Took them to Alaska 2 weeks ago and Africa 2 weeks from now. I have 3 main pair my family uses- and there is a noticeable difference.

One thing to clarify, the second number doesn't affect the amount of light as much as people think. The biggest factor for the amount of light and clarity is the quality of the glass. The biggest expense is the quality of the glass. My lowest number binoculars have the clearest picture and gather the most light. It is because they are the highest quality glass.

I have a small, travel pair of Bushnell 8x40. Not very good after 5 years use. Harder to focus. Not as clear. Dims easily in low light. My kids play with the and we never use them traveling. $50USD.

We have a mid range nikon 10x50. They are kind of big and heavy for lightweight traveling, but clear and good. Easy to focus. About $150USD

We have a higher end Leupold 8x50 and I like them better than the nikon. Can see as well as the 10x because the glass is better. Lighter weight than the nikon and clearer. $300USD. These are what I recommend to most people.

My favorite are our 10x42 Swarovski. By far superior to the others. Clearer, crisper and durable. Easy to use. Lifetime replacement warranty for any reason. But, the price is daunting (given as a gift believe it or not). They are about $3,600 USD.

There is a clear, noticeable difference with the higher quality. Recognition of animals, details of landscape, birds, clouds and much more. Most people have no idea what they are missing (which is ok I guess) but pay for a decent pair or rent them. Borrow if needed and you think will never use them again.

Here is the way I view it. Even if I only plan to use them one trip per year for the next 10 year, at $300USD it is only an added $30 per trip. Would you pay $30 extra for a 10 days safari to have a nice pair of binoculars? I would even if it meant I only saw one extra sighting.

Edited: 9:46 pm, June 17, 2013
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