Birding Binoculars

Steve Owst

When choosing birding as a hobby there are a couple of things that you need right from the start.  Number one would have to be a love of birds and the outdoors. Of course, patience is a good virtue to have as well and I would say running a very close second would have to be a good pair of binoculars.  Agreed, binoculars are not 100% essential --  personally I often take my camera ahead of mine and some people use spotters -- but generally speaking a pair of binoculars would be right up there.

I like to speak from experience. My wife and I always go out together; she spots and I have the camera with the big lens.  Lately I will also be seen with the binoculars around my neck as well.  In the words of Sean O'Connell "If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don't like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it."  It's those times when I put the camera down, grab the binoculars and just stay in the moment.

I'm not here to review binoculars as I don't have the technical skill set to do so but just like red wine, I know what I like.  I know what works for me, and that experience also extends to what happens if I break them.

Of course, we are also a store and as such promote certain products but as I said I will only blog about things I have first hand experience of. 

Our preferred lenses for our binoculars are 10 x 42. For those of you new to this, let me explain what that means.  It's quite simple really. The 10 simply means that a picture seen through the binocular lens will appear 10 times more magnified or closer than as you see it with your naked eye.  But what about the 42?  Well that refers to the lens diameter: in this case 42 mm.  When comparing binoculars think of the second number in terms of how much light is let in. Obviously a bigger number lets in more light but at a slight cost in weight and dollars of course.

So enter stage left -- the Bushnell Trophy 10 x 42 waterproof binoculars.  

My wife was using hers for about a year before I decided to get a pair for me as well. I can honestly say that these binoculars are great.  They are armor-plated, waterproof, fog proof and super bright.  Is it sounding like an advert yet? Sorry but we really do love them.  Not that they are perfect. We have lost a couple of the covers: they fall off easily so we literally glued the strap to the body so we would stop losing them.

One of the cool things we are able to do (and this is not limited to Bushnell) is that with a steady hand you can take photos through the eyepiece with your smartphone.  It takes a little practice. An example is here...

As you can see, i'ts not bad and a useful trick for those days when you forget your camera or in my case here I forgot my memory card at home (again!)

But where we were really impressed and hence keep gushing about them is Bushnell's warranty.  A clip holding an eyepiece had broken -- nothing major but it was annoying.  Had a second one broke we would have been toast.  By now the binoculars were over two years old but we reached out to Bushnell anyway.  We were told that they come with a no question asked (no receipt required) warranty.  Just send them back and they would fix them for free.  So we sent it off. What Bushnell actually did was to send us a brand new pair. Incredible!!  We are now fans of Bushnell for life. How could we not be with service like that?  We have that piece of mind knowing that we are protected no matter what.



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