In The Desert
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Wildlife viewing, watching competitors, looking for distant objects, or watching your favorite sports are all good reasons to have a good pair of binoculars. But how much do you have to spend to get a decent pair. Binoculars are one of the few items where the old adage "you only get what you pay for" is relevant. Now this doesn't mean you have to spend thousands, and you can do that easily, to acquire a good pair. On our last trip out in the desert we met a gentleman who had a very inexpensive pair (around $80) and they looked great for spotting a pronghorn antelope that was over 1 mile away. They weren't as clear as some I've seen, but they were more than adequate.
So what size do you need? The full size ones are nice but are too heavy to carry around hiking. The medium sized ones are much better for that, but the small sized ones are even better for hiking. So what do the numbers mean on binoculars. 8 x 32 -- 10 x 42 for example? The first number, 10 is the magnification. This means that they will bring things 10 times closer than if you just use the naked eye. The second number, 42, is the size of the front lens element (objective element) -- which would be 42 mm. Without getting too technical, here are some other specs. that you might find interesting ---
For wildlife viewing you should have a fully multi-coated lens with higher magnification and decent optics. Waterproofing will help especially if your in a damp climate or during the winter. A rubberized coating is also a plus. If you wear prescription glasses make sure the binoculars have adjustable pupils for better vision when wearing your glasses.
Price is an important factor for most people! Now if you don't care what they cost then buy a pair of Swarovski binoculars for $2,600.00 and be done with it. Zeiss, Steiner, Redfield, and some models of Canon binoculars can be very expensive. Like Canon's image stabilized binoculars. Some of the other brands including some from China may be too cheap and have poor optics or won't last very long. So where does that leave you money wise. There are good ones available for as low at $140.00 and as high as $500.00. Our personal choice is listed below.
We've had a pair of Leopold Wind River Cascades binoculars for over ten years now and like them a lot. The optics are fully multi-coated glass elements and they are waterproof with a rubberized coating. The main thing, they are sharp and clear with only a trace of chromatic aberration in high contrast situations. Chromatic aberration is a very slight purple fringe which usually only shows itself when looking toward the sun along the top edges of mountains with a blue sky background. Now I'm picky, and nobody that's ever looked through them has noticed this as it's a very small fringe. Although this model is no longer available, their are other models made by Leopold.
So what does all this mean? Do some research before you buy your next pair of binoculars. Do a search on Google, you'll find a lot of information and prices. The Leopold binoculars are just one example of good quality and long life at a modest price. They should run you between $100 and $500 dollars. But they are a good long term investment. On the other hand Bushnell makes some good binoculars for less. Find something in your price range that will last and will give you the image quality you need!
A lot of these companies (including Leopold) have been making optics for cameras, rifle scopes, medical purposes for years so their optics should be great. For your convenience you can continue your search at Amazon's store right here.