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Looking for "all-rounder" binos


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I'm searching for a good all-round pair of binos for bird and small wildlife watching in my backyard and quick astro sessions if conditions don't warrant pulling out my G&G setup or to supplement my SCT for wide-field views.

Most important features:

- lightweight and easy to use (my wife, and eventually kids, will use these often in the backyard)

- close focus ability

- durable (waterproof would be ideal)

 

Initially was looking for 10x42s but after further thinking 8x42s would probably be a better idea as these will be hand held most of the time. Open to opinions here.

Main two I'm currently considering based off of reviews and other discussions here:

1. Oberwerk Sport ED

2. Vortex Diamondback HD

 

I'll consider the $320 price for the Oberwerk's to be the max I want to spend right now but less is always good ; anyone feel strongly that they're worth the $100 difference over the Vortexes?

Any other thoughts/opinions/recommendations? Thanks!

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For general purpose astronomy / birding and lightweight I’d go for 8x40s myself.

As to what model, as a general rule you get what you pay for.  If either yourself or your wife will need to use specs when using the binoculars then you’ll need generous eye relief. Even if no specs will be needed many folk prefer good eye relief.

Ideally it’s better if you can try the bins before purchase.  So visiting a dealer with good stocks who will allow you to try various models is good. If purchasing from a distance check out reviews and the dealers return policy, just in case you choose wrongly.

All the best in your decision, Ed.

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I agree with the 8x40 (or 8x42) option for ease. Higher magnification means higher jitters, the magnification mattering more than the weight in this case. In fact I find my pocket binoculars too light to absorb the natural jitters of hand holding so a bit of mass can be an advantage, within reason. Roof prisms are easier to hold than porros but are a little costlier to make. Probably worth it if ease is a big factor.

Steve at FLO, the site sponsor, is very knowledgeable about binoculars and will give straight advice about quality, price and the relationship between them. Availability is also an issue.

Olly

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The Vortex Diamondback HDs are very good indeed. I'm told (by the sister of one) that they are favoured by South African game rangers for their optical quality and robustness.

 

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I think you are on the right track with 8*42. I only use one set of bins for everything, they are 8*42 and I've been very happy with them.

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I also agree that 8x42s would be better.  I can see as much detail with 8x as 10x as I can hold them steadier.  The field of view will be wider as well.

You mentioned that your kids would use them too.  You need to be aware that some binoculars aren't suitable for kids as they don't allow the eyepieces to be pushed close enough together.   This parameter is known as  the IPD (interpupilary distance).  The Vortex Diamondback is better than the Oberwerk here as the minimum IPD is 55mm vs 57mm.

Even better in this respect is the Opticron Discovery 8x42 that goes as low as 53mm.  These don't have ED glass but I can personally recommend them and I've given them to one of my grandkids.  They're also one of the most compact 8x42s on the market, regardless of price.  They also has very long eye relief that will be important if any of the family wears glasses.  For more details go to Opticron's US site at 

https://www.opticronusa.com/our-products/binoculars/discovery-wp-pc-binoculars/discovery-wp-pc-mg-8x42

Any 3 of the these binoculars would be a good choice.   

One of the most important points about binoculars is that, regardless of specification, what suits one of us may not suit you.  In particular, the shape of one's eye sockets differ widely.  I'd therefore strongly suggest you try several pairs in a shop before you buy (difficult with Covid), or if you can't do that buy from somewhere that has a good return policy.  

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