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Monthly Archives: April 2008

30 Apr

There’s more to choosing a binocular than specifications. There is also a very subjective component, which I shall call the binocular “s” factor. This binocular “s” factor covers things that you simply cannot get by reading binocular specifications. It covers things such as ergonomics and personal fit – how a binocular feels in your hands (not mine) or around your neck, how it handles, how it focuses and so on. For instance, some folks still prefer the feel of bulkier porro prism binoculars in this day and age of roof prism binoculars. No accounting for taste, here. The binocular “s” …

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29 Apr

Not sure the weather could have been worse for spring birding this last weekend, but the birds are here and they are doing their thing, regardless. Saw my first Yellow Warbler in the Forest Preserve on a cold Sunday morning through my Zeiss Victory 8×20 and, despite the chilly temps, the air was alive with Chimney Swifts. Let’s face it. The birds are on a tight schedule this time of year. There are families to raise, after all. Anyone who is not carrying a binocular or, at least, a monocular is missing all the activity.…

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28 Apr

Ever wonder what the ultimate astronomy binocular would be? There’s a couple of binoculars I would like to test for that honor. One is the Nikon 20×120, though I’m not sure the folks in my apartment complex would want me installing a pier mount on the lawn. The temptation of 20x and a 6mm exit pupil, coupled with Nikon optics makes this one a possibility. The other one, though slightly more portable, is just about as much out of my reach, financially. Would love to see what the Kowa Highlander Fluorite could do on the stars, especially since I’ve had …

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25 Apr

I can cut it pretty fine when it comes to evaluating binoculars in terms of performance and features, but I also know, from a lifetime using binoculars, that choosing a binocular is also a matter of your lifestyle. I’m a good example. As an avid (okay, insane) bicyclist, there is no way you can tempt me to drag a 42mm binocular with me on the bike trail and even my 32mm stuff tends to get ignored, these days. Talk to me about premium compact binoculars when I bicycle. Sure, I give up some performance with a compact, but a compact …

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24 Apr

Here’s a preview of the new Nikon super binocular, the Nikon EDG.

Our Nikon sales rep stopped by and placed one of only three EDG binos floating around the country in my eager little hands. For those of you who don’t know, Nikon is repalcing their long admired Premier LX with this new model and are pulling out all the stops to make it the best ever Nikon binocular. How did they do, in Joanie’s opinion? First thing I noticed, because I am very fussy about focusing, is the exceptionally smooth focusing. It’s pinky finger smooth and effortless with no …

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21 Apr

Timing is sometimes everything in birding. I was on the bike trail, yesterday morning, and pulled to a stop at one of my favorite birding spots. It’s at a point where the bike trail and a small stream just touch for distance of no more than a few yards, but it does provide me with a small window to the creek and its shore. I had no more than unclipped from the pedals on the bike, when a Solitary Sandpiper fluttered to a stop, directly below me on the shore. It gave me no more than a brief moment to …

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17 Apr

I looked at a Steiner 7×50 Commander III the other day for a customer and was once again reminded why I like Steiner’s top tier of porro prisms. It’s not just the great porro prism optics, it’s also the feel and handling that makes a traditional high end Steiner porro prism binoculars such a one of a kind binocular. Not that I have much need for a compass, or a reticle, or even an IF binocular for day use, but I still appreciate a good binocular, no matter how specialized it might be. In fact, I once knew a birder …

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16 Apr

Got an expensive binocular and can’t decide what to use when cleaning it? Sure, you can use exotic chemicals, lens tissue and paper, lens cleaning cloths, just to name a few products, but my favorite is still a basic lens pen. A lens pen has a soft retractable brush on one end to remove particles from the lens and a squeegee for cleaning the lens surface on the other. The little, round, squeegee tip can reach places at the edge of a lens where fingers cannot push a lens tissue or lens cloth and, unlike liquids, there is no mess …

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15 Apr

Mid April and still a little snow mixed with rain over the weekend, so not as much birding or biking as usual for this girl. Still, the birds are moving through and some birds were seen. Spotted a Yellow-rumped warbler with my Zeiss 8×20 compact binocular (my first warbler of the season!) and several Great Egrets flying through the sleet. The moral of the story is to always carry a binocular, no matter what the weather. I suspect birds are a lot less affected by the weather, at times, than birders, especially older birders on bikes.…

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14 Apr

Had a post on my forum about sticky binoculars. That’s right, sticky binoculars. For those of you out there using insect repellents, be aware the insect repellents with DEET can remove or damage finishes, leaving you with a “sticky” binocular finish. DEET is still the ultimate in insect repellant, but I usually opt for one of the plant based repellants to avoid ruining the finish on a good binoculars. Some of these newer formulas have proven quite effective against mosquitoes, too.…

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