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Monthly Archives: August 2008

28 Aug

I hate to see high end porro prism binoculars go the way of the dinosaurs, but the sleek and sexy roof prism binocular gets all the attention, these days, at least in the premier binocular category. That’s too bad, because great porro prism binoculars like the now disappearing Nikon Premier SE can hold their own, optically, with all the roof prism heavyweights and do it at a fraction of the price. About the only place the premium porro prism binocular holds its own is in astronomy binoculars and military/marine binoculars where performance and durability are more important than handling qualities. …

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27 Aug

Had a customer with a good point to share on astronomy binoculars and one I’ve also wondered about, myself. When it comes to the really big giant binoculars in the 25×100 class, the supplied 1/4×20 tripod thread is really much too small to safely support the weight. No doubt this size is supplied to offer more selection in the way of tripods, but the standard photo tripod is really too light, anyway, for this size binocular. Would like to see more in the way of specially built tripods or tripod mounts for 25×100 astronomy binoculars. I have used some custom …

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26 Aug

Fun weekend with the binocular, birds and wildflowers. Definitely seeing more and more signs of fall – the first Goldenrods are blooming and the apple trees are loaded with fruit. As for birds, not a lot of diversity, but did watch what was either a Willow or an Alder flycatcher by a local pond, though no calls, so couldn’t get the identification any closer than that. Either way, nice bird in the Swarovski Pocket 8×20 binocular. Same area was loaded with Goldfinches and the mature males were absolutely brilliant in the binocular. Also spotted two Cooper’s Hawks, more eclipse male …

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25 Aug

Might seem a bit early to think about winterizing your binocular, but summer is slipping away, in case you haven’t noticed. Winterize a binocular? Well, not in the sense that you winterize a car, but you can take some precautions when using a binocular in the winter to prevent damage. The biggest issue when using binoculars in the winter will be fogging, both externally and internally. The external type of fogging always occurs when the weather conditions are just right, regardless of whether your bino is waterproof and fog proof. You might try carry some of the Nikon Fog Eliminator, …

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21 Aug

Now and then, I get a customer who insists it is crazy to spend beyond a certain dollar point on a binocular and, in a sense, there may be some truth to this – if all we are talking about is optical performance. An unwritten law of optics is that beyond a certain price point on a binocular, you pay huge dollars to gain tiny improvements in optics. Won’t argue that, but, then, there is more to a binocular and binocular price than just optics. One of the things you cannot test, for instance, is long term durability and reliability. …

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20 Aug

In birding and bird watching, timing is everything. Last Saturday, I was out on my apartment patio, waiting for a friend to stop by and, of course, I just happened to have my Swarovski Pocket binocular in hand. After all, that’s the whole idea behind owning a compact binocular – you are more likley to have it with you when you need a binocular. Anyway, it was the middle of the afternoon, not when you would expect a lot of bird activity, but still a pleasant, sunny day. Out of the blue, an immature Sharp-shinned hawk or perhaps Cooper’s, though …

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19 Aug

I get requests all the time for advice on conventional binoculars, advice on binoculars with cameras (digital binoculars), advice on binoculars with image stabilization (IS binoculars), advice on binoculars with night vision. On rare occasions, though, I get a customer that wants all of these built into one super binocular. I explain that such a product does not exist, simply because there is no room in a binocular for all these mechanisms and, of course, even if there was, the binocular would be too large to hold, not to mention the cost would be prohibitive. I suppose it’s the same …

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18 Aug

Did about twenty miles of Forest Preserve dirt trails over the weekend on the mountain bike and loved it. Lots of birds and too many deer to count. Best bird seen, beauty-wise was a magnificent Scarlet Tanager. Even in the dark and gloomy forest with my little Swarovski compact binocular, the bird’s color took my breath away. Who syas a compact binocular cannot be used for birding? Always a treat to see a Scarlet and have to say the species compares very nicely with the Western Tanagers I used to see in the panhandle of Nebraska. Now all I have …

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14 Aug

XD, ED, HD and all those other abbreviations for special optical glass seem to be proliferating in the binocular world. Using these special glass options is nothing new for spotting scopes or telescopes, but it is a relatively recent development in the world of binoculars. Does adding special glass to a binocular objective really make a difference? In my opinion, not as much difference as it does in higher magnification instruments, like spotting scopes and telescopes, but the difference is still there, even at the low magnifications of a binocular, though it may take a discriminating and experienced eye to …

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13 Aug

Surprised and delighted to spot a Tennessee Warbler on Monday night. Stopped the bike at one of my favorite birding spots along the bike trail and after twnty minutes of scanning with my Swarovski Pocket 8×20, I spotted the Tennessee. Got a good look through the binocular as the bird bounced around in the tree canopy above me. In our area, this species is a common migrant, not a resident, but it is known for its early migration, so I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised to see it. Just wasn’t in an autumn state of mind until this …

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