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Monthly Archives: December 2008

31 Dec

Happy Binocular New Year! My hope for the new year with such a tacky salutation and wish is actually genuine in its intent. If your new year gets you out and using a binocular for any one of the many things you can use a binocular to do, it can’t be a bad thing. Most binocular applications take you outdoors and we can all use as much of that as we can get. So, get out there in 2009 and use that binocular! Okay, Happy New Year even if you don’t have a binocular.…

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30 Dec

I love compact binoculars, even though I am well aware of what you sacrifice in terms of performance with a compact binocular. I am also aware that many binocular users do not like compact binoculars for this very reason. Compact binoculars may be light and handy, but looking through a compact binocular is not as comfortable as looking though a full-size binocular. Compacts produce tiny exit pupils – the beam of light exiting the eyepieces – meaning the placement of your eyes behind the binocular is much more critical than for a full size binocular. The smaller objective (front) lenses …

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29 Dec

I’ve always been a fan of 7x binoculars. Nothing easier to steady, big picture window wide fields of view and just general easy on the eyes binocular viewing. Unfortunately, the more is always better mentality has made itself felt in the binocular world and today’s 7x binocular sales lag far, far behind the 8x binocular. Can’t blame the binocular manufacturers too much, though. There just isn’t enough interest in 7x binoculars to justify making a lot of 7x binoculars. I do remember a day, long ago, however, when the 7×35 binocular was the most common binocular on the market. No …

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24 Dec

I hope you were lucky enough to get a new binocular for the holidays. The good news is that a binocular requires only a little in the way of maintenance. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to keep a binocular in good working order. In the field, always, always, always use the strap and nearly every binocular made comes with a binocular strap. The number one reason binoculars are damaged is from being dropped or banged against a hard object by people not using a binocular strap. When you are done with a binocular, put in its case …

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23 Dec

The word snowbird can means several things, some social, some natural, but to me it means those beautiful bird species that keep me company in the winter. The cardinal, of course, is one of the best known and popular snowbirds and nearly any binocular will produce a “Wow!” with a cardinal. I first saw a cardinal in an inexpensive Bushnell binocular, similar to the Nikon 7×35 Action and I was hooked for life. Now that I use premium binoculars, the view is even better. The view of a cardinal framed against the backdrop of fresh snow with a Swarovski EL …

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22 Dec

I’ve had a long relationship with Leupold binoculars, all the way back to the days when I bought my first Leupold, a 9×36 IF binocular. Also loved those old Leupold compact binoculars in the IF model in green, made in Portugal for Leupold. That was a great value and, I’m happy to say, all Leupold Wind River binoculars are still a great value. Leupold and Wind River pretty much has the market covered – there is a Leupold binocular in nearly every price range. Some of my favorites include the ultra handy Leupold Katmia and the excellent Japanese made Leupold …

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18 Dec

It’s hard to believe, but there was a day when common binocular features, such as fully multi-coated, phase-corrected (PC), locking diopter adjustments, aspherical lenses and more more could only be had on the very most expensive binoculars. Today, thanks to technology and mass production, you can get all of these better binocular features under $200 and some of these features even under $100. A great example under $200 in a fully multi-coated binocular with phase-correction is the Bushnell Excursion. Want a compact binocular that is multi-coated and uses aspheric lens technology, but don’t want to send $100? Try the Nikon …

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17 Dec

Most avid birders I know keep a binocular handy at all times. I sure do. In my purse I always have a compact binocular or, at the very least, a monocular and, at home, a compact binocular is a permanent fixture on my coffee table. Another birding friend of mine keeps an inexpensive 8×40 hanging on a peg by his kitchen window, just to keep an eye on his backyard bird feeder. He saves his Swarovski EL for his serious birdwacthing trips. Why this habit of keeping a binocular at the ready? It’s simply reflects the fact that birds have …

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16 Dec

One of the things I like about astronomy binoculars in cold weather is that there is little focusing, needed. Even with a center-focus astronomy binocular, such as the Celestron 20×80 Skymaster, you will basically focus once and forget about it. This means you can wear the warmest mittens and leave them on, rather than constantly removing them as you do every time you change eyepieces on a telescope. With a handheld astronomy binocular, such as the Celestron Ultima DX 8×56 or Ultima DX9x63, make certain that you use the strap. With mittens on, too big a chance that astronomy binocular …

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15 Dec

One of the many things I appreciate about Swarovski binoculars is the fact that all Swarovski binoculars are made completely in-house in Austria. In this day and age of globalization, a company that makes any product from top to bottom in their own optics facility is a true rarity. So many other binocular manufacturers have some binoculars produced in one country, other models in another company or they source parts from other countries and then assemble the parts in yet another location. Okay, call me a binocular traditionalist, but there is a certain amount of confidence that comes from knowing …

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