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Monthly Archives: March 2010

31 Mar

Now and then, I am asked about the value of old binoculars, whether the binoculars are worth fixing, if it would better to get a new model of binocular and so on. For the record, I like old binoculars; in some cases the binoculars are unique, sometimes the binoculars just bring back memories of the old days; sometimes I’m just curious as to when the binocular was made and so on. In a very few cases and, only in a few cases, the binocular in question is actually collectible in terms of its make, model and age. These collectible binoculars …

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30 Mar

Not much to report on bird activity in my area, this last week; my birding binoculars are not exactly collecting dust, but they are not exactly getting overheated, either. Temperatures have been on the cool side (not really unusual for March, this far north), barely nudging 40. However, with temperatures expected to be in the 70s, in the next few days and that is unusual, so I suspect this is the calm before the storm as far as my birding and birdwatching goes. I can feel it in my bones that nature is about to explode with life in the …

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29 Mar

Like so many Americans, I have a great many reservations about buying products made in China, but, also like so many Americans, I sometimes feel I have no choice given my typically limited budget. When it comes to binoculars, though, I have been fortunate enough to afford binoculars made in Japan or Europe, where labor practices and concern for the environment are on a higher plane than what you typically find in China. That is very important to me and I wish I could afford to be as selective in all products I buy, but I do what I can…

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26 Mar

We will, shortly, be coming up on outdoor concert season. I will be at a couple of these music venues, this summer (as a performer, so I will get a good seat) and I know, from experience, that many times you must find a seat quite a distance from the stage. That’s not necessarily a bad thing from the perspective of hearing the music, but it does limit you if you want to get an up close look at the performers. That’s why I usually bring a compact binocular to the concert.

You could, of course, carry a full-size binocular,…

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25 Mar

Spring is here, at last and, as always, it is exciting to observe the almost daily changes that announce the arrival of this season. For instance, if I never opened my eyes, I could still tell it was spring simply by listening to all the bird calls and bird songs. Yesterday, I heard my first Song Sparrow of the year, down along the river and this call now joins the ever-growing symphony of spring bird song that greets me each morning. I’ve been tempted to add my singing to the ensemble, but I don’t want to frighten any of these …

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24 Mar

Trying to tell someone how a binocular fits and feels in your hands is like trying to describe to someone how one chair or another feels when you sit in it. Binocular handling, then, is one of those elusive and very subjective binocular features that you can’t describe with a number or rating. So, how do you know how a binocular will feel in your hands? Really is only way to know for sure, of course, and that is to pick up the binocular in question and try it.

Unfortunately, there are very few stores, anymore, that have much in…

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23 Mar

As optical equipment goes, binoculars are really simple instruments, at least as far as how you use them. Really not much to binocular in the way of controls; maybe just a focusing knob and even that is not used on some military and marine binoculars. Sure, there are a few tricks to using binoculars that help, but even someone who has never used a binocular (if there are such people) could take a new binocular out of a box and start using the binocular, right away, though a few minutes spent in the manual would not be a bad idea.…

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22 Mar

As always, the binocular you choose, as far as binocular features, should always be a good match for your intended binocular application. This is perhaps most true when it comes to binocular magnification.

Bill and I are eagerly anticipating our three-week road trip though my old stomping grounds – the great American West. That’s where I have spent most of my life, so just see those great wide-open spaces, again, will be like a homecoming for me. Now, that is a great excuse to buy another binocular if there ever was one. Don’t get me wrong; I have plenty of…

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19 Mar

Perhaps the single biggest decision you have to make when buying astronomical binoculars is “how much magnification”. This is much more than simply a matter of how much detail you can see with your astronomy binocular, though that is important; it is also a matter of whether or not you will be using a tripod for astronomy binoculars and that, perhaps, is even more important.

For the most part, it’s a matter of steadiness. Most of us really struggle when we get much above 8x or 10x on a binocular that we hold in our hands without some kind of …

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18 Mar

It’s a bit early, but I have yet to encounter any other birders on my local bike trail or my rides through the local parks. That’s not too surprising, given that I encountered very few birders or bird watchers, either, in my former suburban Chicago neighborhood. Hopefully, when the weather warms up and more birds are migrating, I will encounter other birders, but odds are against it. Birdwatching may be a very popular pastime, overall, at least according to the Department of the Interior, but I’ve only rarely encountered other birders when out in the field. Not sure where those…

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