Just a suggestion-- the way I've always decided what optics to buy is to
hang out where there are other birders and/or go on organized field
trips and just ask everybody what they use and how happy they are with
them and ask to swap binos for 10 minutes. People generally love to yak
on and on about their optics and are usually quite willing to let you
have a look, especially if they like the ones they're using.
I'd also suggest that if you ask the the sales people at Eagle for
recommendations, tell them what kind fo birding you mostly do and give
them a general sense of what bugs you and what you like in binos, they
know birders and optics so thoroughly that they can usually make
terrific suggestions. Worth noting that the last I knew, anyway, they
were on straight salary, not commission, so they don't pressure
potential customers to spend as much money as they can squeeze out of them.
Kevin Cross wrote:
> Jason: Thanks for the very useful feedback. I would love to "try before
> I buy," but alas there are virtually no shops here that carry much of a
> selection. I may have to rely on Eagle Optics' buyer satisfaction
> policy and return a pair if I have to.
>> While the Swifts remain to be an excellent pair of bins, a lot has
>> changed in the way of binocular manufacture technology in the last
>> 8-10 years.
>> There are numerous pairs to choose from in the price range you
>> mention ($300-500). One thing I will caution, it is very important
>> to handle the binoculars you wish to purchase before you buy. Many
>> people have no second thoughts about buying sight unseen. You
>> wouldn't buy a car without a test drive, right? And, in my opinion,
>> the feel of the binocular is just as important as the optical
>> quality. After all, you could have the finest glass and coatings in
>> the world but if the bins don't feel good in the hand or are too
>> heavy, you probably won't want to use them.
>> Aside from Swift, you might look into the following manufacturers who
>> produce high quality optics in your price range; (in no particular
>> order) Zeiss, Kowa, Vortex, Leupold, Bushnell, Minox, Steiner and
>> Nikon. My guess is that you'll have twice as many makes and models
>> to choose from in comparison to when you originally purchased your
>> Swifts. One additional note; if you can make the jump to $600-800,
>> there are some superb optics which rival the top end glass.
>> I second the earlier close focus comment. Birder's are continually
>> finding the joys of butterfly watching. Just make sure the parallax
>> is not too bad.
>> Hopefully this helps aid your decision just a little.
>> Good luck,
>> Jason Guerard
>> Sales Manager
>> New Jersey Audubon Society
>> Cape May Bird Observatory
>> Northwood Center
>> 701 E. Lake Drive, P.O. Box 3
>> Cape May Point, NJ USA 08212-003
>> Ph: 609-884-2736 Fx: 609-884-6052
>> Take A Kid Birding®
>> Subject: another optics question
>> From: Kevin Cross <kevc AT GMAVT.NET>
>> Date: Tue, 4 Sep 2007 13:32:33 -0400
>> On the way to Algonquin last week, my beloved Swift Ultra Lites
>> (8x42, the old design, paid $200 about 8 years ago) were stolen from
>> our vehicle. I always thought the clarity and light-gathering of the
>> Swifts were as good as binos costing quite a bit more.
>> As I research a replacement, I'd love to hear what folks like in the
>> mid-range, say $300-500.
>> I'll be sure to check the archives for previous threads. Please
>> respond off-list if you prefer...
>> Kevin Cross