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Larry,
 
Feel free to contact me directly offline by email, but I need to know more about what you want to use them for ie. waterfowl or warblers, or both. The price range you are in is just shy of the super-disco-supreme models like Swarovski, Leica, and Zeiss. For what you are expecting to spend, you can get two pairs of EXCELLENT binocs, one for warblers in the woods (I prefer 7x or 8x with either 42 or 50mm objectives)    and the other for waterfowl or raptors(10x-12x with 50mm objectives).
 
By far and away, the best VALUE out there right now are these:
 
http://www.astronomics.com/main/product.asp?n1=6&t1=2&myStype=Celestron&styp=0&bURL=binocs%2Easp&vid=4&product%5Ftype%5Fid=2&sku=C1050N&nCat=Binoculars
$269
 
http://www.astronomics.com/main/product.asp?n1=6&t1=2&myStype=Celestron&styp=0&bURL=binocs%2Easp&vid=4&product%5Ftype%5Fid=2&s8xku=C842N&nCat=Binoculars
$269
 
I bought a pair of the 10X50's and love them. Christophers bought out an inventory of these Celestron Nobles and are selling them for half what they are worth. They are very light and optically excellent.
 
The binocs I use the most are a pair of 12x50 Alaskan Guides that I bought from Cabela's (also made by Celestron, I believe) for about $600, but I feel the Nobles are identical optically and feature-wise for half the price. However, in many woodland situations, they just don't work well, and I use either the 8x or 10x. I no longer subscribe to the "one good pair that will do everything" theory. If you are only going to use them for one type of birding, that should work fine. But most of us do many types of birding, requiring different optics for each.
 
My favorite resource for optics is Eagle Optics < http://www.eagleoptics.com/ >. They have always been very helpful and offer a wide variety of optics at excellent prices. The biggest reason I like them is that they encourage you to "try before you buy". There is a 30 day return policy that allows you to use the optics, and return them in new condition, with only shipping costs. What I usually do is buy two items and return the one I don't like. It is a good way to evaluate optics side-by-side. Another good site for evaluation info is < http://betterviewdesired.com/ > .
 
Hope this helps,
 
Dana C. Rohleder, O.D.
Port Kent, NY
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----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Larry Levine
Sent: Tuesday, March 19, 2002 9:49 PM
Subject: Optics

Fellow birders

I am planning on buying a pair of binoculars in the near future and would like your opinions on what you use and like, and any suggestions for buying/trying binocs. I plan on spending $600-800 or so.

Thanks for your input.

Larry Levine

Williston



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