Jan 24, 2021 at 7:48 pm #3695437Joshua BBPL Member
Not strictly a birder here, I enjoy watching all types of wildlife. After a lot of research for the perfect backpacking binos, I decided on the Opticron BGA Mg Traveller 6×32 at 12.9 oz. This model was the best compromise of quality, weight, and comfort under extended use for the price. I use a simple homemade shockcord strap and I hardly notice I have it around my neck. 6x binos are not as popular–many casual optics users think more magnification is better and the market reflects this uninformed perception. While a 10x compact binocular may seem fine for a quick 30 second glance at an object, you will experience significant eye fatigue while using them for several minutes, and may develop headaches or other physical symptoms if you use it for extended periods of time. For image stability and comfort, I prefer 6x for 30mm size objective lenses (8x for 42mm and 10x for 50mm). Though it may seem counter intuitive, you will actually observe more detail at 6x in 30mm then you will usually get in a 10x compact model because you will locate the object faster and you can hold steadier on the object to get a better look at it. I wouldn’t bother with anything smaller than 30mm, it is too much of a compromise and too difficult to stabilize the image. It is great there are different models for different uses and needs, but if you plan to use a small pair of binos for any significant amount of time, do your eyes a favor and avoid purchasing too much magnification in a compact size.Jan 27, 2021 at 5:02 pm #3695898Ethan A.BPL Member
@mountainwalkerLocale: SF Bay Area & New England
I tried out many models of light binos side by side including 8 x 25, 10 x 25 and 8 x 30/32, and I’m familiar with the image from quality 8 & 10 x 42. The sweet spot of brightness, field of view and magnification for the weight is at 8 x 30/32. The extra light over 8 x 25 and 10 x 25 is worth it. Agreed I wouldn’t go under 30mm, but at 6x you’ll want more magnification, while 10x reduces light and field of view and will probably be harder for you to keep steady.
Amy and Jim, members here and very experienced hikers and avid birders who ALWAYS wear their binos (blog Doing Miles) came to the same conclusion about 8 x 30/32.
Of all the models I demoed in that form factor, the Nikon Monarch 7 8 x 30 were tops. So bright, sharp and with a large field of view. This detailed video roundup of 8 x 30/32 came up in a thread I was subscribed to from another forum – I think you’ll find it helpful. The Monarch 7 description starts after 22 min, but you may want to watch the whole thing. They are remarkable for the weight and price when purchased 20-25% off.
Once you narrow your choices to 2-3 models, try to demo them side by side. You’ll always know you made the right choice for you.
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