Good birding binoculars for under $200?

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Re: Good birding binoculars for under $200?

Postby Russ Emmons » Thu May 08, 2014 4:42 pm

Tina--Glad you got yours & they are OK. I ordered the same right after you did. Just got an email from them--"Sorry back ordered, won't be able to ship for 5 to 8 weeks !" :B :C
I canceled the order! They were supposed to arrive in time for Saturdays NAMC :B Checked other websites, stores for these or comparable and everyone mostly out of stock. Too late to reorder now anywhere. Looks like I need to start quickly shopping the local stores--my regular binocs are now broken! (Sigh--story of my life :B )

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Re: Good birding binoculars for under $200?

Postby TinaTC » Fri May 09, 2014 4:37 pm

Oh no! That sounds like my luck most of the time. Did you find any locally?
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Re: Good birding binoculars for under $200?

Postby Danaduck » Sat May 10, 2014 8:40 am

The thing to me that is now amazing is that Celestron is selling a good pair of in line binocs for $139. Alpena just opened a new Dunham's yesterday so I went into the store to fill out the raffle prize slip and saw a display of Nikon binocs for $129. But they were porro prism.

Now porro prism are fine when new but as Russ said they get dirty inside due to the sliding eyepieces and they get misaligned if dropped or just sitting around in the car from heat expansion and cold contractions moves the prisms around. Also focus them while cold and the mechanism is under a big load which will wear them out fast.

I have a pair of Eagle Optics I got for $279 waiting for the post Christmas sales. Are they good and how good in comparison to a pair of Swavorski's? Two years ago I was at the Atwater Prarie Chicken NWR when the birds were displaying on their kells (sp). I estimate they had us 350 yards from them. I was the first to actually see a pair of them and the first one was jumping up an down at the end of little runs and the other was puffing up and inflating his airsacs. When I called it out I could see the guy next to me with his $3,000 Swavorsky's was eyeing my fourth tier optics. People with scopes were having a lot of trouble finding the birds at that range with only a small hole in the prarie grass and sage brush.

I also have an equally cheap spotting scope which was Cornell's recommendation for best scope under $1,500. It has a lot of short comings when cranked up to the 60X magnification. But at 20X and 40X settings it works fine. I have been invited to look through some of the high end $4,500 scopes at some shorebird beaches and they are amazing. At 80X they have only a little distortion at the very edge of the lens while at 60X on mine it leaves only the center half pretty clear. Equally important on a spotting scope is the tripod. Out on the mudflats with the wind blowing they are useless if the tripod is flimsy.
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Re: Good birding binoculars for under $200?

Postby Russ Emmons » Sat May 31, 2014 2:58 am

UPDATE! Tina I never did find these or anything else in that price range locally I liked.

This Tuesday evening, just for the heck of it I thought I would check online again. I found Eagle Optics in Wisconsin had the Celestrons in stock now whereas they & Amazon did not before! I noted Eagle has NO shipping charges over $50 purchase. So I ordered from them--- Wednesday AM I got a verification of order and that they were shipped ! Yesterday---(Friday) PM they arrived promptly by FedX as promised. They seem very worth that price and I think they will work out fine. :)

I wanted to get these rather then something else mainly because of the Cornell report. Others have always praised Eagle Optics service and prompt shipping. I've bought from them before & was satisfied.

Now to work on getting a better camera ;)

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Re: Good birding binoculars for under $200?

Postby TinaTC » Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:07 pm

:W Glad you were able to find a pair. They must be a pretty popular item. I love mine. They're lightweight and easy to adjust.
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Re: Good birding binoculars for under $200?

Postby Russ Emmons » Sat Jul 26, 2014 1:26 am

UPDATE again! TinaTC: It's been a few weeks and a trip up north using the new binocs. I can say now though they are worth the money and I will get use from them--But I'm not impressed that much. ----Perhaps then one must spend $500 or thereabouts & up as some birders say, to get tack sharp image of a small bird from like across the road--these just don't. Talking with member here Brian Allen who is an optometrist, he suggests I may need an eye exam at least, or maybe more at my age. I do need new glasses. In the past tho I've always been able to compensate sight loss with binoculars--even cheaper ones. However my daughter notices with these Celestrons as I do--that is when focusing on a bird, you just get it in sharp and then it goes beyond back out of focus the other way. Can't seem to get the exact center focus spot on . 2 years ago I bought a pair of low end priced Nikons 10X50--same thing! Then I got to thinking what is it about the previous 8X42 "Audubons" I bought several years back that I never liked--same thing. Then I noticed all three of these the focus turns counter opposite (backwards) of any other binoculars I've had or tried out. Then I noticed all three of these are "Made in China" whereas any other binocs I've had or seen have always been made in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, France or Germany. ---I bet all three of these said binocs I have are all made by the same Chinese company---so back to the $500 or up situation !

Also I will never get roof prism binocs again--they are too small and difficult to hang on to, They don't fit my face comfortably and the focus mechanism is way too slow for birding. I hate to be a "wet blanket" but I had to say this!

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Re: Good birding binoculars for under $200?

Postby Danaduck » Sat Jul 26, 2014 10:29 pm

Thanks for the update Russ. I think this is a clear case of the Celestron's were a clear upgrade for Tina as a beginning birder and for a more experienced they don't hit all the finer points. Really this is too be expected.

I am a big believer in try before you buy but I feel like a jerk going into a store and putting a salesman through a winger while I test them out looking down the mall to see if I can read the For Sale sign at the other end.

I will throw this out. I called Eagle Optics and explained my situation as an outdoorsman that kayaks often while birding and wanted a pair below $300 In case I sank the. Now I got a great deal on a pair of Atlas 8 X 42s that are the equivalent of twice the price or more Eagle Optics brand. Atlas is the house brand of Eagle Optics. They use the component lenses, mirrors and prisms that do not quite meet the highest standards. I got the deal partially because I am a career vet of the Viet Nam era and the sales rep I talked to used to put them together and we were simpatico on the outdoors and life in general so he gave me a deal on a pair of glasses that had a small cosmetic flaw in one coating but performed with no degradation. I have used them at the Atwater Prairie Chicken NWR and at 345 yards could see the air sacs inflate while the guy next to me with the Swarvorski's said he could not see it happening.

So I would suggest calling and seeing if any of the big retailers have seconds or cosmetic flawed glasses that perform well and are bargain priced. It worked for me.
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