I have tried asking this question a couple of times since the rehash of the forum but it never seems to show so I reckon I am going wrong somewhere along the way. So here goes again. Has anyone with young children or grandchildren had anything to do with the RSPB Wildlife Explorers children's binoculars ? As members who read some of the rubbish I write may notice Chris and myself like to take our two eldest grandsons, 5 sand almost 9 yrs old, on some of our outings but we feel they maybe should have some child specific optics and the Wildlife Explorers may fit the bill. At the moment the eldest one uses an old pair of 7x35 porro prisms that used to live in my walking rucksack and the younger one seems to find it hard. On occasions I have set up a Hummingbird mini scope on a lightweight tripod and, because I can put it onto the birds for them, this does work but something for them to carry on walks would be nice. An advice welcome. Iam usually pretty good on giving adults advice on optics but very much at sea on childrens stuu. Help please.
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I’ve not heard anything about them, Pete.
We’re out and about tomorrow (weather permitting) so if we manage to get anywhere near Loch Leven I’ll see if I can maybe get a look at a set if they have them in stock.
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I had a similar idea to Paul, I took a look when I was at Minsmere today. Personally I'd probably go for the Puffin bins instead - they are more expensive, but feel more like "proper" binoculars. Crucially I found the children's ones had a pretty poor minimum focus (not checked any specs, but using them relatively close on the bird feeders the children's ones were not able to focus closely enough, whilst the Puffin's had no trouble). Whilst they're more expensive, I suspect the Puffins will last the lads longer (though the children's ones are small and fit into a pocket easily I admit)
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In reply to Whistling Joe:
Thanks for the replies Paul and Joe,the Puffin was another on my list. I had a look at these at Salthome a while back and to be honest over my many years birding I have used a lot worse bins for myself I was not sure about the 5yr old handling it.
I managed to get a look at both the Wildlife Explorers and the Puffins today, Pete.
My opinion is similar to WJ’s in that the Puffins are the better of the two, but they are twice the price.
It was a very dull day today but both sets were actually nice and bright (I tried them outside).
Explorers: These are 6x17 and are very lightweight and small. They also have a dioptre adjustment and are a ‘real’ pair of Binos, not just a ‘toy’ set. No movable eye cups but I was still able to see just fine out of them. I found the minimum focus to be around 4 decent paces. Looking at small writing on a sign around 20 yards away I thought there was just a small hint of double vision, although I didn’t notice this when looking at anything else. They were a demo pair so it could be that they’d been dropped, thumped, snotted on etc. , or just a set of actually quite decent £30 kid’s binos.
Puffins: These are 8x32 and certainly much more robust than the Explorers, but also a fair bit heavier (although certainly not overly heavy, it’s just that the Explorers are so light).
They also have dioptre adjustment and also twisting eye cups which could help if any of the wee boys wear glasses. Image quality was very decent with no signs of double vision and minimum focus seemed to be only a foot or two less than the 6x17’s.
As I mentioned, both set looked similarly bright but obviously the smaller set has a lower magnification so the brightness seemed to balance itself out. I’ve added a few shots so you can see the size in hand.
I do wonder if the younger lad may actually find the 6x17’s a bit easier to hold steady than the 8’s though. The Explorers came in Green or Blue. Hope this helps.
In reply to Paul A:
Thanks for taking this trouble to check things out,I have been a bit out of sorts lately so reduced to very local birding at the moment. We had wondered about the smaller bins for the 5 year old and the Puffins for the elder one. We may have a word with our daughter,their mum, and see what her thoughts. Fraser,the youngest is also bug crazy so we have already got a decent light uo magnifying glass for this purpose. We might think of leaving his bins until he is a year or so older. We'll see what Mum says.
I gave youngest daughter a pair of puffins a few years back and they have done a stirling job, easy to pop in a coat pocket. They went off to Uni with her and rattled around in her back pack on field trips and are now my go to pair for kitchen window watching. I would think they would do well for the older boy.
As an update to my query we decided not to go ahead with the RSPB childrens bins for our two eldest (almost 9 and recently 5 year old) grandsons. The eldest did not want to relinquish his claim on what was once a pair of granddads old 7x35 porro prisms and the better of the choices,the 8x32 Puffin seemed too large for the 5 year old who has very small hands. He was very pleased with the magnifying glass which lit up and was soon put into use seeking out bugs in the garage.
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