New Binos for around £200?

Hi all,

After receiving a refund from Mr Taxman (woohoo!) I have decided to buy a new pair of binos.  I have around £200-£250 to spend and just wondered if anyone has any recommendations?  I've had a look at Bushnell, Viking and Vanguard but really haven't got a clue.

Any help greatly appreciated!



  • Hi Jayne,

    here are a really good pair of bins in your price range:

    Opticron Countryman BG:

    Also look at Nikon range, I have a pair of Hawke ED 10x43 which are really good at about 280 quid, (a little over budget)

    Go for a 8x42 or 10x42 the 8 and 10 are the best magnifications for birding and the 42 (or even 40) is a good size exit lens for light gathering - meaning you get good colouration and clear image detail when looking through them.



    Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. - Albert Einstein

  • In reply to Craig B:

    I agree with the opticrons I love mine - have a couple of pairs.

    My pref is for the x8 mag but my kids love the x10 although they are harder to find the bird with for them.

    'In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks'  John Muir.       

    Excuse wobbily dyslexic spelling!

  • Hi Jayne,

    My advice would be to wander along to your local RSPB shop, or somewhere else that sells binoculars to birdwatchers (I'd avoid the high street camera shops, as it is very rare they have anyone there that knows about birdwatching). Once you are there, try everything out that you can lay your hands on and that is within budget. People's eyes and tastes vary hugely, so it is important to find a pair that is right for YOU. And not just for your eyes, but also the weight around your neck, how they feel in the hand and so on.

    As has already been said, 8 or 10 times magnification is probably the best. Something like 8x40 is a good standard pair, but if you aren't going to be out at dawn, dusk and really low light conditions, you can always downsize to a pair of 8x30 binoculars without losing too much performance and often with a huge saving on size and weight.

    But to reiterate, the best thing you can do is go somewhere to try lots of different pairs. Preferably with an expert who can talk you through the differences between the makes and models and help you make a choice that is right for you.

    Reedbed, freshwater scrapes, saltmarsh and wet meadow. Frampton Marsh has it all! Come and pay us a visit soon.

  • In reply to Craig B:

    Hi Craig,

    Thanks for your response.  Those binos look good.  I've found them on another site for £209.95 for the 10x42.  I am presuming the 10 x magnification will be better?

    My husband is buying a pair of the Hawke ones so I'll at least be able to use his!

    Thanks again, oh and well done on the good egg!!



  • In reply to osprey:

    Thanks Osprey,

    I reckon I'll prob be best with the 10x mag too.

  • In reply to Chris Andrews:

    Thanks Chris that is really useful advice.  I did see some Vikings at the RSPB at Dearne Valley yesterday but I didn't actually try them out so perhaps I should.  I used mine in low light yesterday and it made me realise how rubbish and cheap they were, plus they kept fogging up which was v annoying!!

    Thanks again


  • In reply to Jayneyb:

    Thanks Jayne :)

    Chris is right in saying that it is worth trying out a few different pairs and seeking some expert advice before purchasing. Got to day the internet is a great place to find good bargains and my Hawkes came from Amazon after trying them out over a nature reserve and the delivery and packaging were spot on. Plus it is down to personnal choice. What works for one person doesnt always work for another.

    Nitrogen gas filled bin's dont fog and nowdays they are made from lighter metals (magnesium) too.

    try both 8's and 10's but I myself prefer 10's as it gives you that extra "reach" but your field of view will be less with 10's.

    Good luck


    Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. - Albert Einstein

  • In reply to Jayneyb:

    I would suggest you find the nearest In Focus event mostly at local birding places and they take lots of different binoculars to these events for you to try and if you ring them before asking for particular ones they will do their best to bring them.We found Opticron really good value,good luck. 

  • In reply to Sooty:



    as has been said Binoculars are a personal choice, depending on their weight, size etc.  Remember that while 10x makes the bird appear bigger they also magnify any vibration as well in wind etc.

    A few tips from a Binocular reviewer-  when buying in a good optics shop ( In Focus, RSPB, Focus Optics , etc )

    Try out as many pairs as possible in your range  and select the best half dozen pairs that suit.

    Compare them directly and weed out the ones that don't suit.

    Get it down to 2 or 3 then make a final  decision.


    Several times I have had people open the fresh pair and found they were out of alignment ( de-colimated)

    Read reviews in the birding press and/or Get advice from SEVERAL people you trust*





    * sorry RSPB but I had to intervene at Titchwell one morning when an  'RSPB binocular salesperson' was giving a punter totally innacurate info about binoculars. :(







    For advice about Birding, Identification,field guides,  binoculars, scopes, tripods,  etc - put 'Birding Tips'   into the search box

  • In reply to Sooty:

    Thanks Sooty, I've checked the in-focus events but there isn't one until December near me.  However, I've seen they have a shop in Denby Dale so I'll be popping along there on Saturday to check their binos out!