Binoculor advice


 I have been looking into purchasing a good quality pair of binoculors for birding not just in woodland but around the coastline and across fields I was looking at swaro els but unsure on the swaro vision as Ide heard bad reports of the rolling ball effect , the other ones I looked at were Leica ultra vids which I actually quite like due to the size and the fact that they are black . Whilst deciding which ones to go for I was  told to look at the new hawk apo binoculors , does anyone own these binoculors ? How do they stack up ? 
 Another thing I’m struggling with is do I go for 8 x or 10 x .

Hope someone can advise .

  • There's only one way to buy binoculars - find a good shop and try them out.. Reviews don't really help at all, binoculars are very personal to your eyes so all a reviewer can ever tell you is that they work for them. Once you get up into the higher ends of the market, it's more about ergonomics - do they balance well, are they the right weight, is the eye-relief correct for you etc. All the top makes, Zeiss, Swarovski, Leica and so on are basically superb, but you'll likely find one of them simply feels right in your hands (and you'll never tell that from a review). For example, I have a pair of Zeiss SFs; when I bought them I found the Leicas too heavy and the Swaros had their focus wheel in the wrong place. Nothing wrong with either of those makes, but they didn't work for me.
    Try some of the larger RSPB reserves (Minsmere has a good selection), Cley Spy in Norfolk, In Focus - shops like that, where you can try out a range of makes and models to help you decide
    It will also answer the 8x or 10x question. There's no right answer, it's purely personal. 10x gets you a bit closer, but you're more likely to get a bit of shake whilst using them (and the field of view will be a bit less)


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  • In reply to Whistling Joe:

    I'll echo Whistling Joes advice, optics are very much an individual thing, just the same as clothing and footwear (something I learned through 40 or so years as a hill and moorland walker plus camping, clothing, footwear and associated gear is very much a personal thing) with a small plus.

    A lot will depend on your budget and how big or small you want to go.

    There are RSPB reserves which have optic weekends where you can try before you buy and they have staff able to advise you around your needs and budget. Also many Wildlife Trusts have optic weekends, so if there isn't an RSPB one nearby, check them out.

    Personally, I use Nikon Travelite 10x25 binoculars, nice, light and small, and are comparable to the lens I use on my camera, but probably more important, they're weatherproof, which as a former (grounded no thanks to an inconsiderate motorist running a red light) hill and moorland walker, was invaluable.

    The Travelite's were retired after almost 30 years service, and all that is wrong is the eyecups have become loose, but still usable and enjoying an easy life at home for the garden.

    The replacement pair now have to endure the elements.

    But the important thing is, if you can, try before you buy.


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  • One bit of advice from me is set yourself a budget, it is really no good looking at two grand binoculars if all you can afford is one grand. There is a massive selection  of  decent  bins in the mid range names worth looking  at Opticron, Hawke and Celestron among others.  Of course if you can afford  it go for the big names, have fun trying  them out and enjoy  your choice 


    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • Thanks for the advice guys , trying before i buy is abit difficult, theres one shop ive mamaged to have a look at and looked through hawks ed binoculors , when i tried them though they never had the newer apo version , there is no other shops near me that stock ones from leica , zeiss etc
    I understand the try before you buy and bins need to feel right etx but mail order is difficult .
    Im currently using nikon 10x 25 and have a few other older pairs in 8 x 30 but really fancy uograding
    Im looking in the price range of leica uktravids which i quite fancied treating myself to but heard reports of the hawk apo being some were near at a fraction of the price hence why i asked for any reviews on the apo.
    Thanks again
  • Go onto the web pages of both Birdwatch and Birdwatching magazines they have copies of past tests. Another source of info is the Bird Forum optics section and don't forget to look at Seymours threads on tthis forum he has offered loads of good advice on here over the years.


    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can