Please sign in to post.

Binocular recommendations please!

So, I Just read a thread where several people recommended bringing binoculars to view churches and architecture. Great idea! But I have no idea what features I should be looking for in a small, inexpensive binocular. What do you all suggest, links would be even more helpful. Thanks...23 days to go!

Posted by
1260 posts

That may have been one of my threads - the binocs I ended up taking to Ravenna for mosaics-viewing are from REI, very small (3.5 x 4"), and say 8 x 22 7.5 degrees 393 ft/1000 yds. They're quite light, and come with a carrying case. They were fine for my purposes, although I'd probably want something with a wider angle of view for serious bird-watching.

Posted by
20628 posts

I carry a small compact binocular that is 8x25. About the size of two decks of cards. It is pretty good for looking at ceilings, roofs, etc. My guess it that they were $25 but that could been. I would go to a sporting good store and see what the have. The first number (8) refers to the magnification. Anything 4 to 8 should work. Anything over 8, say 10, and it can be hard to focus well without a tripod. You need to see what works well for you.

Posted by
7681 posts

I agree you should go somewhere local so you can hold them and see what works in your hands. You will not believe how many shapes there are.

My “travel binoculars” are my old 8 X 25 that were my first binocular purchase about 20 years ago. They are Nikon, the model is sportster II but they don’t make them any more. They are perfect to carry in my purse for travel.

I use them inside and outside of churches, museums and get a little birding in on the side, lol!

You may be able to find some on a Memorial Day sale.

Pack them in your carry on, not in checked baggage.

Posted by
442 posts

One of those binocular threads was mine. You can spend hours researching binoculars. Hours. You can spend $25 or $1,000. If you have an outdoor store that you like, drop by and have a chat with the guy or gal who knows the optics. You want to get yours a few days before you leave so you can practice. Better yet, borrow a pair from a friend, Take a walk around the inside of a local museum or train depot and see if you like what you see. It’s possible you won’t enjoy the view! Save your money.

My personal recommendations: 8X is about as powerful as you can hold still comfortably; 10X and more gets pretty shaky . 25mm objective lenses (in the front) are large enough for most casual applications but larger and heavier objectives gather more light. Really doesn’t matter what kind of prism you choose (Porro, roof, penta) since these are probably not going to get heavy duty use hunting, surveying, blasting, or on mountain climbing expeditions. You also don’t really need waterproof or armor. A larger exit pupil is nice if you wear glasses. Zoom binoculars are not recommended; the zoom function compromises the optical quality.

I have Nikon’s little trailblazer model, 8x25. Got them with my REI dividend a couple years ago. . I really wanted a pair in fluorescent orange but I could only find super expensive, specialized optics in anything other than boring old black. There are dozens of great optical instruments out there. Hundreds. REI has more than 20 different 8X models, $40 to $900.

https://www.rei.com/product/744595/nikon-trailblazer-atb-waterproof-8-x-25-binoculars

Posted by
230 posts

I have used the very lightweight ones RS sells on this website. Perfect for viewing the ceilings of churches etc.

Posted by
613 posts

Small is essential. Cheap works fine.
Should have 1] flexible so you can center one tube on each eye. otherwise, you will have a monocular. 2] central focus (both barrels) one individual focus for fine tuning. 3] soft rubber eyepiece for a snug fit to keep out unwanted light. 4] tube extends a bit beyond the front lens to keep out unwanted light

Posted by
101 posts

I use a pair of Pentax porro prism 7x20 binoculars I've had for at least 25 years. They fit in the palm of my hand and weigh 5.9 oz. They've taking a beating over the years but still work fine. They cost less that $100 when I bought them. I doubt the same model is still made. Here's a good buying guide for binoculars. B&H is a reputable company to do business with if you choose to buy from them. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/outdoors/buying-guide/binocular

Posted by
661 posts

I bought my wife a pair of binoculars from the Rick Steves Travel store and their compact and work very well for travel. They are on sale on the RS website right now.

Posted by
5502 posts

We stopped packing our compact binoculars many trips ago. If I want to seem highly magnified images I can both view and record them with my Cannon Powershot SX with its "superzoom" lens and viewing system. The SX70 model has a 65X optical maximum zoom range which is about a 27X normal view magnification. At that max range of magnification, the electronic image stabilization is useful.

Posted by
71 posts

Thanks to all, I found an inexpensive compact pair that I think will fit the bill!

Posted by
11154 posts

"Thanks to all, I found an inexpensive compact pair that I think will fit the bill!"

Great! What did you end up getting?

Posted by
71 posts

I found a pair on Amazon that were highly rated and followed some of the tips above, they happened to be on a brief “ lightening deal” for $13 so I thought “ what the heck, the price of a couple of lattes, who cares if they are crappy, I’ll give them to my nephew.” They already came and seem adequate for my needs! They are Skygenius compact.

Posted by
442 posts

BlockquoteI found a pair on Amazon that were highly rated and followed some of the tips above, they happened to be on a brief “ lightening deal” for $13 so I thought
Blockquote

Mission accomplished.

Posted by
4 posts

My father always used Pentax when he went hunting. On amazon you will find any binoculars for every taste and budget. So I found a model from Zeiss. As for me, it is universal. Reasonable review about it - https://opticzoo.com/zeiss-20x60-binoculars-review/ Of course there are disadvantages, there are also pluses, but generally, if you just want to have binocular and you will not use it for professional purposes, you can choose any average cost, with moderate characteristics and you will not be mistaken.

Posted by
407 posts

Like Edgar, I no longer take my compact binoculars. Considering the few times I used them during my trips, I found even the small ones added unnecessary weight to the purse I use on a daily basis. Same goes for my compact point-and-shoot camera. My phone takes pictures that are adequate for my use, which is only personal viewing.

Posted by
668 posts

Dating myself, but I love my Nikon Venturer II. You can find these on used lists, Amazon and such - 20 dollars or so used. These are small, light and easily pack-able, and have lasted 20 years of hard and nearly continuous use. :)