Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Gadget Bag: Compact Binoculars
Get a different look at your surroundings and spot unique photo opportunities with a pair of lightweight, high-quality binoculars
All of the binoculars featured here are roof-prism models, meaning the prisms are configured so the front lenses are basically aligned with the eyepieces. This makes for a more compact unit. There are also porro-prism designs, in which the front lenses are offset outward from the eyepieces. This provides better "3-D" depth, but results in bulkier units.
If you work in rain, fog or mist, you should opt for waterproof/fogproof binoculars. They have all the moisture removed using nitrogen, with O-rings to seal against the elements. Otherwise, treat your binoculars like your camera in terms of exposure to the elements. Rubberized armor coating protects against impacts, but doesn't necessary imply waterproofing.
Like cameras and lenses, better binocs tend to cost more, but provide better performance and longer life. BaK-4 barium crown glass produces brighter, sharper images than BK-7 borosilicate glass.
A number of companies offer 10x25 compact binoculars; here are some with the kind of image quality OP readers are likely to appreciate. All prices are estimated street prices.
Low-priced, but full-featured, the Celestron Nature DX 10x25 ($99) is waterproof and nitrogen-purged to eliminate fogging, and features a polycarbonate frame. Field of view at 1,000 yards is 315 feet; minimum focusing distance is 6.5 feet. Dimensions are 4.3x4.5x1.6 inches; weight is 12.1 ounces. www.celestron.com
Kenko's 10x25DH ($229) is a waterproof model with a large focusing knob for easy use. Field of view is 87.3 meters at 1,000 meters; minimum focusing distance is 6.6 feet. Dimensions are 4.3x4.2x1.5 inches; weight is 13.8 ounces. www.thkphoto.com
Leica's Ultravid 10x25 BR ($749) features a rubberized exterior; there's also a BL model with a leather exterior. Nitrogen-filled to prevent internal fogging, the binoculars are waterproof to depths of 16.5 feet, have a field of view of 270 feet at 1,000 yards and can focus down to 10.5 feet. Dimensions are 4.4x4.4x1.5 inches; weight is 9.0 ounces. www.leica-camera.com
Featuring a rugged ABS body with waterproof rubber coating, the Minox BD 10x25 BR ($199) has a field of view of 264 feet at 1,000 yards and can focus down to 9.8 feet. Dimensions are 4.4x2.6x1.7 inches; weight is 10.2 ounces. www.minox.com
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