Advise on compact binoculars for fly fishing

Discussion in 'Photography / Video' started by Toney, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. Toney My other car is a fly rod.

    Posts: 106
    Seattle
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    Hello all. My binos broke and I need a new pair. I'm sure much has changed in the 20 years that I owned the last pair. What brands should I look at around $100 or so? Also, what specs would you suggest: 8 X 20, 30, or 40. Also, I need them to be small to fit in a small pocket on daypack.

    Thanks much,
  2. tkww Member

    Posts: 467
    WA
    Ratings: +69 / 2
    Lots of brands, many of them decent. Too many to list, frankly. And prices will range all over even in the same brand. Many of the european brands will be completely out of the price range you mentioned. (Like $600 8x20s!)

    I would go 8x20-something. The 8x30s and 40s stop being "compact" in my opinion. I wouldn't get 10x because they're too hard to hand-hold and keep steady, especially in the compact size. Further, in order to keep them compact the objectives are smaller relative to the magnification, meaning they're dimmer. You won't notice it in bright sunlight, but in the shade, evening, etc., you'll be thankful for all the light you can gather.

    A little higher than you mentioned, but check out these. I have a slightly lesser version, the "safari" line, but similar in size and shape. I carry them in my glove compartment, take them hiking or put them in my backpack if I think I'll want them, etc. For the hundred bucks I paid I've got no complaints. I've compared them to $400 leicas. Yes the leicas have better edge-to-edge sharpness and overall IQ, but not 4x the amount!!! If I was going to use them several times a day or several times a week maybe I'd spring for a nicer pair. But for the 30 seconds at a time once every few weeks, I find them to be great. Heck they are overkill for that. And, these at STP are an even higher-quality version, though they are a bit over your budget. That said, you can pick up the Safari version at B&H for $115.

    http://www.sierratradingpost.com/steiner-predator-pro-compact-binoculars-8x22-waterproof-roof-prism~p~4752p/?filterString=binoculars-and-scopes~d~54/&colorFamily=01

    Here is another list. You can do further sorting (like by price) on the left-hand side.
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?atclk=Price_$100 to $149.99&ci=1010&N=4083534123 4294955796 4294956488 4294956482

    You live in Seattle? Try to find a big camera store (or possibly a hunting store, even a Wholesale Outfitters or Cabelas, etc.). They would likely have several brands that you could hold and try. The bigger the store the bigger the selection is going to be. I say that because you may decide you're perfectly happy with at 60 or 80 dollar pair too. With optics you generally get what you pay for (with some sticker shock for the brand names like leica), but I think it's also important to match use/need with price if you're on a budget. As I said, if I used them all the time, every day, extended viewing sessions, etc., I'd wait and save up and get a nicer pair. (And size be damned, I wouldn't be probably be getting 8x40s for that kind of viewing.) But for the occasional peep, a $50 pair maybe be good enough. I'm sure that first pair of Nikons on the B&H list are dandy little binochs.