Birder's Guide

DEC 2014

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

Issue link: http://bg.aba.org/i/425921

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37 December 2014 | Birder's Guide to Gear great optics and coatings, resulting in amazing clarity and brightness. Is that wonderful $100 cabernet sauvi- gnon four times as good as its $25 brother? Probably not, but it is def- nitely more delicious. For half the price of the above models, take a look at the 8x30 Swarovski Companion: smaller, lighter, and an extra millimeter for the objective lens diameter means increased light-gathering. It sells for about $1,200. Or consider the Zeiss Conquest 8x32, at about $1000, with a great feld of vision and the shortest close focus in its price range. Another option is the 8x33 Minox HG, with excellent specs all around; this model is a bit bigger than the Swarovski Companion but has close focus nearly as short as the Zeiss Vic- tory and sells for about $1,200. The 8x33 Kowa Genesis and 8x32 Nikon Premier are each about $1,200, but the Nikon Premier is among the heaviest of them all, at almost 25 oz. At about half this price (around $600) are the Kowa BD 8x32 and the 8x32 Vortex Viper HD: smaller than 5" x 5", amazing close focus of 5' and 3' (respectively), and a weight of around 20 oz. In the lowest price range, check out Opticron. It makes a variety of 8x models, from about $150– $400, all at a pound or less and all with great close focus. I especially liked the Opticron Traveller 8x32 at around $400. Or, for about the same price, the 8x30 Nikon Mon - arch 7 has a wider feld of view but still good close focus at just under 8'. Less expensive still is the $300 8x32 Eagle Optics Ranger. It weighs 19.2 oz., has a wider feld of view, and sports an incredible 3' close fo- cus. The 8x32 Celestron Nature has roughly the same specs but is cheap- er still (about $160). And there are also the 8x32 Leupold Mojave BX-3 ($350) and the 8x32 Leupold Acadia Kowa BD Kowa Genesis Leica Ultravid Leupold Acadia Leupold Mojave Minox HG Nikon EDG Nikon Monarch 7

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