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.

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Page 39 of 43

38 Birder's Guide to Gear | December 2014 ($140); both are small and around one pound in weight. The 9x32 Pentax DCF ($400) has an excellent close focus, but on the down side, this binocular is relatively heavy. In a nutshell, here are some spe- cifc standouts. The lightest by far is the Opticron Discovery. Next, the Opticron Traveller, Nikon Monarch 7, and Leupold Mojave. The heavi- est are Nikon's Premier and EDG models. For short close-focus, you can't beat the Eagle Optics Ranger and the Viper Vortex (3'!); Opticron's Traveller and Discovery models are 5' or less. The Zeiss Conquest is close at 4.9'. The largest close-focus number comes from the Swarovski Companion (10'). Eyeglass wearers may be wondering about eye relief. Most of the binoculars I sampled are 15mm or moreā€”the accepted minimum distance for eye relief. But one, the Leica Ultravid, is below this minimum (13 mm). If you wear glasses, you might want to test these in person. As for feld of view, most models come in at 400' or more (at 1,000 yards), but the Opticron Trav- ellers are noticeably defcient in this measure, at 300'. If money is no ob- ject, then spring for either the Leica Ultravid or the Zeiss Victory. At the next price level, I like the Swarovski Companion. And, at the next price level down, and among the smallest, lightest, and closest focus, I like the Opticron Traveller. A fnal note: You really should go to a good binocular shop to fnd the model that's best for you. You should judge in person how it feels in your hands and how it fts your eyes. And I suggest buying the bins there, rather than using the owner's exper- tise to fnd the right model and buy it for a reduced price online. Speak - ing of which, I would like to thank One Good Tern which allowed me to look at many of these binoculars in its Alexandria, Virginia store. Lightweight Binoculars Swarovski Companion Opticron Traveller Vortex Viper Opticron Discovery Zeiss Victory Pentax DCF Zeiss Conquest Nikon Premier

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