Pocket binoculars (8x25)

GunnarGG

Enlightened
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
861
Location
Sweden
Lately I have thought about buying a new pair of binoculars.
Not that I really need it but I'll guess most of you know the feeling once you look at some nice gadgets you can really feel that"need"to get them
I'm not a "birder" or hunter but just use my binoculars from time to time when I'm out for a walk in the forrest or by the sea.
I have some trouble to justify the really expensive stuff but do appreciate good quality – both regarding build and image and comfort while using my stuff.
To draw a parallell to flashlights I could probably get by with some $10 flashlights but do enjoy my Zebralights, Fenix, EagleTacs etc and I also enjoy the build quality of my Surefires and Malkoff.

Today I have a Pentax 8x43 DCF SP. I did some research before buying it and am satisfied with it.
It has a good image qulity and feels good to use.
It has the magnification power that I like and has a long eye relief that is good since I use glasses.
Now I'm looking for something smaller that is easy to put in my pocket.
I was in a store a few days ago and looked at some models and have of course googled a lot.
What I found that I liked a lot was a Swarovski 8x25 CLpocket that was just so nice to look through, only the price was wrong.
I was more thinking something costing 1/3 or maybe up to half of the Swarovski.
There is a Pentax AD 8x25 WP that I have found on internet but it seems to be a new model and no reviews that I have found.
It does look good but have a narrower field of view and I don't know about the image quality but my other Pentax is good.

There are some Nikons and other brands but they seems to have shorter eye relief.
Some have other types of hinges and don't get that small when folded.

There are also some 8x20-8x21 (incl Leica and Zeiss) but I think I would like the larger exit pupil of the 8x25.

I am considering buying the nice Swarowski but I don't feel really good about spending the money – it is like you need a flashlight to look in your drawers and and after doing some research going for a $300 Surefire or HDS. It's a little bit overkill and you could spend the money on other fun stuff.

Any input is welcome!
Thanks
 
Last edited:

desmobob

Enlightened
Joined
Sep 9, 2013
Messages
328
Location
Upstate NY - Lake George region
I have the compact Pentax DCFs. At the time I bought them, they were the cheapest phase-corrected roof prism compacts available. They are sharp, but pretty heavy, and they have a "cold" color rendition to my eye.

I later decided to spend the money to buy a pair of Zeiss compacts and I am completely happy --overjoyed-- with them... they ended up being one of my all-time favorite things!

In many years of being a photography buff and outdoors guy, I have come to believe that if you want truly excellent optics, you have to pay for them. I have never, not for an instant, regretted spending the money on my Zeiss binocs. I have a friend who feels the same way about his compact Leicas.

Take it easy,
Bob
 

reppans

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 25, 2007
Messages
4,873
I'm not a "birder" or hunter but just use my binoculars from time to time when I'm out for a walk in the forrest or by the sea....Now I'm looking for something that is easy to put in my pocket.

Same for me.

Well this is admittedly a long shot, but I found I just kept downsizing until the usage-to-bulk ratio was worthy of permanent carry in my small EDC bag. THIS is where I ended up :D.... and it's easily my most used/useful optic - well, because the only good _______ is the one you have with you ;).

(I wear glasses too)
 

Kestrel

Flashaholic
Joined
Oct 31, 2007
Messages
7,372
Location
Willamette Valley, OR
With regards to comparison reviews, I have found that the best are done by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, here's a link to good one.

Their mammoth 2005 review not only helped me settle on my personal favorite, but more importantly their detailed discussions helped me decide on what factors were most important to me.

Since I value portability but didn't want to compromise optical quality by going with the common 'pocket' 8x20 or 8x25's, my favorite form factor are the mid-size binocs with ~30-32mm objective lenses (rather than the larger 40-42's).
Unfortunately this isn't a very popular market segment, with only a few choices.
Edit: It does seem that this market segment has gotten more attention, as there is a better selection of these than there used to be.

I do think that any interested person should make an effort to try out the mid-size binocs, I find that this size is perfect for my uses.

Hope this helps,
 
Last edited:

KITROBASKIN

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 28, 2013
Messages
5,424
Location
New Mexico, USA
Same for me.

Well this is admittedly a long shot, but I found I just kept downsizing until the usage-to-bulk ratio was worthy of permanent carry in my small EDC bag. THIS is where I ended up :D.... and it's easily my most used/useful optic - well, because the only good _______ is the one you have with you ;).

(I wear glasses too)

Rarely do I spend much time, when using optics to see far away. I'd rather not pay for the costs of getting binoculars when a monocular gets the job done really well. It is lighter and less likely to be left at home. My Vixen 8X20 monocular can also be used for close up magnification (will focus as close as 18 inches or so)

I use larger optics when called for (Leupold and Leica spotting scopes), but it is nice to (usually) have this one at hand.

The 30mm units sound like a good compromise for 8X.
 

GunnarGG

Enlightened
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
861
Location
Sweden
Thanks for all input and tips!

Monocular - not a bad idea.
Maybe not instead of binoculars but as a compliment.
I see many of them can focus very close also which can be useful.

For the binoculars the size that Kestrel suggests seems to be an excellent mediumsize that gives good performance and easy to carry.
But I don't think they are really pocket size and that's why I'm looking at the smaller ones.
I haven't really looked at them in real life though and will do that before I rule them out.

My plan now is to try to take it easy at the moment, sometimes I get a little carried away with purchases like this. :whistle:
Will try to visit some more stores that have binoculars and also try some monoculars.
 

AB8XL

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
Messages
233
Location
Michigan
I'd recommend Vortex or Steiner for binoculars, both offer lifetime warranty and free repairs to their products. I have several pairs from both brands and over the years they have gotten dropped and the collimation gets out of alignment and both companies have been great with their repair service.

http://www.vortexoptics.com/category/viper_binoculars
http://www.vortexoptics.com/content/vip_warranty


http://www.steiner-optics.com/binoculars/hunting/predator-10x26
http://www.steiner-optics.com/binoculars/hunting/predator-8x22
http://www.steiner-optics.com/product-warranties
 

KITROBASKIN

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 28, 2013
Messages
5,424
Location
New Mexico, USA
A good idea to take it slow. Wait for sales, that's what I did. But even though I got a good deal on a Leica spotting scope body, the eyepiece cost a huge chunk, although it is very capable (close focus distance, Wide field of view, clear image)

A monocular will not become misaligned like a binocular can. But extended viewing is best done with binoculars. Twice I have bought store demos for a good price. That is one way to buy quality glass.
 

GunnarGG

Enlightened
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
861
Location
Sweden
Some updates to this thread.

A couple of months ago I did get a new pair of binoculars after some new research.

It's a Zeiss Terra ED 8x25. I find it excellent!

I have also used a Nikon acculon A30 8x25 and the Zeiss is much better - sharper, brighter, less glare and better ergonomics.

The Terra 8x25 has also gotten good reviews and has a decent price. The Terra line is Zeiss entry level line.
The 8x25 is made in Japan, the other sizes of the line is made in China.
Compared to the Swarovski CL 8x25 I had looked at in the beginning it's not the same build quality, feels more plastic, but still feels like a solid good quality binocular.
The optic quality seems similar, at least in my eyes.
The price is about 1/3 of the Swarovski.

So, I'm very satisfied and carry my little pocket binocular almost every day on dogwalks and other outdoor things. :twothumbs
 

chorlton

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
137
Location
England
I have just ordered the Pentax AD 8x25 WP after a lot of research. Bearing in mind I don't use my binoculars often and can't stretch to the cost of the Zeiss 8x25 Terra ED I figured these at half the price had good quality gubbins and good pedigree. I will post my thoughts when I get my hands on them.
 

yellow

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 31, 2002
Messages
4,633
Location
Baden.at
some ideas to think over ...
* do I really bring them with me, or is that - in its "daily use" - just a dead weight? (= "do I really need such a gadget?") ;)
* how about 10 times?
8 times is the same as one can spot with bare eyes (+ glasses). 10 times does give me a level of details the 8 x models did not



soooooome years ago, when I thought I "needed" such things, I bought a Svarovsky10*25B Habicht ... and this has then almost never been used, because there is more important stuff to pack
;)
PS: that Habicht is still a shelf queen here inside my computer desk :rolleyes: while another one - a Nikon for 1/2-2/3 the price of the Swarovski - was never worth anything of the money that was on the price tag.
 
Last edited:

GunnarGG

Enlightened
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
861
Location
Sweden
Congrats on your new bino, Chorlton. Hope you will enjoy it.
That little Pentax looks nice and my larger bino that also is a Pentax is really good.

My 8x25 Terra is great and almost always in the pocket when I'm out for a walk.
The large 8x42 is to big to for that kind of use and more for occasions when I plan more specific watching.
If comparing to flashlights the 8x25 is like a 1xAAA (or maybe 1xAA) that's always in the pocket to use if the need shows up (and most of the time sufficient) while I pick up a 18650 light when having a specifik task to do.

Just like flashlights binoculars can be quite addictive and I have now also bought a 8x32 that is in optics and ergonomy more like the full size bino but smaller and lighter to carry.
Still not for pocket use and the 8x25 is the one most used but the 8x42 will probably not get that much use.

Regarding power 10x gives a little bit more compared to 8x but it's also a bit more shaky.
With the same objective size a 10x also have a smaller exit pupil than a 8x and therefore a bit more demanding in eyplacement and the 8x is easier to get a good view.
I find 8x more comfortable but I'll guess it's a personal thing and also depending on situation.
 

Latest posts

Top