I have decided i would like some decent binoculars, for sailing, walking, lunar eclipses, the neighbours' bathroom, etc.
I want 8x or perhaps 7x magnification, and at least a 40 mm aperture, ideally 50 mm. I'd like fully multi-coated BaK-4 optics, good build quality, and a waterproof, rubber-armoured body. I'd also like to spend not more than 200 UKP, ideally not more than 150. I am probably an optimist.
So, what are my options? Rows in italics fail to meet the criteria.
|Manufacturer||Model||Power||Aperture (mm)||Glass||Coating||Prism||Waterproof?||Armour||Mass (g)||Price|
|Pentax||PCF WP II||8||40||BaK-4||FMC||PC? roof||Y||rubber||850||125.00|
|Pentax||DCF HR II||8||42||BaK-4||FMC||PC roof||Y||rubber||835||189.00|
|Barska||Deep Sea||7||50||BaK-4||FMC||roof (?)||Y||rubber||1099||149.90|
|Olympus||Pathfinder EXPS I||8||42||BaK-4||MC||porro||N||rubber||780||99.00|
|Olympus||Magellan EX WP I||8||42||BaK-4||FMC||roof||Y||rubber||1110||129|
|Olympus||Magellan WP||7||50||BaK-4||?||porro||Y||rubber||1110||129.00||rangefinder + compass|
|Nikon||Action VII CF||8||40||BaK-4||MC||porro||N||rubber||760||42.99|
|Nikon||Action VII EX||8||40||BaK-4||MC||porro||Y||rubber||855||99.00|
|Nikon||HG L DCF||8||42||BaK-4||FMC||PC roof||Y||rubber||795||799.00|
|Nikon||Action VII||7||50||BaK-4||MC||porro||N||rubber||35.4 oz||69.00|
|Nikon||Action VII EX||7||50||BaK-4||MC||porro||Y||rubber||1000||109.00|
I lean towards Pentaxes, as i have a Pentax camera which i'm very happy with. I'd love a Leica or Nikon, as i approve of their microscopes (we're a Nikon shop at work, but i was extremely impressed by a Leica i used recently - an SP5, absolutely lovely), but they are all phenomenally expensive.
[4/3/07] I had a play with some binos at Jessop's. The Pentax PCF WP II 10x50 has ropey ergonomics - the grip isn't great, and the focus barrel is stiff and slow. The Nikon Actions are much better (but optically less good). The Canon IS image stabilisation works really, really well. I tried an Olympus, and the ergonomics on that was okay too.
Why does nobody make 8x50s? Cunts!
So far, i think it's down to the Nikon CF WP 7x50s (1100 g, 167.00 UKP), the Olympus Magellan WP 7x50s (1100 g, 129.00 UKP), the Minolta Activa WP.FP 7x50 (889 g, 110.00 UKP) and the Barksa Deep Sea 7x50 (1099 g, 149.90 UKP). The Minoltas win on size and price, the Nikons or Olympuses on ergonomics (since i've tried them!) and brand trustworthness, and the Olympuses on bonus features (compass and rangefinder!).