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
Luger DA 8 42 BaK-4 FC roof Y rubber 671 134.90
Barska Deep Sea 7 50 BaK-4 FMC roof (?) Y rubber 1099 149.90
Minolta Activa WP.FP 7 50 BaK-4 FMC Y rubber 889 110.00
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 CF WP 7 50 BaK-4 FMC porro Y rubber 1100 167.00
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!).