Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Six of the best £200-£500 binoculars

Just some of the large range of binoculars
available from Cley Spy
Here is a brief round-up of some of the best binoculars for a medium budget. The finest binoculars available have prices that are hard to justify if you are not using them everyday or professionally. In resent years a huge range of optics has become available making the choice rather overwhelming. With such a bewildering array on offer it can be hard to see the wood for the trees, but with a little guidance sorting out the best one for your needs can be made a little easier.  Choosing optical equipment is very much a personal decision and because only you can see through you own eyes it is hard to make recommendations.  There are however some binoculars that offer a lot of performance for the money and the price range £200-£500 includes some excellent equipment that does a very respectable job without breaking the bank.

Opticron have a long legacy of good quality and keenly priced optics going back decades, and with a broad range of products from the budget to high end they are a sound choice for many people. This particular model is a well-built and comfortable 42mm binocular, available in both 8x and 10x magnification. Good wide field of view, decent close focus and a 10 year guarantee.

Very popular binoculars, available in 8x36, 10x36, 8x43 and 10x43 models. The ED (extra-low dispersion) glass elements in these deliver a crisp, clear image and all the specifications have an excellent field of view for their magnification. 10 year guarantee.

These are one of the lightest weight 42mm binoculars available, fitting neatly in the hand and feeling more like a 32mm in proportions but with the light gathering of a 42mm for early mornings and late evenings. 2 year guarantee.

Light, sharp and ergonomic. Rather than having the traditional choice of 8x or 10x magnification these are available in 9x32 and 9x42 versions. This strikes a good balance giving slightly more power without compromising the brightness or field of view too much. Pentax are one of the few companies still offering a 30 year guarantee.

A good range of models with 8x42, 10x42, and more interestingly 7x33 and 9x33. For me the 7x33 is the stand out specification, with an excellent sharp, bright image and a staggering 9.1ยบ field of view. This coupled with very well controlled colour fringing and close focus under 2m makes for a great summer binocular for both bird and insect watching. It is good to see a company thinking outside the box when it comes to design. 10 year guarantee.

8x42 and 10x42.  Very ergonomic with nicely textured rubber armouring over a robust feeling low weight body. Great optics that punch above their price. 10 year guarantee.

For more information on what to look for in a binocular and the rest of the range available from Cley Spy visit our website, pop in and see us at Glandford and Cley Marshes or give us a call

Thursday, May 9, 2013

iphone digiscoping revisited

The latest new product from Kowa is an updated version of their adapter for attaching iphones to
scopes and binoculars. The TSN-IP5 is based on the previous adapter (the TSN-IP4S) but is made to fit the iphone 5.

Both the adapters are made of tough rubberised plastic and clip on to the phone in the same way that many cases for smart phones do, and has a lug for a lanyard which is provided. The mount that fits on the scope eyepiece is made of anodised aluminium and there are two sizes of felt-lined tube, one to fit binoculars and one to fit the eyepieces of the TSN-880/770 series scopes. The one for the scopes also fits onto Swarovski and Zeiss zoom eyepieces and with the felt removed fits (albeit slightly loosely) the latest Leica Televid 65/82 eyepiece. The binocular tube fits Kowa's own binoculars and the following models form other manufacturers.

Pentax DCF BC 9x42

Minox BL 8x42 and 10x42

Leica Ultravid HD 7x42, 8x42 and 10x42 and the new Trinovid 8x42 and 10x42

Nikon EDG 8x32

Viking ED Pro 8x42 and 10x42.

Barn Owl by Eddie Myers
We have been able to modify these adapters to fit some other scopes not listed above, so it is always worth asking if you have something different. Recently we found that the smaller tube fits neatly onto the 32x wide eyepiece for the now discontinued Kowa 820 series scopes when the rubber eye-cup is removed. These are still very good scopes today and turn up second-hand at good prices.

Kestrel by Eddie Myers
The capabilities of these phones to capture both stills and video have seriously impressed us. One of our regular local customers and birding legend Eddie Myers has been getting jaw-dropping results with his iphone 4s and Swarovski scope that usually provoke the response “What?! You did that with a telephone?”.

Water Rail by Eddie Myers
This is an exciting new area for digiscoping, allowing the capturing of high-quality images in the field with a mobile phone, a piece of equipment that many people are carrying with them already.