The Right Binoculars for Birding Can Make for an Outstanding Birding Experience

Your Best Bets for Binoculars for Birding

Lots of folks come to Jekyll Island for bird watching. There are several outstanding sites to find birds, such as behind the Amphitheater and the South Beach area around St. Andrews Point.

And birders from around the world come to the Colonial Coast Birding and Nature Festival, based on the island in October.

To get the best from your birding experience, however, you need the best binoculars for birding you can afford. Below you'll find our pick for best budget binoculars for birding, but first check out this

Need to Know Stuff - Binocular Facts

  • binoculars (binos) come in large, mid, and compact sizes
  • binocular numbers (8x x 42, for example) are important. The 1st number (8) is the magnification, or how much closer an object will appear looking through the binos as compared to the naked eye. The 2nd number (42) represents the diameter of the objective (light-gathering) lens (in millimeters).
  • a larger objective lens means a larger bino (and one that is often brighter). Large also means heavier.
  • the prisms used for gathering and directing light make for different configurations. Porro prism binos are those you see where the eye pieces are closer together than the objective lenses. With Roof prism models, the eyepieces and objectives are in a straight line. There are also reverse-Porros, which result in a more compact binocular
  • Roof models are generally more durable and easier to waterproof, but more expensive; Porro prism models deliver the best optics for the dollar
  • 7x and 8x models generally have a wider field of view, brighter images, and a closer focus distance than comparable 10x models
  • eyestrain can be a factor, especially for folks wearing glasses
  • people have different physical characteristics. A bino that fits one may be awkward or uncomfortable to another. There's no substitute for trying a variety of sizes, shapes and styles before buying.

Eagle Optics Ranger 8 x 32 Binoculars for Birding -

I wish I'd asked Santa Claus to bring me these for Christmas.

I tried them out at our local Wild Birds Unlimited, and now I dread having to go back out in the field with my old cheap binos. These will spoil you.

At first I was seduced by the more pricey models and checked out a few of them. But who was I kidding? I couldn't afford $1000.00 for binoculars.

My budget ranged at under $500.00, so I started looking at more budget-priced models. And hit pay dirt!

The Ranger 8 x 32s are almost as good as binoculars priced far more. They're roof-prism models, and have a great wide field of view, and a surprisingly tight close focus (around 3 feet). The view pictures were crystal clear, though I tried them out on a bright mid-afternoon, so I can't vouch for their light-gathering capabilities.

The Rangers are also light and study, and waterproof. You can wear these on a neck strap all day and not be stressed.

One thing I noticed was that there was a slight tunnel vision effect when I tried them with my glasses on. If you wear glasses, try the 8 x 42 model; the tunnel vision is not as apparent with them.

The Rangers come with a lifetime warranty. They'll replace them free of charge if they tear up, even if you're at fault. But these are fine-quality optics and will most likely last a lifetime with reasonable care.

All this for just over $300.00.

For that, you can outfit the whole family!

And that reminds me - I have a birthday coming up soon...

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