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Andrew Cooper's Guide to Wildlife Watching & Photography.

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Binoculars Telescopes


To get the most out of watching wildlife, binoculars are essential.  Always keep them handy when out walking, and that means around your neck. If you find the supplied strap uncomfortable, fit a new wider one. Binocular cases are for storage when not in use.

For bird watching 8x or 10x magnification is ideal. For insects and even finding wild flowers a 7x with close focusing is more than adequate. Always buy the best you can afford as the value is in the optical performance. Better news is that the most
expensive ones are not always the best buy.

What magnification do you need.....



Did you know that binoculars can be used just as well for viewing insects and tiny wild flowers as well as birds. The latest binoculars are very good at close focussing, some down to a metre or so. But all binoculars can be used as a field microscope to magnify tiny creatures or small flowers – just look through them the ‘wrong way’ around!

Choosing the right binocular is not easy and new, better performing ranges come on to the market every year. It is a very personal choice and only you can decide between performance and price. Ultimately, they should feel comfortable in use and you should not be too concerned with styling and features. The following tips will hopefully help you make a good choice but one of the best ways is to go along to a recommended outlet or attend a field day, where you can try several makes with expert advice on hand. (From summer 2006 we intend to run some field days in conjunction with RSPB and Devon Wildlife Trust. Watch our website news for further details.)

Why Binoculars?

For general wildlife watching, especially when viewing for long periods of time, binoculars are less tiring on the eyes than a telescope.

- two types.


Porro prism
Traditional, classic shape and design.
They have wider apart objective lens that
let in more light but are generally more bulky.
  Roof prism
Recognized by their straight tube like appearance. These binoculars have the objective lens and eye piece in line and are more stream lined in looks. Smaller, lighter and compact, they are now the most popular choice of binoculars.



See our Jargon Buster.....