Binoculars for a budding birdwatcher
October 19, 2011 11:52 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a good-quality but inexpensive pair of binoculars for a 10-year-old girl.

It's my niece's birthday in a few weeks. She loves animals and the outdoors, and we often go on hikes and nature walks around her house when I come to visit. I'd considered getting her a pair when she was younger, but children's binoculars are usually cheap and flimsy and useless, so I thought I'd get her a real pair that she could continue to use as she got older.

Criteria: reasonably light, compact, durable, and easy to carry around, easy and appropriate for a child and a beginner, simple focus controls, between $50-100. I honestly know nothing about binoculars other than what I've read here--I'm currently using an old pair that had belonged to my husband's grandfather and are adequate for my needs but nothing special.

I'm also getting her a birdwatching book--I use Sibley's, but for her I chose this one because it looked more accessible for a beginner.
posted by tully_monster to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: My 10 year-old daughter has a pair of Bushnell Permafocus binocs. They are smaller and easily held by her 10-year old hands. They work great.
posted by Sassyfras at 12:18 PM on October 19, 2011

I am a huge fan of Eagle Optics and have bought all my binos from them. Here's their list of binos for kids.
posted by gingerbeer at 12:21 PM on October 19, 2011

The first pair of bins I bought for myself were Nikon Travelite 8x25. The advantage of these is that they are very light, and small enough to fit easily into a large pocket or a small bag. The disadvantage is a narrow field of view - you have to be pretty good at pointing the binoculars at the thing you are looking at, which isn't always easy with birds. Similar shape and size to the Permafocus binoculars mentioned above (I'd never seen those before, and they are a good idea). My experience using bins as a child was that it was difficult to hold them steady and fiddle with the focus, so Sassyfras's suggestion is probably the best.
posted by nja at 12:28 PM on October 19, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! The Bushnells seem to be exactly what I'm looking for, and it's a great price. But I will keep Eagle Optics in mind if I myself ever decide to upgrade to a better pair, or if someday my niece seems ready to "graduate."
posted by tully_monster at 1:56 PM on October 19, 2011

I was about to ask exactly this question. Well, almost exactly: boy, not girl, and 8, not 10, but the answer's the same. Thanks!
posted by lapsangsouchong at 4:45 PM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Just a followup--thanks, everyone! The Bushnell Permafocus binoculars were just the ticket. We had a wonderful afternoon of birdwatching, and my "cool aunt" credentials remain up-to-date. :)
posted by tully_monster at 6:51 PM on November 14, 2011

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