Please help me find the right pair of binoculars.
March 14, 2019 3:19 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a pair of binoculars to take to the archery ranges, both indoor and outdoor. I'll be using them for distances of 20 yards to 80 yards. I'd like to keep it under $200. Qualities I want: waterproof, compact, easy to focus, durable, works with glasses, NO rangefinder. What should I be looking at?

I'm in the US and can shop on-line or go to a store. I've heard good things about Vortex.
posted by The corpse in the library to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If there's a really great pair that won't work with glasses, it's a possibility-- but I'd rather not, because then I'm trying to hold my bow in one hand, my glasses in my other hand, and my binoculars in my third and fourth hands. I don't want to use a spotting scope and tripod.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:46 PM on March 14

I've had very good luck with Nikon binoculars generally and their Monarchs in particular. The Prostaffs are the next tier down and in the <$200 range.
posted by jquinby at 4:17 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]

We use spotting scopes on tripods at my club. The benefit is that you can leave them perfectly lined up on a target and even lean over and look between shots. The steadiness and largish (compared to binoculars) front lens gives you a clear, bright, still picture, which is what you really need if it's overcast or heading into twilight. I've used binoculars before, but found you can't really wear them and shoot at the same time, and then you have to pick them up off the ground if you want to look for your arrows. Indoors, one of those tiny pocket monocular scope thingies seems fine, as long as the lights are bright.

I've picked up perfectly good spotting scopes for £20-£30 here in the UK, and tripods for less.
posted by pipeski at 4:32 PM on March 14

The best binoculars I've ever used are the old East German Zeiss 8 x 30 Deltrintem or Jenoptem, they were produced in large quantities and regularly turn up on Ebay. Not waterproof but they are built like a tank.
posted by Lanark at 4:46 PM on March 14

As pipeski said, spotting scopes are what I've seen most archers use. Having it on a tripod means you can have it set and aimed at the target boss, and just step from the line after you shoot and have a peep.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 5:33 PM on March 14

This is for both field and target archery, so I really don't want a spotting scope on a tripod.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:18 AM on March 15

I don't have advice on brands, but I do have advice on features.

Magnification. Boaters use 7X magnification because the motion of the boat is too exaggerated at higher X values. I seen suggestions for birders up to twice that. Higher X means a smaller field of view which, at some point, means a bit more trouble finding your target when you pick up the optic.

Depth of field. This means the range of distances that appear to be in focus. With a cheap set of binoculars, you might have refocus between 100 ft and 110 ft. OTOH, I have a pair of 6X Steiners that is pretty much in focus from 100 ft to infinity.

Objective lens size. This is how bright the view is. I assume you will always be shooting in decent light (i.e.. not dusk) , so you don't need anything special in this regard.

Weight. You don't want anything too light weight. Weight means inertia means steadiness.

Glasses. Troubled area. There are lots of binoculars with rubber or plastic cups that are supposed to be able to be folded back so you can use them with glasses. All the ones I've ever used leave terrible smudges on the glasses. There may be something more state-the-art for this, but I wouldn't trust anything that I couldn't try out. I take my glasses off when using the optics, which is annoying at any time, but especially when switching between sunglasses and any binocular with a lot of light-gathering power and which is there for hyper-bright.

Focus. Focusing systems vary. Some have a central knob, some don't.

Plenty of choices at I have a friend how has bought a couple things from them without any trouble.

I have one like this in that it looks like a straight telescopeon each side, and unlike the ones that bump out. These need to lined up in front of your eye just so in order to see through them properly. So, try before you buy.
posted by SemiSalt at 9:58 AM on March 15

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