Light in the lens, light in the hand or light on the pocket?

Our advice is to get the best you can afford!

Binoculars are definitely a piece of kit where the initial outlay affects your birding for years to come, so I reckon it's worth spending the extra buck, and the same could just as easily be said about telescopes if you're going to be doing the kind of birding that requires them.

Our optics of choice are Zeiss.

We chose other brands when we had limited funds, but we found they really weren't good enough for continuous work in the field, so at the beginning of the century we upgraded to better 10 X 50s whose ruggedness we particularly found attractive.

However, these weren't light by any means, so in 2014 we splashed out on a pair of Zeiss Victory SF 10 X 42s which are stunning. They not only capture a huge amount of light but also weigh next to nothing and can focus down to one and a half meters, ideal for butterflies and dragonflies etc. With a three bridge design the're rugged too, and I can see us having years of success with them.

The choice is ultimately yours. Good equipment will set you back a fair amount, but the rewards come when the light's fading at the end of the day, you're on your chin-strap and there's that special species making a rare appearance ...

You can always try ours out in the field ... what better way to make such a vital decision?! We have Zeiss' Conquest and Terra models here too so there's a choice for every pocket and there really is no better way to see what the different models can give you than using them "for real". Beat's the hell out of a five minute trial at a fair or, heaven forbid, stepping out of a shop into the street!


These are our 10 X 42s from Zeiss. You'll be paying for the best here; lightweight, easy to handle and with an excellent focussing ability, they're ideal for whatever aspect of nature watching you care to name. They're strong too and can take the knocks most of us throw at them.