I want to buy some binoculars. I don't really consider myself a 'birder' in that I'm not going out each weekend looking for birds but I do use my current 8x21 unbranded binoculars to check out my garden wildlife most days. I also want to be able to check out the night sky.
I thought some phase corrected roof prism 8x42 would suit my budget and needs probably more than adequately and the Barr & Stroud Savannahs look good. The one review I've read was very positive and I like the fact they seem to have an exceptionally wide field of view (8.2 degrees or 143m at 1000m). I've seen them for £109 which seems a good price for any phase corrected bins. They also focus down to 6.6 feet which is also important for me as I have some feeders just outside the kitchen window.
The only downside possibly is their weight at 819 grams, heavier than the much more expensive, but highly rated, Nikon Monarchs (the best price for these I've seen is £213) at 610 grams. But I don't know how important weight is and I noticed some really good Swarovski binoculars are about the same as the Barr & Strouds - so maybe weight = quality to some degree?
Other options I've thought about are some Minox BF 10x42 on eBay for £130, or some Hawke Frontier PC 8x42 at £149. More expensive and would there be any advantage?
I know the general advice is always try before you buy but firstly there is nowhere near that sells the B&S Savannahs near me. Secondly I did go to one shop and looked through the Monarchs, Minox and some Opticrons and they were all so much better than what I'm used to it was hard for my very inexperienced eyes to discern any real advantage between them apart from the Monarchs' light weight.
However I've not seen much written about the Barr & Strouds so wondering if any one has had any experience with these or similar.
I had a pair of B & S in 8x32 and they were very good at the price,the only reason I stopped using them was because I prefer the porro prism design so they were passed on the a novice in our club.
I use both Barr & Stroud 8x42 bins and 20-60x80 scope, and I think they're great. Best bet is, if possible, to try out different ones in a store, or at an RSPB reserve (ask people there if you can have a look through their bins), and buy what you are most comfortable with. Always remember that you are the one that has to live with your purchase.