The Binocular Advisor
by Michael and Diane Porter
Answers to questions from real people with real questions about how to choose a binocular.
Situation: I want to get my husband a binocular that will fit in the
pocket of his shirt.
Advice: We love the Alpen Wings Compact binoculars, especially the 8x20 model, which is admirably suited to slipping into a pocket. They have excellent optics, thanks to ED glass. Long eye relief lets them work for a person who wears glasses. They're waterproof. They feel well engineered and well made. Wonderful for theater and watching sports. Under $200.
Situation: I want small, but I wanted something really inexpensive.
Advice: Check out the Eagle Optics Energy 8x21. It's truly pocketable, with usable optical quality. It comes in metallic, blue, yellow, and green. (Supplies are limited on the green one.) Not waterproof, but the price is only $49.95.
Situation: OK, what is the best pocket binocular?
Advice: We think it's the Leica Ultravid Compact. Our jaws dropped the first time we looked through it and saw how bright and clear the image was. This gem has good eye relief, so it works even with glasses. It folds up the smallest of any of the top-quality tinies. It will slip neatly into the breast pocket of a man's shirt. The quality is stunning—both the optical quality and the engineering. The 8x20 versions work even with glasses. (The 10x25 is recommended only for non glasses wearers.)
Zeiss also makes a fine pocket binocular, the Victory
Compact, also with outstanding optical quality. It costs somewhat less than the Leica. It's very small, but its asymmetrical design makes it a bit wider than the Leica when folded. The 8x20 model is shorter than the 10x25, and it focuses
closer. It works pretty well with glasses.
Copyright 2012 by Michael and Diane Porter.