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The Ideal Birding Binocular

The ideal birding binocular would deliver the kind of detail and color you would see if you had the bird in your hand, but would do it at any distance, and under any light conditions. You would be able to use and carry it all day long, day after day, without undue mental or physical fatigue.

How Much Scope Does A Birder Really Need?

If you look at the new scopes coming out these days, it seems that everyone is playing catch up to Kowa. The Kowa 77mm Fluorite was the first scope to show a marked optical improvement over the Bushnell Spacemasters and Bausch & Lomb Discoverers (and the occasional Celestron C90) that dominated the birding field at the time.

BVD's Seven Fold Path to Better Birding

There was a time, for most of us, when we went in awe of every experienced birder we met. I mean, a flash of feathers on the horizon and someone in the group is calling off species, sex, maturity, and feather wear pattern.

The New Optical Landscape

From time to time it is necessary to take a look at the larger optical picture—to review the current optical landscape and see how the land lies from a birding standpoint. Over the past year the number of moderately priced roof prism binoculars, in particular, has burgeoned...and, to be honest, their introduction has changed the shape of the market significantly.

My first real birding binoculars

In practical terms, if you are after real birding binoculars, you have to expect to spend at least $100. At that price point you can get the Bushnell NatureView 8X40, which are excellent beginners glasses. You should also look at any of the porroprism compacts listed under the Best Buys heading for Compact Binoculars in the Reference Standard.

The Quality Control/Consistency Issue

There is often, too often, a noticeable, visible, variation in optical quality between supposedly identical units of the same make and model of binoculars or spotting scopes. Sometimes, especially in less expensive models, the variation in quality between individual units of the same model can be more pronounced than the variation in quality between the best examples of two different models!

Aperture Wars?

To provide some historical perspective on the aperture race: until the introduction of the Kowa 77mm scope, 60mm was the norm. The Kowa blew every 60mm then on the market out of the provided the kind of view few scope users even dreamed was possible. The Kowa, of course, was followed by a host of big scopes...

How Not To Become A Field Mark

The concept of field marks captures the imagination and the attention of many new birders. You look at the illustrations in the field guides with their little arrows--you read the text for the highlighted items. "Hey, look at this: you just memorize these few points about each bird and you got it, right?"