One of the most useful and valuable items for a wildlife trip in the Highlands of Scotland is a pair of quality binoculars. A good pair of binocular can last a lifetime and provide you will endless hours of wildlife watching pleasure, whether you are in a wildlife hide or out in the field. There are many brands on the market and binoculars come in a range of sizes, magnification, quality and price ranges. Features of value for the wildlife watcher include good optics, a wide field of view (e.g. 42), an appropriate magnification (x8 or x10), ease of focussing and weather-resistance. It is well worth spending some time to select a pair of binoculars suitable to your needs, experience, anticipated use and budget.
If you are interested in purchasing a pair of binoculars for the first time or upgrading from your current pair, you might like to consider the following options. However, please note that these are just a few of the many options available and are based on our personal experience.
The binoculars featured here are available to purchase on Amazon. It is important to choose a pair that is right for you and should take time to check out the details of the featured binoculars and the reviews. You can also take advantage of the Amazon shopping basket to monitor any changes in the price and availability.
The Swarovski EL Range
For the keen wildlife watcher who is looking to invest in the best, you would do well to consider a pair of Swarovski binoculars. Swarovski binoculars are much more expensive than the Hawke optical range, but offer a range of features that result in an excellent viewing experience. I have two pairs of Swarovski binoculars, the EL 10 x 32 and the smaller, lightweight CL Pocket 8 x 25, both of which I consider excellent pair binoculars and suited to different purposes.
The Swarovski EL 10x32 offers exceptional optics which make them an excellent choice if you are a keen birdwatcher or wildlife spotter The magnesium alloy housing with its rubber armour coating and duel anchor points is robust with a secure grip. As you would expect, the binoculars are waterproof and fog proof, and the twist up helicoid eyecups are a particularly useful feature for spectacle wearers.
The centrally located focus wheel offers a good focussing range, which is a real asset, allowing you to focus close up when observing woodland birds in the RSPB reserve at Glenborrodale, but ready to offer long distance viewing for that soaring eagle in the hills above. A great feature for the wildlife enthusiastic whose interest range from dragonfly stalking to wader watching.
However, as noted above, it is the quality of the optics which makes this pair of binoculars outstanding. Features include field flattener lens, high density, fluoride ED glass and patented multi-layered anti-reflective and highly reflective prism coatings; features all designed to maximise the image quality in a range of light conditions. The performance of the Swarovski EL 10x32 binoculars are impressive both in bright conditions as well as the low light conditions of dawn and dusk or on a dreich- filled day in the Highlands.
The Swarovski EL 10x32 comes with soft padded carry case, objective lens covers, rain guard and snap shot adaptor. The binoculars come in two colours- sand brown and dark green.
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Other models worth considering
Swarovski CL Pocket 8x25 Binoculars
The Swarovski CL Pocket 8X25 Binoculars are a great pair of compact binoculars which offer the high quality optics of Swarovski, with a very good image quality in bright conditions and a reasonable field of view, yet are smaller enough to fit into your coat pocket. An excellent choice for those who to wish to travel light but always have a good pair of compact binoculars ready to hand.
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Other compact models worth considering
The Hawke Endurance ED Range
Hawke have a really good reputation for the quality of their optics offered at a reasonable price. The Hawke Endurance range are mid size binoculars with three models, 8 x 32, 8 x 42 and 10 x 42, differing in size, magnification and field of view.
The binoculars are waterproof and fog proof with a shock proof rubber-coated magnesium housing which gives a good grip; ideal features for the West Highland terrain and climate. All three models have a centrally placed focus wheel, twist eye cups, stay-on lens covers and rain guard. The multiple coated ED glass lenses offer sharp, clear images with a good level of contrast and brightness, with a very good image quality in bright light.
The binoculars come in classic black or green with a black storage case and are well worth checking out if you are looking for a good quality, budget option. Other binoculars worth considering in the Hawke Range include The Hawke Frontier.