Happy new year to all my reader.
I thought I'd kick off this year with a review.
A binoculars review.
Well... it is 2020 after all, so this optical equipment review is certainly apt!
I'm sure the regular reader of this blog will know I've never been comfortable with people calling me a "birdwatcher" or worse still... a "birder". (shudder).
Sure, I've been watching birds since I can remember (4 or 5 years old?) but then again I've been watching everything since that age.
Not just birds.
But insects too.
You get the picture. Pretty-well anything outside … that moves.
So I'm more of an "outsider" (in every sense) than a "birdwatcher".
From quite an early age, when I thought of your typical "birdwatcher" or "birder" (shudder), I thought of some middle-aged (or older) bloke (almost always a man), white, often called Nigel (apologies to any nice Nigel reading this), who spoke using his nose more than his mouth and often banged on about how many birds he'd seen in his life and why his £1000 pair of binoculars or spotting scope was so much superior to my second-hand TASCO rubbish.
I also often got the impression, after coming across these Nigels all the time, that they weren't really interested in the birds they professed to be interested in, missed a lot of other wildlife and sights and sounds whilst "birdwatching", bored me rigid... and to be frank they weren't the sort of people I wanted to associate with. At all.
The snobby optical equipment thing was a real stumbling block for me when I met "the Nigels".
I have never owned a pair of expensive binoculars. I couldn't possibly justify spending so much money on something like that. I couldn't afford them even if I could justify the expense!
So I lugged around my Grandfather's beaten up, old, heavy 20x50 whatever-they-weres for years... and basically got sneered at by the Nigels with their Leica or Zeiss binoculars.
For the last decade or so, my wife and I have been sharing a dirt-cheap pair of TASCO 10x42s, which were at least new when I bought them.
But now, after a little research, I decided to buy a new pair, as those TASCO binoculars have got badly scratched over the years and filled with all kind of gunk.
The pair I decided to buy is a (wait for it... you may not have heard of the brand before) pair of CARSON RD 8x42 binoculars.
I know. I know. I hadn't heard of them (Carson) before my research, either.
Look... the whole point of this blog post is to quickly review these EXCELLENT binoculars and demonstrate that you DON'T have to spend north of £500 or even north of £150 to get a decent, a very decent pair of binoculars - despite the protestations of the Leica and Zeiss Nigels, banging on about their ED glass.
Why did I choose this pair - and what do I like about them?
I ordered these binoculars from Amazon and paid £120.
So... no... these aren't cheapy cheap binoculars like ohhhh I dunno… Celestron or yes... Tasco.
But they are INCREDIBLE value for money I think.
They arrived yesterday and I've already tested them out in the field.
Grapple fans. The point I'm trying to make here is that these relatively cheap (you can probably pick them up on ebay for £100) binoculars are honestly SUPERB.
If these binoculars were available in the 1980s or 1990s, they'd have cost closer to £1000 than £100, believe me.
So no... you really don't have to spend many hundreds of pounds to get a nice set of binoculars that do the job really, REALLY well.
Oh sure, the snobby Nigels may still sneer.
But I'm too old to care these days and even if I did care, I'd honestly think it was they that had wasted their money, not me.
Right then. That's all for now.
If you get a chance, do read THIS review of these (award-winning I now see!) binoculars, which is far more detailed than my review above.
And do consider buying these excellent jobbies, if you're looking for a cheap(ish) new pair.
Or if not my Carson RD 8x42s, might I also recommend (even though I've not bought them, these also ticked all my boxes above):
Helios Nitrosport 8x42. Even cheaper than my Carson RD 8x42s at £80! With phase corrected lenses too! And no, I don't suppose you've heard of Helios binoculars either? Again... I'd not either - until I looked into the subject in detail over Christmas.
Of course... you could still consider buying these binoculars instead, especially if your name is.... Nigel.