There was a time not that long ago when the only people who used night vision equipment where seen in Hollywood films, and they generally fell into two categories. They were either military personnel who used night vision equipment to track down the enemy, or they were some kind of sinister character who used night vision opticals for nefarious purposes. But all that has changed now, and night vision equipment is used for a wide variety of reasons by people in all walks of life. If you are an ornithologist, you will have a good set of bird watching binoculars which allow you to observe birds during the day. But binoculars are useless after dark, and this is just one reason why bird watchers use night vision equipment. Other people who are interested in wildlife have taken to using night vision equipment to help them keep track of badgers and other nocturnal animals, but the uses are not confined to those interested in wildlife.
One particular group of people who have welcomed night vision are those who go sailing in small vessels. While most vessels are fitted with spotlights, these are ineffective in the inky blackness of the sea. Night vision equipment allows sailors to have a 360 degree view of what is going on around them, reducing the risks of collision during darkness. Sherwoods Photographic sell a wide range of optical equipment, including telescopes, binoculars and of course, night vision equipment. Whatever you are looking for when it comes to optical equipment, they will be able to help.
It is certainly true that in the UK we are uniquely blessed with a great diversity of magnificent garden birds, from robins to warblers to name but two. However, to observe some of our rarest and most glorious birdlife you’ll need a decent pair of bird watching binoculars and the appropriate location.
Britain’s Island nature means that it has over 11, 000 miles of coastline, making it the ideal home for a truly astonishing amount of shore and sea birds. Some of the most familiar include Puffins, viewable in places like Anglesey , and kittiwakes, observable on the cliffs of Northumberland, which means that some truly world class birdlife is never more than a few miles drive away. When observing coastal birds, a pair of binoculars really come into their own, as seabirds often nest on cliff edges a fair way out to sea making them difficult to spot with the naked eye.
As well as an enormous coast-line, the UK also possesses more than its fair share of inland water-masses, from lakes to canals systems (which is one of the reasons that it makes the perfect destination for migrating birds.) Some birds you can expect to see hanging around our marshes and waterways include bitterns and avocets, but be prepared to stake out waterways in strategically placed hides – and remember your binoculars.
As well as beautiful birdlife, the UK is also home to some truly dramatic birdlife, in fact some of the most iconic birds of prey call England home, for at least part of the year. Some notable examples include Ospreys (who migrate to and from Africa) and Golden Eagles, up in the highlands.
If you find that you take more than a passing interest in the birds in your garden, wonder what the Latin name for a robin is, and fight to get the remote control from your partner when a documentary about birds is on, the chances are that there is a bird watcher in you dying to get out!
You’ve done a bit of research and decided you need to invest in a good pair of binoculars. So you’ve been to the shop and chosen a good power range and a comfortable weight.
Now you have to make the compact binoculars work for you – and don’t be swayed by what your friends tell you or what the salesperson tells you. Get the fittings right for your eyes and get the focus nice and clear. Make sure you have a good clear view and your eyes feel comfortable.
Do they feel ok hung around your neck? Is the strap too thin or not strong enough? You’ll be carrying them around your neck like this, remember, so they need to feel comfortable.
Try them up against your eyes. Check that they feel balanced in your hands and that you can reach the central focusing wheel.
A good tip for glasses wearers is to choose binoculars that have fold-down eye-cups.
Once you have found the right pair, paid up and gone home, it’s worth remembering a few pointers for everyday care of your bird watching binoculars:
1. Keep them clean and dry
2. Treat them gently – they are often more delicate than they look
3. Look out (excuse the pun) for health problems such as eye strain or headaches.
Bird watching isn’t all about hiding in bushes. In recent years it has thrown off it’s frumpy image and is even recruiting the support of celebrities like comedian Bill Bailey.
Bird watching is a relatively low fuss activity – all you really need is some wildlife, patience and a pair of bird watching binoculars. However great your eyesight and observational skills might be, bird watching binoculars really are essential to help you see as much of the bird as possible, in as much detail as you can and without scaring it away.
Choosing a good pair can be tricky though, especially if you are just starting out. Power ranges are the first things you need to get right. Every pair of binoculars will have two numbers on it e.g. 8×24 which refers to the power range.
The first number refers to the magnification. While you might think the higher the number the greater the magnification and therefore the better the binoculars, it’s better to go for a 7 or 8 as any higher than that and the binoculars might be uncomfortable to handle.
The second number refers to the objective lens – the bigger the lens, the more light comes through and therefore the more you can see. Again, while a larger objective lens suits darker conditions like poor weather or night time viewing, it does also mean the binoculars are going to be heavier.
The best thing to do when deciding on what power range to settle for, is have a good think about what conditions you are going to use the compact binoculars in and how much carrying you are likely – and willing – to do.
New for 2009, the Trailfinder II replaces the Countryman MC T porro prism offering similar standards of performance in a more compact roof prism body that features nitrogen waterproofing and long eyerelief on both models.
With superior specification and optical quality over entry level Oregon LE WP, the T2’s combination of 7.2° 8×42 and 6.5° 10×42 fields of view, lightweight magnesium alloy body (protected in a durable textured rubber) and positive focus system all go to create a field glass that is both reassuringly comfortable and easy to use.
Other features include;
Fully multi-coated optical system including BAK prisms and PC phase correction coatings
Long eyerelief, wide angle eyepieces fitted with twist type retractable eyecups
Any customer who purchases a pair of Opticron Verano binoculars before the 10th of January is eligible to claim a Free Bird guide. Cited as “The most complete field guide to the birds of Britain and Europe” providing all the information needed to identify any species at any time of the year, with detailed text on size, habitat, range, identification and voice. Accompanying every species entry is a distribution map and illustrations showing the species in all the major plumage’s (male, female, immature, in flight, at rest, feeding).
To claim your Free Collins Bird Guide book simply print and complete the Claim Form and return it together with a valid purchase receipt for your Verano BGA PC Oasis. Terms & Conditions can be found on the Claim Form.
This weekend will see the official launch of the Swarovski NEW EL at the RutlandBirdfair 08. With improvements to the binocular including :
Field flattener lenses (with excellent contrast right up to the image periphery)
Fluoride-containing HD (High Definition) lenses giving lifelike, high-contrast images
Maximum exit pupil distance of 20mm (giving greater viewing comfort, especially for spectacle wearers, which is unusual in a 10x binocular).
They tell me they have improved on what we think is already a stunning binocular….at £1600+ lets hope so. They are on order and we are told that stock will be here in the Autumn. For those that fancy a pair of Swarovski’s but don’t like the price we still have stock of the EL (as is now) at the very competitive £1020 (8x) & £1070(10x) and whats more were even giving away a Swarovski lens cleaning kit worth £20 while stocks last. There seems uncertainty whether Swarovski are going to keep on with the existing EL’s so it may be when they’ve gone, you’llhave to dig deep!