[Tweeters] On getting new, quality binocs

fremontinn at aol.com fremontinn at aol.com
Sun Sep 17 18:18:08 PDT 2006

Mason and Tweets,

I support Bruce Moorhead comments.  Particularly trying them out before 
purchasing.  Excellent optics are a disappointing failure if they are 
not comfortable in your hands and up to your eyes for long periods of 
time.  Another factor to consider, along with the warranty as mentioned 
in an earlier post, is the service you will receive.  This has been 
discussed before to some degree on Tweeters.

Related to customer service, I was on the coast of North Carolina last 
winter and just before leaving to drive, slowly, back to Seattle I 
rolled my kayak with my bins around my neck and my cell phone in my 
pocket.  The cell phone died but the waterproof Swarovki 8.5x42's 
survived, or so I thought.  After spending a few days in the Big Woods 
of Arkansas looking for the IBWO, I was anxious to head for High Island 
as it appeared that a front was heading that way that could potentially 
result in a fallout.  On the way to High Island, my bins stopped 
focusing. A moment of panic and then a plan.  I got the Swarovski 800 # 
 from Seattle Audubon and called Swarovski with my tale of woe.  They 
gave me a P.O. # and the address to send them to and a promise to send 
them back to me overnight as soon as they were repaired.  I shipped 
them overnight on Wednesday and they were repaired (and given a 
complete overhaul) by Friday.  Since we were on the road, and didn't 
know where we would be when they were ready to send them back to me, 
they called on Friday to get an address to send them back to.  This was 
great customer service.  Unfortunately, being away from an urban center 
meant no delivery by the private delivery service Swarovski used on 
weekends and they would not trust the U.S. Postal Service with such a 
valuable package.  That meant I had to wait until Monday instead of 
receiving them on Saturday.

On the other hand, Nikon was terrible in serving their customers for a 
few years.  Even Captain's had trouble getting service from them.  
Although the last time I was in at Captain's, they said things were 
back on track after getting a new Nikon rep.  I also have an old pair 
of Nikons which are quite good.  I think their optics are excellent but 
often are not "waterproof."  Of course, even when they are 
"waterproof," it doesn't mean you can go swimming with them around your 

One other consideration when shopping for bins is the eyecups.  Soft 
roll-downs or twist or push/pull.  Even if you are not an eyeglass 
wearer, one may fit your face/eyes much better than another.

By the way, if you wonder about our visit to High Island, the weather 
conditions were just right BUT no fallout.  In fact, long time visitors 
who were also there anticipating a fallout said it was the slowest day 
in 15 years.  However, it made Moorhead's comment about backup bins hit 
home.  It's nice to have decent backup bins just in case.  Fortunately, 
I did have a backup pair of Leicas to get me through the weekend.

Bruce Jones
Shoreline, WA

-----Original Message-----
From: bruceb at olypen.com
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu; masonflint at hotmail.com
Sent: Sun, 17 Sep 2006 11:08 AM
Subject: [Tweeters] On getting new, quality binocs

Re new binocs, I have 10X Swarovski EL's, have used them for years now, 
both here in U.S. and in foreign travel. They're still in great shape, 
and their light-gathering, color and clarity are simply superb. About 
the only knock I've ever found is (1) their 29 ounce wt. (which I 
find of growing importance as the years advance, so I now use a 
shoulder harness), and (2) their center-focus, which could be a bit 
smoother and quicker for distant and fast-moving birds.
If I were doing it all over again (and >50), I'd probably look for the 
best, lightest, waterproof 8X's that I could afford (since 10Xs get a 
little trickier to quickly manage as you get beyond 60). I think it 
very important also for daily-use naturalist or birder types to only 
buy what you've tried first in-hand. So, in western 
Washington, I'd first check out what's currently out there 
at experienced outlets with a good, on-hand inventory to try 
out, like Anacortes Scopes or Captain's Nautical.
Bruce Moorhead
Port Angeles, WA
bruceb at olypen.com
P.S. For quality, lower-cost (or back-up) binocs, I'm now tempted by 
the Nikon Monarch ATB 8X series, which seem like an especially good 
bargain now.

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