Zeiss 8×42 Binoculars

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After about five years with my Vortex binoculars, I decided to upgrade. After doing a bunch of research, I picked up a pair of Zeiss 8×42 Terra Roof Prism Binocular. I was increasingly thinking I was missing detail while looking at birds in shadows. I ended up deciding to buy the Zeiss 8×42 Terra binoculars for about $350. That’s about $150 more than I paid for the Vortex about five years ago but still way less than you can spend for bins at the high end.

Having used them for a almost two months including a couple of trips to Morro Bay and the refuges, I’ve decided the upgrade was worth it. There’s been a continuing improvement in optics in many areas, from cameras to binoculars, and it shows with these. The differences are somewhat subtle: I’m seeing more and better detail in bad light, and I’m seeing it with better contract and more color, and that makes ID of a bird easier. The focus mechanism is also faster, meaning I lose fewer birds to moving on while I’m trying to get them in focus.

The more I use them, the more I really like the detail they bring out, especially in shadow and poor light. These are very nice binoculars are a really strong value price. On the last trip out to the refuges with Laurie, I let her use them for a few minutes and she asked for a pair for Christmas to replace her ten year old Bausch and Lomb binocs.

So I think these are a good upgrade for someone like me who’s what can best be described as a terminal intermediate birder. I think two or three years ago I wouldn’t have really noticed the difference in quality from the older pair, but I spent an afternoon doing side by side comparisons and I could see the difference.