Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My First Pair of Binoculars

My first pair of binoculars were borrowed (AKA stolen) from my dad. They were Bushnell 7 X 50 Zoom binoculars. My dad purchased them sometime in the early 80's I think. They were always with us on our childhood birding excursions and I saw many life birds with them. When I picked up birding again after college, they were the binoculars I used for a few years. A few things stood out about them:

  • They were created in the time before adjustable eyecups and I wore glasses when I first started birding. A friendly hawk counter showed me how to roll the eyecups down to allow my eyes to be closer. Unfortunately, old age had dried out the rubber eyecups and they cracked off.
  • They had a "rocking" focus wheel instead of the traditional spinning one. I actually liked this feature and felt it was easy to use. I'm not sure why it was never used in more binoculars.
  • The zoom feature was interesting. With the swing of a small lever by the left eyepiece, I could zoom from 7x to 10x and quickly lose 50% of my field of view (which wasn't much to begin with). Leica tried to bring back this feature with their Duovid binoculars which didn't last in the market too long. I never got to try them and I don't see any stores carrying them now.
  • The neck strap was the worst neck strap ever. It was a half-inch wide plastic neck strap that cut into my neck and stuck to me on hot days.
  • Other than these features, I managed pretty darn well with them. And when I upgraded, I think I was a better birder for having birded with less superior optics.
What was your first pair of binoculars? Please post your story to your blog and leave a comment here. If you don't have a blog, leave your story in the comments.


LauraHinNJ said...

I played along on my blog. Thanks for the idea!

Anonymous said...

This brings back memories of my first binocular experience. Also my dad's the bins in question were Montgomery Ward 10x50mm with a zoom feature of undetermined magnification. When the zoom lever was pushed the center portion of one eyepiece protruded rendering binocular vision impossible. The eyecups were of hard plastic that did not roll down and as I too wore eyeglasses the eye relief distance of 3mm rendered the entire binocular essentially useless. Hence I decided that I simply couldn't use binoculars and continued not to do so until I was working for an optics producing company and was promoted to the leadership of the binocular development group where I began to design bins that would work for me and all those experiencing similar challenges with the existing designs. Ironic, isn't it?

N8 said...

Bushnell 10x50s purchased at the Bass Pro Shops. They also had the see-saw focus mechanism, oddly enough.

Great idea, I'll have to do something on my blog too.

John said...

Interesting topic... I have a response on my blog.

Mel said...

I can't afford them... So, no 'first' binoculars yet...

Larry said...

Great idea! I think that I'll do this one.

kimmy said...

I like your blog.
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