Jun 052010

Which binoculars will perform well for bird watchers and outdoor enthusiasts?  Should you buy binoculars that are fog-proof, weatherproof, rainproof, climate-proof, rustproof, spray-proof or waterproof?  Here is what you need to know when investing in a good pair of binoculars.

Bird watchers encounter all types of weather conditions.  It would be sad to miss that rare bird sighting because your binoculars have fogged-up or moisture has collected in them.  The proper sealing of binoculars is one of the most important features of good optics. There are no industry wide standards for the sealing process.  Many manufacturers boast fog-proof, weatherproof, rainproof, climate-proof, rustproof, spray-proof, waterproof and many other “certain-proofs”.  Some of these words are just alerting the consumer that there was an attempt to seal the binoculars against harsh weather conditions.

Waterproof binoculars are nitrogen gas purged and use O-rings to seal the optics.  They protect from rain, leakage and fogging. The waterproofing offers better optics in all weather conditions.  Waterproof binoculars ensure clear views in mornings’ heavy dew and during times of elevated humidity.  Waterproof binoculars allow you to enjoy events without worrying about the effects of harsh weather conditions.  The waterproofing even keeps dust and dirt out.  Dirt building up over time in your binoculars will obscure the view.

Buy binoculars that are waterproof!  Waterproof means the following two things about the optics.

* Additional protection and maximum measures were taken by the company to seal the binoculars.
* If the seal of a waterproof binocular fails, the warranty by most companies will cover resealing the binoculars.

There are a few basic precautions that bird watchers and outdoor enthusiasts need to take to ensure that the optic seal is not damaged.

* Buy a waterproof binocular that is easy to grip and feels comfortable in your hands.  This eliminates them slipping and dropping out of your hands which may loosen the seals.
* Always carry and use lens caps and rain guards to protect your binoculars in damp or dusty conditions.
* Get a comfortable and secure binocular harness.  A good binocular harness will keep the binoculars close to your body and prevent them from bouncing and banging into things.  This jarring could also loosen and effect the binocular seals.
* Be careful where you store your binoculars.  When not in use place them in a durable and waterproof case.
* Never leave your binoculars in the car or any other place that has extreme temperature swings.  These conditions will put a high amount of stress on the gaskets and seals in your binoculars.

For any birder or outdoor enthusiast waterproof binoculars is a must, even if rarely used in bad weather.

There are many good waterproof binoculars on the market.  The waterproof binoculars that I recommend are the Nikon 7294 Monarch 5 or the 7430 Monarch 8×42 waterproof ATB binoculars.  These binoculars are waterproof and “if” anything should happen to them the Nikon warranty is superb.  The warranty states: “Nikon is dedicated to quality, performance and total customer satisfaction. If your Nikon Binocular, Spotting Scope or Fieldscope requires service or repair not covered by our 25-Year Limited Warranty, Nikon will repair or replace it (even if it was your fault) for just $10, plus return shipping and handling.”

Other posts you may find helpful are: The Nikon 7294 Monarch III Waterproof Binocular Review and Nikon 7430 Monarch 8×42 ATB Binoculars