What are the best binoculars to bring on safari?
On safari, and possibly even more important than a good camera, I would say that a quality pair of binoculars is a must-have piece of equipment.
Binoculars give you the opportunity to see the animals and birds youve travelled so far to see, with clarity and in detail.
Lets take a look at what makes the best binoculars to bring on your safari.
You want binos that are reasonably light to carry around your neck for most of the day. For this reason, I have recently changed from a 10 x 42 (27 oz), which I found a little heavy, to an 8 x 32 (19.75 oz) pair of binos.
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FIELD OF VISION
You need a good wide angle of vision, which is imperative when picking up elusive birds or a leopard in a tree.
You also need to have binos that have the best optics, as many memorable sightings are often made at first or last light when predators are on the move and light is low.
So, for instance, if the optics are 8 x 32, like mine...
8 = the power of the optics. The object will be magnified 8 times.
32 = the size of the objective lens. This has an effect on how much light is transmitted.
You will have a better viewing experience with a pair of good quality binos, regardless of the power or lens size; without good binoculars, you will strain your eyes and get a headache!
You need good magnification, but not so big that there is a reduction in your field of view. Bigger magnification also means that the binos are hard to keep steady without a tripod, which you dont want to be bothered with. You could go for an image stabilisation feature in your binos, but I dont think thats necessary.
DURABILITY AND WATER PROOFNESS
Your binos will take the odd knock so the rubberized outer skin is best. Hopefully it will not rain while you are on safari - perhaps the odd shower, which most binos can handle.
As a general rule, the better the binoculars the better the view.
The ultimate binoculars for me - the Zeiss Victory FL 8 x 32 T*, a thoroughly worthwhile investment, I believe, as you will have them forever.
If you dont wish to spend this amount of money, bear in mind the following important points:
- Not too heavy
- A magnification of between 8 x and 12 x, no more no less
- A good field of vision producing a bright image in low light
- Reasonably durable and shower proof
On many occasions, Ive handed my binoculars to my guests when something extraordinary was in sight - and the comment has always been Wow, these are special
Top image: Christoph and Michael Sigg with John in August 2011. Photo: Bettina Sigg