An extra pair of binoculars


I have bought an extra pair of binoculars and I’ve been trying them out.

They are Pentax Papilio 8.5×25 Close Focus binoculars.

As a birder, they look very twee and naff to me – not something you’d want to be seen staring through on the East Bank at Cley, on Tresco or getting off the plane on Fair Isle.  However, that’s not what they are for.  They are an essential (or at least, very useful) aid for looking at dragonflies and butterflies.  I have become increasingly interested in creepie crawlies and I have noticed that they are small but get quite close. Under these circumstances, I find myself stepping away from the object under observation until my ancient 10x40B Zeiss Dialyts will focus.

I asked a few folk at the Bird Fair (the less birdy people at the Bird Fair) what I should use and these Pentax got several honourable mentions. Seeing that they were cheaper to buy from the evil Amazon empire than at the Bird Fair I fired up the computer and bought a pair. Then it rained, but in the last couple of days I have been looking at Red Admirals in the garden in more detail than ever before.

It’s quite an experience! Red Admirals look quite furry close-to, and they have ugly pointy faces too.  But their wings are stunningly beautiful seen really well. Just fantastically beautiful.

I already think that these binoculars will open up the world of my garden to me in a new way. I go around looking at everything, and everyone, in much more detail all of a sudden!  If you could see this Red Admiral’s legs you’d see they are dark, but they have pale joints – never noticed that before.

Photo: Laurence Livermore





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4 Replies to “An extra pair of binoculars”

  1. I have used a pair of Leica 8x20 trinovids for quite a few years now. Great for close-up insects and they actually work very well for birds too in most situations. The great bonus is that they weigh next to nothing round my neck so I can wear them all day too, without pain!
    P.S. beauty may or may not be in the eye of the beholder but Red Admirals do not have ugly faces!

    1. Jonathan - I wouldn't want to fall out with you, as you are one of my favourite commenters on this blog, but Red Admirals do have ugly faces! 😉

  2. Meh, butterflies I can take or leave, but dragonflies are a good spot on hot days when the birds all sit in the shade (Yay for Strumpshaw Fen!).

    My RSPB 8x32s focus nice and close to watch them - just a couple of metres.

  3. We bought these bins two years ago as Shirley's Leica 10x42 won't close focus. They are excellent for dragonflies, etc. Wouldn't be without them now!


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