In all of my trips to Africa, I have only taken binoculars a hand full of times. I am a photographer after all and not a viewer and just didn’t bother with bringing them. On my last safari, my eyes were opened to the benefits of bringing binoculars. It’s obvious, you see more, much more; duh!
It was great to get a good view when our guide found a rare animal that was much too far away to photograph. Binoculars were also helpful trying to get an ID on a bird or to see if some distant animal was worth closer investigation. As much as I love photography, there are also times when is nice just to watch the animals and enjoy nature.
You can spend a little or a lot on binoculars, and there are vast differences in the quality. I was going to write a few words about what things to look for and rather than do all of that work, here is an excellent article on REI’s website about what all of the numbers mean.
One thing that I would for sure avoid is a monocular. They are very compact and lightweight, but almost impossible to hold them steady.
If you are at or under weight for your safari gear, I would bring a pair of binoculars, i think that you’ll be happy that you did. If you don’t own binoculars here are a couple of suggestions.
Best Safari Binoculars
I fell in love with the Minox last year, and they are easily the best binoculars that I have used even when compared to some that are 2 or times as much money, and these are expensive!
Minox 10×44 BL HD
These are incredibly bright (44mm diameter) and sharp with a huge field of view. They bring the critters right into your lap (10x magnification) so you can get some great views of the wildlife. Clicking on the image will take you to Amazon’s site to get more info or to purchase.
Vortex Diamondback 10×32
For less than half the price these are a better value, and they are much lighter than the Minox. You get the same magnification with a bit less brightness. I used them for a few days and liked them a lot, but when you look through them side by side, the difference is pretty dramatic. It’s like going from an F2.8 lens to an F4 lens. In my big hands, I was better able to stabilize the larger Minox. Click on the binoculars to see more on Amazons website.
Buying Binocular Conclusions
Obviously these are not the only quality binoculars on the marks, but I have owned and can vouch for. Many of my photography workshops have a bird photography element and I have started taking binoculars on those trips as well as when I am in Africa.
What is your favorite pair of binoculars?