I am always on the look out for wildlife products that are suitable for young people and I have been looking for an affordable, robust, yet quality pair of binoculars that would be suitable for a young budding ornithologist.
I have found that many products aimed at children are of poor quality and do not perform well. A child's first real experience with their own binoculars should enhance and encourage their interest, not put them off!!
When I first saw the 'Finch' range of binoculars from Forest Optics, I could see that they had potential. The model I trialled are the 8 x 32 model, although these are also available in 8 x 42 and 10 x 42. I chose these as they are the smallest and lightest of the range and I feel they offer ideal magnification and field of view for a first binocular.
There are a number of requirements I was looking for in a pair of binoculars for a young person; They have to be small enough for a child's hands, offer a decent magnification and field of view, a quality image and that they are robust! Affordability is another important factor.
These binoculars weigh just 500g and measure in at 121x128x47mm... perfect for young hands, with easy reach large, rubberised focus ring. The exterior of these binoculars is rubberised with thumb imprint underneath and a textured side. Comfortable in the hand, these felt robust and up to coping with a few knocks and bumps... inevitable with young children. These roof-prism binoculars have coated lenses and produce a good clear image with a close focus of 3m. These are also fully waterproof.. not something you often find in the cheaper binoculars.
I have used these binoculars with primary children over the last few months and have had nothing but positive comments. In the recent freezing weather, this rubberised coating is pleasant to hold and not cold to the touch as in some of the more metal exterior binoculars. The children found them easy to hold and could easily reach and focus them. The soft, padded neck strap is a great addition.
On an Easter weekend away to Wales, I gave these binoculars to a friend's son, Jack, to trial. Jack is 11 years old and a keen ornithologist.
You can see the size suitability for a child from these photos and I have used these binoculars with children as young as six years old. They were not too heavy to have around his neck on a walk, fitted snugly in his hands and he found them easy to focus and use.
We did remove the end lens cap protectors which were rather annoying as they often dangled in front of the lens and I was worried that, despite their rubberised attachments, they would fall off at some point.
Watching out for stonechats on the headland, Jack was impressed by the image and magnification he got from these binoculars and liked the way they felt in his hands.
As an affordable, quality pair of binoculars, I would definitely recommend these great binoculars. Retailing for about £59, I feel they are an excellent affordable choice for a young person. Their small light size also makes them the perfect binocular to have in your bag or car for one of those wildlife moments that you were unprepared for.
I hope to be selling these excellent little binoculars in my shop in the near future.
Lens Diameter 32mm
Field Angle 6 degrees
Field of View 104m
Close Focus 3.5m
Exit Pupil 3.65mm
Eye Relief 13.4mm
Diopter +5 to -5
Relative Brightness 13.32
Size mm 121x128x47