Deer stalking

GEORGE WALLACE

The very best binoculars that I have ever used – for me and my eyes – were Leica 10 x 42s which I bought for £300 at a Game Fair in Scotland.

They were light, handy and the clarity was astonishing. I used them in woodland, on the hill and on Safari and they were altogether excellent.

In fact my PH (Professional Hunter) in South Africa admired them so much and so often – and then bought me so many drinks – that I gave them to him when I left.

When I got home I found that a replacement would cost over £1000, so I’ve never been able to afford another pair!

I am quite sure that if you spend as much as you possibly can on a good pair of binocs, you will never regret it because you spend far more time looking through them than you ever do through a telescopic sight.

Additionally, cheap glasses can play the very devil with your eyes, so always buy the best.

Apart from the Leica, I am most familiar with Swarovski whose new 10x models are an absolute delight and makes it look, on a gloomy, rainy evening, as though the animals are playing under floodlights.

I also have a little pair of Docter Aspherical 8x22s which are very small and easy to carry but still surprisingly clear and bright, even in poor light and even after being chewed by an Alsatian puppy.

However, for general use I prefer the wider field of view and less fiddly focus adjustment of larger models.

A modern 10 x 42 is light enough to be carried without strain, has a wide enough field of view for close range work in woodland and is also powerful enough to pick out potential quarry at much longer range.

You can generally get away with a cheap scope but binoculars, if you are going to spend much time looking through them, come from a world where cheap is most definitely not cheerful.