The Well-Equipped Peeping Tom

by Brad Nelson   2/18/15

I recently upgraded my binoculars from an old pair of Halco 7 x 35 (pictured at bottom) to the Bushnell (10 x 42) Trophy XLT which can be purchased at Amazon for about $107.00.

I was spurred to action to upgrade the other day while out hiking. I took along the Halcos to a favorite mountain top which has a glorious panoramic view of the Northwest, including Seattle on one side and the Olympic Mountains on the other. The sun was shinning and it was a good day for taking in the view.

The problem was, the old Halcos (passed down from my father who likely bought them in the 70’s) fog up so badly. And they are rather bulky as well, although I could have lived with that. I don’t take binoculars with me every hike, although I might start doing so now with these more portable ones.

These Bushnell binoculars are smaller, but about the same weight (all that glass). However, they are waterproof and completely sealed (and de-humidified) so that they do not fog up.

Plus, these are 10-power lenses instead of the Halco’s 7-power which is a significant upgrade. The light gathering capability (the “42” of the “10 x 42”) is adequate. More expensive pairs will get you 50 or better.

I tried them out today for the first time. I took a hike to my favorite mountain top. The weather wasn’t quite as clear, but the sun peeked through here and there. At one moment it spot-lighted
BushnellTrophyXLTdowntown Seattle’s skyscrapers and made a very pretty picture. And it was a good test for these binoculars which were clear and easy to focus. It takes some practice to hold a ten-power set of binoculars still, but I got better at it, learning to lower my heart beat somewhat like a Kung Fu master.

I also took them outside last night when the sky was clear. Man, I should have bought these a long time ago. It really brings out the stars. Orion’s belt is far gaudier when you see a lot of the background stars. If I remain a stargazing enthusiast I might even spring for these popular and fairly highly-rated Celestron SkyMaster 15 x 70 binoculars to get a little more magnification and light gathering power. But the Bushnells will do fine for now until I figure out how much stargazing I’ll do. A good companion book for this is apparently Nightwatch which I have purchased from Amazon and it’s on its way.

With a special adapter you can attach the Trophy XLTs it to a tripod or monopod to steady your view. These are fully-coated optics (the good stuff) and the housing is coated with rubber for a good, non-slip feel. The build feels solid. The eye cups are adjustable for use with eyeglasses if desired.

What I especially like about this is that focus is smooth and precise. It’s got a very good feel to it. They come with a functional (if not fancy) lanyard. My only

Halco 7 x 35

Halco 7 x 35

complaint is one shared by many others: The rubber lens caps do not fit very tightly and tend to come off. I understand that one can buy replacements, although I’m going to try to modify the stock ones a little first, perhaps putting one turn of black electrical tape inside the caps to make a tighter fit.

I used to regularly fool around with a pair of binoculars when I was a kid. But I’ve never, until now, owned a good pair. Who knows? Maybe a little bird watching could be in my future.


Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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5 Responses to The Well-Equipped Peeping Tom

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    Since you mention “peeping toms” in the title, and discussed binoculars in the article, I’m reminded of an old cartoon in MAD Magazine. A woman complained to the police that a neighbor was guilty of indecent exposure, but when he checked it out all he could see was a fairly distant house. Her reply was, “Well, of course, You’re not using these binoculars.”

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      LOL, that’s a good one. And let’s just say that this particularly pair of binoculars will be trained only on heavenly bodies.

      • SkepticalCynic SkepticalCynic says:

        Brad, enjoy those things while you can. I believe I see a little gray hair in your photo. I have just turned 70 and in the last year or two my cataracts have begun to affect my vision in both eyes but one in particular. Looking through binoculars at night is not very entertaining anymore. In fact, a lot of stuff is fuzzy. I can not shoot as well anymore, either. This concerns me more because I’m not sure if I will die before I need that talent what with the goings on in our country the last few years. I still do fair but my grandson can make me look like an amateur. I’m writing this ten months after your post and it is New Years day. I wish you, your family and all of the readers of ST a blessed and happy new year !

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          The nice thing about eternity, Cynic, is that it’s a long time. We see the crap all around us. But we shouldn’t measure the totality of Being by it. It’s hard not to. But we need to have that far-looking vision. And that irrelevant of cataracts.

          But I had a friend who just had that taken care of through laser surgery. It’s not that expensive and it’s fairly fast and painless. I hope you can make that work for you.

          Happy New Year to you as well, Cynic. Regarding the need for shooting skills, just switch to a shotgun. Then you can’t miss when the Zombie Apocalypse comes our way.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Elizabeth has cataracts in both eyes, which makes driving at night difficult. Unfortunately, when she went in for surgery on the right eye, it turned out she was infested with bedbugs, so we have to get them taken care of and that’s taking time.

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