I currently use an old Swarovski SLC 7x42B for birding that I inherited from my father-in-law. It is an excellent binoc with a very bright image, but it weighs a ton.
However, I'm finding it difficult to identify the fine characteristics of distant birds (eg beak color, wing bars) and was wondering if it would be worthwhile upgrading to a 10x42.
I am looking for binocs with a higher magnification while maintaining the closest focus at no farther than 10 feet.
I understand that Nikon makes the Monarch 7 and Monarch HG lines. I looked at a Monarch 7 8x42 and the optics seemed very good with low dispersion glass, but I didn't think the increase in magnification from my 7x to an 8x made much of a difference. I also looked at the Swarovski 8.5x42 and the optics seemed slightly better than the Nikon Monarch 7, but it was $2000 more than the Nikon.
I'd like to get your opinions on the following questions:
1. Is 10x magnification too high for birding? Is it difficult to locate the bird in the tree with a 10x, since the viewing area is smaller than my 7x?
2. I know with the higher magnification, any hand shake will be more noticeable. Has this been a problem?
3. Do any of you have any opinions on the Nikon Monarch 7 vs Monarch HG lines of binoculars? The Monarch HG binocs are approximately double the price of the Monarch 7.
4. Are there any other brand of binocs that you would recommend.