“ Brand: Hawke / Type: Binocular „
~~NEEDING A CLOSER VIEW~~
After many years spent going to see my daughter sing and act in various amateur productions and competitions I found that, in more recent years, my view of the stage was often blurred. If I was seated a long way from the stage then I couldn't see very well at all and everything seemed hazy.
I also found that when visiting the theatre to watch professional productions that, unless I had good seats, I couldn't see as well as I wanted to.
This problem with my vision is probably age related and I did have my eyesight tested. I was given glasses for distance vision but unfortunately just cannot get on with them. I can mostly see okay to read, although find I have to hold papers further away at times.
I thought that a set of binoculars might help for theatre trips so that I could see clearly at certain times during the production. I wouldn't look through them for the whole show but for key moments I would be able to get a good view.
I remembered going to watch "The Phantom of the Opera" at Her Majesty's Theatre in London a few years ago and was seated high up in the 'Grand circle.' I would say that at many shows the whole stage is used and you don't need a close up view throughout the show but there are always those moments that you particularly want a good view of. Well, I could see the costumes and beautiful scenery but there was no chance of seeing the actor's expressions this far up even for those with excellent eyesight. But theatre glasses/binoculars were supplied at a small cost. It wasn't practical, in my opinion, to use these glasses for the whole time but it was nice to peer through them just now and again.
And when I saw the 25th anniversary concert of Les Misérables at London's O2 we were even further away, and right up in the very dizzy heights. It was lovely hearing Michael Ball, Colm Wilkinson and Alfie Boe but I had a better view of them from the large screen behind.
When I booked tickets to go and see "Sweeney Todd" at The Adelphi Theatre, with Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton in the lead roles, I decided that I would buy some type of magnification lenses so that I could get a good look at Michael ball!
But mostly I wanted to have a clear view of special moments, such as watching my daughter be awarded with singing prizes and of my son graduating in Canterbury Cathedral.
~~WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR~~
I began researching theatre/opera glasses and binoculars. Theatre glasses seemed to be expensive and only really intended for theatre use.
Most binoculars that I looked at were too bulky and too powerful. I wasn't going bird or nature watching, or spying on anyone and so just wanted something that would enable me to have a clear and enlarged view at key moments.
I thought that a small set of binoculars might be the best way to go as they might be used more than theatre glasses. They could be used inside or outside and so other members of the family might have occasion to use them as well as myself.
After a little research I felt that I was looking for:
Something close to theatre glasses in terms of magnification. I didn't want anything which magnified too much.
A pair of lightweight binoculars.
Compact so that they could fit easily into a handbag or pocket, and not look cumbersome.
Folding binoculars; this would make them easier to carry around.
Not too expensive. I was thinking of under twenty pounds.
After looking at various pairs of binoculars and theatre glasses on-line I found a pair which I thought might suit me the most. Okay, the set of binoculars that I found aren't particularly intended for theatre, being intended more for watching sports binoculars but they still seemed to me to be the best for the price and in other ways, such as being light in weight.
These binoculars ticked all the boxes and were 8x21 zoom which seemed about right for what I wanted.
~~PRICE/WHERE TO PURCHASE~~
I saw the Hawke Sports Compact Binoculars on the Maplin website. I wanted to see them before purchasing and so I reserved them at a local store and went to collect the next day. Before paying I asked to look at them and when I decided that I was satisfied with my choice I paid for my purchase.
I purchased from a Maplin's store and paid £12.99.
They can be purchased on-line or reserved from store.
Hawke binoculars can be purchased from many stores both on-line and on the high street, including:
http://www.uttings.co.uk at £13.99
www.amazon.co.uk at £26.69
* Fully coated optics
* Centre focus
* Smallest in range
* Carry case and neck strap
* Hawke 10 year warranty
"Rubber armoured compact folding binoculars. Fully coated optics for a brighter, clearer image. Shockproof and Water Resistant - ideal for gripping even with wet or slippery hands. Folding down to pocket size when not in use, Hawke compact binoculars are designed to travel. The zip-up carry case has a belt loop and wrist strap for ease of carrying. Being rubber armoured, they are able to withstand the bumps and scrapes of everyday life. Fully coated optics give a clear bright image, simple centre focus provides ease of use and a lightweight neck strap keeps them safe and available.
I find that these small and compact binoculars are light and easy to carry around and will fit into a small bag or even a coat pocket.
They easily fit into the palm of one hand and are easy to grip.
The Hawke Sports binoculars have a nylon neck strap which is very useful.
The glasses are comfortable to use, the lenses are surrounded with a flexible rubber which makes them comfortable around one's eyes.
They are easy to focus when they are being used by a roller mechanism.
I have used these several times and have been clumsy and even dropped them but fortunately without there being any resulting damage. I think that they are well made and are well designed with an outer coating of 'armoured rubber' as well as being shock and water proof. They seem to be 'me-proof' too!
I wish I had owned these when my eldest son used to play rugby and I could then have had a much better view of him scoring his tries. In fact there would have been many times when my children took parts in sports and performances at various things when I would have loved to have had a close up view. If I had known that I could purchase such a small, light and unobtrusive pair of binoculars then I would have purchased them long ago.
I have now taken these binoculars with me on a few theatre visits. I first took them to see "Sweeney Todd" with Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton in the lead roles. Being something of a Michael Ball fan made me want to get a few good views of the man himself. We had good seats actually and so I did have a good view. This, plus the fact that I took my binoculars, meant that when I peeped through them I got a wonderful view of Michael's cheeky grin.
I also took the binoculars when I last went to see "Les Misérables "at London's Queen's Theatre. Again, I had a good seat in the stalls near to the front of the auditorium, but I did still use the binoculars at key moments. I wouldn't use the binoculars for too long as it doesn't feel the same to view for long through them but for certain numbers and scenes it is nice to have a good view of the actors faces and be able to see their expressions.
I particularly like the black cushioned fabric carry case which is supplied with the binoculars.
The case looks like a carrier for a small digital camera and it can be held in one hand.
It fastens with Velcro and has a loop on the back.
I don't think it would have been worth paying a lot for a set of binoculars for me but I think that £12.99 is a great price for the Hawke Sports Binoculars.
I would say that the quality and the feel of these are much better than I expected.
Because these binoculars are so very compact and lightweight I think they are a worthwhile purchase which should last me for many years.