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A zoom with a view: This week we test for the best in binoculars.

WHETHER you're a sports enthusiast, a nature lover or just generally interested in the life going on around you, the view is so much sharper through a good set of binoculars. But which type suits your needs best? We checked out four top-selling brands from Argos to bring you the best of the bigger picture.

Goldline Compact

Price: pounds 24.99

Available from: Argos

Guarantee: 10 years

Magnification: X 10

Objective lens diameter: 25mm

Extras: Carry case; carry strap/neck cord; belt loop; lens cleaner

Very lightweight (245g) and compact (just 10cm long) we found these Goldline binoculars excellent all-rounders. Very easy to adjust and comfortable to use they give ideal magnification for such sports as horse racing and motor racing. With their robust, sleek shape they score Brownie points in the looks department too. Additional plus points include the easy-roll focus control and the specs-friendly fold-down eyecups.

Rating: 9/10

Praktica Sport

Price: pounds 22.99

Available from: Argos

Guarantee: 10 years

Magnification: X 12

Objective lens diameter: 25mm

Extras: Carry case with carry handle; two lens caps; lens cleaner

More conventional in shape than the other compacts, the Praktica is slightly heavier (295g) but comes complete with neck cord - an addition we liked for sport watching. It took a couple of goes to adjust them correctly but, that done, they performed beautifully - although they are very much designed for medium distance. Sturdy, reliable and again spec-friendly with roll-down eyecups. A good buy at a reasonable price.

Rating: 7/10

BSA Ruby Coated Zoom

Price: pounds 59.99

Available from: Argos

Guarantee: 10 years

Magnification: X 8-25

Objective lens diameter: 25mm

Extras: Carry case; carry strap/neck cord; belt loop; lens cleaner

Fairly easy to adjust to suit your eye, these binoculars are very powerful, magnifying up to 25 times naked eye size. They weigh in at just 251g and are compact enough to sling into a handbag or over your shoulder. Sleek modern looks and good to grip too thanks to the special rubber-type coating. The fold down rubber eyecups make them ideal if you wear glasses. A bit pricey, but if you're an avid user well worth splashing out on.

Rating: 8/10

Trikon Optical Zoom

Price: pounds 59.99

Available from: Argos

Guarantee: 10 years

Magnification: X 10-30

Objective lens diameter: 50mm

Extras: Carry case; neck cord; four lens caps; lens cleaner

If it's a bigger and sturdier pair of binoculars you're after these Trikons won't disappoint. These give the kind of steady, comfortable hold compacts can only dream of. The zoom power is immense too providing magnification of up to 30 times naked eye view. Although not compact (weight 950g and length 19cm) these binoculars are very portable and come with a canvas carry bag complete with belt loop. Rating: 8/10
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 24, 2000
Words:467
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