Patrick at The Hawk Owl's Nest recently did a post about his first pair of binoculars and invited other bloggers to do the same. My first pair of binoculars actually belonged to my grandfather. As I recall, they were 7x50 WWII US Navy issued binoculars. I had nothing to compare them to but they sure seemed to have a sharp, wide-angled view. As a child, I would often spend a week as a guest at my grandparents house. Those binoculars were one of my main sources of entertainment during those times.
I didn't have much of an interest in birds back then. I would glance at whatever birds were in the feeders but that was about as far as it went. I was more interested in stargazing and searching he skies for anything of interest. This included clouds, satellites, jets, and hot air balloons. There's probably not many kids these days that would be so entertained by a pair of binoculars. I spent hours at a time using them.
There came a point when I decided to get my own binoculars. I don't remember the brand but they were 8-16 x 40 zoom binoculars, if I remember correctly. I don't know what happened to them but they didn't last long. The optical quality was not as good as my grandfather's.
The first binoculars I used for birding were a $30 pair of 7x35 Tascos. They may not have been Swarovski's but they seemed to work just fine for me. They were ruined when I left them sitting in the sun. The cement that held the lenses in place must have melted.
Thanks for the fun idea for a post Patrick!