-- Last Updated: Jan-27-14 10:42 AM EST --
As a birder I want the best view that I can afford, which is important enough to me to spend a bit more. There are some compacts out there in your range, but with optics you get what you pay for. I had some Bushnells for awhile and eventually the pivot wore or stressed to the point that they wouldn't line up properly. The image became distorted and the binocs were useless. Light gathering, optics coatings, lense quality and instrument construction really make a difference in how long you want to look through them.
Edit: My go-to compacts are Steiner in 10 X 28. I paid around $300 for them, on sale, over a decade ago and have been very pleased with them all around. 10 power is the limit of how much shake I want to deal with. If I rest them on a walking stick or pinch them against the brim of my hat they are quite steady.
YakCatcher Rod Holder
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