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$300 vs $500 Binocular Decision

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/19/2015 at 14:25
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I've been reading the forum for some time.  Thank you for all the information that you've provided to others as I have learned a lot.

I am looking to buy a new hunting/field binocular.  Probably 8x.  I have multiple other purchases that need to be made such as another scope, but need a better than cheap pair of field glasses.  I really like the no fault warranty of Vortex. 

I am making a run up to big box sporting goods store to look at binos.  Do I need to spend $550 for the Vortex Viper HD or can I find something with a great warranty and great glass for considerably less? 

I didn't like the Leupold McKinley HD 10x.  Too heavy and I couldn't keep them steady.  Loved Swaro ELs when I looked through them previously.  I was impressed with Vanguard Endeavor HDs 8x at $250 but wondered if the open hinge was a good idea for extracurricular activities (like climbing up and down steep hills carry a rifle and other stuff).

I don't want to spend money and end up regretting it.  On the other hand, I don't want to spend extra money when I want a longer range tactical scope for another project.  I might need to skimp somewhere.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/19/2015 at 14:58
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Look into the Zeiss Terra ED if they have it, otherwise the Viper HD is awesome, better than Terra, better than anything Leupold sells these days.
I have a Viper HD 8x32 and it is very very good. It would work just fine for low light hunting. 
Don't get a 10x. At that price point, they are not very good. 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/19/2015 at 16:22
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Is the Viper HD 10x a lesser optic than the 8x or is it just that there are better options for a 10x than the Vortex at the price point.  I was thinking that the 10x might be too much magnification for a general hunting binocular.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/19/2015 at 17:33
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Originally posted by Steerdog Steerdog wrote:

Is the Viper HD 10x a lesser optic than 8x


No, but in any binocular, 10x shows the imperfections of the optics much more than 8x. 
Until you get to $800 or more, the 8x are visibly sharper and brighter than their 10x siblings. It may be that the 10x also have an extra lens or two, to mess things up.
I have also looked through the Sightron Blue Sky SIi 8x32 recently. Three different ones were quite nice. Not very expensive. 
You are right, most people find 8x to be best for general use, unless they are told that they need 15x56 or such.  
Unfortunately, the Vortex Viper HD 8x42 does not have a wide field of view. I got the 8x32 instead and i found it almost perfect. Only thing different in comparison to $2000 glass is slightly less color contrast. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/19/2015 at 17:46
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I am not an optics expert but I can normally see the difference between glass.  What's at $800ish where the sharpness and brightness of 10x is better than 8x. 

I still don't plan on getting 10x and my budget is not $800, but I would be interested in knowing what else to look through.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/19/2015 at 18:56
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I am working out a new edition Leupold Mojave BX-3.  I will get a Mojave Pro Guide HD when they are in stock.  This BX-3 is a pretty impressive binocular.  I liked the McKinley, but it is easy enough to see why the Mojave replaced it.  It is light, quite compact, gives bright, crisp, sharp clean, clear images with good color and very good contrast.  I'd never given the earlier Mojave much thought, but this new 2015 edition is a good glass.  Mine is a 10x42.  I'm typically an 8x guy, but asked for the 10x42 for review since I'm in the market for a compact full size 10x.  If the Pro Guide HD with its better glass and coatings can improve the regular BX-3 much, it will be something that people really need to consider.  The only ding I can get out of the spec sheet for the 8x42 BX-3 is a 7* fov which is certainly OK, but a full degree less than most glass in that category, except the Viper HD, which is smaller yet.

No way would I personally choose the Viper HD.  I also happen to like the Viper, just not as much as the Mojave.

There is a local big brand sporting goods store which has the Mojave for right at $400.  The Pro Guide will be about $2-300 more.

The Zeiss Terra is also one that you should try to find as well.  I like that one a lot too.  I'd also take the Terra in preference to the Viper.

Another one for the short list is the Nikon Monarch 7.  Not the 5, the 7.

Pay particular attention to the way the binocular fits your face, hands, and eyes.  As a good rifle should let you bring the rifle to your shoulder with your eyes closed with the target centered in the view when you open your eyes, so should a good binocular do the same.  Pay particular attention to how well the eye cups match your eyes.  Do the eye cups have the right extension to match your eye relief needs.  That is a lot more important than which binocular.  It has to work for you, not me or somebody else who makes a recommendation.  So take your time at the big box store and if you can find one of several models that suits you better than others, that is the one you need to consider most seriously.  In truth there are not many dud binoculars in the $500 class these days.  They will be more similar optically than they will be different.  Ergonomics will be a different story, so my advice is to pay heed to the fit and feel.


Edited by Klamath - April/19/2015 at 19:02
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/19/2015 at 19:25
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I agree, the Mojave Pro Guide HD should be a very good binocular backed by a very good company, a good combination of optical performance, reasonable price, and excellent warranty. 
One has to examine the 29 ounces of weight, the large size, and potentially ill-fitting enormous eyecups that Leupold likes to fit on their top of the line models.   
As far as the Mojave BX 3, i think that the 8x33 is as cute as a bug and i considered buying it, but it had only 366 feet of field of view. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/19/2015 at 19:52
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Besides Vortex, who has a no fault warranty with quality glass?  I thought the Vipers had quite good optics when I started looking at options last year, although I now understand the FOV dilemma. 

I bought a Leupold VX-R scope last year thinking that it had a lifetime warranty like the Gold Rings.  When I got home I found that the lifetime warranty was only for their gold rings.  So I emailed Leupold about the scope warranty, I didn't get an answer.  If I couldn't get a simple response from Customer Service when I had just bought a brand new scope earlier that day, it kind of dulls my desire to buy another Leupold product.  It doesn't mean that I wouldn't consider another Leupold, but it has at least one chink in its armor. 

I happen to really like Zeiss microscopes; however, I do not seem to see a lot of praise for the Zeiss Terra.  I do plan to look at the Monarch 7 binoculars.  The Monarch 3 & 5's didn't make my tail wag.  

Anything else to try? 


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/19/2015 at 20:33
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Originally posted by anweis anweis wrote:

I agree, the Mojave Pro Guide HD should be a very good binocular backed by a very good company, a good combination of optical performance, reasonable price, and excellent warranty. 
One has to examine the 29 ounces of weight, the large size, and potentially ill-fitting enormous eyecups that Leupold likes to fit on their top of the line models.   
As far as the Mojave BX 3, i think that the 8x33 is as cute as a bug and i considered buying it, but it had only 366 feet of field of view. 


The Mojave BX-3 8x32 has a full 8* fov of 420'.  What you listed is likely the fov for the 10x32.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/19/2015 at 20:45
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Originally posted by Steerdog Steerdog wrote:

Besides Vortex, who has a no fault warranty with quality glass?  I thought the Vipers had quite good optics when I started looking at options last year, although I now understand the FOV dilemma. 

I bought a Leupold VX-R scope last year thinking that it had a lifetime warranty like the Gold Rings.  When I got home I found that the lifetime warranty was only for their gold rings.  So I emailed Leupold about the scope warranty, I didn't get an answer.  If I couldn't get a simple response from Customer Service when I had just bought a brand new scope earlier that day, it kind of dulls my desire to buy another Leupold product.  It doesn't mean that I wouldn't consider another Leupold, but it has at least one chink in its armor. 

I happen to really like Zeiss microscopes; however, I do not seem to see a lot of praise for the Zeiss Terra.  I do plan to look at the Monarch 7 binoculars.  The Monarch 3 & 5's didn't make my tail wag.  

Anything else to try?



I don't know who you did not get hold of at Leupold, but all Leupold scopes ARE Gold Ring products.  From the Rifleman upwards, and including the VX-R.  The Gold Ring on the objective means something.  I have decades of experience with Leupold service and it has always been stellar. 

E-mail is a notoriously poor way to communicate with customer service reps of ANY company.  Unless you have the company email of a representative you know.  When the email goes unanswered use the phone.  Leupold scopes are Gold Ring.  Leupold honors the Gold Ring policy on their binoculars, even though policy states the warranty is different.

Most stuff I have seen on the Terra is pretty positive.  There are some die hard Ziessters out there who are pretty miffed that Zeiss went to China for an inexpensive glass.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/19/2015 at 21:04
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maybe swfa has an error on the listing?
Specifications
Actual Magnification:8.00x
Objective Clear Aperture (mm):32.00 mm
Linear Field of View (ft/100 yd):366.00 ft
Linear Field of View (m/100m):111.56 m
Angular Field of View (degrees):N/A
Twilight Factor:17.80
Weight (oz):17.00 oz
Weight (g):482.00 g
Length (in):4.75 in
Length (mm):120.60 mm
Exit Pupil (mm):4.00 mm
Eye Relief (mm):16.00 mm
Close Focus Distance (ft):7.00 ft
Close Focus Distance (m):2.13 m
Interpupillary Distance:58 - 74
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/19/2015 at 21:39
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Yes that is in error. Mine is marked 420 on the focus dial and on the box and on the Leupold page.   
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/19/2015 at 22:16
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The Terra ED is supposed to use Schott glass.  I was surprised that I didn't see a lot more noise about the Terra's. 

I don't mean to disparage Leupold.  The VX-R is a nice scope.  I sent 2 unanswered emails to Leupold regarding the warranty question because their customer service was closed when I had time to communicate with them.  I did get a response to a separate email regarding scope covers.  I figured that they didn't want to commit to a warranty unless the scope was broken and it needed to be fixed as their warranty card indicated that I bought a tactical scope not a gold ring.  I was hoping for a little reassurance that I bought the right hard use scope when I bought it. Caveat Emptor.  

Some of the places that I trek require tough climbs over rocks, up old river beds, through barrancas and up and down steep rough trails.  The likelihood of breaking something including my neck is certainly in play and I have plenty of past surgery experiences from pushing things a little too far.  That's why I would prefer a faultless warranty or buy something good enough but cheap enough to afford two.  There is an adage, two is one and one is none.  Smile

Whatever I buy, it has to fit my face.   Got that message clearly.

Thanks!


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/20/2015 at 06:39
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Steerdog, i've hunted hiked, and birdwatched for the past 30 years alot. I have always used a 8x32, for reasons described by you above. The Leupold Mojave BX3  8x33, Terra ED 8x32, would fit the bill. 
The Terra is a very nice glass, people who buy them are happy. 
Best warranty service i ever got was from Vortex, Leupold, and Svarovski. Never needed Zeiss service.
Try before you buy or buy from someone who takes them back.
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/20/2015 at 06:48
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Steerdog, 
these people comment and compare a few of the binoculars discussed by us here.
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=289064
I have the Viper HD 8x32 and i would only replace it by the Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 ($900). 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/20/2015 at 09:58
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Well, I personally don't care much one way or another about a person's opinion about a company, but that was a disparagement.  Just an observation, not wanting an argument. Smile

What is the "magic appeal" of Schott Glass?  It is not a magical, unique substance made exclusively by Schott.  Schott has factories all over the planet.  They are no different than say, O'Hara or Hoya.  All manufacture high quality optical glass.  Any optical glass manufacturer has to have the ability to mix from scratch any optical formula needed by a piece of glass living in a particular spot in the design.  What matters is the right quality and type of glass living in the right place in a good design.

You mentioned Vanguard earlier.  I've not had sufficient experience with them to have an opinion, but comments seem quite favorable.  Despite posted "stuff", the open hinge is not a weak design, so my advice is to not worry about it much if an open frame design catches your eye.

There is no bomb proof binocular.  They are all precision optical instruments.  As such they can't be made to survive being knocked off a batting tee by Miguel Cabrerra.  Some will certainly take more abuse than others, but if your use is as extreme as you paint it, then you have some risk inherent in your use with anything.  Most, if not all $500 class binoculars are tough enough to take quite a bit of abuse from regular use.

I will second Anweis with a recommendation for a 32 mm.  I'm also going to do something I do not normally do...suggest something I have not yet tried.   A while back I posted a review on the Maven B2, a truly outstanding, large frame binocular that is well above your price range.  However after the experience with the B2, I have ordered an 8x30 Maven B3.  A friend of mine, Frank D, who posted a review of the B3 here has my Mojave BX-3 8x32 as I type this.  He tells me that the B3 betters the Mojave in several significant ways.  I used the customization service Maven offers on both the B2 and the B3, so I won't have them back for a couple of weeks.  The B3 is brand new, and I sent my B2 back for a new armor style.  A stock B3 is $500.  Their warranty is lifetime no fault.

I will further agree with Anweis about the Viper HD 8x32.  The 32 mm Viper is the class of the line.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/20/2015 at 16:37
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I also have read Frank's comments about the Maven B3, I also trust his reviews, and i also think that it is good glass. I would buy one just so i could have it customized with special colors and a girl's name engraved, if only i could find one.  
Serously, i took the Swarovski EL 8x32 and the Vortex Viper HD 8x32 outside for half an hour recently. The Viper had NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF. Difficult light, difficult birds, it performed at highest level with flying colors. 
I have no brand loyalty, i just like  companies that treat people with respect and i like good stuff for my hard earned money. Leupold and Swarovski and Vortex did that. 
I do have a grudge against Nikon. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/20/2015 at 21:04
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thank you for your recommendations.  I will add 8x32 binoculars to the list as well.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/21/2015 at 09:40
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Originally posted by anweis anweis wrote:

I agree, the Mojave Pro Guide HD should be a very good binocular backed by a very good company, a good combination of optical performance, reasonable price, and excellent warranty. 
One has to examine the 29 ounces of weight, the large size, and potentially ill-fitting enormous eyecups that Leupold likes to fit on their top of the line models.


I've had the New BX-3 Mojave 10x42 Pro Guide HD's (#120906) side-by-side with my regular BX-3 10x42's (#111768) since early March. As I hoped for, these Calcium-Fluoride Extra low Dispersion lens optics are a solid step-up in all performance aspects. In direct comparison to the 768's, I find colors are rendered more accurately (pop) and flare, edge and chromatic aberrations are non existent with the updated HD BX-3's (already well controlled in the 768's). Resolution and sharpness are better than my original Mojaves (which are great), while still maintaining an excellent 3-D DOF and a wide and relatively flat FOV image presentation. Low light performance is equal to the 768's...Very Good! Comparing their optics to the Vortex Viper HD's that I had (and returned) last year, I find the new BX-3 HD's are sharper, brighter, have better resolution, are lighter, more compact and all with a wider and much greater sweet spot FOV!

At Cabelas, I was able to compare my new BX-3 HD's to other Alpha glass 10x42 binoculars (at 2 to 4x price) both in store and outside during daylight and after dusk. I was very well pleased in their optical performance as they were 98% equal to the top V, S and Z offerings, having a tad less resolution in extreme low light.

The new BX-3 Pro Guide HD's size and weight are the same as the 768's (Open bridge, 5.6" length, 24oz). Their cool looking and very functional Kryptek Typhon finish and smooth focus affirms for me the extra investment over the regular BX-3's. These new, top-of-the-line Leupolds are going to be really competitive offerings in the middle range really good optics value for the $$$!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/22/2015 at 21:17
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what is the target price for the new Mojave's?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/22/2015 at 21:35
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MSRP on the regular Mojave 8x42 $479.99 the 10x42 is $499.99.  The 8x42  Pro Guide is $689.99 and the 10x42 is $714.99.  There is a local big brand store that has the regular for $100.00 less.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/26/2015 at 01:20
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May I suggest that you consider vintage binos - WW2 era.  If you search on ebay, under "WW2 binoculars", you will find binos starting at $5.00 and going up.  Some are excellent glasses.

I have a "WW2 collection" and consider them equal to, or better than most of the "new" glasses available today, for much less money.

. . . . just a thought . . .

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/26/2015 at 23:50
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I looked at a few binoculars today.  I was limited to what the different stores carried.

Nikon Monarch 7 10x42

Vortex Diamondback 8x42

Eagle Optics Ranger ED 8x42

Leupold Mojave 8x40

REI 8x42 ED

REI 8x32

My thoughts.

ED glass seemed to make a huge difference in brightness.  I was unimpressed with the Diamondbacks optically except I liked their ergonomics much better than the Ranger EDs.  I preferred the Monarch 7 despite the 10x mag to the Mojave and REI glass.  The Eagle Optics Ranger ED's optics trashed the Diamondbacks.  I had a harder time getting my face oriented with the 8x32 REI and the glass was much less bright than the ED versions. 

I couldn't get up to the Big Box Outdoor store to look at binoculars again this weekend.  Hopefully, next weekend to check out the Viper HD 8x32 and 8x42, Tera ED and the next gen Leupold Mojave Guide HD as recommended. 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/09/2015 at 16:29
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/09/2015 at 18:00
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The Vintage WWll binoculars are 75 years behind in design and coating technology's. The modern coatings on the upper low end will blow the old binoculars away in low light preformance and color rendition. Of course if you want to look at them on a shelf, rather than thru them they may be ok.
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