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Best Glass for $200?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/13/2013 at 10:23
woods1124 View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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I've got a friend looking for a new pair of binoculars around the $200 range.  He's looking at the ZRS 8x42, the Vortex Diamondback 8.5x50 or the Diamondback 8x42.  What would you all recommend?  He's open to other options as well.
 
Thanks!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/13/2013 at 11:15
FrankD View Drop Down
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My favorite is the Sightron Blue Sky S II 8x32 under $200. There is an extensive thread on it over on Birdforum. Bright, sharp and lightweight. They usually sell around $180. The ZRS is another nice option as is the Bresser Everest and the Zhumell Nova ED.

The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD can also usually be found around the $200 price point.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/13/2013 at 11:19
Bird Watcher View Drop Down
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Originally posted by woods1124 woods1124 wrote:

I've got a friend looking for a new pair of binoculars around the $200 range. He's open to other options as well.

If he has not looked through any Porro prism binoculars he should give them a try.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/13/2013 at 21:11
PhilR. View Drop Down
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Originally posted by woods1124 woods1124 wrote:

I've got a friend looking for a new pair of binoculars around the $200 range.  He's looking at the ZRS 8x42, the Vortex Diamondback 8.5x50 or the Diamondback 8x42.  What would you all recommend?  He's open to other options as well.
 
Thanks!
 
I've not been impressed with the low-end Vortex roof-prism products.  Between your stated choices, I would go with the ZRS every day of the week, and twice on Sundays.
 
Other 8x42 options are the Zhumell Nova ED for around $100, and the Bushnell Ultra Legend HD for a bit under $200.  These two are pretty close in performance.  I would give the Bushy a slight edge, as long as you can find one under $200.
 
In the ~$200 price range, he should also consider porro products.  Porros in this price range often are better than most roofs.  The Hawke 8x42 Naturetrek would be well worth your time to investigate, as well as the Nikon Action Extreme 8x40 and Pentax WPII.
 
The 32mm Sightron Blue Sky suggested above is an extremely good binocular.  It's not in the size range you are looking at, but still worthy of consideration because of how much performance you get for under $200.  They do make a 42mm version too, but I've not used or read of one.  I would bet that it would be a very good performer, although probably not any better than a 42mm ZRS.
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