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Best hunting binos @ 500$

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/31/2014 at 21:01
mightymike View Drop Down
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Hello all I know you hear this all the time but I have to ask. I'm looking for the best pair of 10X binos for hunting situations.The most important qualities I'm looking for are clarity w/ good FOV, and a close 2nd is low light performance. I'm trying to stay in the 400-500$ range. Thanks in advance I've read tons of posts and just can't make a decision.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/31/2014 at 22:25
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Is there a good specific reason for 10X. Less field of view, More weight, harder to hold steady, less light and cost more for the same quality glass.
 Try these ZenRay
Zen-Ray 8x43 Zen ED3 Binocular
Zen-Ray 8x43 Zen ED3 Binocular
Stock # - ZENED38X43
  • Rubber Armor
  • Roof Prism
  • ED Glass
  • Second Generation VividBrite Ultra High Reflectivity Dielectric Prism Coating
$414.95
Very good for the price and will be better suited for hunting than the 10X. The slight drop in mag will provide better performance, and less eye strain when glassing for long periods.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/01/2014 at 04:30
mightymike View Drop Down
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No definitive reason for 10X except that's all I've ever had and it's also what everyone I hunt with carries. That being said I've never owned a good quality pair of optics either.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/01/2014 at 06:39
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Besides the Z-R already mentioned, take a look at (or through) the Nikon Monarch 7, Leupold Hawthorne and Mojave, Hawke Sapphire, and Krueger Caldera.  Any of these will do just fine.  Also consider the 1st generation Leupold McKinley, which can sometimes be found in your price range.  They are heavy, but they would make a very good hunting bino.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/01/2014 at 06:47
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+1 Zen- Rays
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/01/2014 at 13:09
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I would take the Vortex Talons over the ZR for the superior warranty and customer service.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/02/2014 at 14:04
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and the Vortex Razor HD 8x42. A bit over $500. Worth the price, i believe. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/02/2014 at 17:29
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Originally posted by anweis anweis wrote:

and the Vortex Razor HD 8x42. A bit over $500. Worth the price, i believe. 


Razors are going for almost $1200. However, the Vipers are as you said, about $600 and very nice binos that receive high ratings.

I've owned the Vipers and for My eyes, prefer the flatter FOV and greater 3-D DOF that my Leupold BX-3 Mohave 10x42's offer. I recently spent over 3 hours glassing at Cabelas, looking at details through 10 different 10X42's (about $9K of glass), from the BX-3's all the way up to the Swaro El's. I'd pick the Swaro SLC's in a heart beat (Best Glass...Period), but not for 5X the price of the BX-3's that were 95% optical equivalent of the SLC's!

In the end, I was well pleased at how the BX-3's stood up to the overall much more expensive competition and will be using those for my upcoming hunts! Very Sharp, excellent resolution, superb ergonomics, natural color, lightweight, well balanced and great warranty. All for well under the OP's $500...my 2 cents!

Ted


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/02/2014 at 20:49
mightymike View Drop Down
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Thanks for all of the replies. I think I will be between the Zen Ray ED3, Vortex Talon HD, and the BX-3. Any specific differences anyone has noticed between these 3? Any of the 3 will be a significant upgrade for me.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/02/2014 at 20:57
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Originally posted by mightymike mightymike wrote:

Thanks for all of the replies. I think I will be between the Zen Ray ED3, Vortex Talon HD, and the BX-3. Any specific differences anyone has noticed between these 3? Any of the 3 will be a significant upgrade for me.

Again, the Vortex warranty and CS separate it from the pack, IMO.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/02/2014 at 21:27
PhilR. View Drop Down
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Originally posted by mightymike mightymike wrote:

I think I will be between the Zen Ray ED3, Vortex Talon HD, and the BX-3. Any specific differences anyone has noticed between these 3?


All are very good, but my preference is the BX-3.  They are the lightest in weight, shortest in length, and despite having excellent optics, are significantly lower in price.  The color balance is more neutral than the Talon, and it's focus wheel is smoother in operation than the Talon's (in my example, at least).  For me, the BX-3 is much more pleasurable to use than the other two, especially the overly-large ED3.

One other thing to consider is the fact that all three are known for excellent customer service.  Although one can say that there is none better than Vortex, you can also say that there are some that are just as good.  Certainly Leupold is one of them. 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/02/2014 at 21:34
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Originally posted by PhilR. PhilR. wrote:

Originally posted by mightymike mightymike wrote:

I think I will be between the Zen Ray ED3, Vortex Talon HD, and the BX-3. Any specific differences anyone has noticed between these 3?


All are very good, but my preference is the BX-3.  They are the lightest in weight, shortest in length, and despite having excellent optics, are significantly lower in price.  The color balance is more neutral than the Talon, and it's focus wheel is smoother in operation than the Talon's (in my example, at least).  For me, the BX-3 is much more pleasurable to use than the other two, especially the overly-large ED3.

One other thing to consider is the fact that all three are known for excellent customer service.  Although one can say that there is none better than Vortex, you can also say that there are some that are just as good.  Certainly Leupold is one of them. 



+1
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2014 at 10:20
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
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Originally posted by PhilR. PhilR. wrote:

  Although one can say that there is none better than Vortex, you can also say that there are some that are just as good.  Certainly Leupold is one of them. 


This is not exactly true.

With a Vortex optic, if you accidently damage it in some way, Vortex would simply repair or replace it.

If you did this with a Leupold, you would receive a charge for the repair.

I can be kind of clumsy.

A few years ago, I scratched the lenses of my Leupold GR 8X32s when the covers slipped off while belly-crawling for antelope. I sent them in to Leupold for repair and paid a bill (around $120 if I remember correctly) for the fix. I found this reasonable.

I haven't damaged any of my Vortex products, but have a friend that did, and they simply replaced his binoculars, for free, in less than a week.

While Leupold has good CS, my experience is that it is not up to the level of Vortex. Of the three listed binoculars, they perform similarly enough that the Vortex CS/warranty would make the difference, for me.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2014 at 10:27
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I have never been charged a single dime by Leopold even when sending a scope I bought used, damaged all by myself, explained to Leupold that I fully expected to pay for. Their response was to send a new scope complete with a zero balance owed invoice.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2014 at 11:40
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That tells me that Leupold is not consistent in how they deal with customers.  Vortex seems to be pretty consistent in that regard. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2014 at 14:22
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Leupold set the standard for CS, warranty work, treating the customer more than fair, etc.  Where do you think Swarovski learned it......?   Vortex learned it too obviously, but Leupold wrote the book, and still treats its customers better than they deserve 99% of the time.    
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2014 at 19:43
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Originally posted by Bitterroot Bulls Bitterroot Bulls wrote:

Originally posted by PhilR. PhilR. wrote:

  Although one can say that there is none better than Vortex, you can also say that there are some that are just as good.  Certainly Leupold is one of them. 


This is not exactly true.

With a Vortex optic, if you accidently damage it in some way, Vortex would simply repair or replace it.

If you did this with a Leupold, you would receive a charge for the repair.

I can be kind of clumsy.

A few years ago, I scratched the lenses of my Leupold GR 8X32s when the covers slipped off while belly-crawling for antelope. I sent them in to Leupold for repair and paid a bill (around $120 if I remember correctly) for the fix. I found this reasonable.

I haven't damaged any of my Vortex products, but have a friend that did, and they simply replaced his binoculars, for free, in less than a week.

While Leupold has good CS, my experience is that it is not up to the level of Vortex. Of the three listed binoculars, they perform similarly enough that the Vortex CS/warranty would make the difference, for me.


Yup -- just like on so many other internet forums -- people who just can't wait to tell others they are wrong, instead of just posting their own opinions.

The problem with Vortex, and why I won't buy a new Vortex of any type, is that they are overpriced 25-33%.   This is why they have no problems with giving people a  new one -- they earn 1/3rd the price of a new item every time they sell an item.  So yeah, if you want to pay ahead of time for a good bit of a replacement that you might not ever need, then go ahead and buy a new Vortex.  You sure won't catch me doing that.......

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2014 at 21:05
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Originally posted by PhilR. PhilR. wrote:

Yup -- just like on so many other internet forums -- people who just can't wait to tell others they are wrong, instead of just posting their own opinions.


Yeah Phil, I have been waiting for ages...

Roll Eyes

Of course, I should have posted this:

"That is not exactly true for me."

I meant no offense to you personally.

Perhaps you can help us understand why you think Leupold's Warrany/Customer Service is as good as Vortex'.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2014 at 23:06
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Actually I bet all manufacturers factor in warranty and service costs in their pricing structure.  Vortex certainly is not alone.  I'm sure Leupold and Swarovski do it as well.  It think one of the big things wrong with Leica service we hear so much about is the Leica bean counters insistence their service and repair operations operate at least cost neutral.

A couple of posts got me to thinking.  Somewhere in the memory bank I remember Leupold's bean counters decreeing that warranty and service were to run at break even levels, minimum, just like Leica.  If I'm remembering this correctly Smile.  This did not sit too well in consumer land and the bean counters were over ruled.  So it is entirely likely people who got caught up in this scheme and received charges remember the negative aspects of the experience.  Leupold's current policy is the old standard" we make it we fix it" lifetime warranty.  When doing recent reviews on Leupold's Green ring series binoculars I asked about the more limited warranty printed on the product pages and packaging.  I was told that was more or less a formality, but they intended to warranty those as if they were the Gold Ring Lifetime warranty.  I remembered one other Leupold experience.  I managed to break a strap lug on a Yosemite binocular.  I called them and they said send it in, I got a new one back, no charge.

I've also used the Vortex policy at times and found it to be just as advertised.  I find it hard to quibble with either company.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2014 at 23:20
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Originally posted by Bitterroot Bulls Bitterroot Bulls wrote:


Perhaps you can help us understand why you think Leupold's Warrany/Customer Service is as good as Vortex'.


Personal experience.  Which is what I base everything I put up here on.  Also personal experience of close friends.  And from the writings on the various forums I read, and that are from persons for whom I do not have any reason to doubt.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2014 at 23:31
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Originally posted by Klamath Klamath wrote:

Actually I bet all manufacturers factor in warranty and service costs in their pricing structure.  Vortex certainly is not alone.


Well yes, I would certainly agree.  But Vortex is perhaps one of the more "blatant" (for immediate lack of a better term) at it.  The Razor is an excellent example.  Shouldn't cost more than a 10x Meopta HD or a Conquest HD, but it runs about 20% more.  The Raptor runs about 20-25% more than a comparable Yosemite.  The Talon shouldn't cost more than about $400 (personally I don't think they should cost more than a $350 Caldera), but they run closer to $500.  I could go on and on.

As long as Vortex doesn't get more than one in four items returned, they can easily cover the cost of replacing broken items.  Pretty good business model, actually......

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2014 at 08:57
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Phil R, I couldn't agree more with your analogy of Vortex. Another example is the Mojave 8x32 runs $300, the Viper HD $500, and the Mojave is just as good (better IMO).  

As far as warranty goes, one could make the case that with specific regard to the Bushnell elite series, that Bushnell has a better warranty than anyone else on the planet....use it for a year, if you don't like it we send you your money back.  Does anyone else do that?  Negative.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2014 at 09:45
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How are you boys privy to all this insider product cost and net profit data?

I wasn't aware that Vortex products are "25 - 33%" overpriced, but thanks for the heads-up; that's good to know! Armed with that very precise metric, I'll now confidently attempt to negotiate a 29.7% discount on my next Vortex purchase!

Thanks!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2014 at 09:49
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Good luck with your purchases.  I can really help you out here if you're really shopping for some good stuff.  My local guy has Meopta 10x42 HD's for $840.  Slammin' deal. 

Moral to PhilR's story.....there's always something just as good as Vortex for less money IMO.  It is true with the few Vortex models that I've personally tried. I know you've read Formidilosis posts on the other forum with regards to the high failure rates of vortex scopes, including high $$$ razor scopes, that he sees in his shooting schools haven't you? 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2014 at 11:19
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No, I haven't read the posts you're referring to. I've read reports of "high failure rates at shooting schools" on the internet for lots of brands, JG. Not doubting the findings of Mr. Formidilosis that you cite, just that if I base my buying decisions on what folks on the internet say, I wouldn't buy a whole lot, because I can dig up internet posts of reported "failures" on most brands in most categories of outdoor gear, except for maybe Nightforce scopes. I did, however read a very favorable, very thorough review on SH praising the Razor scope, which included some very extreme punishment tests, and it included a video of those tests. The reviewer had nothing but praise for it. So, as with anything else... your mileage may vary. I take internet reports with a grain of salt unless I know the individuals making the reports, simply because it's the internet, where anyone can say anything.

FWIW, I don't own any Vortex rifle scopes. They don't offer many scopes that fit my personal preferences. I currently only own one Vortex product -- a first-gen Razor bino that if memory serves, I paid around $600 for. I've compared it directly with a large number of binos in multiple price brackets from $400 - $1800, including resolution testing with USAF charts. In spite of variations in different people's eyesight, and discounting ergonomic considerations that are so personal, I'd have a hard time believing anyone could do the amount and extent of lengthy side by side comparisons I've done with these binos and not conclude that they were:
1. Very, very good optically,
2. Priced appropriate with their performance, and
3. Hold their own compared to everything of similar price and other binos of considerably higher MSRP.

Despite the fact I only own the one Razor bino, I've thoroughly tested two different Viper binos, and the Razor spotter that a fellow OT member loaned me for testing. A buddy on my deer lease has an AR topped with a 1-4X24 Viper PST that I shoot quite often, and another buddy has a 1-6X24 Razor that I also have a fair amount of trigger time behind.

I won't go into all my findings with their products, as that would involve a lengthy discussion, but trust me when I say I have a LOT of T&E time with Vortex optics. I've met the Hamiltons (owners) personally, and I've talked to their designers at the SHOT show. I found them to be extremely nice, personable people, and my friends at SWFA have told me the same. They have an exemplary warranty and attitude towards CS that is confidence-inspiring, and their company story is one that any American who appreciates hard work and entrepreneurship can root for... almost to a Norman Rockwellian degree. They've done business the right way, and I can assure you that fleecing the consumer isn't anywhere on their radar screen. Not implying that's what you or anyone else thinks, but I assure you that their pricing is based on a fair return on their costs necessary to stay in business.

Vortex is one of the brands that offers everything from low end stuff to very high end. One could debate all day whether or not that's a good business strategy and whether the low end, Chinese-made stuff dilutes the value and consumer perception of their high end optics. What I can tell you without reservation and with a straight face is that everything I've personally used that was dubbed with the "Razor" moniker was comparable in every way with any other similarly configured optic available except the uber-expensive "alpha" optics. I have no brand loyalties, and I have no immediate plans to buy anything Vortex in the foreseeable future, only because everything they offer that I really like, I already have covered with optics from other brands. I'm not in the market for any new binos of any kind. I have everything I want and need in binos for a long time to come.

Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinions, and individual opinions are neither right nor wrong for everyone. My previous post was a facetious response to PhilR's very precise "25-33%" (not 30, not 35... 33%!!!) overpricing claim. How does one come to that conclusion? Even if you believe their stuff is overpriced...and folks are certainly entitled to that conclusion...to cite such a precise number like 33% implies you have some kind of insider info. I mean... how in the world can one so confidently cite such a precise figure without knowing their actual cost to produce it, combined with either personally owning or spending a LOT of time using the product?

Honestly not trying to pick on PhilR, but... C'mon, man!!!

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