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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: April/04/2014 at 13:38
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
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I have had great luck with my personal Vortex purchases, except for a Crossfire Rimfire riflescope, which underperformed optically. I currently have two Vortex riflescopes (a Viper and Viper PST) which have been used hard in the field, and held up great! I also owned a Razor (1st gen 8X42), which I liked a lot optically, but didn't care for the diopter adjustment popping up accidentally. I owned a Razor 85mm spotter, which I liked in every way, and is still in full use by my hunting partner. I currently also have a 50mm Razor Spotter, which goes with me everywhere, and is a handy little spotter that I have grown to like better than the ED50.

I stand by my original assertion that the Vortex Talon is the one of the three I would choose. Although I don't own one, I was able to use one for a while, and It's performance is very good, even for it's "approaching $500" price tag. The warranty IS worth something to me, even if it costs extra over some of the competition. The warranty also makes it easy to buy used Vortex products.

I did have a dealing with Vortex Customer Service, although it was not a warranty issue. I may have posted this on the OT before also. I lost my Razor binocular rainguard on a deer hunt and had another hunt coming in a couple days. I called to see if I could order a replacement. They express shipped me one, for free, so I could have it for my hunt.

These are my personal experiences, on which I based my opinions, along with the experiences of friends.

I own optics from many manufacturers, including Leupold (6X30 Yosemites) that I am quite happy with. If i was in the OP's position though, I would go for the Vortex.

Edited by Bitterroot Bulls - April/04/2014 at 14:29
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2014 at 13:59
Klamath View Drop Down
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Trying to come up with a bad $500 binocular in today's flock of binoculars at that price point.  If I come up with one, I'll post Smile.  Not too many shabby performers at even $200 on up either for that matter.

I too had a bad Crossfire rimfire scope.  It had zero internal blackening, zero...zip...nada.  Talk about your proverbial glare and reflection issues.  Vortex did their deal and sent me a new one.

One thing that sometimes is an issue with $500 and below optics is they can let some clunkers through the cracks once in awhile, so it is my experience if you need warranty or service, you will know pretty quick.  So in that regard a good company policy is a nice option, even a deal breaker or deal maker.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2014 at 14:27
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Originally posted by Klamath Klamath wrote:

One thing that sometimes is an issue with $500 and below optics is they can let some clunkers through the cracks once in awhile, so it is my experience if you need warranty or service, you will know pretty quick.  So in that regard a good company policy is a nice option, even a deal breaker or deal maker.


Even the high end stuff has those issues.  I had a Leica RF Bino that had an internal lens that was chipped on the edge.  It was very noticeable to me, and how that passed final inspection I am not sure, but it did.  But they fixed it no questions asked.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2014 at 17:54
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Here is another one to consider in this price range. 

The Zeiss Terra binoculars, they are available in both 8 and 10x42.

Zeiss has been busy with many new models lately, and the Terra is their

first lower priced model.  I have the 8x42, and it offers a very bright view, with

a wide FOV and great fit and finish, I recommend it in this price range. 

It is China built as the others mentioned above, but it is built by Zeiss, and I feel

that offers a confidence of design, QC and warranty support, that is very important.

I have found the Zeiss Terra and the new Conquest HD to be 2 great choices in the lower

and midranges.

At SWFA, $399.95 for the 10x42, $349.95 for the 8x42.  Less a $50. mail in rebate

through 5-4-2014.  That makes this one to check out.

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/15/2014 at 20:00
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After going to a few stores local to try and get a look through what I have narrowed down as my two choices Talon HD and the BX-3. I can't find a BX-3 locally really sucks not being able to look through a pair but I can say the Talon HD is very impressive. I compared it to several other available there including the Zeiss Terra and the BX-2 which I know is not a fair comparison. Leaning toward the Talon HD just because i've looked through them and know I won't be disappointed. Any last thoughts?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/15/2014 at 20:24
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For what it's worth, and for bow hunting especially, I really like my Zen Ray ED2s. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/17/2014 at 19:51
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So the more I read everywhere many say the Zen Ray ED3 is optically superior but Vortex has the better warranty? Optically are the Talon HD and the ED3 close? Apple for apple? Just trying to cover all of my bases before I spend my money. Thanks
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/17/2014 at 22:06
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I can't answer that question, but the 7x36 ED2 is a bow hunting companion for sure. I really like them.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/17/2014 at 23:12
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Originally posted by mightymike mightymike wrote:

So the more I read everywhere many say the Zen Ray ED3 is optically superior but Vortex has the better warranty? Optically are the Talon HD and the ED3 close? Apple for apple? Just trying to cover all of my bases before I spend my money. Thanks

They are VERY similar, optically.  IMO, sample variation will play a bigger role.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/19/2014 at 11:38
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Originally posted by mightymike mightymike wrote:

I have narrowed down as my two choices Talon HD and the BX-3. Any last thoughts?


Mike,

Although the Talon 10x42's have a wider rated FOV, the flat-field view (edge to edge sharpness) of my BX-3's seemed to be every bit as wide as the talons, creating a deeper 3-D DOF, at least to my eyes. I also found the shorter 1.1" length and 2.4oz lighter ergonomics easier to comfortably hold for longer periods of glassing. Either bino, you should be very happy with!

Ted 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/23/2014 at 11:19
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I recently purchased a pair of demo Zen-Ray ED3 10x43 binocs and I'm happy to report that they are an excellent value and the company is very good about taking care of any issues that might come up. I had a focusing problem on the first pair and they exchanged them for another in short order. I would not hesitate to buy any optics product that Zen-Ray offers. These are one of the best binocs I've looked through....including the big name brands that cost upwards of 2 to 3 time as much.
 
RW VandenBrink
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/23/2014 at 17:31
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Read enough to realize I don't have time or patience to wade through it all. Will just say I recently got a pair of the Vortex Talon 8x42s and am quite impressed with them.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/23/2014 at 22:31
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Here is my 2 cents. 

I own the Vortex Viper HD 10x42, and the Razor HD 10x50's, the Viper PST, and my spotting scope is a Zen Ray ED2 20-60. 

So this is what I think... Zen ray is amazing. My ZR scope is brighter than both my binos, its not as bright as the vortex's big razor spotting scope. So all my knowledge of Zen is just.. outstanding. If i had to do it all over i think I would buy the Zen Ray primes or the ED's I wouldnt hesitate using their 30 day money back guarantee. 

I've sat out a few nights with my razors and vipers both in tripods next to each other... let me say I personally would never buy the razors again for that price. The only difference is slight CA in the vipers.. but not noticeable. The razors are slightly brighter.... slightly.. not 600 brighter. Clarity is stupendous on both. I cant tell the difference. 

I was seriously thinking about the Vortex Talon HD before i bought the Vipers then I looked through them... They sucked IMO and my friend and brothers eyes too. It was really disappointing, Bushnell legends are better IMO.

To sum it up. I wouldn't hesitate to grab the Zen's I think they are the best quality/value company out there. They claim to stand behind their stuff as much as vortex does at least thats whay i was told. Vortex is slightly overpriced but I would pay it for the peace of mind guarantee and great optics. Im scared of Nikon's crap warranty.. would never buy them IMO. the Monarch 7's are awesome glass I was tempted but no thanks. leupy's are awesome the mckinleys are awesome glass, I would buy the NEW (small eyecups) ones. 

HAPPY HUNTING (the search is almost as fun as owning IMO)
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