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Best hunting binos in $500-$600 range?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/30/2009 at 16:18
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Optics GrassHopper
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I'm looking for recommendations for the best deer hunting binos in the $500 - $600 price range.  I would like to consider the following criteria in making a decision:
 
1. good with eye glasses
2. great low light performance at dawn & dusk
3. good clarity to evaluate antlers
4. relatively waterproof /weather resistant - ability to handle rain and cold weather
 
I've been considering the Bushnell Elites (not the E2s) because there are deals to be had out there around $600.
 
I'd also be interested in recommendations from you hunters whether to get 8x or 10x.  My viewing situations are mix of in the woods and out in wide open spaces (I'm leaning to the 8x).
 
Any advice would be appreciated.  Thanks, AJ
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/30/2009 at 16:27
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The Zen Rays have received excellent reviews, the vortex vipers are also pretty nice in the $500.00 range.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/30/2009 at 16:51
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second that opinion on ZEN. Get ED2. SWFA has it for $370-$412.

 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/30/2009 at 18:26
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Zen Rays
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/30/2009 at 18:34
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You said "hunting binoculars" and the aspects you described will be answered very well by IOR BGA 7x40 and even better by Zeiss Hensoldt Marine 7x50. The IOR will probably be cheaper than your budget while the Zeiss will be around $600.
There is a whole bunch of other possibilities but these ones would be what I'd call: pure hunting binos.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/02/2010 at 23:22
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I started using the Zen ray 10x43 ED for hunting and scouting this year. No regrets at all far exceeds my expectations. If you buy the 10x might be a little tight for close in woods 7x better for that, if any range at all get the 10x. You will find your rifle scope the limiting factor in your optics setup not the ZR ED glass
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/04/2010 at 10:05
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No. 1 priority is "good with eyeglasses".  That pretty much rules out the Zen Rays for me.  They all have minimal eye relief, and the 10X43's are just inadequate.  I've found to really be comfortable, I need 18mm (this will be different for everybody).  Much less and I'm jamming them into my glasses.  Vortex Viper 8X42 would be good, or look at some good porro prism binocs.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/04/2010 at 11:04
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I read  someplace the large ocular diameter of the ZEN ED tends to increase the angle of the EP light cone, somewhat reducing the need for "longer" eye relief.  Don't rule them out for glasses without trying them out.  They work fine with sunglasses which typically fit further from the eye than prescription glasses.
 
 


Edited by Klamath - January/04/2010 at 11:06
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/05/2010 at 09:05
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Originally posted by mwyates mwyates wrote:

No. 1 priority is "good with eyeglasses".  That pretty much rules out the Zen Rays for me.  They all have minimal eye relief, and the 10X43's are just inadequate.  I've found to really be comfortable, I need 18mm (this will be different for everybody).  Much less and I'm jamming them into my glasses.  Vortex Viper 8X42 would be good, or look at some good porro prism binocs.


Did you actually look through them or just read the specs?  ( No offense, just wondering).  My neighbor who wears glasses looked through my 10x ED2 and all he said was "wow".  He owns the SLC and EL. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/05/2010 at 13:06
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thumbs up for the zens--10x--sunglass wear and our season runs Aug 15-Jan 01 for whitetails--hard use here in SC--I have been thoroughly impressed.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/07/2010 at 20:25
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i just got a pair of vortex razors and couldnt be happier
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/07/2010 at 22:44
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I have a pair of Hawke Frontier ED 8x43 that work fine with glasses (Zen Ray is very similar in that regard, I am testing ED2 7x36 right now).

Alternatively, you can just get Vortex Razor in either 8x42 or 8.5x50 configuration.  There is a rebate on those right now, that will take down to your price range.  Both are excellent especially 8.5x50 (if you can put up with weight).

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2010 at 20:58
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8x30 Steiner Hunting from SampleList if they still have them.  Light weight, tough, good glass.  I have Steiner 8x30 Tactical B.  The only difference is the reticle on the tacticals.  These are from the golden age of Steiner.  I do not know why they got rid of them.  Contact SWFA.  They always seemed to have these at super reasonable prices on the SList. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/22/2010 at 18:37
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Ditto on the Steiner Nighthunters in 8x30. When they came out with the XP model the price jumped a little and then they just kind of just disappeared.
 
One of the best things about the Steiners is the eyecups are shaped to your face and block out ambient light. They really are GREAT low light hunters.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/22/2010 at 18:55
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Originally posted by davelandefeld davelandefeld wrote:

Ditto on the Steiner Nighthunters in 8x30. When they came out with the XP model the price jumped a little and then they just kind of just disappeared.
 
One of the best things about the Steiners is the eyecups are shaped to your face and block out ambient light. They really are GREAT low light hunters.


Dave,

I was talking about the Hunting, which was Steiner's top of the line sports bino prior to the the series that you reference.  It has reg, non-contoured eye cups, which would be better for the OP who wears glasses.

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