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Best Low Light Hunting Optics

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/05/2008 at 15:44
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The more I dig into this the more I am interested in getting an ideal low light hunting bino.  Is 7x42 the best for hunting?  I do want to be able to carry them around so weight and size are players in this.  Maybe 10x50?  What do the experts think? and What is the best in there reviews and experience?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/05/2008 at 16:29
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How much are you willing to spend, cajunhunter?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/05/2008 at 16:49
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I would like to be around the $1000 mark.  But I am looking hard at those 7x42 Zeiss.  I wanted to trade my 8x32 Leica that I just bought for some 7x42 but they have nothing in that on the sample list and new they are either $1600 for zeiss or over 2000 for the Leica.  The great people here at SWFA are going to send me to compare the Zeiss 8x32 to compare to my Leica.  What are you thoughts on which one of those is better.  The Zeiss has got the Fluoride glass.  Do you think I would be able to tell any low light difference?

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/05/2008 at 17:30
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My 9x63"s are just about right for viewing in the dark - I mean low light.Big%20Grin
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/05/2008 at 18:07
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The Meopta 7x42s ($859.00) could be the ticket.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/05/2008 at 18:09
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Originally posted by HuntMaster HuntMaster wrote:

My 9x63"s are just about right for viewing in the dark - I mean low light.Big%20Grin


7x50mm = 7.1mm Exit Pupil
8x56mm = 7.0mm E.P.
9x63mm = 7.0mm E.P.
7x42mm = 6.0mm E.P.

As you increase magnification & aperture, you increase overall size, length, and weight.

The majority of guys aren't likely to reach a 7mm Eye Pupil (especially as they get older) to take FULL advantage of the 7mm Exit Pupil.

The reason that aperture is increased, as magnification is increased, is to compensate for lower brightness at higher powers.

7x42mm is, in reality, an excellent balance between magnification, aperture, and exit pupil, for those who do not want to carry around a big binocular.

Zeiss 7x42mm click here

Zeiss Prisms click here

Zeiss Review click here

Edited by Bird Watcher - November/05/2008 at 18:44
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/05/2008 at 18:20
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Originally posted by cajunhunter cajunhunter wrote:

I would like to be around the $1000 mark.  But I am looking hard at those 7x42 Zeiss.  I wanted to trade my 8x32 Leica that I just bought for some 7x42 but they have nothing in that on the sample list and new they are either $1600 for zeiss or over 2000 for the Leica.  The great people here at SWFA are going to send me to compare the Zeiss 8x32 to compare to my Leica.  What are you thoughts on which one of those is better.  The Zeiss has got the Fluoride glass.  Do you think I would be able to tell any low light difference?

 
I'm way not an expert in bino's, but I don't think the difference will be real noticable. It would not be near as bright as going from a 8x32 to a 7x42 which would get you a 2 mm bigger exit pupil. Like I said, I'm no expert, but these are two top end bino's, and I don't thing the difference will be huge.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/05/2008 at 19:28
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I think for wearing and for hunting that 9x63 is just a touch big.   Keep the comments coming.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/05/2008 at 19:47
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Originally posted by cajunhunter cajunhunter wrote:

I think for wearing and for hunting that 9x63 is just a touch big.   Keep the comments coming.
You're correct, I use them for raised blind hunting only. 7x50 and 8x42 are some of my fav's also.
Derek
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/05/2008 at 20:03
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That is a good read on the 7x42 Zeiss.  Thanks
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/06/2008 at 07:03
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Originally posted by cajunhunter cajunhunter wrote:

 The great people here at SWFA are going to send me to compare the Zeiss 8x32 to compare to my Leica.  What are you thoughts on which one of those is better.  The Zeiss has got the Fluoride glass.  Do you think I would be able to tell any low light difference?

 
I have the Zeiss FL 8x32. When i bought it, i compared it to several other premium 8x32s, including the Leica Ultravid.
You will not be able to see a difference between the two in low light. Actually, the Ultravid may have a bit contrast in the image in low light. However, in bright sun, the FL will have sharper image, because of the FL glass.  
 
I am sorry that your 8x32 Leica does not serve your needs, because it really is one of the nicest binoculars around. I use a Swarovski 8x30 for hunting and i am ok with it. You are on the right track looking into the 7x42s. They will be much brighter in the early morning or late evening hours. All 3 of the (SLC 7x42, FL 7x42, Ultravid 7x42) are excellent and you will not go wrong with either of them.
Among the 7x42s, the Zeiss FL is the best. It is light, has the widest field of view, it is sharpest because of FL lenses, and it is much brighter, because of it's Abbe Koenig prisms.
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/06/2008 at 07:11
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The 7x42 Meopta's would be hard to beat for the money.  You should be able to pick them up for $800-$850.  They come really closely to the Leica in glass quality and view.  They would have been my second choice over the SLC Swarovski's that I purchased.  You can even get the Meopta's in 8X.  If you want something to give you better light gathering at dusk and dawn you had better step up to the 42mm level.  50mm and 56mm are fine binoculars but they care a lot of extra weight and are bulky.  If you do stalking, hiking, or a lot of walking during your hunting trips you may want to stick with the 42mm size.  Let us know what you finally decide on.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/06/2008 at 08:27
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I might decide to keep either of the 8x32 the Leica or Zeiss.  I would like to get a pair with the lotuTec coating as I hear that helps with external fogging.  The Swarovsii and Meopta are much heavier in the 7x42 compared to the Leica and Zeiss.  I do like everything about the 8x32,  I just wish it was a little better in low light.  So for the cost of shipping a pair back, I will compare and either keep one or send both back and get a 7x42.  There is just nothing on the sample list and I was not thinking of spending $1600.  It would be nice if they had something inbetween like a 7x35 or 8x36 that was on the small scale like the 8x32 and

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/07/2008 at 12:19
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I have the HD version of the Ultravid 8X32, which like the Zeiss FL has fluorite lenses and supposedly has improved prism coatings for an alleged 3% increase in light transmission over the previous Ultravid.  So, I cannot comment on the comparison with your non-HD Ultravid.  What I can tell you, however, is that I have compared my 8X32 to a few other very good full-size bins, including my Leica 8X50 Trinovid, and although the Trinovid has a very slight edge in light transmission at last light, the difference is maybe only a couple minutes.  In all honesty, the light transmission of the 8X32 HD was so good, I could tell no discernable difference in low light usability between them and 4 other very good 8X42 binoculars I've compared it to in poor light conditions.
 
I've heard the Zeiss FL series has more apparent light transmission than the Ultravid series, but the UV is generally thought to have higher contrast, which basically evens everything out in terms of low light detail recognition.  The Zeiss 7X42 should in all probability appear very bright, but the tradeoff is you lose some detail resolution compared to an 8X.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/07/2008 at 16:15
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Thanks everyone, I have some coming in and I will compare and post my opinions although novice at best.  Thanks
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/17/2008 at 06:52
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Yesterday i used a 8x32 FL from 5.50 am to 5.30 pm. Practically from dark to dark, 1/2 hour before sunrise and 1/2 hour after sunset. The 8x32 worked very well in the lowest light.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/19/2008 at 10:39
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Well, after much reading and glassing I have decided on a few things that are important to me.  I am by no means an expert, and I am sure that some of what I may be saying, many may disagree with.  First, larger exit pupils are just more enjoyable to me.  I think it is a combination of not having to have your pupils or eyes aligned perfectly with the glass exit pupils, making a more steady image and increased brightness.  I think most would agree with all other things being close to equal.  I tried the 8x32 in both Leica and Zeiss.  The Ultravids in the pair I had were better than the zeiss, which I am questioning as they were used and seemed to have a pretty big drop off in optical quality as compared to the Leica.  They appeared to maybe have some issue.  I am thinking that it was just the pair I was trying.  Of the 8x32's the Leica as so much nicer.  They were very compact and very small, and very good.  They were smaller in scale compared to the zeiss 8x32.  I am not going to get into the specifics about the optics, because this can be answered but others much more educated than me, but the Leica ultravid is a great binocular.  I had a difficult time returning them, but I can only afford at this time 1 pair of nice glass, but in the future I wouldn't mind having a pair of those Leica in the 8x32.  They were superb, but just not exactly what I was looking for.  With all of that being said, I set out looking to compare these 8x32's with a quality 7x42.  I got my hands on a pair of Zeiss cat #524550 show sample set.  That is a green Victory T*FL with Lotu Tec.  They were essential new, with everything and never even having the objective covers attached or straps connected.  Well, I looked hard with all of the glasses and even though I really liked the optics of the Leica, there was just something more comfortable and pleasing when looking through the 7x42 Victory T*FL.  I am sure I would have found the same comfort in any of the high end 7x42's.  To get the highest end glass from Leica I would be spending lots more and at this time just can't go there.  The Swaro 7x42, I am sure is great but is a little heavier and I could not get a pair that I wanted.  The view of the Zeiss 7x42 is stunning.  It has a huge bright FOV the biggest between, Leica, Swaro and Zeiss and is the lightest weight.  The main optical differences that I could notice were low light performace, FOV and steadiness, which are all things that are trade offs in size going from the 8x32 to 7x42.  The pair of Zeiss 8x32 I viewed did not compare to either.  The Zeiss 7x42's are awsome in low light and I am very pleased.  I think they are a joy to glass.  Thanks for everyone's help and I hope that someone finds this experience useful in their search for the right bino for them.  I think the 7x42 size is a great size for anyone wanting a fairly compact bino that is rock solid steady, comfortable with excellent low light perfomance.  I think if size is your main issue then those 8x32's would serve anyone well, but there are trade offs.  If anyone has any comments, please shoot them in.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/19/2008 at 13:24
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Originally posted by cajunhunter cajunhunter wrote:

First, larger exit pupils are just more enjoyable to me.  I think it is a combination of not having to have your pupils or eyes aligned perfectly with the glass exit pupils, making a more steady image and increased brightness.  I think most would agree with all other things being close to equal. 


Having binoculars that are COMFORTABLE to the eyes, in the field, over long periods of time, is more than half the battle, when choosing a pair as a lifetime investment.

Sounds like you really did your homework. C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S

Edited by Bird Watcher - November/19/2008 at 13:31
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/20/2008 at 07:45
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cajunhunter I think you made a great choice with the 7x42.  When you get down to the big three is just a matter of how they feel in your hands and to your eyes that counts.  I don't think you could go wrong with any of them in 7x42.  It took me four pairs of binoculars to get what I wanted and a lot of buying, selling and trading.  I wished I would of just spent the money in the beginning and got what I really wanted.  Let us know how they work out for you during hunting season this year.    
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/20/2008 at 19:29
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the bigger the better
10X50's
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/20/2008 at 20:39
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Originally posted by droopy droopy wrote:

the bigger the better 10X50's


Heavier too. The top shelf brands can sometimes be many ounces almost a pound more.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/20/2008 at 23:39
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Originally posted by droopy droopy wrote:

the bigger the better

10X50's


NOT in ALL instances and NOT for ALL hunters. 8>)
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/21/2008 at 03:25
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Okay, I guess you guys are right.
 
That's why every hunter should carry 2 pairs; 1 big & 1 small :)
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/21/2008 at 06:25
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I will match those 7x42 in low light anyday to the 10x50's.  When you jump to the 50mm, almost all are much heavier.  I might loose some detail with the magnification.  But I still think the 6mm ep bino will be brighter.  10x50's and 8x32's are on my list of things I want,  but they will not be the main field dusk and dawn low light bino. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/21/2008 at 08:53
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Originally posted by droopy droopy wrote:

Okay, I guess you guys are right.
 
That's why every hunter should carry 2 pairs; 1 big & 1 small :)


I agree with this logic.

I always bring a 8x30 and 10x42 to camp and choose between the two depending on my hunt. Sometimes a 7x42.
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