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Best Multi-Duty Binocular for about $500

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/13/2004 at 10:09
ghengiskhabb View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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Joined: December/13/2004
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I am in search of a binocular that will last 30 years. The primary functions of the binoculars in order will be

 

-Discerning 0.223" holes in a paper plate at 100 yards
-Sightseeing while backpacking
-Stargazing
-Glasses frinedly would be nice, but not necessary

-Price is kindof flexible, but lower is good too.


This binocular will most often be used at the range to see where I am hitting, instead of waiting for the rest of the line for a break, I can continue on with the next string of fire. I shoot various calibers at various distances, but this is the problem most often encountered.

 

The second objective is backpacking. I am willing to carry some extra weight if it is worth it, and I think a good binocular would really enhance my backpacking experiences. Note: while I live in the desert and it rarely rains, it invariably rains like cats and dogs at least one day while I am backpacking.

 

Lastly, I live at the base of the Catalina mountains, which would be cool to scope out the mountains and wildlife, and I also live in a very stargazing friendly area and would enjoy sitting on the front patio and looking at the stars, moon, and city lights.


I have owned one pair of binoculars in the past, some Pentax 7x30's handed down from my grandparents, and they are nothing compared to what I've seen through even the cheapest modern stuff. The most serious optic I have owned is an Aimpoint, and the rest are just el-cheapo $40 things, so I don't really have any frame of reference for what is good and what is not.

 

P.S. And who is this Zhumell company that Binoculars.com seems to be pushing. Are they Chinese?



Edited by ghengiskhabb
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/13/2004 at 11:53
Grubbs View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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My nephew recently acquired a pair of Pentax SP's.  Although I still prefer my Leica 10x42's (who wouldn't), I am VERY impressed with the Pentax.  Much better than Leup Wind River or Nikon Monarch (they cost a bit more than those two also).
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/13/2004 at 12:56
koshkin View Drop Down
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Among the roof prism binoculars, Pentax DCF SP is probably the best bang for the buck. 

 

For the ultimate optical performance for the money though, porro prism do offer more for your money at the price of increased weight and bulk.  Here you just have to decide what's most important to you. 

 

I am not sure which magnification is sufficient to be able to see 0.223 holes out to 100 yards.  Th tradeoff for high magnification is that a slightest hand tremor will ruin you view.  Most people can comfortably hold 8x binoculars and many are confortable with 10x.  Personally, I have a hard time holding 10x binos steady.  You have to go to a store and see what you can hold steadily enough.  Generally an inexpensive spotting scope will be better for looking at bullet holes.  That way you can concentrate on a binocular that performs well for you in the field. 

 

I am a big fan of IOR binoculars (I use a 7x40 version).  They are heavy but optics are spectacular and they look indestructible.

 

At under $200 there are Nicon Action Extreme with Eco glass and Pentax PCF WP.  People tell me that Nikons are a little better.

 

I talked to a lot of birders and their consensus is that with Swift Audubon 8.5x44ED binoculars you get a Swarowski quality view for about $350 dollars.  I've looked through them and I agree.  It is a big and heavy binocular though.  ED stand for Extra-low dispersion that provides for a small but discernible difference (in color more than anything else).  The latest versions are waterproof.

 

For the absolute ultimate optical performance at any price, I've been told that the latest Nikon porros: SE10x42 are the best you can get.  They are somewhat pricy though a far cry from top line Leicas and Zeiss.

 

A lot of people on this forum seem very particular about only using roof prism binoculars due to light weight and handiness.  Personally, I feel that with a bino carrying system porros are comfortable enough to carry and offer more for the money (then again, I can't afford a $1500 Leica nor, having looked through them, can I justify them being worth that much money).

 

Ilya

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/14/2004 at 19:14
lucznik View Drop Down
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You get a lot of binocular from the bushnell legend line.  For a little more you can go with the Pentax DCF SP, which is a fantastic binocular.  I would even contend that most people can't see the difference between the Pentax SPs and the high end German options.  They tell themselves (and everyone else ) they can so as to justify the super high price tag, but I'm not convinced. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2004 at 09:15
ghengiskhabb View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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Regarding resolving a 0.223" hole at 100 yards, is this a fair test?

 

Stand 12.5 yards (100yards/8 magnification) and see if I can resolve the holes with no magnification.

 

If that works, then I think I have settled the magnification question.

 

Regarding the Pentax DCF SP, I think having looked through a few and having done some research, this is the quality level that I want. What Porro prisms are out there that are comparable?

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2004 at 18:23
koshkin View Drop Down
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Take a good look at Nikon Action Extreme binos with Eco glass.  If you do not mind the weight, Swift Audubon 8.5x44ED will provide a view that is equal or better than anything out there.

 

As for standing 12.5 yards away and looking at bullet holes, I would guess that with a quality 8x binocular at 100 yards you'll resolve a little better than with a naked eye at 12.5yds.

 

Ilya

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2004 at 19:15
samhill79 View Drop Down
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I would take a look at Steiner, they are around the 500 dollar range.  Also, if you could go a little more Minox(part of Lieca)

is the definite ticket there at about 700 bucks.  BOth have thirty year garrantees.....well Minox does and most of the good steiners do as well.   I have been around most of the high end glass Swaro (EL, SLC), Leica (Trinovid BA, Trinovid BN, Ultravid)  I personnally own the Leica Ultravids 10x50 and have never regreted it.  I have yet to see the new Zeiss FL but I doubt it can be better.  If you really want to only ever buy one pair, you should look into the higher end as there is a huge difference in clarity.  Especially for you in the desert, the higher end wont pick up the heat waves as much and they are garanteed for life.  I would check the sample list on the SWFA homepage and try to find a good deal there on a higher end bino, you will never have regrets.  Think....... factor a 1000 bucks over the next 30-50 years.  They are an investment for life, dont skimp unless you have too.  Good luck!   Although, at the range, it will be broad daylight and most glass these days does pretty well in bright light.

 

PS  I think the Pentax is pretty good for the money if thats what you're after.

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