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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/10/2007 at 20:49
Baylian View Drop Down
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I want to know what is the lowest amount of money I could spend and still get a good hunting binocular?  IOW, which binocular is the best value for the money?  Sorry but I can't afford the big three.

 

Thanks a lot,  TJ

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/10/2007 at 21:03
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i really think nikon monarchs are hard to beat for what they costs.buddy of mine has a pair of 8x42 in these they are nice considering what they cost.there is definately better bins but they cost more.you dont have to buy one of the big 3  $$$ to get a great pair of bins.if your budget will allow pentax sp's are really nice.you can go cheaper but for a real good lowlight hunting bin the nikons are about as low as i would go.just my thoughts.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/11/2007 at 06:11
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For the "lowest amount of money" you could also look at the Pentax PCF WP II and the Nikon Action Extreme ATB porro prism binoculars.

Even lower is the Leupold Yosemite porro prism in 6x or 8x.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/11/2007 at 19:42
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I agree with all of the above responses. If you listed a specific price range then it would be easier to give you a "best bang for the buck" suggestion within it. I have found that there are bbftb buys in just about every price range.

 

At the budget level the previously mentioned Leupold Yosemite and Nikon Action EX are good buys.

 

At the low-mid priced range the Nikon Monarchs, Bushnell Legends, Pentax SPs and Vortex Vipers would get my vote.

 

In the mid to almost high price range the Zeiss Conquest ABKs, Bushnell Elites, Vortex Razors and the Meopta Meostars are all superb glass.

 

Hope this helps.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/11/2007 at 20:28
Baylian View Drop Down
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Thank you for the replies.  I was hoping more experienced guys would say "Well, you really shouldn't spend less than $XXX if you want something that's truely functional for hunting.  And if it were me I'd buy XXXXX."  Some of you have made some good recommendations.  But that's why I didn't set a price.  I really don't want to spend more than $500.  Less if I could get away with it.

 

Thanks again,  TJ

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/12/2007 at 09:23
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Quote But that's why I didn't set a price.  I really don't want to spend more than $500.  Less if I could get away with it.

 

In which case I would suggest any of the models in my "low to mid price" list.

 

 .......Nikon Monarchs, Bushnell Legends, Pentax SPs and Vortex Vipers. All offer some compromise to the high end models (typically in field of view) but all offer excellent optical performance and build quality for the price.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/12/2007 at 11:26
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+1 on what FrankD has said.

 

However, don't discount the porro prism offerings in the same price category.  For example, the Minox BD BP (8 or 10x44) would be a very viable option (though the FoV for these models is a bit restricted.)

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/14/2007 at 00:04
Baylian View Drop Down
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Many have stated that you should get out and "get the feel" of a binocular before you buy it.  The best place to look around here, as Lucznik knows, is Cabela's.  They recently dropped all Pentax display models.  They only carry a few low end binoculars now.  I've never even seen a Minox or Vortex.  So how do you guys do it?

 

Frank D- If you could have any in the mid/low range you suggested, which would you get?  Would you get 8X or 10X for hunting in the west?

 

Thanks to all for your replies!  TJ

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/14/2007 at 02:58
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Personally, I think 8x binoculars are more versatile than 10x, but out west some may prefer 10x.  I would still go with a 8x42 though especially when you do not want to spend too much money.  Optical limitations are much more apparent at 10x than at 8x.  If you want to stay under $500 I would highly recommend taking a good look at Pentax SP binoculars if you want roofs and Minox BD 8x44 if you want porros. 

Contrary to some recommendations above I've never been impressed with the Monarch binoculars.  Lately, I've been spending some time comparing 10x42 models of Nikon Monarch and Minox BD BR (which can be found for fairly low prices) and I much prefer the Minox.  Also, I thought that the new Swift Ultralite binoculars were better than the Monarch, although I think I prefer the Minox to the Swift Ultralites.

Another good binocular that is priced between the Monarch and Pentax SP is Wind River Pinnacle which is a pretty good glass for the money.

The only other recommendation I can make is that if you are willing to stretch your budget a little bit, I feel Vortex Razor binocular have an optical edge over all other binocular mentioned in this thread.  I got to play with a pair extensively and they are very good.   Unfortunately, they did not fit my hands well, so I sold them and bough Meopta Meostar which are more comfortable for me.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/15/2007 at 15:24
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Quote If you could have any in the mid/low range you suggested, which would you get?  Would you get 8X or 10X for hunting in the west?

 

My opinion tends to mirror Koshkin's on this one. It is much easier for a manufacturer to produce a good quality 8x, in comparison to a 10x, at this price point. I tend to prefer 8x bins across though the board though I must admit I have never hunted out west.

 

I would have no problem utilizing any of the four bins I mentioned earlier for the type of application you are planning to use them for. However, only the Viper utilizes a slightly higher grade of glass. This, in combination with its optical design, produces an exceptionally sharp and uncharacteristically bright image for a bin in this price range.

 

Out of the other three I would undoubtedly choose the SPs. I had a pair of the 8x32s not that long ago and thought they provided an excellent combination of ergonomics and optical quality plus I believe their build quality is a bit better than either the Monarch or the Legend.

 

Lastly, I also tend to agree with Koshkin's comments on the Razors. Their performance is very comparable to bins costing twice as much. However, they are about $300 more than the price range you listed. They do have one of the best warranty/customer service departments I have ever had the privelege of dealing with from an optics manufacturer.

 

Koshkin,

 

I do not recall seeing any comments on the Meostars yet. I would love to hear your thoughts when you have the chance.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/15/2007 at 17:42
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FrankD, I'll be posting my impressions on a few bins pretty soon.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/15/2007 at 20:36
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Not sure on the hunting part, but I can recommend Monarchs in general. You can decide 8x or 10x. I would go 8x42 if you want 8x. Better brightness, or at least it could be. I sort of preferred the 8x42 overall when I last looked at these two, 8x42 and 8x36.

I currently use Zeiss 10x40 and Monarch 10x42 and the jump is not so huge that I would need to abandon the Monarch. In fact at sunrise and sunset, where there might be glare, I sort of prefer the Monarch. They also weigh less in all day use.

There are a few good models between the 300 and 900 dollar range, but each has its own quirks.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/16/2007 at 00:54
Baylian View Drop Down
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Everyone seemed to miss the "how do you get a hold of a pair to see it" question above so I Googled Vortex and I found there are 2 dealers within 14 miles of my house.  WOW!  Who knew?  Hopefully The Wild Bird Center will have Pentax SP's, Leupold Pinnacles and porro Cascades, Bushnell Discoverers, Minox BD BL and BD BP, and Swift Ultralites as well as the Vortex Vipers and Razors that seem to be getting so many good reviews.  Birdwatching.com just gave the Viper a Best Buy rating.  I'll be calling them to see what they have tomorrow but will have to wait on a trip until next week due to some travel this week.  Spring break you know.  I'll let you know what I see.  Thank you to all who have posted replies.  I have followed this site for a long time and it pleases me that people of such great knowledge and experience (isn't that called wisdom) would stoop to help those who haven't a clue.

 

Again, thank you,  TJ

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/16/2007 at 07:48
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Unless you live in a large city, the Wild Birds Center will not have many models of binoculars or the more expensive models. On one of my recent visits to one of such stores i was pleasantly surprised by the Audubon Equinox HP 8x42. It is less $$, better view, and better feel in the hands than the Nikon Monarchs (which is grossly overated if you ask me).

Actually, the $280 Equinox HP is optically as good or better than the $450 Leupold Pinnacles: it has less bending at the edges and it is brighter.

In that price range, pick a particular sample carefully and if it looks right and feels right, get it. You may like a $250 model in the store, go home, order online for $235, and get a sample with more astigmatism or more color fringing.   

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/17/2007 at 01:06
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I was where you're at late last year. I choose the  Kowa 8x32 . Lifetime warranty, wide FOV, light weight and a roof prism. I was able to handle the Minox 8x32, it felt like I was holding a rock. At the same time I was able to handle the Zeiss Conquest 8X30. That's when I decided to go for a lighter weight bino. To me, the optics on the Minox were better than the Zeiss. I've read elsewhere the Kowas are close but not as good as the  Pentax SPs . So, I saved 4 oz (most feel 4oz is not enough to make a difference but after handling the two mentioned earlier it was a deal closer for me) and a wider fov. All for less than $400 and no regrets

 

 

 

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/17/2007 at 10:23
lucznik View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Baylian Baylian wrote:

Everyone seemed to miss the "how do you get a hold of a pair to see it" question above so I Googled Vortex and I found there are 2 dealers within 14 miles of my house.  WOW!  Who knew?  Hopefully The Wild Bird Center will have Pentax SP's, Leupold Pinnacles and porro Cascades, Bushnell Discoverers, Minox BD BL and BD BP, and Swift Ultralites as well as the Vortex Vipers and Razors that seem to be getting so many good reviews.  Birdwatching.com just gave the Viper a Best Buy rating.  I'll be calling them to see what they have tomorrow but will have to wait on a trip until next week due to some travel this week.  Spring break you know.  I'll let you know what I see.  Thank you to all who have posted replies.  I have followed this site for a long time and it pleases me that people of such great knowledge and experience (isn't that called wisdom) would stoop to help those who haven't a clue.

 

Again, thank you,  TJ

 

If you mean the Wild Bird Center on Highland Drive in Salt Lake, you can forget it.  They have almost nothing that they keep in stock.  I went in a couple of weeks ago to see a selection of spotting scopes because they were listed as dealers and the only two scopes he had at all were a Brunton 50mm Eterna and an 80mm Bushnell Elite.  His selection of binoculars was not better. Oh, and his prices were horrendously high.

 

Getting to see optics before you buy them can be a real trick and all of us struggle with it to some degree.  Personally, I have to travel at least two hours from my home to get to a store with any kind of reasonable selection. Of course, you already know that the Lehi Cabela's and Midvale Sportsman's Warehouse stores are the places with the biggest selections.  You might also try the Riverdale and/or Provo Sportsman's Warehouses as they sometimes carry things that the Midvale store does not.

 

There is a sporting goods store just south of you in Payson (sorry, I forget the name but, there's only one and Payson is small so; it won't be hard to find) that is an authorized dealer for Vortex as well as others.  They had an impressive selection of Vortex optics at the International Sportsmans' Expo at the South Town Center about a month ago (including both the Razor and the Viper) and I would assume they probably still have most of these in their store now.

 

The only other option is to buy online from retailers that offer a trial period (usually about 30 days.)  You do have to put the money up front for them and you need to be careful with the optics once you get them because, if you want to return them, you will have to do so in "As New" condition. 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/17/2007 at 11:05
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Chris,

I have been interested in Kowa binoculars for some time but can't get beyond the high prices for the 44mm Genesis and the 82mm High Lander.

Perhaps you would give us a review of yours one of these days.

Edited by Bird Watcher
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/17/2007 at 23:43
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Bird watcher,

I wish I could be of help. This was is my first bino purchase. So I really don't have a real world comparison to share. I just asked a bunch of questions and got a bunch of answers that made me decide on theses. Plus they fit the size, weight, optic coating and the FOV i was looking for. The two I mention in my earlier post was in the store looking through a window. I just didn't like the feel of either of them. But I do like the feel of the Kowa. And I enjoy looking through them. Bright and clear, pretty sharp edge to edge. My other bino I bought about a month after I got these is the Zeiss 8x20 Victory.

And judging by what I see when I look through those I wish I could afford buy the Zeiss 8x32 Victory .

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/22/2007 at 11:48
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Best Value Hmmm,

About 2.5 years ago I sold a pair of Leica 8x32BA Trinovids, needed some cash, What a mistake that was.  This past Friday I took off a little early from work, made my way down to SWFA, just in time to pick up a pair of Leupold Pinnacles 8x42 ( JW was real friendly ). So, far they are great. Took them out yesterday, changed eyecups to the round,( I wear glasses) the round are plastic which is no big deal as far as functionality, the tapered that are pictured on it, are anodised aluminium very nice wish they would have maintained that format. As far as view, well they are very nice, colors are very saturated, good contrast, great eye relief going to the round lower profile, resolution OK, not like the Leica's though (best of my recollection) build is OK I just can't help comparing them to the Leica's. For now they are going to be my primary use binocs. Been using some 15 year old Leupold  gold ring armored 9x25 compacts in great condition that have individual focus.  They work but not for all day use (old eyes can't adjust as good). The case and strap for the Pinnacles are really pretty cheesy, I guess as being marketed primarily to the Bird Watching users it's OK but for general use, Range, hunting, They probably won't last, will look for something more substantial. Oh yeah, these threads have helped greatly As far as best value boy, is that surjective. Set a price range look at the features and then you have touch them to see if you are going to like them luckily I live just down the road from SWFA ( aren't I lucky). thanks.



Edited by texbaz
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/22/2007 at 15:43
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Welcome on board and thanks for the info. As you use them more often, and discover things you like or dislike, don't forget to come back and share your experiences.

You could also tell everyone what you liked about the Leica's, and what you miss most since selling them.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/23/2007 at 08:46
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Originally posted by Bird Watcher Bird Watcher wrote:

Welcome on board and thanks for the info. As you use them more often, and discover things you like or dislike, don't forget to come back and share your experiences.

You could also tell everyone what you liked about the Leica's, and what you miss most since selling them.

 

Bird Watcher, Thanks. You bet, I'll try and give a rookie's point of view on what I observe with the Pinnacles.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/26/2007 at 19:39
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Nice specs on the Kowa, looks attractive and simple. I am starting to like 8x32, as much as I like 10x42. But maybe I still need both.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/26/2007 at 20:29
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Tero,

Here's their web site:www.kowascope.com

Kowa has some amazing optics, and the prices to match.
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