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Bow Hunting Glass - PA Woods

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/14/2010 at 23:51
da7703 View Drop Down
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I've checked but didn't see to many posts on hunting; forgive me if I haven't searched enough (the bane of all forums, it seems).

I'm getting into bow hunting this year in Pennsylvania...and hoping to do it for many years to come.  Being a somewhat manic person who is prone to obsession, my head is pretty much spinning at all the equipment out there to choose from.  Rather than continue to give myself headaches, I figured I'd post my criteria in place where folks with experience could give me their thoughts and narrow down the field.

I'll be mostly tree stand hunting for deer, though turkey, rabbits, and small game will also be hunted..don't think binos are needed so much for them.  Best times for deer are usually in low-light; early morning and late evening.  I'll most likely be in dense hardwoods, though some scanning of open fields will be needed.  I'm thinking most of my needs will be the ability to pick out subtle movements/colorations that indicate wildlife presence.  The obvious hunting needs apply (waterproof, lightweight, etc), and from what I've read thus far 8x seems to be the zone, along with 42 for light gathering.  Can't see myself needing anything like the open-field hunters out West use.  I figure I'll probably be using them for hours at a time, so eye-strain and headaches are not desired.

I'm trying to stay under $300, new...and would really like a 'steal' on used (being frugal/not rich and enjoying high quality is a constant struggle).

Bushnell, Nikon, Alpen, Leupold all seem to have stuff in this range...Steiners with their autofocus seem great for scanning.  I like to try to stay away from lesser quality imports, for a number of reasons that need no expounding here, though I do see you folks mentioning Zen-Ray's frequently.

If you fine folks would be so kind as to offer up opinions on models, sizes, anything you would think relevant.  I'm kind of a techie type guy, but don't know the ins and outs of binos.  Cash not being an issue, I'd go alpha all the way.  But money and actual usage time (considering I've yet to own any binoculars to this point....) are limiting factors.

Thanks in advance for your help.

~Dave




Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/15/2010 at 00:44
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Originally posted by da7703 da7703 wrote:

I'm trying to stay under $300, new
Thanks in advance for your help.
~Dave
 
 
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/15/2010 at 08:03
FrankD View Drop Down
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Dave,
 
Nice to see a fellow Pennsylvania Bowhunter on the forums. Not sure what part of PA you are from but Allentown area here. I know the type of hunting that you do.
 
I think you are correct about the 8x42 format with the type of area that we tend to hunt. The brighter image coupled with the wider field of view (over a 10x) is definitely beneficial in tight-quarters hunting.
 
BW's suggestions above are good ones. Both are fairly inexpensive, but waterproof, porro prism designs. I would opt for the Nikon over the Pentax from the field of view perspective.
 
Some other thoughts...and I did not miss your comment about cheap imports. (Said in a good way)
 
Consider the Zen Ray lineup. There is a reason they are mentioned so much lately. They are the best "bang for your buck" currently on the market. Their binos do provide some of the very best optical performance for the price...(and, actually, I am one of those folks that feels that their current high end offering, the ED2 series, actually hangs with the Swaro, Leica and Zeiss of the world).
 
Considering your $300 price limit you could consider....
 
Vista 8x42: The 2010 model is entirely comparable to the Nikon Monarch of previous years. The Vista is fully multicoated, waterproof, phase coated, etc... plus it comes in a very handy package. I have one and would recommend it. For $130 it is a steal.
 
ZRS 8x42: Again the 2010 model has some upgrades including dielectric prism coating in addition to everything mentioned above about the Vista. Many folks that have tried this model actually compare it optically with the more expensive ED glass versions. Small and compact for a full sized 8x42. Around $205 here at SWFA.
 
Zen ED 8x43 (Original model not ED2): Optically superb and certainly an argument can be made for the best optical performance for the price currently on the market. Some slight optical and mechanical differences between ED and ED2 versions but you are unlikely to notice unless you have both bins side by side. These are longer and heavier than either of the two previous models but the optical performance is outstanding. A little over your price point at $339 here at SWFA.
 
Also consider a few low priced porros that may suit your needs. The little Leupold Yosemite 6x30 is certainly worth mentioning. I find the wider field of view and great depth of field to be a blessing in some of the really tight areas I bowhunt. Picking a buck out of the brush is exceptionally easy with this bin. The image is bright and sharp for such an inexpensive binocular. Very lightweight too. Priced usually between $80 and $90.
 
Celestron Nature 8x30:
 
Everything said about the little Yosemite applies here as they are practically identical. Even with the 2x more magnification this binocular is still very bright and actually has a wider field of view than the 6x30 Yosemite. A little bit longer in the barrel but just as light I would certainly recommend it. Priced as low as $55 some places.
 
If you lived anywhere near my neck of the woods I wouldn't mind letting you try some of these bins as I have most of them on hand. ;)
 
Hope this helps and good luck this season.


Edited by FrankD - August/15/2010 at 08:06
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/29/2010 at 11:31
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Are the ZRS really 2x better than the Yosemite or Vista? I'm trying to decide between these three, for deer hunting.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/29/2010 at 17:55
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I have, or have had all three, so I'll take a stab at this.  No. I don't think the view is 2x better than the Yosemite, but I do think the ZRS has a bit better view than the Yosemite, especially if you compare the 8x version of each.  The Vista is about on par with the Yosemite image wise.  This assumes equal light and the 8x30 Yosemite is noticeably dimmer in twilight than either of the ZR choices.  The 6x30 Yosemite may need some more reach for longer ranges, however 6x is plenty good out to a couple of rifles shots distance.  Depends on how far away you need to look.
 
The chief difference is the inherent differences found between porro prism and roof prism.  The Yosemite is smaller.
 
Personally I have a ZRS 8x42 and use it quite a bit and like it a lot.  I sold the Vista I had as the specs were about the same and I thought the ZRS was a bit better overall quality and it has a touch better resolution and a bit brighter image.  However I never felt at any particular disadvantage with the Vista.  So for myself I would use the ZRS as an all around glass.  FWIW, both the Vista and ZRS I had were 8x42.  I had both 6x and 8x Yosemite.
 
Again FWIW, there is a point of diminishing returns where at almost any price level 2x more $$ does not necessarily directly equate to 2x better glass. 


Edited by Klamath - November/29/2010 at 18:03
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/29/2010 at 18:13
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I personally like a more compact bino for bow hunting and I really wish someone would make a moderately priced 6 or 6.5x 28 bino.  I like a compact due to the fact that they are worn around my neck at all times in the bow stand and I don't want them interfering or banging around when it comes down to drawing on a deer.  I am currently using a pair of "redhead" bino's in 8x28 and while they are less than stellar, they have done enough.  

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/29/2010 at 19:46
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This will be my only pair of bino's so with that considered I think I'll go with the ZRS b/c low light viewing will be an important factor for me. Size is important as well, especially when climbing up a tree or humping through brush, but for now I'll go with the ZRS & if need be when $$ allows I might get a smaller pair. I was kinda looking at the 7X36 EDII but it's too much for me to justify.   
Thanks for the input guys. It's greatly appreciated.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/29/2010 at 22:39
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You will like that ZRS.

Dielectric prism coatings at the $200 price point.  WOW.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/30/2010 at 07:56
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Originally posted by lucytuma lucytuma wrote:

I personally like a more compact bino for bow hunting and I really wish someone would make a moderately priced 6 or 6.5x 28 bino.  I like a compact due to the fact that they are worn around my neck at all times in the bow stand and I don't want them interfering or banging around when it comes down to drawing on a deer.  I am currently using a pair of "redhead" bino's in 8x28 and while they are less than stellar, they have done enough.  

I agree with lucytuma - I carry a Leica 8x20 compact for early bow and turkey season. As the leaves start to drop, I carry a 8x32 Leupold Gold Ring (also my football stadium optics), and when firearm season rolls around I carry a Zeiss Victory 8x42. I have one of the older Bushnell 7x26 Custom Compacts that I keep in my truck - those binocs are to die for . . .
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