New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - Help with Binoculars
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Check GunBroker.com for SWFA's No Reserve and No Minimum bid firearm auctions.

Help with Binoculars

 Post Reply Post Reply   Topic Search Topic Search  Topic Options Topic Options
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/06/2011 at 16:09
kyblev View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper


Joined: February/21/2011
Status: Offline
Points: 48
Trying to find the best binos for the money.  I'm looking for a pair of 10X42 to take elk hunting in Montana.  I really need to stay at or below $400.00.  I already broke the bank with a rifle scope (Zeiss), boots (Danner Trophy) and still need to purchase a back pack and other items.  I know quality optics are a must, but there has to be some really nice binos for a fair price.  Any info or suggestions would help.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/06/2011 at 18:12
lucytuma View Drop Down
Optics Jedi Knight
Optics Jedi Knight
Avatar

Joined: November/25/2007
Location: Wisconsin
Status: Offline
Points: 5389
http://swfa.com/Zen-Ray-8x43-Zen-ED2-Binocular-P41884.aspx
All the Zen-Ray ED2 binos have received excellent reviews for their clarity and favorable price.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/06/2011 at 19:51
Klamath View Drop Down
Optics Master
Optics Master
Avatar

Joined: May/20/2007
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 1267
These days, unless you are getting Optics-Obsessive, you really can get all the glass you need for your budget.  Are there better glasses,... yes..., but for 3-4x the price.
 
There are several in your budget range I view as in some what of a class by themselves, a sort of the "Alphas of the Mid Range" category.  Lots has happened in that price range recently and it is pretty amazing how good that class glass is getting.
 
The first two are ones I have direct personal experience with and the second two not so much.  As Lucytuma told you the Zen Ray ZEN ED 2 is certainly one of them.  I have and use the 7x36 and 10x43.  They have held up very well and if you can't see it with these, you won't see it with the alpha either in all probability.  The 10x43 is something in the neighborhood of $425.  There is all sorts of stuff about these here and on other forums.
 
Next is the Theron Wapiti APO-ED.  This one has been reviewed here a bit recently and so far all positive comments, and with good reason I might add.  This is a new brand and many are probably in the "...what's a Theron?..." mode.  I really like this glass and have little doubt it is a good one.  It is somewhat less than $400.
 
For the first "...it should make it easily..." category is the new Vortex Talon HD.  That is listed at some $430 or so.  I doubt it is much more than the Vortex Version of the ZEN ED 2 design.  That design is not a design exclusive to any manufacturer, but is proving to be too darn good to ignore.  I don't think that one is on shelves just yet.
 
Second is the Kruger Caldera.  SWFA has these in their lineup and doubt they would have carried them if they didn't think they were pretty good.  There seems to be a whole lot of features including an interesting design and some pretty wide views here.  They are about the same price as the Theron.  Kind of like Theron  many are going "...what's a Krueger?..."
 
Now there are a couple pf others bases on the configuration of the initial release of the ZR style design.  That is the original ZEN ED, the Hawke Frontier ED, and the Promaster Infinity Elite ELX ED, and the Atlas Intrepid.  These still have the silver coated prism and a slower focus arrangement.
 
Now that I think about it, another more recognizable name brand is the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD.
 
Sometimes I tend to wonder about the seeming proliferation of new mid range specialty sort of optics companies.  But looking closer, I have come to the conclusion that they have done the consumer a very good service.  What they are striving to do is get the best possible glass to the consumer for the least possible cost.  They seem to be succeeding so far because they are doing just that.  If the bigger names in the optics business would have been paying closer attention, they would have stepped into that arena themselves.  But they were sitting on their laurels I guess.  Anyway these newbies seem like the real deal so far.  One of the above will not leave you wanting for much and sure won't break your bank.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/06/2011 at 19:56
kyblev View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper


Joined: February/21/2011
Status: Offline
Points: 48
Just looked at them.  Not bad, need something to replace my Tru-Glo.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/06/2011 at 20:26
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Avatar

Joined: May/07/2009
Location: Montana
Status: Offline
Points: 3380
A couple of thoughts here.

The Zens, Hawkes, Promasters, Vortex Talons, and Therons are all coming from the same place.  That place happens to know how to make good glass for very little money.  If you are looking at around a $400 budget, these models are where you should be looking.

It is not what you are getting, but from whom.

The Brand name of the importer means a lot.  Certain features of the same basic model are going to be available from some importer Brands, but not others.

For instance, some will have dialectric prism coatings, and some will be silver-coated.  Some will have water-repellant coatings, and some won't.  Some will have both features.  Some are from bigger, more established companies, and some have better warranties than others.

My opinion is this:

Zen Ray has taken a customer-feedback approach to their product, giving their newest model ED2 the features customers want like water-repellant coatings, dialectric prisms, and additional interior baffles to reduce glare.  They haven't been around the longest, but they are treating their customers, me included, great.   I know first-hand that this is a well-executed product.

Vortex is a more established company with a warranty second-to-none, and customer service to match.  However, the Talon is a new model for them, and may not have the refinements of the ED2.  I would like to see one first-hand.

I spoke to Pat at Theron Optics, and liked his approach.  I reviewed his APO-ED product, and it is a bit different than the other offerings.  It has advantages (apparent brightness) and disadvantages (narrower field of view) compared to the competitors.  This is a very new importer, but Theron is picking good products to sell.

I don't hear much anymore about Hawke or Promaster regarding their binoculars.  It seems that perhaps Zen Ray is taking a big bite out of the market.  I know other importers like Alpen, and maybe even Pentax (I don't know for sure, but saw a familiar-looking model on their website) are importing versions of this design, and that should tell you something about the quality of the blank-page product coming out of the OEM manufacturer.

The bottom line is one of the products Steve recommended should serve you well on your Montana elk hunt.  My confident recommendation is the ZEN ED2.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/07/2011 at 09:23
kyblev View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper


Joined: February/21/2011
Status: Offline
Points: 48

Will take a serious look at the Zen line.  They look really good and would like to look at one.  Will look at the Zen some more.  Thanks

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/08/2011 at 10:54
spf2 View Drop Down
Optics Apprentice
Optics Apprentice


Joined: February/02/2007
Status: Offline
Points: 169
the recommendation the ZEN ED line is right on. I had mine for almost 18 months. It's an excellent piece of equipment for the money
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/10/2011 at 07:52
Stud Duck View Drop Down
Optics Journeyman
Optics Journeyman
Avatar

Joined: May/20/2005
Location: WV
Status: Offline
Points: 506
I looked on SWFA's site and didn't see the Leupold Pinnacles, have they been discontinued?
 
How do they compare to the recommended choices?
 
Back in 2004, I was prepping for a deer hunt in Texas and my budget was tight when I got around to purchasing a set of binos. I conducted some research here and on several of the birding forums. At that time the Pinnacles were considered the poor mans Zeiss.
 
I purchased a set of them (manufactured in Japan) and was very pleased. I done ALOT of glassing with them throughout a five day hunt and didn't suffer from eye fatigue. I've used other sets of binos (low budget binos) for an hour or two of serious glassing and it felt like my eyeballs were being sucked out of my head, along with a serious headache.
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/10/2011 at 12:04
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Avatar

Joined: May/07/2009
Location: Montana
Status: Offline
Points: 3380
Pinnacles used to be one of the best bins for the money available.  The thing is now you can get much better technology for less money.

The 10X42 Pinnacles had a dismal field of view:  267 feet at 1000 yards.  The Zen ED2 is 340 feet at 1000 yards.   The Zens are also brighter (dialectric prisms), and have much, much better chromatic aberration control (ED glass).

The Theron APO-ED has a larger field of view than the Pinnacles (315 feet at 1000 yards), and the Therons seem to have a narrow field compared to the Zens.

In 2004, the Pinnacles were a great binocular at a great price.  Now, they have been far outpaced by the competition.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/10/2011 at 12:44
spf2 View Drop Down
Optics Apprentice
Optics Apprentice


Joined: February/02/2007
Status: Offline
Points: 169
Originally posted by Stud Duck Stud Duck wrote:

I looked on SWFA's site and didn't see the Leupold Pinnacles, have they been discontinued?
 
How do they compare to the recommended choices?
 
Back in 2004, I was prepping for a deer hunt in Texas and my budget was tight when I got around to purchasing a set of binos. I conducted some research here and on several of the birding forums. At that time the Pinnacles were considered the poor mans Zeiss.
 
I purchased a set of them (manufactured in Japan) and was very pleased. I done ALOT of glassing with them throughout a five day hunt and didn't suffer from eye fatigue. I've used other sets of binos (low budget binos) for an hour or two of serious glassing and it felt like my eyeballs were being sucked out of my head, along with a serious headache.
 
 
Pinnacles is no longer on Leupold's 2011 catalogue. Neither is Northfolk.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/10/2011 at 21:02
Alan Robertson View Drop Down
Optics Master
Optics Master
Avatar

Joined: October/31/2009
Location: Oklahoma
Status: Offline
Points: 1724
Originally posted by Stud Duck Stud Duck wrote:

... I've used other sets of binos (low budget binos) for an hour or two of serious glassing and it felt like my eyeballs were being sucked out of my head, along with a serious headache.

I recently looked through a used pair of (generally unimpressive) Nikon AEs that were like what you describe...  I think the problem was that they were in need of collimation. They were far enough out of whack that even I could spot the problem- the two images didn't quite match, like each tube was pointing a different direction. My eyes and brain were fighting to get the two images to appear as one and it wouldn't be long before those binos would have given me eyestrain.

I am very interested in a pair of Zen- Ray/Hawke/Theron... something from that OEM, so went to a local dealer a couple of days ago who advertises Hawke Optics to see what everyone is raving about.
The conversation at the optics counter went like this:

Me: Hi, I'd like to look at a pair of Hawke ED binoculars.
Salesman: Never heard of 'em.
Me: You have a great big sign in your front window that says "Hawke Optics".
Salesman: Hmmm, I'll ask somebody.
Me: Nevermind, I can see that all you have is Bushnell, Zeiss and Leupold.
Salesman: Yeah, Zeiss is the best.
Me: I'd really like to look through those Victory FLs if you don't mind... (as the salesman turned and walked away, ignoring me.)

Sheesh...  guess I'll have to make do with my Pentax PCF WP II's a while longer, which isn't a problem, since they are fine in their own right.


Edited by Alan Robertson - March/10/2011 at 21:06
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/12/2011 at 05:56
Stud Duck View Drop Down
Optics Journeyman
Optics Journeyman
Avatar

Joined: May/20/2005
Location: WV
Status: Offline
Points: 506
The Zen ED2 looks very good, especially according to the opinions here.
 
I read the company propaganda here on SWFA, maybe I missed it, but in what country are they manufactured?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/12/2011 at 08:59
JGRaider View Drop Down
Optics Master
Optics Master


Joined: February/06/2008
Status: Offline
Points: 1431
They are Chinese, just like some of the Leupold, Vortex, etc models.  Everyone nowadays has some Chinese stuff.  BTW, the Zen ED2 is super good.  
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Similar Threads: "Help with Binoculars"
Subject Author Forum Replies Last Post
need help choosing binoculars koshkin Binoculars 12 6/21/2004 11:10:58 PM
Need HELP choosing Binoculars...... nickmyron Binoculars 4 12/9/2004 1:01:52 AM
Need help with Binoculars purchase Bowhunter Binoculars 12
help with binoculars for safari and general katterin Binoculars 5
Need help choosing binoculars gdpolk Binoculars 10
help identifying binoculars tlacuache Binoculars 5
Help Identifying binoculars (pics inside)) cmr2003 Binoculars 6
help to identify (vintage) Tern binoculars pete_denton Binoculars 1
Seemingly Rare Binoculars: Need Help with ID! Nightsurf13 Binoculars 2
Help Choosing sub-$400 Hunting Binoculars sektr Binoculars 3


This page was generated in 0.219 seconds.