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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/18/2009 at 22:32
bowkill1978 View Drop Down
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Alright guys, I'm a hardwood riverbottom bowhunter and have a pair of 8x Swaro's for that type of hunting.  But, for 3-4 days every year I go hunt in the flatland prairie of the Northern Texas panhandle.  I'd like to get a good 12x pair of bino's for this hunt.  Because it's only a 3-4 day hunt every year I don't want to spend more than $200.  I was thinking of getting a good pair of 12x porro's like the Pentax 12x50 PCF WP II's or Nikon Action 12x50's.  What do y'all think?  Any help is appreciated.  Thanks!
 
Bowkill
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/19/2009 at 08:49
FrankD View Drop Down
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Admittedly, I do not have any experience with the two models you mentioned in that particular configuration. 12x isn't really my cup of tea. I have tried both models in the 7x-8x version and thought they were good investments for their respective prices.
 
One word of caution though....lower priced binoculars are usually "ok" or good provided they are in mid-lower magnifications. Once you start hitting 10x or higher then any obvious mechanical, design and optical flaws tend to be magnified in the image quality of the binocular.
 
I will do a little digging for you but at 12x I would try to spend as close to $200 as possible if you expect to get any type of decent image quality out of the bins.
 
Sorry I could not help more....at the moment.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/19/2009 at 08:52
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First, you aren't going to find a good-enough 12x for under $200. The ones you mention are okay, but not great. The only real advantage in 12x comes with good glass, and better yet with super glass.
 
Two, 12x is too much for almost everybody to hand-hold. I am pretty good at glassing, but tend to rest my 12x binoculars (Leica) on shooting sticks to steady them. If you try to just hand-hold 12x they vibrate so much that you'll lose the distant detail you bought them for in the first place.
 
You're a lot better off buying a 10x with at least 40mm objective lenses. One of the $200 porro-prisms will work, but even better is spending arouynd $400 on a Zen Ray or Hawke 10x43 roof-prism. Then you'll REALLY be able to see way out there.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/19/2009 at 13:28
bowkill1978 View Drop Down
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OK.  So do you think I should just use my 8x Swaro's and forget about getting a higher powered bino?
 
Do you think I should get a low dollar roof prism? 
 
Basically I'd like to have a 10x or 12x bino on this one time a year hunt because you can see for miles.  Any suggestions or help is appreciated.  Thanks!
 
 
Bowkill 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/19/2009 at 15:47
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There are several problems with going to 12X.  First, they are very hard to hold steady.  Second, if your used to Swarovski glass going to a cheaper 12x is going to look terrible.  The higher you go in magnification the better the glass needs to be because you will really start to see the flaws.
 
I'd just stick to using your current bino's and put the money towards something else.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/19/2009 at 17:12
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Just because you can see for miles, it does not necessarily mean you will spend most time glassing over miles.  I agree with Acenturian, $200 12x will not look right alongside the 8x you have.
 
I'd advise you to use what you have and see how it works.  Use that to help decide what, if anything, you want to do different.  I hunt wide open high desert sage and do not feel particularly disadvantaged with a good 8x.  If I need to go more x's, I need a big eye binocular on a tripod or a spotter.  I don't gain much (personally) from a 10x. YMMV
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/19/2009 at 17:13
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A very wise man once said that there really isn't anything you can see with a 10x binocular that you can't see with a 7x.
 
In my experience this advice proves to be true, especially if we are talking about handheld conditions. Your 8x Swarovskis (are they 8.5x ELs or 8x SLCs?) are probably giving you plenty of performance for just about any application. If they are the 8x30 SLCs then going to a 10x42, or better yet a 10x50, will gain you some detail assuming your using them in supported position. Handheld you really aren't going to see a drastic increase in detail going from the 8x30 to a 10x42.
 
The 10x50 Bushnell Legend porro or the 10x50 Nikon Action EX may be worthy of consideration. I have seen one highly respected astro-forum, inexpensive porro "junkie" reference the 12x50 Nikon Action EXs as the "poor man's" Nikon Superior E 12x50....at least in terms of the resolution testing he did.
 
Having said that I would probably opt for a solid 10x50 if you want to see a noticeable improvement in detail at longer distances. The larger objective coupled with the higher magnification usually allows for more detail to reach your eyes. If you simply cannot spend more money then the Bushnell Legend 10x50 porro would be my suggestion. If you can spend a bit more then go with John's recommendation on the Hawke Frontier EDs or Zen Ray ED...both in 10x42. Their superb optical performance isn't reflected in their price.
 
It is a shame we are talking about 10x here..at least in one sense. I have been forced to sell both my Zen EDs on the usual auction site..and for not much more than what we are talking about here. They are 7x and 8x respectively though. Sad


Edited by FrankD - September/19/2009 at 17:15
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/19/2009 at 17:37
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Well, a good 7x is certainly a fine binocular, but I would disagree that it is as good as a 10x for glassing big country.
 
Just one example: Some years ago a friend and I were on the National Bison Range in Montana, glassing for various critters. My friend had a 7x Swarovski and I had a 10x. (I can't quite remember the make of the binocular I was using, but it was a good one--and can remember my friend using the Swarovski, because I loaned it to him.) Pretty soon my friend said, "There's a deer." I asked where and he started describing where. Turned out the deer was up on a ridge probably 800-1000 yards away.  I looked and looked and couldn't find the deer. Finally I realized that my friend was looking at a downed log that did look exactly like a bedded deer--though only through the 7x Swarovski.
 
10x is almost 50% more magnification than 7x. That makes a difference. I also know this because of my 8+12x40 Leica Duovid binoculars. I can see more detail when they are set on 12x. But that doesn't make 12x easy to hand-hold, or a cheap 12x all that much better than a good 8x.
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/19/2009 at 17:40
bowkill1978 View Drop Down
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Frank, I have the 8x30 SLC's. 

I can spend more than $200 but I kinda didn't want to.  I know to get good glass you have to spend the money but I'm just trying to "cheat the system" I guess. 
 
Thanks for all the great input, guys!
 
Bowkill
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/19/2009 at 17:59
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Originally posted by FrankD FrankD wrote:

A very wise man once said that there really isn't anything you can see with a 10x binocular that you can't see with a 7x.
 



Not sure if that wise man you quoted was a hunter or not. Using two equal quality bino's, you will see more with the 10x. I've used several 7x's over the years and while the view is nice due to a steadier hold, I've found them to be wanting for me anyway. A 10x is my max for hand holding and I've settled for an 8x. I think that birder's must have different requirements for bino's based on what I've read, or at least it seems that way to me.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/19/2009 at 18:32
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http://swfa.com/Leupold-10x42-Green-Ring-Cascades-Binocular-P5889.aspx
That is my vote for what you asked about originally.  I realize they aren't 12's but I think they would satisfy you.  I looked long and hard at the 8 X version of those before I ended up buying the Zen Ray 8x43 ED's.
 
Richard
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/19/2009 at 19:48
FrankD View Drop Down
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Roy, John,
 
On this point I think we will have to respectfully disagree. Admittedly, I do not hunt out west so I cannot specifically relate to that type of activity. I do glass regularly with both 7x and 10x bins over some very large areas though....mountaintops primarily looking for birds of prey. In that environment I have (for me personally) found that the Zeiss 7x42 FL is "king" for a variety of reasons. One, the incredibly wide field of view. Two, the extremely clean image due to the lack of CA over most of the field and, three the level of brightness and apparent sharpness that these bins deliver.
 
I have tried a few different "better quality" 10x binos but the 7x FLs just seem to capture more detail. Now, having said that I have not yet put a pair of 10x42 FLs next to them under identical conditions. It may very well be that the 10x FLs would beat the 7x42s for the utmost detail assuming we are again talking about a supported position (either via a tripod or with some type of secure rest). Handheld though, and without support, I have not really found a situation where a 10x bino does deliver more detail than a 7x.
 
Bowkill,
 
I think you have the right thought in mind with your reasoning. Lower cost porros do perform better than lower cost roofs. So, if you only have $200 to spend then a lower cost, higher magnification porro would be the route to take. With that thought in mind I would still stand by my earlier suggestion of the 10x50 Bushnell Legend porro. I have the 8x42 version and have used it for hunting. It is vastly underrated. Price for the 10x50 is usually around $170.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/19/2009 at 22:32
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Generally, we all pretty much agree that 12X is a bit too much magnification. I think they are difficult to hold steady.  I hunt out west, out here there are some really steep canyons, high mountains, and you may have to look at a far distance under some tree cover.

A 12x in theory would sound good but on long steep hikes oz make lbs. Generally 12X bino's have larger objectives which adds to weight.  On the opposite side a 7x may be fine for a hunter in the east hunting out of a stand over a corn field but I found even 8x being the minimum for looking up or down steep mountains in the western United States (My eyes are not what they used to be better then 20/20....but still only need reading glasses Cool) so personally, I like 10X everyone I hunt with used 10X with the exception of my dad who used 8.5X
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/20/2009 at 08:54
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Frank,
 
Was my old friend Pete Dunne the source of the "you can see anything with 7x" idea? Half the birders in the world use 7x42 Zeisses because Pete Dunne does. If so, i bet Pete would freely admit that good 10x glasses are better for finding stantionary big game in big country than identifying hawks back East.
 
There are definite advantages to 7x42's, including all those you list. But they do not apply to sitting somewhere for hours and trying to find part of a deer colored very much liek the landscape a mile away.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/20/2009 at 11:40
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Hi bowkill;
Save the two hun. use 8X, you will be fine. I've hunted  N. Texas. Big land.
ferrett
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/20/2009 at 12:37
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Yeah, that would probably be the thing to do. After actually seeing the country, you can tgen decide if you need something bigger.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/20/2009 at 18:05
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John,

Actually no, it wasn't Pete Dunne. I did meet him once though down at Cape May. I didn't know he used the 7x42 FLs though. :-)
 
No, actually my quote was from Stephen Ingraham. I am trying to remember if itwas before or after he started working for Zeiss.
 
;)
 
And just to reiterate, since I have never hunted out west I certainly respect your, and others that have, opinion on the subject. My experience is under different conditions but still ones that require extracting some very specific detail at long distances.
 
I can see the wisdom of what you are saying though. If you spend hours carefully searching patch by patch of woodland from a great distance then a higher magnification binocular makes sense. The application I was referring to typically involves scanning large areas of the sky repeatedly for some very small targets. I think the key difference between the two activities isn't necessarily the ability to pull the utmost detail out of the situation but rather the difference in contrast between the object and its background. With hawkwatching you are looking at dark objects against a light sky so they stand out well even in lower powered binoculars. For hunting you are looking for much more similarly contrasted objects and backgrounds. In such an environment I can see the need for higher magnification.
 
Always a pleasure discussing this with you John.


Edited by FrankD - September/20/2009 at 18:06
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/20/2009 at 18:22
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I met Pete on a week-long journalists' tour of the Zeiss factories in 1993. We hit it off and I actually got to do some birding with him, maybe an hour outside of Berlin when an accident kept all traffic backed up for over an hour. We got off an looked for birds in the trees along the highway. He joked that mabe he'd do an article about "Birding The Autobahn" someday. We keep in touch but haven't seen each other for a long time. The last time we talked was about maybe hunting together in Africa. Pete is an avid hunter as well.
 
I know Stephen Ingraham too.  A very knowledgeable optics guy! We've had a couple of good talks at the SHOT Show.
 
I do some birding myself and tend to agree about lower a X and bigger objective.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/21/2009 at 16:21
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Why not stick with your swaro's and buy a spotter. That is what we do in Wy. We glass then when we see something we might like we put the spotter on it.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/23/2009 at 19:30
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I think that any binocular you can get for less than $200 will not show yo any more detail than your 8x Swaro already does.  If you are resolutely planning to spend no more than $200, just stick with the binoculars you have.  

If you are willing to expand your price range a bit there are several binoculars in the under $500 range that would work for you:  Hawke Frontier ED 10x43, Zen Ray Zen ED 10x43 and Zen ED2 10x43.  Zen ED 10x43 is under $400 and is probably your best bet.

As far seeing detail goes, this is very personal.  My hands are not super steady and through some experimentation I found that for me, if used handheld, I get the most detail out of 8.5x50 binocular configuration.  If there is a steady support (tripod, etc), I definitely see more with higher magnification binos, like the 10x43 and similar.  I just spent some time with two exceptionally good 15x56 binos and the amount of detail you see is incredible, but you definitely need a tripod for these.

For allround use I like 7x42, but for wide open spaces I can definitely see the utility of higher magnifications.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/23/2009 at 19:58
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Here on the West Coast I find the 10x more versatile for the hunting conditions I face. I use my 10x42's 95% of the time doing the "spot and stalk", etc. My 7x42's are basically used with my spotter back at the cabin or in my truck (going to and leaving camp).




Edited by mike650 - September/23/2009 at 20:06
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/24/2009 at 10:04
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Bowkill,

I hunt that area and it is big country.  I use 10x's, and they are what I'd recommend.  That said, your 8x Swaros are better than mediocre 12x or 10x's.

Lot's of people seem to like the ZenRay's.  I haven't seen them yet, though I'd like to.  I have looked through the Vortex Vipers and Razors and like them for the money.  They cost more than the ZR's, but they also have a great, no fault warranty.  I don't know what ZR's warranty is like.

Hunting with a spotting scope isn't a bad idea either - not so much for finding game but for judging if a buck found with the binoculars is worth going after.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/24/2009 at 14:59
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I would tend to agree with most of what has been posted with one exception..... I don't see a problem with a good set of 12x's to compliment your 8x30's.  Sure a good 10x will work great too but a 12x with equal quality will give better resolution in low light and be able to do a better job at glassing long, long stretches. I agree that you will want something of higher quality than the two that you originally asked about but I wouldn't turn to a ZR or Hawk! That's just me but I would want something of higher quality than that....
There is one bin out there in the $400-$500 range on the used market that is of the highest quality in both build and optics.... It will take a beating and outperform all comers even the Euro $2000 bins..... It is the Nikon SE 12x50. This is a incredible bin that is easy to hand hold for short periods and can be found used for a little more than you were asking originally. Now everyone is going to jump in and say how they are not sealed or water tight.... They are right BUT they are not fragile and porous either. I have glass quite a bit in the rain with my 10x42 SE's and have not had any issues. I also have the 12x SE's and have used them quite a bit this year and really love them! They are one of the best bins I have ever owned!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/24/2009 at 15:20
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This debate about power is one of my favortie blogs on OT in quite a while.  It is interresting to read the polite opinions of experienced glassers like FrankD and John B.
 
My opinion is this:  I like 10X for western hunting.  I have used 8x often and it gets you through the hunt OK.  The extra 2X is usefull, however, when you are glassing 2-3 miles distant in the burns of western Montana.  All things considered, you will see more with a steady high power binocular than a steady lower power binocular.
 
I hold a 10x binocular steady enough standing handheld for short time periods.  I prefer to sit down, rest my elbows on my knees, press the eyecups to the roof of my eye sockets, and hold the bill of my ballcap to the binoculars.  Using this method, I can glass quite effectively for extended periods.  I also carry a tripod adapter for my binos for those long, long stationary glassing sessions.
 
No binocular power will replace a spotter for western hunting.  In my opinion, a spotter is essential when hunting the wide open spaces of the West.  If I had an 8x Swaro and $200, I would stick with the bins and buy an inexpensive spotter.  I have a compact Burris Landmark spotter that isn't optically perfect, but does a pretty good job for trophy evaluation:
 
Burris 12-24x50 Landmark Compact Spotter Burris 12-24x50 Landmark Compact Spotter
Stock # - 300135
  • Rubber Armored
  • Waterproof
  • Fogproof
$124.95 < id=ctl00_wpm_CategoryGrid_ctl05_ProductList_ctl01_Price_VS value=AeCn/yTVPy5+pcr8SP3WD1jWWF0YV0GPpPN6QUCk/8+l0J2+yYAhJ7BkdBBjh1dv = name=ctl00$wpm$CategoryGrid$ctl05$ProductList$ctl01$Price$VS>
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/24/2009 at 19:26
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Originally posted by koshkin koshkin wrote:

  I just spent some time with two exceptionally good 15x56 binos and the amount of detail you see is incredible, but you definitely need a tripod for these.

 for wide open spaces I can definitely see the utility of higher magnifications.

ILya
ILya,
 
Glad to see you are finally moving up the magnification ladder. Big Grin
 
Stan
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