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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/18/2007 at 14:41
claytonkolb View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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Joined: December/01/2006
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I am looking for a binocular that is tough enough to hang with the kind of conditions I encounter while hunting.  I live in Western Washington State (Pacific Northwest) and it RAINS  A LOT, sometimes 3-4 inches a day.  I hunt in very thick dark rain forests that open up to two year growth clear cuts that have a lot of different vegetation making it hard to see game animals (they blend in so well).  I am constantly wet,  muddy, cold, muggy, falling over logs, stumps, brush and black berries , and both hike and bike some of the most steep country in the USA.   I go through a lot of hunting gear that promised to be the best in the worst conditions (ie Gortex, Cabelas Dry Plus, Rivers West) and all failed my harsh style of hunting (except Filson, even though the use old design with tradional materials, nothing works better).  Naturally I carry a lot of gear when I head out in the woods, first aid kit, extra warm cloths, my gun, knives, bone saws, lunch with spare food, gps with back up compass, lighters, game bags, knife sharperns, rope and optics.  So weight is a factor for me, but I will take performance over anything else.  I can't stress enough how harsh the conditions I hunt in especially on optics, most people think I a crazy to hunt in such foul weather.  

 

So now that you have some kind of idea of how I hunt I am looking for a pair of binoculars that can handle and perform well in wet, muddy, rugged country.  I like Porros over Roof because I find them more friendly on the eye and are easier to hold long periods.  I sometimes glass for hours on a high spot in a clear cut because the animals are so hard to see.  So I need a very clear, well balanced, high contrast, and exceptional color clearity.  I also need something that performs well in low light setting and can focus fast in thick timber.  Size is not too much of a factor since I carry now the Leupold Windriver Olympic Series  10x50mm which are pretty big for roof prism and weighs a lot.  I have gotten used to the heavy binocular and manage to keep them clean a dry in my rain gear, but anything to lighten up my load would be a pleasure, lol.   I have done a lot of research and read a lot of books (like optic digest by Clair Rees, Optics for the Hunter by john Barsness very good book, and tons of magazine reviews) and have taken their advice on chosing the right binocular for me.   

 

So here are several models from different companys I am thinking of upgrading too.  Your opions and wisdom  would sure help a novice optic user like me in these not so friendly conditions. 

 

Swarovski Habicht Binocular 8x30 w

I like these because they are the classic style and promise to be ultra-precise porro-prism system for a short, easy-to-handle design with rich color contrast, three-dimensional images.  The lens are also treated to be stratch resistant  with large field of view and the exit pupil is not to bad either.  Waterproof submersible because they are nitrogen-filled is nice too.

What I don't like about these is are they rugged enough to be banged around and with six lens will they be bright enoung in the low light conditions?

 

Steiner Night Hunter XP of the Commander V 

I like the fact that these binoculars promise to be very rugged and are military spec.  I understand the lens are very good in low light conditions and are coated with a special coating that sheds water and mud to keep them clean.  Not to mention the Exit Pupil is great in the 8x30 4mm and 8x56 7mm.

What I am concern about with these binoculars is the auto focus feature, will it drive my eyes crazy and give me headaches if i view through them for long periods of time?  Will the lens give me high color contrasts and will the image be bright and clean in daylight conditions?

 

Zeiss Conquest Series

Although these are roof prisms I have heard a lot of great things about Zeiss optics and I noiticed quite a few professional hunters use them as seen in magazines, hunting videos and sportsmen TV.  I know Zeiss used to make a porro in their Classic Line but a 1000 dollars is about all I can muster for optics and I notice they go for a lot more on Ebay.  So this is why the Conquest series caught my eye.  I figured they are a lot like their Victory series and better than the Diafun, but cost less than the Victory series because they are made in the USA, no import cost.  But I don't know this for sure and how can I really tell how good the Conquest Line is by using them in a well lit store like competitor .  If I did when the lottery though, I would diffenitely try the Zeiss Victory FL 8x56.   Which begs the question should I save and save for a few more years and get something like this or is it worth the money?  Maybe I could get something just as good and spend the left over money on other much needed hunting gear.

 

Nikon 8x32 Premier SE

I have read both in the hunting and bird watching community that this binocular is the best porro-prism.  From what I have read these are the most clear, best contrast, and field of view offered in a porro-prism design.  But I have never read anything that says they are water/fog proof.  The best lens in the world will not do me any good if they fill up with water or fog up from being stuff next to my body in my jacket.

 

Now I am open to all ideas and wisdom you guys have to offer, if there is other binoculars I should consider let me know.  If there is some compremises I need to make or pay attention too, please let me know.  This is a one shot deal for me because it takes me so long to save up for something like this since I a blue collared worker in seattle and I have 2 little boys to provide for.  So you can see how apprehensive I am in making a final choice in which binocular I going to chose.  I know my conditions are so harsh for optics and will even put the best at risk of failing, but there is something nagging at me that says there is a binocular the will work well for me at a price I can afford (1000$ or less).  So the search continues and our help will be much appreciated.      

 

  

 

     

 

      

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/18/2007 at 16:39
Bird Watcher View Drop Down
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Take a look at these:

 

http://www.valdada.com/vn/ior/01?token=axRnIG-637vB-GLAM4.CU g

 

http://www.valdada.com/vn/ior/01h

 

http://www.valdada.com/vn/ior/01j

 

The only problem might be the Individual Focusing.

 

They also make Center Focus binoculars, just not posted on the web-site.

 

You can also read their product reviews:

 

http://www.valdada.com/vn/valdada/review1

 

The IOR were made for the military and therefore are better suited to your needs.

 

 



Edited by Bird Watcher
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/18/2007 at 19:33
koshkin View Drop Down
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I would look at IOR Valdada porros as Bird Watcher suggested (I've had a 7x40 and a 10x50) and was happy with them.

Also, a very god choice would be Fujinon FMTR-SX "Polaris" binoculars in either 7x50 or 10x50 configuration.

Both Fuji and IOR are tough as nails individual focusing porros.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/19/2007 at 11:24
anweis View Drop Down
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IOR porros are HEAVY. The small IOR roofs are light, and good optics, but they cost almost as much as a Swarovski or Leica pocket model.

 

From what you list, i would go with the Habicht 8x30.

 

Now, if you used a Lapin puukko Professional series as your knife, you wouldn't need several knives and sharpeners.

 http://www.ragweedforge.com/LapinPuukkoCatalog.html 

 That could save you several ounces.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/19/2007 at 19:12
claytonkolb View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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yeah those are cool knives, much like the Helle knife from Norway I purchase lately. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/19/2007 at 20:01
claytonkolb View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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Here is another one to throw into the mix.

 

Bushnell Elite Series 10x43 and a Bushnell Elite 1500 rangefinder both for 990$  Does the Bushnell binoculars stack up to the top three?  Seems like a good deal on ebay, but wonder if its too good to be true.  The Bushnell Elite series has caught my eye too becase of the Rainguard coating on the lens.  Wonder if its just hype though. 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/09/2008 at 22:15
claytonkolb View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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Well I connected  on the Bushnell Elites and I really think they are a great binocular.  A lot of thought and craftsmanship went into the design of this binocular.  They feel great, have great maganifaction, sharpness, and great color contrasts.   My only  complant is the edge to edge clearity, maybe.  I say maybe because its really hard for me to accurately tell how un clear it is, if that makes any since.  I think for the money you can't do much better. 
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