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Lightweight binos for hiking

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/13/2013 at 09:28
Barnacle Bill View Drop Down
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I'm not very knowledgable about the subject, but...
 
I ran into something on another sight where they had "2013 Binocular of the Year Awards", and in the "Best Compact Binocular" they chose the Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 8x22.  The specs on these (that I think are relevant to my intent) are...
 
  Roof prism
  Folds for storage
  Weight = 8 oz
  Waterproof/fogproof
So, I think I want something in that vein...
 
  ~8x20-something
  ~8 oz
  Folds for storage
What do you all recommend, either within that generic spec or a case for something else?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/13/2013 at 13:42
Lost Arra View Drop Down
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Compact binos have never worked well for me except in the brightest daylight conditions.
If I'm going to use them in the woods (which is almost always) or at dawn or dusk (also almost always) I like an 8x32. The Sightron Blue Sky II model is a gem. While it is heavier than a compact most folks would consider it a lightweight binocular at 17oz.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/13/2013 at 20:21
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I purchased the Hawke Sapphire ED 8x25 binocs a few weeks ago. They are $290 on SWFA and the view is fantastic! Sharp all the way to the edges and I can't find any CA even when I really try. My only complaint would be that the focus knob is a little stiff...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/13/2013 at 20:23
338LAPUASLAP View Drop Down
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Birdwatcher???
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/13/2013 at 20:44
PhilR. View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Barnacle Bill Barnacle Bill wrote:


So, I think I want something in that vein...
 
  ~8x20-something
  ~8 oz
  Folds for storage
What do you all recommend, either within that generic spec or a case for something else?

 
First off, I wouldn't recommend the Steiner Ultrasharp, mostly because they aren't that sharp, despite their advertising.  Also, the compact Steiners I've used have lots of backlash in the focus wheel.  A whole lot.
 
Without knowing your budget, I would recommend the Leica Ultravision 8x20, which is the best 8x20 I've ever seen.  The Zeiss, Swaro, and Nikon Premier are also very good too, so research all of these, if possible.
 
If your price range is in the middle, then the Sapphire already mentioned would be an excellent choice, even though it has a larger objective and weighs more than you want.  Still worthy of consideration, as that extra 5mm might come in handy.  Kowa also makes an 8x25, but the reviews I've read have run both hot and cold.  Still worthy of investigation.  If I didn't already have a nice 10x25, I would seriously consider one of these.
 
The Alpen Wings ED 8x20 is pretty good too, but it's focus knob is not consistent in effort.  I have one for travel use and have been happy with it, despite it's less than stellar focus knob.
 
If you have to stay under $100, then you really should consider the small reverse porros instead of a roof.  There aren't any good roofs in this price range, but the small porros from Olympus, Nikon, and Pentax do surprisingly well.
 


Edited by PhilR. - August/14/2013 at 08:55
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/13/2013 at 20:54
anomad View Drop Down
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I was lucky enough to spend some time with a pair of Zeiss conquest 8x20s. Images are crystal clear in full daylight but something with a larger objective quickly surpasses them as it gets dark.
Still, tiny lightweight thing of beauty to have in your pocket. It would be a great pair to grab when space and weight are of primary concern.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/13/2013 at 21:41
Bird Watcher View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Barnacle Bill Barnacle Bill wrote:

 What do you all recommend, either within that generic spec or a case for something else?

Reverse Porros are small & lightweight with sharp optics.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/15/2013 at 16:33
Barnacle Bill View Drop Down
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Originally posted by 338LAPUASLAP 338LAPUASLAP wrote:

Birdwatcher???
 
No, but potentially they get taken on a camera safari in Africa.  Mostly just to carry without a lot of extra weight while hiking, in case I want to glass anything.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/15/2013 at 16:36
Barnacle Bill View Drop Down
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Originally posted by PhilR. PhilR. wrote:

Without knowing your budget,
 
 
Not sure I know it, either.  Mainly a function of not knowing the price vs performance curve on binos.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/17/2013 at 07:54
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There are different price curves depending on the size of the bin. In the compact size the most expensive models usually top out around $700 to $800 (Swaro and Leica). The Zeiss isn't too far behind. The least expensive of the premium compacts is the Nikon Premier which usually sells around $500.

Then there is a bit of a price gap until you hit some of the more moderately priced roofs from Pentax, Leupold, Promaster, Alpen, etc... These usually run &150 to $250. Also at this price point is the Bushnell 7x26 Reverse porro. Arguably the best bang for the buck considering the optical performance rivals the $700+ models.

$125 and under the previously mentioned Nikon Prostaff and Olympus model are excellent options.
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