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Meopta vs. Swaro vs. Leica/8x or 10x?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2010 at 11:00
krshunter View Drop Down
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I'm in the market for a new set of binos and will mainly be looking for specials on the Sample List or classifieds on this site.  I'm not sure I understand all of the qualities to look for and things like CA???  The best pair of binoculars I have owned have been a set of Bushnell Legend Ultra HD's.  They have been pretty good but I'm ready to step up  bit and do see the difference going up in price.  I spent about 1/2 hour the other day looking through Swaro EL's, Leica Ultravid HD's and Meopta Meostars.  Looked at everything available in 8x and 10x only in the 30/32mm objectives. 
 
First question is what is the prefered maginfication for hunting?   I know answers are subjective but just like to see what people prefer.  I do have and regularly use a spotting scope and some guides have told me they prefer the light gain in an 8x to the minimal magnification gain in the 10x.  Preferences and thoughts?
 
Second, in looking through all of these units I honestly couldn't tell much if any difference between the Swaro and Leica.  Both were crystal clear, bright edges looked clear.  I pulled up the Meopta and felt that they had noticibly better contrast and truer color.  Maybe it's just my eyes.  I didn't get to use any of them at low light and maybe there is some noticible difference there but I really don't hunt so late that light gathering is a major factor.  There is obviously going to be some difference as the Meoptas are half the price.  I've seen a few Leicas and Swaros right around the $850-$1000 range on here from time to time.  What do I give up with the Meopta?  What else should I be looking at when comparing them?  Where is my money best spent for the long haul?
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2010 at 11:10
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Originally posted by krshunter krshunter wrote:

I'm in the market for a new set of binos and will mainly be looking for specials on the Sample List or classifieds on this site.  I'm not sure I understand all of the qualities to look for and things like CA???  The best pair of binoculars I have owned have been a set of Bushnell Legend Ultra HD's.  They have been pretty good but I'm ready to step up  bit and do see the difference going up in price.  I spent about 1/2 hour the other day looking through Swaro EL's, Leica Ultravid HD's and Meopta Meostars.  Looked at everything available in 8x and 10x only in the 30/32mm objectives. 
 
First question is what is the prefered maginfication for hunting?   I know answers are subjective but just like to see what people prefer.  I do have and regularly use a spotting scope and some guides have told me they prefer the light gain in an 8x to the minimal magnification gain in the 10x.  Preferences and thoughts?
 
Second, in looking through all of these units I honestly couldn't tell much if any difference between the Swaro and Leica.  Both were crystal clear, bright edges looked clear.  I pulled up the Meopta and felt that they had noticibly better contrast and truer color.  Maybe it's just my eyes.  I didn't get to use any of them at low light and maybe there is some noticible difference there but I really don't hunt so late that light gathering is a major factor.  There is obviously going to be some difference as the Meoptas are half the price.  I've seen a few Leicas and Swaros right around the $850-$1000 range on here from time to time.  What do I give up with the Meopta?  What else should I be looking at when comparing them?  Where is my money best spent for the long haul?
 
 


Where and what are you going to hunt. A lot of people here say 8x but they may hunt in areas where 10x is not needed or too strong. Out west, for me owning one 10x bino is a must.

There really is no difference when you get to the alpha level. It's more of a personal choice, ergonomics, and what looks better through your eyes. I prefer the Swaro's because they feel good in my hands, have a very fast focus wheel, and great edge to edge sweet spot.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2010 at 11:17
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I hunt in the Rocky Mountain states so will be used on a bino harness hiking the mountains as well as glassing the open country.  However they will be used in the open country to just glass up animals and not judge size.  When animals are spotted the spotting scope goes up.  I like the lighter weight of the 30/32mm's vs. the 40/42mm's.  The Swaro EL's did feel good in the hand.  Tried the SLC's and didn't like the forward focus knob.  Leica's are very light and comfortable.  I was just surprised when I pulled up the Meoptas.  I didn't have to shift them around to get a view, colors were a hair darker but looked more realistic to me and contrast like I said was amazing.  I can spend up to about $1000 and if I do my due dilligence should be able to pick any one of them up.  Just trying to find out pluses and minuses and what is going to be best in the long run.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2010 at 12:01
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Originally posted by krshunter krshunter wrote:

I hunt in the Rocky Mountain states so will be used on a bino harness hiking the mountains as well as glassing the open country.  However they will be used in the open country to just glass up animals and not judge size.  When animals are spotted the spotting scope goes up.  I like the lighter weight of the 30/32mm's vs. the 40/42mm's.  The Swaro EL's did feel good in the hand.  Tried the SLC's and didn't like the forward focus knob.  Leica's are very light and comfortable.  I was just surprised when I pulled up the Meoptas.  I didn't have to shift them around to get a view, colors were a hair darker but looked more realistic to me and contrast like I said was amazing.  I can spend up to about $1000 and if I do my due dilligence should be able to pick any one of them up.  Just trying to find out pluses and minuses and what is going to be best in the long run.



I like the EL's as well. The SLC's focus knob is placed in a poor position IMHO and their heavier. The Leica's are excellent all around but the last time I checked they have a very slow focus wheel. Have you checked Vortex, their like the Meoptas and are very nice as well.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2010 at 12:02
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I'm an 8X guy, no matter where I hunt.  I've never seen a situation where I've needed more magnification than that.  If I have a steady rest, I can take advantage of the slightly better resolving power of 10X, but in normal handheld situations, I can't see any more detail with 10X than with 8X and I prefer the wider FOV, larger exit pupil, and less noticeable optical aberrations 8X provides.  Although you sacrifice a bit of low light performance with 32mm binos vs. 42mm, if you're using premium optics with great light transmission to begin with, the real world difference in your ability to see things in low light isn't that great between the full and mid sized bins.  Yes, an 8X42mm gives you a 5.25mm exit pupil vs. 4mm for the 8X32mm, but 4mm is still sufficiently large enough to be useful in low light, and not all optics are created equal, so a high end 8X32 will often still outperform a lesser 8X42 in low light despite the exit pupil difference.  Despite what the math tells you, I've done the comparison many times, and I've found perhaps 5 minutes worth of usable visibility advantage for the 42mm, and only if the comparison is between binos of equivalent optical quality.  Therefore, I think that minor sacrifice is well worth the added convenience of the lighter, more compact, "handier" package a high end 8X32 provides.
 
I have several good binoculars, and my absolute favorite -- and the one I carry with me most often while hunting -- is a Leica 8X32 Ultravid HD.  I'm always amazed at how seemingly little optical penalties I pay for such a compact package.  I honestly can't tell much optical difference between it and its 42mm brethren.  It has outstanding resolution and contrast!  The center field "sweet spot" isn't quite as large as what you get with the Swaro EL, but it has less CA than the EL to my eyes.
 
To me, the Meopta has more of a yellowish color bias and more CA vs. the Swaro and Leica, but it's a great binocular.  Pick the one that suits your eyes best and you prefer ergonomically.  When you get to this class of binoculars, there are no bad choices. 


Edited by RifleDude - November/12/2010 at 12:04
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2010 at 12:04
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http://swfa.com/Vortex-85x50-Razor-Binocular-P47963.aspx
Maybe a tad heavy for your needs but, they are priced fantastically and offer near Alpha glass.
 
 
Another one to consider


Edited by lucytuma - November/12/2010 at 12:12
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2010 at 12:09
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Originally posted by lucytuma lucytuma wrote:

http://swfa.com/Vortex-85x50-Razor-Binocular-P47963.aspx
Maybe a tad heavy for your needs but, they are priced fantastically and offer near Alpha glass.
 
Those are indeed fantastic.  It wouldn't be my choice for an "all day, walking around" binocular due to weight, but it's optically superb.  On the other hand, the additional weight does help steady your view.  I came very close to buying a pair of these myself because of the outstanding sale price (they are being discontinued).  I would have bought it had it not been for the fact I already have several good binoculars, including the 8X42 version of the Razor, and just couldn't justify the purchase.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2010 at 12:10
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10x... Thunbs Up



 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2010 at 12:13
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Originally posted by mike650 mike650 wrote:

  The Leica's are excellent all around but the last time I checked they have a very slow focus wheel.
 
The new Ultravid HD's don't.  The focuser is quite fast, in fact; pretty much on par with the EL and Zeiss FL.  Or, at least the 8X32's have fast focus.  The Trinovids were pretty slow.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2010 at 12:20
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Originally posted by RifleDude RifleDude wrote:

Originally posted by mike650 mike650 wrote:

  The Leica's are excellent all around but the last time I checked they have a very slow focus wheel.
 
The new Ultravid HD's don't.  The focuser is quite fast, in fact; pretty much on par with the EL and Zeiss FL.  Or, at least the 8X32's have fast focus.  The Trinovids were pretty slow.



Cool, that's good news. Thunbs Up The Lecia HD's I checked out 2-3 years ago were noticeably not as fast as my EL's, at least to me.
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2010 at 12:56
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Are any of the Zeiss models worth comparing?  I looked through one set at one time and it didn't seem to be near as clear or bright.  I don't remember the model but at that time didn't feel it was much if any better than some higher end Bushnell optics. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2010 at 13:05
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Yes, most definitely!  The Zeiss Victory FL is in the same league as Swaro EL, Leica Ultra HD, etc.  In some ways, most notably CA suppression, it's superior to both.  There are subtle differences in the image of all 3, but each have one one or more "advantages" over the other 2.
 
I like the lack of CA of the Zeiss best.
I like the size of the "sweet spot" and the styling of the Swaro best.
I like the contrast and compactness of the Leica best.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2010 at 13:50
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I thought I was going blind... then I realized I was in the binocular section by mistake...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2010 at 20:34
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I think one reason why Zeiss does not seem to have the traction with hunters and you see more Swarovski with hunters is the fact that the Zeiss "image" is a very bright, almost white oriented very cool" color bias.  The Swarovski has a warmer, less bright color bias.  This has nothing to do with image quality, but in the way images "look".  Did you ever use a pair of sunglasses on a bright day?  You changed the color bias of your eye's image with them.  Ever use diferent shades of color in sunglasses?  Same thing, you changed the color bias.  Personally I like a little warmer color bias as it seems to me anyway to improve contrast in earth tone images.  That is what you see in the Meopta image, a bit of a yellowish green color bias.

Edited by Klamath - November/12/2010 at 20:39
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2010 at 20:48
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You may be on to something here Steve. Swaro's are more appealing to my eyes. I like the Vortex, Meopta's and Leica's as well; the last of these are the Zeiss. I'm not an optics aficionado by any means, just going by what my eyes see.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2010 at 21:52
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krshunter,

I think you should really trust what your eyes like best. 

Much advice you will receive on the Meoptas will be from those with experience with the 42mm objective bins.  I have a pair of the 10X42 Meostars and they are an excellent bin in nearly every way.  They do show more Chromatic Aberration (color fringing, CA) than other "alpha" binocs, but they are also super sharp and have an excellent sweet spot.  They do have a yellow/green bias, but I, like many, find it pretty comfortable for viewing.

I looked at a pair of the 8X32 Meopta Meostar bins expecting a similar view.  I was surprised to find very little (unnoticeable?) CA and a much more neutral color bias.  Many picky birders have chosen the 8X32 Meostar over much more expensive brands of similar configuration due to the Meopta's excellent performance.

Bottom line, if your eyes like 'em, they're the ones for you!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2010 at 23:01
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Originally posted by Klamath Klamath wrote:

I think one reason why Zeiss does not seem to have the traction with hunters and you see more Swarovski with hunters is the fact that the Zeiss "image" is a very bright, almost white oriented very cool" color bias.
 
This statement makes complete sense to me.  This is identical to what I saw when I looked through whatever pair of Zeiss I did.  It was almost like looking into a very light fog compared to the others.  Image was good but maybe just so bright I didn't like it.  I liked the darker colors and contrast in the Meoptas.  I could live with either of the Leica's and Swaro's too, but I think the Zeiss were just too bright/white, whatever it is called. 
 
Some very good comments here and I think I'm leaning toward whichever of the 3 presents the best price opportunity.  Doesn't sound like I can go wrong with any of them.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/13/2010 at 06:54
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I had a Swarovski 10x40 SLC and an 8x20 compact that I sold to get the Swaro 8x32 EL - excellent glass but for whatever reason, the ELs always seemed to be a bit short on eye relief since I'm an eye glass wearer. After 7 years I got fed up with the ER and sold them this past spring, and got a bargain on a new pair of Zeiss Victory T* FL 8x42 - and I love them.  In the mornings before it gets light I can scan fields and see alot more than I ever could before.
 
Last week I was bowhunting and saw some deer in a field of the property across the road. The air was cold and clear, and I could easily tell one was a small 6 point buck with my Zeiss. I lifted my glasses off, twisted the eye cups out, refocused and could easily make out the individual tines - and my Leica rangefinder indicated they were 600 yards away! I also have a Leica Trinovid 8x20 compact I carry turkey hunting that is a bit short on eye relief as well. But they are so darn clear and bright for being so small - I just can't part with them.  
 
I think any of the alphas will do, personally I think the Swaros have outstanding ergonomics, and the Leicas are built like a tank - at least to me, and a Zeiss is a Zeiss. I know the Meopta gets good reviews but I picked one up awhile back that had a funky focus wheel which immediately turned me off.  If you wear glasses just make sure they have sufficient eye relief. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/14/2010 at 13:16
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Let me throw one more question at you guys.  You can buy a 5 year old pair of Swaro's SLC 8x30's for $650 or a newer pair of Zeiss Victory FL 8x32's with LutoTec for $800 or new Meopta Meostar 8x32's for $699.  What's the easy choice? 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/14/2010 at 13:33
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Or a brand new selt of SLC's for $899.
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Among those, I would get the Zeiss 8X32 FL for $800 myself. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/14/2010 at 20:28
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Will also assume considering the models I am that there is no sense in looking at anything like the Leupold Gold Ring HD's?  There are a couple on the Sample List right around $400.  Really wish I had someplace closer than 2-1/2hrs where I could take a good solid look through everything I'm considering.  Just going to have to find time to do it I think and may miss out on a couple of deals in the mean time. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/14/2010 at 20:39
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All of the glass on your list is good.  Yes you should consider the Leupold Gold Ring too.  For $400 that is the best value/$$ deal you have listed.  The problem is it is really only your eyes that can tell you what you like.
 
Call and SWFA and talk to Chris or somebody.  SWFA has a pretty good dealer reputation and maybe they might be able to help you out too.  You might have to buy, try and return a couple of times.  A bit of a pain, but better than a total stab.
 
When you find one you like, just go to using it and don't obsess over what you may or may not have seen with something else.  All of those choices you list will do you a good job.


Edited by Klamath - November/14/2010 at 20:45
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/16/2010 at 11:34
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I had the 8X32 Gold Rings and they were pretty nice.  I remember thinking the view through the Meoptas I tried was better, but I didn't have the two models side by side. 

I have never liked the Swaro 8X30's front focus "feature."

That $800 deal on the Zeiss would be hard for me to pass up.  However, if you don't like the view, you would just be buying something someone else likes. 

If you liked the Meopta's best, then get 'em.  $699 is a great price, but make sure to check if you can price-match through SWFA!

Nice avatar, BTW!
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Thanks for all of the input everyone.  Have decided that it is worth taking the time to look through as much of this as I can so I'm taking time out tomorrow to travel to a location I know I can handle each of these.  I just hope someone will accompany me outside of the store because I don't think I can make a fair assessment without taking them outdoors. 
I
I don't know if it's worth it or not but I may add the Leupold Gold Ring HD and a set of Vortex to the mix while I have the chance.  Any suggestions on what to look for or what kind of things to glass when comparing models?
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