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New Binocular Purchase Please Help

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/11/2006 at 08:14
jbroadnax View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper

Joined: January/04/2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 10
I am about to puchase a new pair.  I want quality optics!!  8X30 or 8X42.    Cost is somewhat of a concernern but I am aware that I will have to shell out some cash for some good glass.    I was looking at the Kahles 8X42, Zeiss Conquest 8X30, Swarovski SLC's, just to name  a few.  Any opinions will be greatly appreciated.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/11/2006 at 12:10
lucznik View Drop Down
Optics Master
Optics Master

Joined: November/27/2004
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 1436

The biggest obstacle that exists for getting quality optics is convincing the potential consumer that, with optics you really do get exactly what you pay for.  This is not to say that you need to spend $2000 to get good glass but, you do (generally) have to spend more than $100. You have (seemingly) already conquered this hurdle so, now you get to join in on the debates as to which binocular is "the best."  It's a never ending argument that usually revolves around some pretty fine "splitting of hairs."


The basic reality is that all of the optics you are looking at are quality instruments.  Differences in brightness (assuming the same basic configuration,) levels of image distortion, visible optical abberations, etc. will be very slight and (depending on your level of optics experience, education, interest, etc) may not be noticeable at all. They all have excellent warranties and the customer service you will receive from the companies is going to be good as well.  What you really need to be looking at is the ergonomics of each model.  You do this by answering questions like:


  1. What configuration (magnificationXobjective lens size) is appropriate/sufficient for your intended uses?
  2. Which binocular feels better in your hands? (Are some too tacky or too slippery? How large are the optical barrels and do your hands fit around them comfortably?) 
  3. Which binocular balances best for you? 
  4. Which binocular has the right weight for your preferences (neither too heavy, making it a literal drag to carry,nor too light, making it difficult to hold steady?) 
  5. Which has eyecups that are comfortable to your eyes? Do the eyecups provide the right level of adjustment and once set, do they stay there?
  6. Which has eye relief that allows you to see the entire FOV but, without exhibiting annoying "blackouts?"
  7. Is the unit tripod-mountable? (And also; would you ever actually mount your binocular on a tripod?)
  8. Are objective lens covers and rain-covers important to you? And then; are the ones offered with the optic you are examining adequate?
  9. Does the diopter adjustment wheel have enough friction to it that it stays in place?  Or better yet, does it lock?
  10. Help me out here guys; have I missed anything?

These issues can all have a dramatic effect on the level of satisfaction you get from your new binocular but unfortunately, must be answered by you alone.  Go to a optics dealer and try out as many as you can.  Be meticulous and take notes. Then make your best choice for the one that offers you the most benefits with the fewest compromises.



In addition to your list, you may also want to take a look at:


Nikon Premier LXL

Bushnell Elite

Bushnell Discoverer

Leupold Gold Ring

Leupold WindRiver Pinnacles

Pentax DCF SP

Pentax DCF WP II

Brunton Eterna




Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/11/2006 at 13:55
Roy Finn View Drop Down
Steiner Junkie

Joined: April/05/2004
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 4856

Along the lines of what lucznik already stated, the laws of diminishing returns really comes into play with bino's especially with the euro brands. Of the one's mentioned by lucznik, so many of the Japanese branded bino's are so close and in some cases equal to the top shelf euro's today that spending 1500 bucks is no longer necessary to have the very best available. If you spend say 4-5 hundred on a roof prism bino like the Bushnell Discoverer or Pentax SP for example, you will be getting 95% of the optical virtues of the 1200-1500 euro branded wonders. It is not because the euro's are so superior anymore rather than the Japanese being so much better than they were only 5 years ago. Also keep in mind that the euro branded bino's carry a higher price tag due to employee wages and import duties that have nothing to do with gains in optical performance.

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