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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/02/2011 at 08:36
tompac View Drop Down
Optics Apprentice
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 OK. After reading all the reveiws on some of the "near alpha" binoculars, I think I am ready to sell my Nikon 8x42 Monarch ATB's. Thanks to you guys, I have noticed that my Monarch's have a good center of veiw, but do start getting a bit fuzzy as you leave center veiw. And under certain conditions, I notice some CA.(I didn't even know what ca was until I started lurking about this place.)
 I have read all the reveiws on the Zen Ray, Theron and Kruger binoculars. Sooooooooooo, could I get some advice here? Or should I just throw the names in a hat and pick one????????????????
HELP!!!!!!!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/02/2011 at 10:12
Klamath View Drop Down
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I owned the Monarchs for a number of years.  They are NOT at the level of the ZEN ED, the Kruger Caldera, the Theron Wapiti APO-ED or the Steiner Predator Xtreme. 
 
I would recommend the following glass.
 
ZEN ED 2-  I happen to like the 7x36, but any are good.  They are bigger than the Monarch and the ergonomics are different.  I like the 7x for the wide fov and the depth of focus and trhey are noticeably smaller than the 43mm siblings.
 
Kruger Caldera-  Pretty compact compared to the ZEN ED 2.  Noticeably wide fov.  Image pretty much like the ZEN in optical quality, maybe a bit brighter.  Unique ergonomics.  Faster focus than the ZEN or Theron.  I've been using these a lot lately and they are very good.  The winged eye cups are a little flimsy, but overall I like the feature.
 
Theron Wapiti APO-ED-  Brightest one of the lot, but narrowest fov (but still wider than the Monarch).  This also has the sharpest edge performance.  Pretty much standard piano hinge roof prism binocular ergonomics.
 
Steiner Predator Xtreme-  Continuation of the Predator C5.  This has pretty neutral image color.  The coatings are supposed to enhance red and brown and supress blue and green, making animal colors show up.  Seems to have some merit, but the glass is not quite as bright as the others.  Like Steiners in general, built like a tank.  Standard piano hinge roof ergonomics.  Very fast focus from 100 feet to infinity, about one half turn.
 
Any of these can be had for $425 or less.  They will give outstanding views and if you can't see it with these, you won't see it with a more expensive glass.  My preference is the ZEN ED 2 in 7x36 and the Caldera 8x42.  Next is the Theron, then the Steiner.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/02/2011 at 10:24
tompac View Drop Down
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Thanks Steve. Sounds like I won't go wrong with any of these. I do like the description of the Theron as I am happy with the fov of my Monarchs. Of course I have not looked thru anything better so my opinion is tainted.
 Any plus or minus as to quality between them?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/02/2011 at 11:46
Klamath View Drop Down
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Originally posted by tompac tompac wrote:

Thanks Steve. Sounds like I won't go wrong with any of these. I do like the description of the Theron as I am happy with the fov of my Monarchs. Of course I have not looked thru anything better so my opinion is tainted.
 Any plus or minus as to quality between them?
You sort of come up a little short on information Smile.  What magnification?  What hunting conditions?  What about the Monarch do you want to fix?
 
The ZEN ED2, except for the 7x36 is pretty big.  This is fine for big hands and really hleps to hold the binocular steady for long glassing sessions.  It also gives enough focal length to really let the ED glass do its thing (color fringing reduction).  Like all of these, it has outstanding centerfield resolution.  It has a build quality about like any of the other similarly priced binoculars (including your Monarch) you can find.  This has a nice wide fov, and while I personally am OK with the Theron fov, this much can be nice sometimes.  For one thing any edge distortions or field curvature are further away from your eye and may be less distracting.
 
The Caldera is pretty stout built, or so it seems.  The ergonomics are unique.  It is no longer than a typical 32mm glass.  This is probably the reason for the FL ions in the objkective glass, as flourite needs less focal length to function properly.  While the fov is not much different in spec from the ZEN, it does seem wider.  It seems fine for long term use.  The no hinge on the front design gives your pinky finger enough room for a place at the end of the barrel.
 
The Theron is also pretty stout and almost as long as the ZEN ED.  The focus is the slowest of the bunch, so you may like it best if you really like to dial in focus.  The ZEN is a little faster in this regard, but not much, so these are the ones if you like a slower focus rate, and are not into close in viewing.  The fov of the Theron is about the lower limit of what my eyes really like, and does seem quite a bit better than the Monarch.  I can use the fov of the Monarch without complaint (mine were 8x)  but have come to prefer a little more.  While the Caldera and the ZEN are really outstanding here, I can come to the conclusion that I can give up some of that width and still be happy.  This is going to be a strictly personal thing.
 
As I said, the Steiner has the stoutest obvious build quality.  The focus is pretty fast beyond 100 feet, and not much hunting use is closer than that.  The Steiner is not as bright as the others, particularly the Theron, but I think that is a function of the CAT coatings.  Sometimes it is too easy to automatically equate bright with better.  But IF bright does seem better yo you, than hey, that works out fine Smile.
 
There is no real difference in what detail can be resolved in field conditions with any of these.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/02/2011 at 14:28
tompac View Drop Down
Optics Apprentice
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Thanks for the info Steve. My problem is that I don't have an opportunity to look thru anything. Case in point? I bought the Monarchs last year and they seemed outstanding. All I had to compare to was a bunch of Super El Cheapo's that my hunting companions use. And compared to them, the Monarch's were very good. But, after lurking about this forum(and another) (tweet, tweet) I started noticeing things like the ca and fuzzy edges. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/05/2011 at 09:30
tompac View Drop Down
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BTW Steve, I should have mentioned that I like the 8x. I certainly don't want anything with more magnification.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/05/2011 at 10:11
jonoMT View Drop Down
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A wealth of info from Steve. I would just add that you're right not to go above 8X. The tradeoffs aren't worth the extra magnification. Although there have been times when I'll go from general glassing with 8X bins to switching to 10X (or 15X, depending which rifle I have) lying prone on the bipod. But that's only after identifying something of interest and I must stress any viewing through a riflescope should be kept to a minimum.

The 7X36 would really be fine and have a great FOV. That would be a plus for glassing in heavy cover. I spend so much of my time in dense cover that it's rare to even be glassing at all across long expanses of unbroken terrain. Yet it has been an effective way to spot just a bit of an animal 100 yards way. (Also, it gives impatient types like me something to do when slowing down and stopping, which is really what's helpful).
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