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8X or 10X ? (Hmmm)

Printed From: OpticsTalk by SWFA, Inc.
Category: Other Optics
Forum Name: Binoculars
Forum Description: Anything that requires two eyes to look through it
Printed Date: January/23/2019 at 09:54

Topic: 8X or 10X ? (Hmmm)
Posted By: Mythos
Subject: 8X or 10X ? (Hmmm)
Date Posted: August/02/2007 at 16:41
Hi guys, been reading the forums for the last couple of weeks while researching scopes (I went with an IOR 4-14x50 Mp8 Illuminated and I'm very
pleased with it) and learning a lot in the process.
Thanks to you regular posters here, it's appreciated if not always aknowledged.

I'm now about to buy binoculars, initially they were intended for target shooting (300-600 yards) but my wife pointed out that something less
specialized might be worthwhile as we enjoy off-road trips to the desert out here in California and she'd enjoy using binoculars out there too :)

So.. we've checked out a few at a local bino store and we realized 12x is too much as the shakes start to become an issue.
Ideally we'd like 10x just for the increased magnification, but would we be better off with 8X ? I'm stuck and would appreciate any input or
suggestions if you guys have any.

At the moment my shortlist is :

Leupold Wind River Cascades

Leupold Wind River Pinnacles     

Nikon Monarch ATB

Pentax DCF WP II 

We both like the idea of the Leupold's, but don't know enough to tell if the FOV is an issue.
Are any of thee worth investing in at 10X ?

- in all likelihood we'll buy a pair each.

With thanks for your time,


Posted By: lucznik
Date Posted: August/02/2007 at 17:24

Well, if you're going to buy two binoculars, then you could just buy one of each magnification and/or of different makes and then enjoy fighting over who gets to use whichever turns out to be the "preferred" pair.



Seriously, with your short-list I would recommend you focus in on 8x options.  This is saying something as most people here know I'm an unrepentant magnification junky and almost always prefer glasses of at least the 10x variety. 


The problem is that 10x glass (much less anything more powerful) is much harder to do right and at the price range your list represents, is a real hit-and-miss affair.  Generally speaking, the 8x units tend to be more reliably high-quality in this price class.


From your list the Leupold Cascade, Nikon Monarch, and Pentax DCF WP II (as well as the Bushnell Legend and Vortex Diamondback) will likely prove very similar to each other optically.   The Leupold Pinnacle will be a definite step up in quality - and price.



What if the hokey pokey really is what it's all about?

Posted By: Mythos
Date Posted: August/02/2007 at 17:56

you could just buy one of each magnification and/or of different makes and then enjoy fighting over who gets to use whichever
turns out to be the "preferred" pair.

Yea. I had thought that :) We don't fight and I think the same bino for both is the fair choice.

I hear you about the 8X.. but damn.. it would be nice to get 10X without going high end. Sigh.
Thanks for the input.

The Pinnacles are the likely candidates at the moment....

Posted By: ND2000
Date Posted: August/02/2007 at 20:00
Mythos  -

I would absolutely agree with Lucznik in this case.  I would never advise getting a 10x pair of roof prism binoculars unless you were prepared to spend $750+ or so.

I also think your wife (and you, for that matter) will find an 8X much more pleasing to look through, given the wider FOV steadier image, and better depth of field.


You either get what you pay for or what you deserve.

Posted By: Bird Watcher
Date Posted: August/02/2007 at 21:15

The Nikon Monarch is well know for softness around the outer edges, and it only gets more pronounced as the magnification goes up. At 8x it might not be as noticable.

The Leupold Pinnacles and Cascades series are both very nice binoculars and the FOV @ 8x is the same for both at 341'. Also, the Leupold Katmai is one heck of a nice binocular as long as the 32mm isn't too small of an aperture for your needs.

The Pentax DCF SP is actually a better choice than the DCF WP II.

I am a high magnification lover myself, as my older eyes seem to appreciate the increased power. My wife has used my/our Pentax PCF WP II 12x50 porro binocular and she enjoyed it as well.

I agree with lucznik, I would get one of each magnification and enjoy both!

Posted By: Klamath
Date Posted: August/02/2007 at 21:36
I have an 8x42 Monarch.  For its price, it is a good glass.  The previous replies about 8x at that price level are pretty much on the money.  I've seen some pretty good 10x42 Moarchs and some pretty bad ones. Quality seems better at the 8x level at this price range.  For what its worth, I really can't see very much optical difference in your short list, except that I think the Pinnacles are noticeably brighter than my Monarchs.  Don't know what your $$ limit is, but I've had both 8x & 10x Vortex Vipers.  The Viper is a heck of a binocular for less than $500.00.  For my money you won't top it much untill you are willing to fork over at least $1,000.00.  Untill I got ahold of the Viper I used to think I'd need to go $600 or above for good 10x glass.  Vipers, both 8 & 10 X are a very noticeable jump in optical quality from the Monarch. 

"Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted". William Bruce Cameron

Posted By: DAVE44
Date Posted: August/03/2007 at 06:51
Ok guys, how would you rate these binos to each other optically? LEUPOLD PINNACLES, PENTAX DCF SP, VORTEX VIPER, BUSHNELL ELITE 2? Yes in 8x42. I was going to go with a Monarch atb in 8x42 from SWFA but the more I read on here about soft edges, crappy lens caps and faulty pullout eyepieces I am beginning to wonder about the Pentax dcf sp and the Pinnacles. I havent seen Vortex Vipers or New Elite II.

Posted By: birdhunter
Date Posted: August/03/2007 at 08:32
Dave, my vote would be for the Pentax DCF SPs SWAF has a good deal on those right now.  The pinnacles are a great deal for the money but I think the Pentax DCF SP would be the better of the two for sure.  I haven't seent the Vortex Vipers or the New Elite II yet.  Let us know what you decide to do.  birdhunter


Posted By: Bird Watcher
Date Posted: August/03/2007 at 10:24

Another important thing to remember is how comfortable a binocular feels in your hands, and, whether or not it is accommodating to your eyeballs. Some roof prism binos just don't fit the hands very well, and, some require alot of fiddling around because of poor eye relief, blackout, etc.

Whenever possible, it is always best to test binoculars out in your local sporting goods store, or hunting shop.

Posted By: Klamath
Date Posted: August/03/2007 at 21:17
I would rate the Viper and Pentax SP in a dead heat at the top.  The Elite e2 next with the Pinnacle a very short bit behind.  This is kind of a tough call because these are all good. Somebody elses eyes may see this differently than mine.  The Viper might have too much eye relief (or too short eyecups) for some.  That was the only thing about the 8x Viper I would have changed.  I would say they are all close enough that if you find one and like it really well, go for it, forget about the rest and enjoy the glass you got.  They are all a step up from the Monarch, of which I have an 8x42. 

"Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted". William Bruce Cameron

Posted By: Mythos
Date Posted: August/04/2007 at 11:14
Thanks for all the responses guys, it's been very useful.

I've narrowed it down to either the Vortex Viper or Pentax DCF SP and will invest shortly.
Seems to be a very wide range of prices for the DCF SP, did a new model come out recently and the old one's are at discount or something ?
One last quick question.. is it worth going for 10X with either of those, or are we still in the 8X territory at that price/quality ?

Thanks again.

Posted By: Klamath
Date Posted: August/04/2007 at 13:46
I tend to prefer 7-8x for one binocular all round use because I hapen to value resolution over magnification. 8x has less eye strain and is easier to hold steady for longer periods.  Other people value the magnification and can hold a 10x glass steady enough for their enjoyment.  That is a personal deal and you will have to decide for yourself whch side of the coin you are on.  Now having said that, I wound up with 10x Vipers.  These are my over 8x go to binoculars.  Either Viper or SP seems to me to be the first price point where 10x glass becomes what 10x glass can be.  With either glass you will have to spend at the very least 2x more money to improve on the optics very much.  I wound with the Viper chiefly because they simply feel better in my hands than the Pentax.  Put the optics of each in a neutral unmarked case and I seriously doubt there will be many people who could tell you which was which.  My less than 10x go to binocular is the Swift CFT 7x36 Eaglet.

"Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted". William Bruce Cameron

Posted By: Bird Watcher
Date Posted: August/04/2007 at 17:28

Pentax came out with the new DCF ED for 2007. This is in the $1,000 price range.

If I were you, I would just go ahead and order one 8x and one 10x, and do a comparison between yourself and your wife and see what you think about the difference in magnification and FOV.

The DCFD SP has hybrid aspherical lens elements for better edge to edge sharpness. I'm thinking you will find out that "both" will be keepers.

Just be sure you purchase them from someone who has a 100% satisfaction guarantee and perhaps a 30 day return policy.

Posted By: Mythos
Date Posted: August/08/2007 at 13:41
All your feedback helped. Thanks guys.

It was a close call between the 8X42 Viper and the 8X43 Pentax SP for a while there but I couldn't quite commit, wanting a 10X42.
So.. I took the plunge and just ordered a Vortex Razor 10X42 :)
Fund a price that was too good to resist. Should have it in a couple of days.

Thanks again.

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