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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/13/2007 at 21:23
bama View Drop Down
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What brand and style binoculars do you recommend? I will be hunting mostly fields. I want the best for low light. My price range is $1000.00 to $1600.00.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/14/2007 at 07:45
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Just my opinion and I have talked to alot of people here on the message board.  I have been to a local hunting store several times, Bass Pro Shops, Gander Mountain and Cabela's and did several glassing sessions.  I perfer either Leica Ultravids or Swarovski ELs.  I perfer the 8x myself due to the shake factor.  Of the two mentioned I like the feel of the Ultravids.  Leica will fix most anything that happens with their binoculars and you can always get most of your money back if you ever decide to sell them.  Not slighting the Swarovski El's they are a great glass and they are very very close to the Leicas.  It all came down to the way they felt in my hands and they were a little more compact then the El's.  Zeiss FL's I didn't like because they had a cheap outer feel on the rubber and they didn't feel as rugged as the Leica's of Swarovski's.  I didn't think the Zeiss has as big of a sweet spot as the Leica's and Swarovski's did.  Thats just my opinion.  You should really go and try them out yourself before you buy a $1000 plus pair of binoculars.  You may even want to try the Nikon LXLs.  I thought they were a great buy for less $$.  Thanks and let us know what you decide to purchase.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/14/2007 at 08:21
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Bama -

 

I just went through a big test of binoculars in that price range and higher.  You can view the thread, but I went with the Swarovski ELs.  I agree with everything that birdhunter states, only I went with the ELs and not the Leica's because of how they felt in MY hands.

 

Just remember this, IMO anyone who backs a particular brand too strongly over the others is just trying to justify their own purchase.  Once you get to Zeiss, Swarovski or Leica it largely comes down to personal preference, as the optics on all of them are phenomenal. 

 

Good luck.  It's a true joy to look through anything in this price range.

 

ND2000

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/14/2007 at 09:33
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you can't go wrong w/ any of the above mentioned binos.

 

if you wanted to save money and get great hunting binos. try the steiner nighthunters, or fujinon (whatever the highend ones are)

 

they are excellent under hunting conditions too.

 

J

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/14/2007 at 09:39
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Originally posted by jonbravado jonbravado wrote:

or fujinon (whatever the highend ones are)

 

they are excellent under hunting conditions too.

 

 

 

Actually, if you want a hunting only binocular of extraordinary quality, Fujinon 8x30 FMTR SX is the way to go. About $400. It is every bit as good as a $1500 Zeiss.

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/14/2007 at 11:49
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Bama -

 

While I have never tried the Fujinon 8x30 FMTRs that anweis is referring to, I can tell you I looked through plenty of $600-$1,000 pairs, including Kahles, Bushnell, Nikon, etc.  They are all going to look great in the store and even when looking outside during most lighting conditions.  However, IMO, the higher-end models really come into their own in low-light conditions, which it sounds like what you are looking for.  If you don't need to compromise based on your budget, I wouldn't.

 

ND2000

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/14/2007 at 12:21
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i am referring to my 7x50 fujinon polaris series 7x50 FMTR-SX - the 7x50's are every bit as bright as my buddy's 7x50 swaros -

and the 7 magnification is an ultra stable image.

 

you can get the polaris for under 600 bucks, he paid 1300 or more for his swaro's.

 

they are absolutely dynamite in the lowlight w/ the 7.1mm exit pupil.  i own em.

 

NOT knocking swaro's, zeiss, or leica.  They the bigboys for a reason.

 

J



Edited by jonbravado
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/14/2007 at 12:36
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J -

 

I also looked at the 7x power models, but I just decided 8x-8.5x was a little better for me.  10x was too much...couldn't keep steady particularly in the colder temperatures.

 

ND2000

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/14/2007 at 12:38
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Originally posted by ND2000 ND2000 wrote:

Bama -

 

While I have never tried the Fujinon 8x30 FMTRs that anweis is referring to, I can tell you I looked through plenty of $600-$1,000 pairs, including Kahles, Bushnell, Nikon, etc.  They are all going to look great in the store and even when looking outside during most lighting conditions.  However, IMO, the higher-end models really come into their own in low-light conditions, which it sounds like what you are looking for.  If you don't need to compromise based on your budget, I wouldn't.

 

ND2000

 

Of course, you must also consider that some of the things causing the "Big 3" to have such hefty price tags have nothing to do with quality.  The Euro/Dollar exchange rate is unfavorable and then there are always issues of paying for brand-name status. A Porsche will cost you far more than a Toyota and will offer you greater "bragging rights" but, that doesn't make the Porche a superior-made automobile.  Quite the contrary, you will likely get better, longer, and more reliable service from the Toyota as Porsche is well known to be a high-maintenance vehicle.

 

You absolutely must pay for high-end quality but, that doesn't mean you can place price as the ultimate deciding factor in choosing who has the "best" product.  The Nikon LXL is lauded by many very knowledgeable (and picky) optics "experts" as being as good or better than anything offered by the Big 3, and yet costs hundreds less. Offerings from Bushnell, Leupold, Kahles, Minox, Pentax, and now even newer, lesser-known companies like Vortex also offer stiff competition to the high-end European optics.

 

As a personal example, I spent a lot of time directly comparing the Swarovski EL to the Bushnell Elite.  While the optics are different for each, they both involved compromises. (The EL had a wider FOV but, the Elite showed better edge clarity, etc.) I would not be comfortable declaring either as "superior" to the other in this regard.  Ergonomically however, the Elite was (for me and my small 5'6", 130# frame) clearly the uncontested winner. It is about the same size and weight as the 32mm EL but, offers full-sized 43mm objectives which, combined with the excellent optics, makes it the superior binocular (again, for me.) A bigger guy with larger hands might find exactly the opposite to be true as regards the ergonomics of the two. The big bonus was that even at full retail (which of course, I didn't pay,) the Elite costs only about 1/2 that of the EL. Can you say...Ka-ching! 

 

ALL optics, without exception, involve compromises.  This is true regardless of (and in some cases as a direct result of) cost. Having the budget to allow you to buy the most expensive is nice but, you should first spend the time to personally test as many options as possible to find which one is the "best" for you.  Just because you can spend the money doesn't mean you should nor that you need to do so. Conversely, just because someone did pay the premium price doesn't necessarily indicate that they made the best choice. Unless of course, you really value that special BIG 3 brand badge on the side.  Some people do after all, still buy Porsches.



Edited by lucznik
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/14/2007 at 12:43
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you speak the truth, lucznik

 

ALSO it's like we say in the software business. "NOone gets fired for buying IBM"

 

the same holds true w/ the big 3, you have, without a doubt, bought a fine product if you buy any of those.

 

BUT you can get similar/equal products from the lesser knowns.

 

i love elite 4200 scopes.  i love meostar by meopta. but if i had the money???? who knows.....i may buy all highend swaro, zeiss, and kahles.

 

but then again, i may just buy another rifle and scope setup for the money.

 

good post.

 

J

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/14/2007 at 14:14
ND2000 View Drop Down
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Lucznic - I didn't mean to get you so fired up with my post!  I'm just trying to share my thoughts, which is what this site is all about.  Just a guess, but I think that if Bushness felt they could charge more and be competitive, they probably would.

 

Bama - I also tried the Bushnell Elites, more specifically the 8 x 43.  I agree with Lucznic that they are very, very good.  You would do yourself well to try those against other models at the higher end of your price range.  I would say they have the added benefits of being lighter than many models in that class and also have the Rainguard protection.

 

ND2000

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/14/2007 at 14:25
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Originally posted by ND2000 ND2000 wrote:

Lucznic - I didn't mean to get you so fired up with my post!  I'm just trying to share my thoughts...

 

No worries, that's what we're all doing here. 

 

This is the second time today however that someone seems to think I'm jumping all over them. The apparent commonality in the two threads that I can see is that I quoted both your and his text respectively in my responses. 

 

I don't do this to set you up for a confrontation nor to say that "you're wrong."  Rather, I do it to maintain a greater level of continuity in the thought process than can be had by simply adding the next comment in the line.  By having your original comment there to directly refer to, the reader doesn't have to search for or guess at the ideas being addressed - which is a common problem on forums due to the fact that responses are not often immediately forthcoming.  It's truly not an attack.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/14/2007 at 14:44
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Lucznik - No problem.

 

Bama - I think all of us on this site would agree that you should spend some time thinking about what qualities in your binoculars you are really looking for.  Ergonomically, weight, weight distribution, fit for your hand size, eye relief, are all very important and can only be compared once in the store.  I think these factors should receive as much attention as the optical features, such as brightness, sharpness, depth-of-field, focusing mechanism, color-neutrality, FOV, etc.  As you can see, there is a lot to think about.  Just don't get too caught up in all of it and enjoy the process.

 

ND2000

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/14/2007 at 14:52
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ND2000,

Good observations and well said.....
We should be able to "enjoy" our research (shopping) every bit as much as our wives/girlfriends do.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/14/2007 at 14:57
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well said, indeed.

 

find 4 or 5 binos that you are optically pleased with, and pick the most comfortable ones.

but keep in mind, the shoulder strap (instead of neck) takes a lot of the burden of weight away.

 

good luck and let us know what you decide.

 

J

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/15/2007 at 15:33
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I think the others pretty much said all there is to be said. To summarize and in my own words....

 

1) Any of the super-high end bins are sure to please optically and ergonomically. However particular optical compromises from one bin to the next may swing you one way or the other. Much the same could be said about their ergonomics as has been clearly illustrated.

 

2) Many times you end up spending a great deal more money because of issues not related directly to quality or optical performance. I have found this to be quite true when comparing the big three with some lesser known models/companies.

 

The best advice is to try as many different bins as you can before buying.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/17/2007 at 21:16
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I currently use Swarovski EL 8.5x42 and feel they are the best.I have also owned other Swarovski and Leica.Swarovski's customer service is also the best in the buisness.Look at them all and let your eyes be the judge.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/12/2007 at 22:15
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See below for different impressions of some of the same binoculars. 'Crisp to the edges' means different things to different people, where some people actually test images at the edge of the field as opposed to just saying something.     

 

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/Publications/LivingBird/winter2 005/Age_Binos.html

In terms of pure image quality, six models received “perfect scores” from our reviewers, indicating an absolutely flawless, bright, and crisp-from-edge-to-edge image. Of these, the Zeiss 8x42 FL T* scored the highest for overall quality of any binocular tested, combining its exquisite image with perfect eye relief, a relatively wide field of view, and excellent close focus. The similar Zeiss 10x42 was the only 10x model in our test to receive this highest image rating. Some reviewers were critical of the ergonomics of these Zeiss models, however, labeling them as “forward-heavy,” “not comfortable,” “too knobby,” and even “flimsy.” Rounding out the “perfect-image” club were Leica’s 7x42 and 8x42 Ultravids and Swarovski’s 8.5x42 EL. These ELs received the highest scores of any binocular for all three subjective categories, with especially high marks for overall feel.

 

http://www.birdforum.net/reviews/showproduct.php?product=86

The Zeiss 8x42 FL has a typical roof prism binocular shape .....There is some off-axis softness which starts to appear at about 60% from the axis, and gradually increases until the edge where the image is mediocre. This is perhaps the only (minor) weakness in the optics. Although re-focussing can recover some sharpness, most of the softness is from aberrations other than field curvature.

The Nikon 8x32 SE is in my opinion one of the finest 8x glasses in existence. It has superb sharpness and contrast, roughly on a par with the Zeiss. However, the Nikon also has almost no distortion, almost edge-to-edge sharpness, and an almost completely flat field. There is some chromatic aberration, both on and off axis, in high contrast situations, though it is minor, and can usually be ignored. The Nikon has in many respects slightly better optics than the Zeiss, but it is not waterproof, the image is not as bright in low light, the on-axis image is not quite as good, the folding rubber eye tubes are less convenient and the small focus wheel can be rather stiff in cold weather.

After using a Zeiss 8x42 FL for 6 months, I remain as impressed as ever with the optics. Compared side by side, colours through my Nikon 8x32 SE seem slightly but noticeably subdued, whilst colours through the FL have more clarity and vibrancy, due no doubt to the better colour correction. Combined with the high contrast the result is an incredibly natural and bright image. The slight distortion is, for me anyway, a non issue. The slight off-axis softening is sometimes noticeable when birding, but is a minor irritation rather than a flaw. It is however more obvious when using the binocular on the night sky, presumably because the eye is more likely to explore the field when viewing stars.

 

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Nu mber/1162477/Main/1159125

Since he is hoping to find a buyer for his pair I think Rick probably won't mind if I espress a higher opinion of the off-axis performance of the 18x70 Astroluxe. Using the eyepiece scale I measured the field curvature of my pair last night at about 2.25 diopters which I don't think is very much for a binocular with a 72 degree field. There is some astigmatism, but also not that much. Vega changed to a fairly short line at the edge of the field paralleling the edge. I compared the length of the line in the Astroluxe to several other binoculars. The only other 70 degree binocular I have is a Nikon 8x30 EII which shows more astigmatism at the edge and forms a line about twuce as long as the Astroluxe. The Zeiss 8x42 FL also shows a line about twice as long, but at the edge of only a 62 degree field. The Nikon 8x32 SE and Fujinon 8x30 FMT-SX only showed slight elongation of Vega at the edge of their 60 degree fields, but the Astroluxe is only a little worse at the same 30 degrees off-axis. In short I think the Astroluxe is actually quite good at the edge for a binocular with such a wide AFOV. The overall impression looking at a dark sky is of a very wide flat field of stars with no obvious deterioration toward the edge unless you look specifically for it.

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