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Purchasing help

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/16/2005 at 08:31
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Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper

Joined: September/16/2005
Status: Offline
Points: 2

First off let me say that I am sure glad to have found this site.  I have been reading posts on here for a couple days and have learned a great deal about binoculars.  I intend to purchase some binos and I thought I knew what I needed, but after being educated on here a bit I am not so sure.  A little background information about my usage - I will almost exclusively be using these binos for hunting, specifically bowhunting from a tree stand for whitetail deer.  I will never take a shot at an animal beyond 30 yards and being in the forest I will rarely need to evaluate an animal over 100 hundred yards away (150 yds @ the absolute max).  I hunt often for long hours so I want optics that are easy on the eye.  I also hike fairly long distances to my stand sites - so portability is important.  Rugged construction is also important because I hunt often and sometimes weather conditions are adverse.  And last but certainly not least - they need to be bright for the obvious low light conditions that deer are most active in (I need to be able to evaluate animals prior to taking a shot to ensure they meet the minimum size requirements of the outfitter I am hunting with).


Before finding this site I thought I needed 10 X 50 Swarovski EL - certainly some extremely fine optics, but maybe overkill for the type of hunting I will be doing.  I don't mind spending the money for quality equipment, but if I can purchase equipment for 1/5th or 1/6th of the price that will still serve the purpose intended well then by all means I would rather do that.  I really started rethinking my bino selection process after reviewing the Cornell bino comparison.  Particularly a couple of the binos in the $200 - $500 range (Leupold Katmai and Nikon Monarch).  I would appreciate any feedback you folks may have as to recommended binos, as well as, size - power and objective.  Thanks in advance - you folks have been so helpful already.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/16/2005 at 17:07
lucznik View Drop Down
Optics Master
Optics Master

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

Since you are willing to spend the $$ on good equipment, you really just have to go out and find a binocular that has the features and ergonomics you want. Size, weight, type and texture of rubber coverings, presence of extra coatings (like Bushnell's RainGaurd,) the position of the attachment points for your neck strap, as well as the position and feel of the focus wheel, the diopter adjustment, and other items can all affect how much you like or dislike a given binocular.


"Optics that are easy on the eye" basically translates to full-size.  At the range you are dealing with (100-150 yds.) you might find the wider field of view of a 7X or 8X binocular more preferable than the extra magnification of a 10X. Remember that the measurements you see listed by the manufacturer are for the FOV at 1000 yards.  So if your binocular is giving you a 300 ft FOV @ 1000 yds, then where you are hunting that same binocular will allow you to see an area only 30 feet wide. In such a case I personally would want a binocular with as wide an FOV as I could get.  


If you wear glasses you will want to check to ensure that you can get the full view from the particular model you are looking at and if the eyecup design is acceptable.  For example, a few years back my Dad bought the same 8X42 Pentax DCF WP binocular that I have because he liked the view from them and knew I was satisfied with them.  I wear glasses and my Dad does not.  When he got his binocular he soon found that the pull-out style eyecups for this binocular did not stay in the out position very well, which has been a source of regular irritation for him.  This problem had never occured to me because I always have the eyecups in the down position. 


Go take a look through as many models as you can and try to see some of the things that people on the forum mention.  For example,  I am not particularly sensitive to chromatic abberation.  If I look REALLY hard I can see it, especially in cheap binos, but in general I am not disturbed by it.  Some people claim to be incredibly sensitive to it. If you are one of the latter, you might find yourself sorely dissappointed by some of the lower mid-priced binoculars like the monarchs.   Then again, they might be just what you need. 


If you have the ability to buy the very most expensive, but don't know if they provide the best value for the $$$ (which is what I read in your post) I would suggest you split the difference and concentrate on the options in the $600 to $1000 range.  These would include Pentax DCF SP, Zeiss ClassiC (from cabelas), Kahles, Leupold Gold Ring, Bushnell Elite, Nikon LXLs (which IMO are the very best glasses at any price and are on my serious wish list), and others.  In the end you will just have to decide what is the best for your uses, pay your money, and enjoy.

Edited by lucznik
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/16/2005 at 22:00
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Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper

Joined: September/16/2005
Status: Offline
Points: 2


Thanks for you help.  I am going to check out the Nikon LXLs per your suggestion.  Price is important, but I want to make the right purchase decision.  It makes no sense to me to save some money only to have to spend more top get the right equipment.

Thanks again!

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/20/2005 at 11:38
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Optics Apprentice
Optics Apprentice

Joined: February/16/2004
Location: left of center
Status: Offline
Points: 115

Just reading through your intended uses, I'd be more inclined to recommend a size more than a particular binocular.


Based on the 30 yard optimum range, 100 yard max, need to be rugged and yet light weight, and since I've never sat in a tree blind that had a generous amount of space, they're gonna need to be comparatively compact, it sure sounds like a job for either an 8x32 roof prism binocular or a 7x35 waterproof porro.


Amongst the other benefits that this size binocular brings to bare (generally broader field of view, huge eye relief numbers, and compact design), they're also typically substantially less expensive than an 8x40 or 10x40 binocular.


Both the 8x32 and 7x35have large enough objective lenses to provide the kind of detail you need and an exit pupil large enough to provide decent performance underneath the forest canopy.  I'd be inclined to go with an 8x32 Leupold, Kahles, Nikon, etc. and expect to get great optical performance from any of their top-line products.  And I'd come away having spent four or five hundred (or less!) rather than the six or seven hundred that larger binocs would cost.


For the 7x35 porros, I love the Minolta Activa FPWP line but it's just a personal preference.  The porros are going to be a bit less stout and not quite as waterproof as the roofs, but they'll cost half of what the roofs do while offering as good or better optical performance.


Leupold Pinnacle or Katmai, Kahles, Nikon LX, Swift Ultralite, Pentax DCF,... the list goes on and on in 8x32 roofs.  It's like shooting fish in a barrel--you can't lose with any of them.


The pickings are a little slimmer in the waterproof 7x35 porros, but $250 or less will buy you best in class performance.  As an aside, if you could find a pair to sample--they're tough to lay hands on, but the hunt might be worth it for your application--Fujinon makes their 8x30 FTMRSX series binocs waterproof.  The Fujinon's would be the Ferrari of the compact waterproof porros and carry a price tag like the high end roof prism binocs do.  But... I've looked through them a year or so ago and oh my my, they're a bright binocular with great quality weatherproofing. 


Just my two cents.


Take the long way home...

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