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Steiner Merlin/Bush. Discv./BruntonEterna

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/22/2005 at 12:29
pintail03 View Drop Down
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Looking for a little advise and input on the Steiner Merlin 10x42's. I have only tried them inside sporting goods stores and was wondering about their performance in low light, (dawn, dusk) situations. I would be using them primarily for hunting. I hunt a wide range from farm land with shelter belts and tree stands for deer, to mountains for elk. I currently have a pair of Nikon sporter 1 10x36. I have also been looking at the Leupold Pinnacle 10x42's. I have heard from several sources to stay away from the auto focus b/c when glassing for long periods it puts a lot of strain on your eyes which are doing a lot of the work.

Edited by pintail03
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/22/2005 at 16:00
lucznik View Drop Down
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Although Steiner has a decent enough reputation, I am wondering why you would pick the Merlin model for your hunting binocular.  Looking at its specs I see that it is missing at least two things that I would consider very important in any optic used for hunting.

 

First, it has a rather narrow FOV of only 274 ft @ 1000 yards. And second, the Merlin is not waterproof.  It is rated only as "weather resistant." You could spend the same amount of (and in some cases significantly less) money and get similar (if not better) optical quality in units that sport better FsOV and that are totally waterproof like the Bushnell Discoverer (341 ft FOV, $500) Bushnell Legend (315 ft FOV, $320) or the Nikon Monarch (314 ft FOV $300))

 

Take a small step up in price and can get the Cabela's Alaskan Guide (314.5 ft FOV, $570) or the Pentax DCF SP ((315 ft FOV, $650) Either of these would be a serious step up in quality (both build and optical.)

 

(As a side note, if you buy either of the Bushnells before the end of the year, Bushnell will send you a nifty gear bag free.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/22/2005 at 18:30
pintail03 View Drop Down
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Thanks for the tips, however, in looking in Steiner's 2005 brochure it says, "The Merlins are waterproof and include a 10 year warranty, They include a deluxe thermo-molded case, rain-guard, ..."

I see that Cabela's says in the paragraph for them that they are, "Water-resistant, guaranteed against fogging or leaking".

The field of view is a very good point, I wasn't really paying a whole lot of attention to it.

Also curious about Cabela's warranty, there is no mention of it. I do like the risk free 30 day trial they offer.

I have been doing some searching on the Bushnell Discoverer 10x42 and I am almost a bit shocked at the prices I have found on the net. Cabelas has them listed at $499.99 and I am finding them all over for around $380. Are they dropping in price for a reason? I would love some more imput from people on these bino's also.

-Thanks

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/23/2005 at 09:32
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Cabela's has the best warranty in the biz, period. I've sent optics & equipment back to them a year after they were purchased, they exchanged them or refunded my money-no questions asked. You won't find another retailer that'll do that.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/23/2005 at 11:45
lucznik View Drop Down
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Where are you finding the Discoverers for $380?  This is going to be the major question.  The binocular is not dropping in price, but some places do sell them for less.  One place in particular (who's name is not allowed here anymore) sells stuff for dirt cheap, but has a pretty dismal reputation for customer service. Chris has posted a link a number of times to a website that tracks consumer satisfaction on web purchases and of their 140+ comments I think there are only 3 or 4 that had anything positive to say.  I have purchased from them in the past and had no problem, but after seeing how many people did have problems, I have chosen not to tempt fate too much with big purchases. 

 

Having said that, Cabela's has never been the best place to get good prices on optics. There are many other completely reputable companies that will give better prices.  I've never returned anything to Cabela's so I don't know about the quality of their warranty.

 

Sorry about the mix-up on the waterproofness of the Merlin.  Cabela's website has a link to compare binocular specs from most manufacturers (which can be really handy at times) and on that spreadsheet the Merlins are listed as not being waterproof which is the source of the  the info I was using.  I'm sure Steiner's own website is more accurate in this case.



Edited by lucznik
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/23/2005 at 12:47
pintail03 View Drop Down
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All I did was type in "Bushnell Discoverer 10x42" in google and I recieved a lot of websites that were selling them from $370 to $390. Here are a few; competitor.net, competitor.com, Opticsgiant.com, Brand new in box on ebay, Binoculars.com, etc... All of which list their suggested retail from $500 to $700 or so but are selling them in that $370 to $390 range.

So is this a good deal to jump on, or is there a good reason behind the price drop?

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/23/2005 at 14:57
lucznik View Drop Down
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As I mentioned, Cabela's is not a good place to get optics deals.  Their marketing scheme is primarily based on the cache' of buying from the "World's Foremost Outfitter" rather than on getting a good value. So I would not use them as my benchmark.

 

Right here at SWFA you can get a Discoverer for $370 and have the comfort of knowing that you are still dealing with a reputable company who is going to take care of you. The Discoverer is a great binocular.  You should also know that Bushnell has always grossly inflated their suggested retail prices. Within its price range (for our purposes I'll call that the $300 - $500 range) I would consider it to be one of the very best and would personally choose it over the Steiner.  Others would no doubt disagree. I would not pay the $500 Cabela's wants for it, but would gladly lay down the $370 that Chris is asking for it here (if I were in a position to buy one.)

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/23/2005 at 17:35
pintail03 View Drop Down
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lucznik,

thanks a lot for your tips. I have one more curve ball here though. I just got back a little while ago from Sportsman's Warehouse up here in the upper Midwest. They carry almost everything in optics. A Bushnell sales rep happened to be there while I was looking at the Discoverer and then the Legend. He explained a lot about their coatings and such, and what that means for light gathering and so forth, talked about their new XTR coatings which are on the Discoverer and the Elite only are superb for low lighting. (although he is the sales rep and is going to be a bit bias in comparison to the others I had out on the glass top looking at).

I would gladly purchase them but I had one problem. When comparing them to a few others, mainly the Steinerís, and now the Brunton Eterna. There really seemed to be a distinctive difference in the crispness around the edges. Which I would say is very important, as important as FOV. Especially if you do a lot glassing, looking FOR game. I looked and looked and tried to make sure it was not just me, but as I focused on the center of an object and then moved that object in my FOV near the edges, it become blurry and out of focus. The salesman behind the counter felt the same way about the Discoverer.

 

Now the Brunton's I was very impressed with, they have a 10x32 (don't make a 10x42, goes up to 11x45) with a FOV of 315ft. @1000yrds. Their catalog boasts about their Emerald Fire Multi-Coatings and AL reflective coating. So now my question is, does anyone have any feedback about these Brunton's and their lowlight abilities or want to add anything to this? Should I maybe take a closer look at the the 11x45's with FOV of 305?



Edited by pintail03
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