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Sub $700 hunting bino

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/21/2015 at 21:05
gdpolk View Drop Down
Optics Apprentice
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Joined: May/05/2006
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Points: 67
I'm looking for new hunting binoculars to use in heavy timber at the sub $700 pricepoint.  New vs used makes me no difference; I'd almost rather buy better glass used than pick up a new one and get less product.  Name brand isn't as important as performance and warranty.  Right now I'm leaning towards Leupold 7/12 switch powers used as I see them as potentially incredibly versatile as a 7x primary with the option to bump up to 12x in daylight when checking out a bird or something

Priorities:
1) low light performance from dark-thirty to dark-thirty
2) reasonably wide FOV
3) build quality (fog/water/dust proof, durability, etc) - these will go out in dust and rain regularly
4) warranty/customer service - I'm hard on gear; while I maintain it regularly I also use it and use it hard.

Wants:
1) 7-8x power
2) smaller and lighter is better - However, I won't sacrifice performance to save 2oz as these will be used all day long in the field.  I don't want a cinder block on my neck, but I'm ok without an ultralight uber compact too.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/22/2015 at 10:04
Klamath View Drop Down
Optics Master
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Joined: May/20/2007
Location: United States
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Points: 1298
As a previous owner of the Leupold 7-12x Switch power I will not recommend them.  They are OK as a small 7x glass, but suffer from a too small field of view.  The 12x is great in close.  You can identify a Dragonfly from a wing venation key if you are so inclined, but get any distance and they get too fuzzy to use.

My current choice for in close timber work, and pretty much for general all around 8x use is a Maven B3 8x30.  As with any 30-32 mm objective, they don't have as much light to work with as a 42 mm glass.  But they will work great during legal hunting hours, which here is one half hour before and after sunset.  They will go a bit longer, but will be not quite as good as a 42 mm.  However they have a light transmission of over 95% which makes them the brightest 30 mm class binocular I have experience with, and that is a bunch of that size.  They will set you back $500 and will not be beaten by binoculars costing twice as much.  Go to 4x the price and improvements are almost too small to see.

There is not much out there in 7x, but I have a Zen Ray ZEN ED 2 7x36 which will do just fine as well.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/22/2015 at 11:45
DCAMM94 View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
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Joined: April/19/2008
Location: Fort Worth
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Points: 3355
I have the Zen ED2s and they are PERFECT for bow hunting, and well below pricing for similar more popular brands.  I've been thinking about getting the 10x Mavens just to have a more powerful quality optic that is lightweight for when I'm in the mountains, but for bowhunting whitetail from treestands, it's hard to beat the ED2s.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/22/2015 at 12:36
gdpolk View Drop Down
Optics Apprentice
Optics Apprentice


Joined: May/05/2006
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Points: 67
I've been looking at those and wanted to try some out some time. I wish I could handle them prior to ordering though and make sure they fit my face with and without glasses.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/22/2015 at 12:40
DCAMM94 View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
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Joined: April/19/2008
Location: Fort Worth
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Points: 3355
They have three-position eye-cups and my dad has used mine with his glasses and likes them.  I don't wear glasses (except reading) and like the cups fully-extended.  Hope this helps.
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