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Thread: Good binoculars

  1. #1

    Default Good binoculars

    Im trying to fine a good pair of binos for bear viewing, ill be going to either brooks falls or lake clark so im not expecting them to be to far. Anyone have any good suggestions?

  2. #2
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    What is your budget? There are a bunch out there. Nikon monarch are good, vortex viper are a step up Swarovski and Leica are top shelf.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    As LuJon pointed out...there are a bunch of choices for a bunch of different wallets.

    Go to your local sports store and start trying them out... I've used Leupolds with good success and Zeiss, Swaros, Leicas are all tough to beat and tough on your wallet.

    I did try my sheep partners Vortex this year and was pretty impressed- not sure which model but the appeared to be "modeled" after Swaros...

    Bottom line- "good enough" binos generally don't stay that way the more you use them. If you see an ongoing need for binos just go big and buy top shelf and save a lot of hassle.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    Bushnells......................................... .... are a good pair.

  5. #5

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    I realy like my zen ray binos, I bought mine from there website as demos and got a great deal on them, you couldnt even tell they were demos, looked brand new to me.

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    Member AK Wonderer's Avatar
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    A little more information from you may help draw some more focused advise. Budget, and what you may want to use them for after this particular trip. It sounds like you'll be using them at fairly close distances, say 50-300 yards. For these distances I would suggest a 7 or 8 power with either a 32 or 40 mm objective lens. A larger objective lens will increase low light performance but will increase the weight and price. A quality bino in 8x32 may actually have as good low light performance as a less quality 8x40.

    You did state that you're looking for a "good" pair and although this can be subjective, I would say a good pair of binoculars for a new or infrequent user would put you in the $250-$350 range. Possibly a Nikon Monarch in an 8x36 or 8x42. Vortex is making quality binos. Zen-Ray doesn't get alot of publicity but has very good reviews and is supposed to have very good glass for the price. I myself am a big Pentax fan. Minox is another name to list.

    If you're not is a big hurry, keep checking the Demo List at Cameraland NY. You can find some good binos at very reduced prices and probably won't be able to tell they've ever been out of the box. Camerland is a forum sponsor and has a link on the optics page.

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    Member bnkwnto's Avatar
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    Like Lujon said it's really up to your budget. I used to use a pair of Nikon monarchs. I thought they were awesome until my buddy bought a pair of Swarovski ELs with swarovision and we set on on hill side and compared them one day. My wife finally got tired of hearing me talk about his swaros that she got a pair for my birthday. Now I can't hardly stand to even look through the Nikons.


    It's like fly rods. A lamiglass is an awesome rod until you fish with a Sage. etc etc


    If you use binos alot I say don't skimp and go with a good pair right off the bat.

  8. #8

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    Id like to stay around $110

  9. #9

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    the Swarovski ELs are way out of my budget i think im gonna go with 10 power nikon trail blazers. http://www.nikonhunting.com/products...atb/10x42/8239

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    In the $110 range go to Sportsman's Warehouse and look at Alpen. They're pretty impressive for the price point. Regardless what you're leaning towards go try a few pairs out and see how they feel. You'll spend a lot of time looking through them so get the best pair you can afford.

  11. #11
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Just some general background here, for people interested in learning more about optics. I have an excellent book I purchased a few years ago called, "Optics for the Hunter", by John Barsness. He does a great job of explaining how optical gear works, and goes into detail on binoculars, monoculars, spotting scopes, rangefinders, and rifle scopes. It's a must-have for anyone interested in quality optics.

    -Mike
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    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
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    Member bigdog's Avatar
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    Another vote for Alpen, they are a good cheap bino...

  13. #13
    Member mjm316's Avatar
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    Call Doug at Cameraland. He usually has some smokin deals and is a pleasure to deal with. Just let hi know what your price range is and what you want to use them for. My .02
    Tomorrow isn't promised. "Never delay kissing a pretty girl or opening a bottle of whiskey." E. Hemingway

  14. #14
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    The rest of you must be buying a different Alpen than the ones I have. The eye-box is so small that I am constantly fussing with them trying to keep one or the other tube from going black. I actually have a bulky set of Nikon poro-prisms that have been truck binos for the last 5 years and the smaller Alpen were purchased to replace them. On a recent trip with 6 of us in the truck sharing the 2 sets all 6 were fighting over the Nikons when an animal was spotted. No one could get and keep a clear picture out of the Alpens.

  15. #15
    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik7181 View Post
    Id like to stay around $110
    for that budget I would go to Natchez Shooters Supply and buy Nitrex TR One 10x42 binos. They are hugely discounted this last year. The pair I have have worked out wonderfully this last season.

    The only complaint, which other reviews on-line around the web also mention, are the cover pieces don't fit well and fall off/out constantly.

    Other than that these are a great set of Japanese glass for a tremendously low price.

  16. #16
    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    My wife bought me a pair of Redfield Rebels (made by leupold now I believe) last fall. I really like them, clear and water/fog proof. One moose season on them and they performed flawlessly...and you can find them in your price range online easily.

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    this year my friend took a pair of vortex diamondback's $260 +/- , and i used a pair of nikon monarchs $375+/- , on a hunt the same power and for long range his were way better.

    i bought a pair of Vortex Diamondbacks since.....

  18. #18
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Man, you're going to have fun shopping!

    1. Doug at Cameraland, as suggested by mjm316 (post#13) has had many satisfied customers over the years on these forums.
    2. Snyd pointed out years ago, there's good information on birdwatching websites about optics. Still true:

    http://www.birdwatching.com/optics/binocularpicks.html - binocs for every price range
    http://www.optics4birding.com/binoculars.aspx - this site has an interesting binocular search tool, useful for prioritizing features, or price
    http://www.birds.cornell.edu/Publica...g99/binos.html - this article from Cornell mentions several value priced options at the end of the article, which closes with this advice:

    ...(1) Determine your spending limit, then narrow your choices by selecting the power, weight, and specification ranges that best fit your needs; (2) Test as many models as possible to find the ones that work best for you; (3) Go for the highest optical quality you can afford–in the long run, all other factors will be secondary; (4) If you’re shopping for budget binoculars, don’t peek through the $1,000 models on the next shelf–you may have to go to the bank for a loan...

    3. One thing ... two things learned from more experienced hunters:
    Higher priced glass excels in low-light (from Joe Want)...
    Higher priced glass excels at color discrimination (from Bob Hodson).

    Good luck.

  19. #19
    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cabin goer View Post
    this year my friend took a pair of vortex diamondback's $260 +/- , and i used a pair of nikon monarchs $375+/- , on a hunt the same power and for long range his were way better.

    i bought a pair of Vortex Diamondbacks since.....
    You ain't kiddin. I spent a decent amount of money on some Burris Signature binocs and the Vortex binocs slightly crisper, and brighter. That particular pair of Vortex binocs did have larger objective lens diameter and were 10 power as opposed to my 8 power Burris binocs. During the bird observation up in Fairbanks, the cold weather didn't even effect the ease of adjustment. I was really impressed. Professional birders are jumping on this brand too. I think I may switch over to the vortex brand on the next pair I buy.

  20. #20
    Member GD Yankee's Avatar
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    If you can find a used pair of Steiner 8x30 "military" binos, they can usually be found for under $150. Check ebay:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Steiner-Germ...#ht_500wt_1107

    Go to Sportsmans or the equivalent and look at the cheapest pair of binos they have and then look through some Swarovski/Zeiss/Leicas. Just so you know the difference between low end glass and the good stuff. It'll make your comparison easier. There can be significant differences on the low end and you don't want to settle too early.


    Here are the Steiners on the sponsor's website new:

    http://www.cameralandny.com/optics2/...age=steiner280
    Last edited by GD Yankee; 02-04-2012 at 21:31. Reason: more info

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