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Thread: Binoculars Reviews! Who sells the best bang for your buck?

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    Member powderhound's Avatar
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    Question Binoculars Reviews! Who sells the best bang for your buck?

    I have a cheaper set of Nikon binoculars I was fairly pleased with last year out at moose camp. Then I tried my father in laws 8-10 year old Cabelas Alaskan Guide model and I couldnt stand using my junky set anymore. It was amazing the difference in the clearity between the two. So who sells a good set of binoc's for under $600? Considering buying a set just like my father in laws, but if there are better ones out there for the $$$ I would love to hear about some reviews.
    Thanks

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    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    You might want to talk to Doug at Camera Land, he is one of the sponsors of this forum and he has some good deals going.

    My son bought a spotter from them and a friend bought a pair of Minox binocs from them and they are pretty nice optics.

    You can find them under the Optics thread or at this web site.

    www.cameralandny.com/

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    For under $600 talk w/ doug and pick up a set of Minox 10x43 HG's if he still has any of them left on the cheap. They recently moved manufacturing from Japan to Germany and the same glass will soon cost you over 1K. Get em while the getting is good.

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    I agree I have an older set of minox and they are good, not great but good. Once you use Lieca or swavorski for a season you will save the extra $ and never look back.

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    Save up and buy the best optics you can. My wife bought me a set of Leica Geovids and they are incredible.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    yukon, I love the Swaro EL's, if I could afford it I would have them in a heartbeat, that said I wouldn't have any interest in a set of the Swaro SL's over my Minox HG's. The added clarity doesn't compensate for the added weight. IMHO

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    Member danjordan78's Avatar
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    I have a pair of the Burris Signature Series 10x32's and they are REALLY nice for the price. Actually prefer them over my good Pentax binocs. Got them off of Camofire.com for a couple hundred bucks. Nice and small for carrying while bow hunting. Would get the bigger 10x50's in a heartbeat for trips where you don't mind the weight.
    Dan

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    Default Vortex Viper's

    I tried them all before I bought my last pair and Went with the Vortex. The only binos that compare in clarity with the swaro EL's in my opinion. I love them and have two pairs now.

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    Lujon after reading a piece by Phil Shoemaker on optics I had a chance at a pair of Swaro 8 by 30 slcs. I traded a new Lepould 10 by 42 hds for them. No comparison whatsoever! My swaros are light as a feather and good enough for sheep! I think we to often buy higher power binos than we need. I hunt very thick close country and real open tundra and 8 power is all I need as long as I have my spotting scope along. I have used every brand out there and Leicas, swaros or ziess are worth every penny if you spend much time hunting.

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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    For under $600 talk w/ doug and pick up a set of Minox 10x43 HG's if he still has any of them left on the cheap. They recently moved manufacturing from Japan to Germany and the same glass will soon cost you over 1K. Get em while the getting is good.
    ^^This

    If not this, a used pair of Swaro 8x30 SLC's off of eBay. Easily under $600.

    For inexpensive binos, Nikon Monarchs all the way. Steer clear of the Leupys...

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    Default Best source of Bino Reviews

    By far the best source for binocular testing are the birdwatching magazines. Maybe someone can place a link to one. As we can be called "rifle loonies", those birders are "bino loonies". Both with binoculars and spotting scopes. By far the best I read. It still boils down to buying the best you can afford.

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    Quote Originally Posted by knikglacier View Post
    By far the best source for binocular testing are the birdwatching magazines. Maybe someone can place a link to one. As we can be called "rifle loonies", those birders are "bino loonies". Both with binoculars and spotting scopes. By far the best I read. It still boils down to buying the best you can afford.
    http://birdforum.net/

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    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    The best bang for the buck.......................................SWAROVS KI EL's 10x42

  14. #14

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    Powderhound,

    600 bones will get you some great glass for sure. Vortex, Minox, Zen-Ray are some brands with great binos in that price range. I have owned a pair of Minox 10X43 HGs for almost 2 years now ($499 right now at Camerland if you call) and I had some Swaro SLC 10X42 for 5+ years. Honestly after swapping back and forth with my wife between the two I can not say that the Swaro SLCs are any better (aside from warranty) than the Minox. You can't really go wrong with either the 8X43 or 10X43 Minox HGs. Though sometimes weight is a good thing in binos with 10+ power as the jitters of a lightweight bino are enhanced making it harder to make out detail than you would get with heavier binoculars. An outdoor retail store in Anchorage was selling these exact same binoculars for $1200 at one point.

    Sure this is better glass for much more $$$$. But in my opinion the difference in quality between $150-$300 glass to $500-$700 glass is MUCH more than $500-$700 glass to $1200-$2000 glass. In reality you will likely spot just as much game with the mid range binos as you would with the high end glass (Swaro, Leica, Zeiss.)

    That said I do now own a pair of Swaro 10X42 ELs mainly due to the fact that I was able to pick them up for only $1100($1800 new) brand new at the same time I was able to get a Swaro 65mm HD spotter with the 20-60 eyepiece for $1200 ($2200 new) both were brand new in box. I haven't had a chance to use them much or compare them to the Minox glass, but I am going on a bear hunt/sheep scouting trip so I hope to have a good feel for the difference (if there is any) then.

    So good deals can be had on high end glass if you so desire to spend the $$$ eventually if you are patient to wait for the good deals and then have the money to pounce when the deals arise. However you will be better off with a mid range pair of binos now and use for as long as you want and care to save up for a high end pair of binos if thats what you want to do, rather than using some low budget binos for a few more years that you are not satisfied with obviously just to be able to afford the high end binos.

    Another thing to consider besides what brand of binos work for you and you like is the type of warranty they offer. You try to take care of you glass if possible, but more than likely they may get dropped, bumped, or something that may require sending in to the manufacturer. Most top end binos have great warranties but try to be mindful of this when buying. Of course if you find a good enough deal on a pair of binos the warranty becomes moot IMO if I am getting them for nearly half off as I could be a 2nd pair to replace them if needed.

    Lastly, everyones eyes are a bit different and what one person likes as far as a brand/model of binocular could not be nearly as nice as some other brand to someone else. So if you can compare and contrast some of the binos you are looking at in person and find what YOU like. I can't understand the appeal of birding and all but Snyd is right those birders sure know and critique their optics more heavily that us hunters in general as well. Look to see what they prefer.

    Good luck in your search.

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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    Good post, bro...

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska_Lanche View Post
    ...But in my opinion the difference in quality between $150-$300 glass to $500-$700 glass is MUCH more than $500-$700 glass to $1200-$2000 glass. In reality you will likely spot just as much game with the mid range binos as you would with the high end glass (Swaro, Leica, Zeiss.)....
    Unless they're Leupolds...

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    If you are going to spend 6 bills, hold off and add another 3 to that get get the Leica 10x42. You'll never look back.

    If at all possible, try to do a side by side comparison. Were I in Anch, I'd let you check mine out. Doug will take care of you, just see if he has any Leica for sale.
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  17. #17
    Member powderhound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska_Lanche View Post
    Powderhound,

    600 bones will get you some great glass for sure. Vortex, Minox, Zen-Ray are some brands with great binos in that price range. I have owned a pair of Minox 10X43 HGs for almost 2 years now ($499 right now at Camerland if you call) and I had some Swaro SLC 10X42 for 5+ years. Honestly after swapping back and forth with my wife between the two I can not say that the Swaro SLCs are any better (aside from warranty) than the Minox. You can't really go wrong with either the 8X43 or 10X43 Minox HGs. Though sometimes weight is a good thing in binos with 10+ power as the jitters of a lightweight bino are enhanced making it harder to make out detail than you would get with heavier binoculars. An outdoor retail store in Anchorage was selling these exact same binoculars for $1200 at one point.

    Sure this is better glass for much more $$$$. But in my opinion the difference in quality between $150-$300 glass to $500-$700 glass is MUCH more than $500-$700 glass to $1200-$2000 glass. In reality you will likely spot just as much game with the mid range binos as you would with the high end glass (Swaro, Leica, Zeiss.)

    That said I do now own a pair of Swaro 10X42 ELs mainly due to the fact that I was able to pick them up for only $1100($1800 new) brand new at the same time I was able to get a Swaro 65mm HD spotter with the 20-60 eyepiece for $1200 ($2200 new) both were brand new in box. I haven't had a chance to use them much or compare them to the Minox glass, but I am going on a bear hunt/sheep scouting trip so I hope to have a good feel for the difference (if there is any) then.

    So good deals can be had on high end glass if you so desire to spend the $$$ eventually if you are patient to wait for the good deals and then have the money to pounce when the deals arise. However you will be better off with a mid range pair of binos now and use for as long as you want and care to save up for a high end pair of binos if thats what you want to do, rather than using some low budget binos for a few more years that you are not satisfied with obviously just to be able to afford the high end binos.

    Another thing to consider besides what brand of binos work for you and you like is the type of warranty they offer. You try to take care of you glass if possible, but more than likely they may get dropped, bumped, or something that may require sending in to the manufacturer. Most top end binos have great warranties but try to be mindful of this when buying. Of course if you find a good enough deal on a pair of binos the warranty becomes moot IMO if I am getting them for nearly half off as I could be a 2nd pair to replace them if needed.

    Lastly, everyones eyes are a bit different and what one person likes as far as a brand/model of binocular could not be nearly as nice as some other brand to someone else. So if you can compare and contrast some of the binos you are looking at in person and find what YOU like. I can't understand the appeal of birding and all but Snyd is right those birders sure know and critique their optics more heavily that us hunters in general as well. Look to see what they prefer.

    Good luck in your search.
    Great write up, thank you.
    I appreciate your help. A few of you really seem to like the Minox.
    I am leaning twards a set of them.
    Thank you all for your help.

  18. #18
    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    And we like the Minox for the deal we get them at through Doug at cameraland...

    Side by side, they are definitely on par with Swaros and through Doug you can get 'em for 1/2 price.

  19. #19
    Member KelvinG's Avatar
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    I got a set of refurbished Leicas from a photo shop on the east coast, don't recall their name at the moment. They were refurbished by the factory, had a factory warranty, came in a factory box with all the factory literature, but they were just a little more than 1/2 price.

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    All the guys in our family have a pair of Swarovski binoculars, all in various strengths.....however I went with a pair of Steiner 10x42's as I just so happened to look thru a pair in the field one day and the difference was very noticable. The clarity was better, the color was better...after purchasing a pair, now some of the guys want to trade me their Swarovski's for a look thru my Steiners

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