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Old April 3, 2007, 04:16 PM   #1
FirstFreedom
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Now for mid-size binocs: Which ones?

On an optics kick lately. Now have giant ones (Oberwerk 22x100mm), & large ones (Nikon Action Extreme 10x50mm), & compact ones (Leupold Yosemite Green Ring 6x30mm), and crappy subcompact ones ("Nikon" chinese junky 8x25s).

Now looking for a good midsized 7-8 x 42-43mm, waterproof, under 25-30 oz, and under $300, for my main field binocs for hunting/wildlife watching. So far, after a bit of research/recommendations, I'm looking at:

1. Nikon "Monarch ATB", @ $290: http://www.opticsplanet.net/nikon-monarchatb8x40.html

2. Audubon "Equinox Classic", @ $180: http://www.opticsplanet.net/audubon-...ulars-842.html

3. Audubon "Equinox HP", @ $280: http://www.opticsplanet.net/audubon-...ars-842hp.html

4. Vortex "Diamondback" fka the "Sidewinder", @ $200: http://www.opticsplanet.net/vortex-s...s-swd-428.html

5. Bushnell "Excursion" -Mossy Oak, @ $180: http://www.opticsplanet.net/bushnell...ar-240843.html

6. Alpen "Apex", @ $265: http://www.optics4birding.com/alpen-apex-8x42-1727.html

7. Pentax "DCF HR II" or "DCF HRc", at $280: http://www.optics4birding.com/dcfhri...lars-1469.html
http://www.optics4birding.com/item.aspx?cid=14977

8. Bushnell "Discoverer" 7x42, at $290: http://www.opticsplanet.net/bausch-a...iscoverer.html


I am NOT necessarily opposed to a porro prism, though all of these are roof prisms - in fact, I'd almost rather have a porro prism, due to their being a generally better value, for my uses. But they are typically a half pound or so heavier than the roof prisms.

So any other suggestions, and which one? I'm leaning toward the Vortex Diamondback/Sidewinder (#4) first (due to tethered lens covers, rainguard, phase-corrected prisms, etc.), and then the Audubon Equinox Classic (#2) second....I like the Nikon Monarch ATB a lot, too, but is it worth the extra $100? The Discovery Bushnells also have the rainguard anti-fog/anti-rain coating, which is appealing as well, but for $289, I think I'd run with the Monarchs - not sure.

Edit: Now I'm almost certain I'm gonna go with the Vortex...this is pushing me over the edge:

Quote:
VIP Warranty - A Very Important Promise to you!
Rest assured that the Vortex Diamond binoculars are covered against any future dents, defects or damages—any product needing service will be repaired or replaced absolutely free!
-- Unlimited -- Unconditional -- Transferable
But wait - is the Diamondback or Sidewinder considered a "Diamond binocular"?

Update: Yes, apparently the Vortex warranty covers all of their products, and apparently having phase-corrected prisms significantly enhances image quality (though I'm not sure how). So again, leaning toward the Vortex Diamondback at this point.

Another update: Whoops, we may have a new leader:

8. Eagle Optics "Denali" 8x42, @ $160: http://www.opticsplanet.net/eagle-op...rs-denali.html

The Eagle Optics is only 20.6 oz, the lightest of ANY, has the lowest price, AND has fully multi-coated glass & phase-corrected prisms! Hmmm, what's not to like there? Except the warranty is not bulletproof like Vortex...

So it's coming down to the Vortex Diamondback, Audubon Equinox Classic, and Eagle Optics Denali - compare & contrast - talk amongst yourselves.

Last edited by FirstFreedom; April 4, 2007 at 12:20 AM.
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Old April 3, 2007, 06:15 PM   #2
williamd
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I have both Bushnell and Pentax and both are quite satisfactoy. Also, have some cheaper Big 5 Pentax (on sale under $80) that I can't tell from the 'better' ones! Was given a nice set of Orvis (don't know who makes them) that are smaller and very nicce. 8x20. Mine have to fit in my pocket and not be difficult to remove.
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Old April 3, 2007, 08:59 PM   #3
fisherman66
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I've been "eye balling" the Burris Select 8X42. They are in the $400 price though. I like them better than the Wind River series which is my current set of glass.

I've enjoyed your optics threads. I like yer spotting scope that stands about 10 feet tall. I've dubbed it the light cannon in my mind.
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Old April 3, 2007, 09:23 PM   #4
skeeter1
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I've got a pair of Bushnell 8x20s that I think I paid ~$100 for 20 years ago. They slip into a pocket nicely, and are still going strong. The 11x80 Celestrons are great, but hardly pocketable -- I can't use them without a tripod. My dad had some Leitz/Leica 8x40s that were probably the best in-between sized binocs. Very nice, but VERY expensive.
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Old April 3, 2007, 09:28 PM   #5
FirstFreedom
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I'm gonna add another 4 choices, my first porro prisms of the bunch...porro prisms typically give you better resolution and depth of field *at the same price point* as a comparable roof prism,and since the drawbacks of porros are weight, which some of these have overcome, and color fidelity, which I'm not concerned with much, one of these may be the the new front-runner:

9. Leupold (Green Ring) Wind River "Cascade" 8x42mm @ $275- It's very lightweight for a porro prism, coming in at under 25 oz, . http://www.opticsplanet.net/leupold-...ars-60992.html

10. Leupold (Green Ring) Wind River "Mesa" 8x42mm, @ $163 ... over $100 less than the cascade, only a tad bigger & heavier, and same lens coatings (neither are fully multi-coated): http://www.opticsplanet.net/leupold-...inoculars.html

11. Audubon Raptor, 8x42mm @ $160:, this is an excellent wide field bino, showing a FOV of 430 ft @ 1K yards, although this one is on the heaviest & bulkiest end of the spectrum, of what I'm looking for, even though it's light for a porro prism: http://www.opticsplanet.net/audubon-...lars-8800.html

12. Bushnell Legend, 8x42, @ $115: fully multi-coated, rainguard coating, wide field of view (430 ft @ 1K yards) - seems like the best value of the porros, actually: http://www.opticsplanet.net/bushnell-8x42-legend.html

So right now, my final contenders are, in order: (1) Vortex Diamondback (roof, 25.5 oz, 420 FOV, fully multi-coated, phase-corrected prisms, tethered obj lens covers, raincover, kick-butt warranty, $200), (2) Bushnell Legend (porro, 24 oz, 430 FOV, fully multi-coated, Bushnell Rainguard coating, $115), (3) Audubon/Vortex Equinox Classic (roof, 23 oz, 336 FOV, fully multi-coated, phase-corrected prisms, raincover, "lifetime" warranty, $180), (4) Eagle Denali (roof, 20.6 oz, 367 FOV, fully multi-coated, phase-corrected prisms, "limited lifetime" warranty, $160), (5) Audubon/Vortex Raptor (porro, 29 oz, 430 FOV, fully multi-coated, "lifetime" warranty, $160), (6) Bushnell Discoverer (roof, 28 oz, 420 FOV, fully multi-coated with XTR coating, "PC3 phase coating", Bushnell Rainguard coating, no warranty (??), $290), and (7) Leupold Mesa (porro, 26.5 oz, 341 FOV, not fully multi-coated, standard Leupold warranty (??), $163).

From that, I can eliminate the Leupold Mesa as not having the light transmission level, poorer FOV, and only a mediocre weight. I can also eliminate the Audubon Raptor and the Bushnell Discoverer, as being heavier than what I want (26 oz is the max). But that still leaves 4 tough choices...

Quote:
I've dubbed it the light cannon in my mind.
Hey fisherman, that's funny because astronomers dub those large Dobsonian telescopes "light buckets" - they gather so much light, they are ideal for looking at deep space objects like star clusters, galaxies, nebuli, & such.

I will add that the Vortex/Audubon/Stokes company, in addition to having an outstanding, Leupold-ish warranty, have some very interesting & innovative products, at fair prices, it would seem (at least the binocular lineup):

http://www.vortexoptics.com/products...FThhIgodqWxWfg

Last edited by FirstFreedom; April 4, 2007 at 12:36 AM.
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Old April 3, 2007, 10:44 PM   #6
fisherman66
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Congrats on the 9000th post.

Light bucket makes more sense since it's capturing not delivering.
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Old April 3, 2007, 11:49 PM   #7
moose fat
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Stiener Military and Marine 8X, bright, clear, kid proof, light in weight.
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Old April 4, 2007, 04:09 PM   #8
FirstFreedom
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Looks good:

http://www.opticsplanet.net/steiner-...inoculars.html

Nice product, but problem is, at 37 oz, they're about 11-15 oz heavier than what I'm looking for, and almost twice the price. Truth be told, if I was gonna run with something over 30 ounces, I'd get one of the vortex Hawk Owls:

Hawk Owl 8x56mm (34 oz), $330: http://www.opticsplanet.net/vortex-h...s-hol-856.html

Hawk Owl 9x63mm (39 oz), $350: http://www.opticsplanet.net/vortex-h...s-hol-963.html


fisherman, ha, I don't if congrats or pity are in order for that - proves I have very little to no life!
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Old April 4, 2007, 06:00 PM   #9
moose fat
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No, no but those are nice. Try;

http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...553&hasJS=true

Cabelas, $199.99, 8X30, 17 oz.

They have been that price for the past four or five years, when I got mine.
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Old April 7, 2007, 04:52 PM   #10
stellarpod
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FirstFreedom:

There is a mailorder store just down the road from you in Norman, called "Astronomics/Christopher's Ltd.". They will sell to you face-to-face and their pricing is generally very good.

For instance, the Pentax DCF HRII's you listed, in size 8x42 are on sale at this time for $239. You can check it out at:

http://www.astronomics.com/main/prod...oduct_id/P842H

I personally use the Pentax 8x43 SP's and have been extremely pleased with them.

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Old April 7, 2007, 05:04 PM   #11
FirstFreedom
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Hey stellar, I got my C130 Mak spotter from Astronomics in Norman, over on E. 24th, South of Main, near Boyd St., right? Thanks for the tip - yeah, I'll check them out for binocs. Here's an update. I decided that I ALSO want these Vortex Hawk Owls here (roofie):

http://www.opticsplanet.net/vortex-h...s-hol-963.html

So wanted to save some money. So that, plus the low weight and excellent optics of it, went ahead and got the Bushnell Legend 8x42 porros with rainguard for a standard size bino, and then the Hawk Owls will be the large/very large - about as big of a binoc as I would care to lug around, for birding/wildlife viewing & miscellaneous uses (and perhaps some hunting).


P.S. I held these Bushnell Legend up and compared them side-by-side in Sportsman's Warehouse, alongside a Brunton Epoch and Nikon Monarch ATB (both roof prisms), and couldn't tell a lick of difference - the Bushnells looked just as good. The Bushnell looked superior to the Leupold Wind River Mesa to me. But it's so hard to tell - I would try to read the fine print on boxes stacked up on shelves way at the back of the store, to compare them. Seemed like a decent test, as we're talking the relatively dim light of indoor lighting. In addition, these Bushnells are actually LIGHTER than the Vortex roof prisms, and lighter than a Swift porro marketed as "ultra light", going for $250 and up! What's not to like about these Bushnells, other than the additional width (bulkiness) of a porro? They have everything the $289 Bushnell Discoverers have, like the PC-3 coating on the prisms & the rainguard, for a lot less (except for the "XTR" coating on the glass, whatever that is).

http://www.opticsplanet.net/busbinsal.html
http://www.opticsplanet.net/bushnell-8x42-legend.html


So stellar, you have these?:

http://www.astronomics.com/main/prod...oduct_id/P843S

Last edited by FirstFreedom; April 7, 2007 at 05:43 PM.
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