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Old June 14, 2013, 08:22 AM   #1
JerryM
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Binoculars

Binoculars are one of the most important items in hunting. Since I bought my first pair, Bushnell Featherlight in 1958, there have been many changes.
I used 8X30 or 7X35's and carried a spotting scope to judge trophies. I never see them mentioned here, but wonder what those who hunt a lot use these days? I decided at some point that if binoculars would not fit in a large shirt pocket they were too large. In the late 60's I bought a pair of Bushnell 7X26, and they served me well here in the West until I no longer hunt.

The prices of some are sky high, and I doubt that they are worth it in a practical way. My old binoculars would let me see game before and slightly after legal hunting time, and identify antlers at reasonable ranges so what would a $1,000 pair do additionally unless one is hung up on a slightly brighter image?
Size and weight were always important so large bins were out.

I recently dropped my Bushnell Custom Compact 7X26 and broke them. I tossed them and have a Vortex Vanquish 8X26 on order just to watch birds in the back yard.

What do many here use?
Thanks,
Jerry
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Old June 14, 2013, 08:49 AM   #2
wogpotter
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For literally decades I used a Nikon compact 9X32 pair, then I got the urge for a bigger unit with better low light performance. Optics had undergone major changes since I bought the Nikons. Not just the optic itself had changed but so had the marketing & re-branding process.
I looked at longer eye relief types as I wear glasses & found most binocs now had enough eye relief anyway that I could use just about anything. Then I started comparing brands (& re-brands)
I ended up with a set of Cabela's "Alpha Extreme" 8X42's & I love them!
They are sold under several brand names for a lot more money, so don't overlook "store brands" nowadays.

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Old June 14, 2013, 08:58 AM   #3
jmr40
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I've never found any of the pocket size binoculars that are acceptable. I understand that some of the high end stuff selling for close to $1000 work, but that is out of my budget too.

I wanted a good pair to take on my 1st Western hunt several years ago, asked for advice on several forums and ended up finding these.

http://swfa.com/Pentax-8x43-DCF-SP-Binocular-P1935.aspx

I only paid $350 for mine. I found a dealer who sold me a display model at a discount, plus they have had a couple of price increases since then. They are a great pair of binoculars and I don't regret spending the money. Especially to be able to get this much quality at the discounted price.

But since then I've discovered these.

http://swfa.com/Leupold-6x30-BX-1-Yo...ar-P48061.aspx

They offer a 6X30 and 8X30. The 6X30's are the ones to buy. They are not pocket size, but made for kids, so they are fairly light and compact. They still fit adults just fine and the glass is amazing for the money. They end up going with me far more often than the Pentax. I've been using a pair for 4-5 years now with no issues.

They are cheap enough to keep in the truck and not worry if they get stolen or damaged. In fact my 1st pair were taken form my truck. I liked them so well I ordered 2 more pair. One for the truck, the other pair for my wife's car. If you poke around on the internet you'll find these highly recommended by some very serious hunters. I discovered them when reading a post on another forum from an Alaskan guide who used and highly recommended them.
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Old June 14, 2013, 09:25 AM   #4
Nathan
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Where do you hunt? What kind of terrain?

The primary difference in clarity between $300 and $1000+ binos IMHO is color rendition. Almost all of the $1000 binos provide a clear, crisp image which provides good enough color rendition that game animals sort of pop out at you.

At $300 - $500ish, I think Nikon, Minox and Pentax do this pretty well.

It is hard to compare the color rendering ability in a store, but there are lots of reviews to read to get you close. In the store, I would really focus on the mechanicals. How easy is the focus? How do they work with glasses? How easily can I adjust the eye matching adjustment. Will it stay? Fine focus ease? Size? Weight? Match to my ideal magnification? Match to ideal objective? Do I shake too much? Speed of use?

Ideals:
Determine your magnification....heavy woods - 6x; wooded with some open space - 7x or 8x, open country - 10x - 12x
Determine objective - I.e exit pupil I like a 5-8mm exit pupil. In theory, 5 is all that is needed.
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Old June 14, 2013, 12:04 PM   #5
AllenJ
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I currently use Burris binoculars and they do OK. I do however plan on buying something better in the future because a while back a friend and I were at the range and he pulled out a pair of Vortex Viper HD's. The clarity and definition were so much better than my binoculars and the cheap spotting scope I use, there was just no comparison.
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Old June 14, 2013, 12:04 PM   #6
wogpotter
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There are a lot of internal differences between differing price range binoculars in addition to color fidelity.

Clamped Vs. Glued Prisms. (Clamped are better) & other mechanical quality features. Optical glass quality, particularly rare earth glass & other exotic things like pyro/zerodur glass & HFT, or ED/ELD types.

What do they actually give you?

Sharper edge performance, everything looks good in the middle but the edges are frequently *meh* for quality. Resistance to flare & ghosting for that "pop" you describe. Mechanical durability, specially if they're going to get bounced around. There are 2 opitcal tracks, one in each side of the optic & they need to be perfectly alligned so they "collimate". Better light transmission, which means more than "brighter", thats a side effect. All the light that goes in goes somewhere. Thoeretically it comes out the back as a "bright" image, but even with coatings & BAK prisms some gets "lost" in the tubes. That becomes "scatter" an image-degrading random set of light scattering everywhere. Even the top of the line models don't transmit 100% of the light!

Want to check a bino for quality? Try this. Holding it at arms length look at the exit point. Is it a perfect, sharp edged circle with nothing but black surrounding it? If it isn't then some scatter is occuring & there is not enough "baffling" (light trapping) inside the unit.

Now reverse them so the objective (front) lens is facing the eye & look about down inside the tubes. What do you see? You sholus see nothing but the front internal surface & a tiny reversed image of the eyepiece.
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Old June 17, 2013, 01:26 PM   #7
JerryM
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I received the Vortex Vanquish 8X26 a few days ago, and am pleased with it. It will fit in a large shirt/fatigue pocket, and is a fitting replacement for my Bushnell 7X26 that I broke.

I almost got the binocular fever reading about the various one on the birds forum, http://www.birdforum.net/index.php, but so far have not fallen so far that I want an expensive pair.
I notice that the Vortex Viper bins have a good reputation if one goes to a med price. There is nothing that can be done to a bin to make it worth over $1,000 to me. Here is a good site that ranks and tests bins.
http://www.allbinos.com/allbinos_ran...king-8x32.html

Thanks to all who made suggestions.
Jerry
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Old June 17, 2013, 10:54 PM   #8
skoro
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Binoculars

Quote:
What do many here use?
I like the compact Bushnell Elite 7x26. Small, lightweight, great optics. Doesn't wear you out carrying them around your neck all day long.

http://www.opticsplanet.com/reviews/...rs-620726.html
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Old June 18, 2013, 06:46 AM   #9
darkgael
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Binos

I own ten pairs of binos from an inexpensive Bushnell to a Swarovski EL. The Swarovskis are marvelous and they ought to be given the investment needed.
That being said, the set that I grab more often than not as I go out is a pair of Canon IS 10X30s.
The optics are top shelf but what makes them my first choice is the IS feature. I press that little button on top next to my finger and the image stops moving. The stabilization is worth a couple of extra Xs in the magnification. When I use them at night for stars, I get an extra two magnitudes over a larger glass that is not stabilized.
If you have never tried Canon IS binos, they are worth every penny.
In addition to the Canons, I have a larger set of IS 14X40 binos by Fujinon. They were developed for marine use. They will stop an image while I am looking from a boat. They are somewhat heavier than the Canons.
Pete
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Old June 18, 2013, 08:06 AM   #10
Beentown71
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Re: Binoculars

Vortex and Zen Ray are the best value in binos that I have found.
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Old June 18, 2013, 08:19 AM   #11
603Country
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Back when I was a kid I finally went from no binocs to some hand-me-down 7x35 Bushnells. Later, with my own money, I went to some Tasco 10x50's. I liked the 10 power, but the binocs were huge and heavy. When I had accumulated a good bit more money, I went looking for some 10 powers that were light, small, rubber armored and had good glass. I found some Leica 10x40's that I was able to negotiate price on, and I still have those binocs today. I recommend 10x40's as what most hunters will get best use from, and you do want the light, small, rubber armored version.
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Old June 18, 2013, 08:37 AM   #12
Hawg
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Swarovski EL's



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Old June 18, 2013, 09:09 AM   #13
KenL
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I have a pair of Leupold Wind River 10x23. I really like them for the magnification and clarity, and on a harness that goes over my shoulders they're almost weightless. Perfect for the 3 mile mountain hike in to our elk hunting area.
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Old June 18, 2013, 09:45 AM   #14
deepcreek
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^^ Nice Swarovskis.

I have been using Leupold 10x42s they work nice and they will focus in to 10-15ft so you can look at lizards and other small creatures. Good light and clarity for the price range-$300.
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Old June 18, 2013, 03:40 PM   #15
skoro
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darkgael -

I'm with you on the Canon IS binos. I have the 10x30 and as you mentioned, they're superb daytime glass. I also have the 15x50 and they're excellent for stargazing. Way too bulky and heavy for stalking/hunting, though.
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Old June 19, 2013, 05:45 AM   #16
darkgael
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Bino

Quote:
I'm with you on the Canon IS binos. I have the 10x30 and as you mentioned, they're superb daytime glass. I also have the 15x50 and they're excellent for stargazing. Way too bulky and heavy for stalking/hunting, though.
Agree that the 15x is too heavy for hunting. The 10x30s, though, are ideal.
Pete
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Old June 19, 2013, 08:43 PM   #17
JerryM
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There are obviously points of diminishing returns as to cost, definition, weight, and ruggedness.

There is nothing that could be done to a binocular to make it worth $700-$1,000 or more for any use I ever had or could conjure up.
I look at the center and not the edge of the FOV and so any advantage as to edge sharpness is not worth much. I do not quarrel with those who want and acquire $2,000 bins, but I would not even consider it. I guess that is the reason I drive a Toyota mini-van instead of a Mercedes or BMW.

If someone gave me a pair of the most expensive 10x40 or 10x50 glasses I would not accept them if I had to carry them on a hunting trip.

I appreciate the comments.
Thanks,
Jerry
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Ecclesiastes 12:13 *¶Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
14 *For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
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Old June 19, 2013, 11:20 PM   #18
Savage99
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I can see well with just about any binoculars however at very long range we wonder "what is it?"

I lucked into Leupold Switch Power binoculars 7X to 12X!

Don't think they make them anymore.

I used them again today!



I found them online however not with the discount.

http://www.rcsoptics.com/leupold-binoculars

Last edited by Savage99; June 19, 2013 at 11:26 PM.
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Old June 20, 2013, 10:57 AM   #19
Jo6pak
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I'm still using my old Nikon Sporter 1. 8x36. that I bought probably more then 10 years ago.
I have looked at newer binos, but frankly the Nikons do everything I need them to do, so I'll keep them until I lose or break them.
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Old June 20, 2013, 01:37 PM   #20
SgtLumpy
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Someone explain, please, how those "Image stabilizing" binocs work?
Sounds like a great idea.

Do they take a digita photo or something?


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Old June 20, 2013, 05:56 PM   #21
wogpotter
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There's a couple of systems but basically they (in real time) detect & instantly reverse the movment causing the image to shift. Some "counter vibrate" the lens guts & some "anti-wiggle" the sensor to reduce the effects.

You watch in real time, its not a recording.

more info here in detail.
http://www.picturecorrect.com/tips/h...lization-work/
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Old June 20, 2013, 06:09 PM   #22
JerryM
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With the exorbitant (in my view) cost of some binoculars, I would like to ask some who own the alpha bins if they believe that they were able to find game that they would not have been able to find with something like a pair of Nikon Aculon bins?

Jerry
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14 *For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
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Old June 20, 2013, 08:57 PM   #23
603Country
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Must admit that JerryM has asked a very good question. Some years ago, when we lived in Houston, it was raining cats and dogs and my wife wanted to know how much rain we'd gotten. The rain gauge was hard to read and was on the back fence (50 feet or so from the back window of the house). I went and got my super duper Leica 10x40 binocs and couldn't clearly read the gauge. She had my cheap Nikon 9x25's that some customer had sent me and she could read the gauge. I grabbed the Nikons and I could read the gauge. Hmmmm. Well, that wasn't supposed to happen. Still, the Leica binocs are the better binoculars and I can use them for hours with no eyestrain. The Nikons, and my new Nikons that we keep in the house for deer watching, aren't as clear around the edges. The Nikons will do fine, but I'll stay with the Leicas. The Leica binocs just ooze quality, whereas the Nikons don't, though they have good glass.

I didn't pay full price for the Leicas anyway. I was in Houston at the Carter's Country on I-10 and the guy behind the counter was watching me staring at the Leicas. He asked if I wanted them ($800 was the price back then). I said I'd buy them at $500 and I slapped my checkbook on the counter. He declined the offer, and I went to look at reloading supplies. He drifted back to me later and asked if I had been serious. I said that I certainly was, and he said he'd sell them to me at my price. Later, I thought the wife might choke me to death. Those binocs are just perfect in every way. Would have been worth a little choking by the wife.
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Old June 20, 2013, 10:52 PM   #24
JerryM
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Thanks, 603Country,

I have no doubt that the Leicas are superior bins. They should be rugged and clear. Of course it does not worry me that the edges of my bins are not as flat and clear as the center as alpha bins. The center is where I look.

There is a satisfaction in owning quality, and to a point it is worth what one wants to pay for it. As stated I drive a Toyota Sienna instead of a Mercedes because the mini van does everything I want.

From reading on the BirdForum binocular section
http://www.birdforum.net/index.php, if I were to buy larger hunting bins I would go for Vortex Viper 8x32. The price is less than $600, and assuming a "lifetime" use would be worth it.

I just cannot imagine that one could do anything that would make as set of binoculars worth over a $1,000 to me.

Thanks, again, Jerry
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Ecclesiastes 12:13 *¶Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
14 *For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
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Old June 21, 2013, 07:40 AM   #25
jmr40
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Building optics is like building a race car. You can get to 180 mph on a budget. To get up to 200 mph might cost 10x more than getting to 180. How bad do you really need that extra 20 mph?

The same is true with optics. For my needs most of the sub $200 optics are not up to my standards. There are exceptions, and good deals can be found, but right around the $200-$300 range is where I find useable glass that I can afford. I own more expensive stuff, bought used, that is better. But not enough better for me to justify the extra cost at full price.
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