View Full Version : Any good Binoculars for under $100?

Northslope Nimrod
June 14, 2009, 09:33 PM
Need to get Dad a Father's Day gift. Are there any good Binoculars for under $100?
Somewhat compact would be nice.

June 15, 2009, 09:58 AM
Great idea, but my suggestion would be a gift certificate from his favorite hunting store for $100. Put a note on it that it is only good toward binos.

Couple of reasons:

1) I am not sure you will find good binos for $100 (I am sure others will chime in).

2) There is such a variety of optics available, it is hard to chose the "right" ones, even without a budget. For example, I have some small lightweight ones for hunting the thick stuff during archery season, some mid-sized ones for eastern Oregon (more wide open) still-hunting, I use a spotting scope for eastern Oregon sit and glass, and my range finder is also a fixed power set of binoculars.

Was this the most un-helpful answer ever...:confused:

June 15, 2009, 11:42 AM
Any good Binoculars for under $100? Do you want the short answer or the long answer?

Short answer: No. Spend at least $300.

Long answer: Would you want to go afield with a pair of binoculars that will not focus clearly, distorts the image of what you are looking at, shows colors different than what they really are, and gives you a terrific headache by the end of the day? Of course not. Spend at least $300.

FWIW, my father refused to spend more than $50 on a pair of binoculars, because that is what he paid for his binoculars in 1955, and they were very good (I assume that is true, but that was about 1 week of average wages in 1955). Good lenses are expensive, but there is no need to splurge unless you can afford it. Look at Cabela's Alaskan Guide series for a decent pair of binoculars for a reasonable price.

June 15, 2009, 11:48 AM
Leupold Yosemite

June 15, 2009, 12:16 PM
I've got some Leupold binocs, 10x50's, that are quite nice. Outside of your price range by about double, though.

I've got an inexpensive Bushnell set too, though: 10x42's. They lasted about 5 years of heavy use before the housing was breached somehow (either a lens shifted or the rubber/plastic housing warped) and the inert gas leaked out to be replaced by ambient air. Now they get slight condensation in one lens in extreme environments, but they are still serviceable.

I think they cost me about $40 when I bought them, and they may have breached from my own dang fault rather than manufacturer defect.

All I know, is I see just about the same with both sets when the Bushnells aren't fogged up. The Leupolds are nicer for all day glassing, but I could spot antelope on a hill with the Bushnells well enough.

The Leupolds were a splurge, and I certainly appreciate them.

But companies are putting out decent binocs in the sub-$100 range. I would suggest heading to your nearest sporting goods outlet and trying out Bushnells in the sub-$100 range that are smaller than 40mm objective size.

Heck, I've got some Simmons pocket binocs that I've taken out wildlife scouting and had no complaints about their clarity. They're something around 8x24 power and could be better in low light, but for a near-disposable $20 set they do a good job.

June 15, 2009, 02:38 PM
simple answer...NO

June 15, 2009, 08:08 PM
I've had a pair 8x42 for a few years, top quality,dropped them good and even got the repaired for free, Good company and waranty. You can pick them up for about 250$. Cheap binocular are hard on your eyes and you won't use them like you should. Good binos are a joy.

June 15, 2009, 08:09 PM
You can find some good Redfield binoculars for good prices at some gun shows for a decent price.

June 15, 2009, 08:38 PM
Check The Sportsmans Guide and see if they still carry the Brunton 10x40's.I think they were about 70 dollars at one time.Waterproof and coated glass.I have peeped through a pair and they are ok.

June 15, 2009, 10:02 PM
Leupold Yosemite. I use them for woods hunting or when I really don't want to carry my larger binocs. Very pleased with them for the pice.

June 15, 2009, 10:09 PM
Swarovski EL:p

WildawesomeAlaska TM

June 15, 2009, 10:41 PM
No, but you can get some pretty good Nikons around $200.

June 15, 2009, 10:59 PM
I have these Nikon binoculars and they work pretty good. They are pretty clear but not as clear as a more expensive model. The focus nice and have a diopter focus for the difference between eyes. My eyes get a little strained after looking through them for a long time but it's not that bad. For the price it is a great set of binoculars.


June 16, 2009, 03:32 AM
NO, but if you can spend a little more, you can get him the Steiner 8x30 military marine which are flat out OUTSTANDING glasses.

June 16, 2009, 04:46 AM
Got a nice pair of Sears binos for $25 at the pawn shop...:p

June 16, 2009, 06:49 AM
Watch ebay for lightly used Nikon Trailblazer binos, decent quality and should get close to your price point. Also watch gunbroker for deals, I saw a set of as new Bushnell Excursion EX in 10X42 go for $75 recently.

June 16, 2009, 07:47 AM
anyone will tell you that you need to spend almost as much as the hubble telescope or your just wasting your money. they may be right but i have gotten along just fine and never spent more than 100 bucks on a pair. i guess iam am not alone because they sell a hell of a lot more of the cheaper glasses than they do those 4 figure glasses.

June 16, 2009, 08:02 AM
The used binoculars on Astromart can be quite excellent for under 100 and the sellers are consistently better than Ebay IMO for this type of stuff (I'm one of them:)). If you want to buy new for under 100 I would consider Orions or Celestrons, they are higher quality than the Bushnell, Tasco stuff you find in department stores.

If you want more assistance you can PM me, I'm an amateur astronomer and I use a lot of binoculars.

June 16, 2009, 08:23 AM
Carl Zeiss makes some nice ones, but you won't get 'em for $100. I'm thinking the gift certificate is the best route. Let Dad decide if there are decent $100 binoculars to be had.

I don't know how many things people bought me as gifts that I just don't use because it wasn't exactly what I wanted. I have stashes of brand new stuff all over the house. Gift certificates aren't real glamorous, but I wish I got more of them.

June 16, 2009, 08:41 AM
You might choose some for him & they might not suit HIS eyes :eek: Let him choose...... get him a general gift card for a store, not just for bino's.

The reason I say this, is the binoculars I use cost me $9.95 (I got 3 sets) from an el cheapo shop. I keep one in each car and one in my range bag. Some of my friends have +$300 bino's at the range, I dont see $290.05 worth of difference from my set.... mine are all 3 years old and dont have any fogging or anything.... If I drop them, get them dirty or lose them, I can get more for $10 a shot.... let him buy some binos, a knife and some other stuff rather than just one expensive set of bino's :D When it comes to presents, more is better

Just my 2c worth :D

June 16, 2009, 09:44 AM
A few things I've learned the hard way.

Don't go cheap on:

That said, there's no reason to buy the most expensive either unless you just want to. The Yosemite are quality glass under $100. Minox 6.5 IF are an excellent value under $200. From the $300 mark it's harder and harder to find poor bins.

Some of my friends have +$300 bino's at the range, I dont see $290.05 worth of difference from my set

The range is not the place to test bins. Low light areas where shadows are abundant is a much better place to compare glass. Moving from one set to another immediately will identify that missing $290.

June 16, 2009, 09:47 AM
You might choose some for him & they might not suit HIS eyes

This is true, for example if he has astigmatism and wears eyeglasses he'll need lots of eye relief (18mm or more) or it's like looking through a peephole.
What he will use them for and where is important as well. Low light needs large objective lenses.

June 16, 2009, 09:48 AM
I tried them one after the other at the range, still couldn't see THAT much difference...

Each to their own.... I like cheap, others can suit themselves.... no probs ;)

June 16, 2009, 09:53 AM
Again my friend, the range is NOT the place to test bins. I carried cheapos for years until I was given the opportunity to field test some very nice ProMasters. I was stunned by what I was missing. My eye's have seen the light, my three year old son has my bargain bins. Dusk or Dawn glassing will reveal some very useful information.

Whether or not you care to take the dusk challenge doesn't make me the slightest difference. If yer happy that's all that matters, right?:)

June 16, 2009, 10:13 AM
Absolutely correct, my friend :D

When I win lotto.... I might buy an expensive pair ($29.95) :D

Nah, If I won Lotto, I would buy a set with infra-red, ultra green, night vision, green dot/red dot (any color dang dot I want!) super sonic, teflon coated.... hubble quality.... and I might even pay up to $70 :eek::D:D

June 16, 2009, 02:57 PM
zeiss classics were only 800$ at cabelas a while back...i love em. took a guy hunting and he whipped out a set of bushnells i think and said these cost me 150 bucks...we were looking at some elk at about 400yrds early and in the trees. after a few minutes he asked...are there any bulls in that herd...i handed him my zeiss'....he left his binos in the truck after that and said he was going to buy a pair of good glasses b4 the next hunting season.

you cant hunt or shoot what you cant see. buy good glass.

same goes for scopes...just last weekend...good friend and i went to sight in rifles...he has a leupold of some sort. i have all zeiss. we went out to 400 yrds and he said where the heck did the target go? he couldnt get a clear focus...looked through my conquests..."im buying a new scope for myself this christmas."

June 16, 2009, 03:12 PM
only 800$

You must be in a different tax bracket than me - I don't think I have ever used "only" and "$800" together in a sentence....:p

June 16, 2009, 03:45 PM

No kidding!:D

You know, the OP asked about <100 dollar binocs, I don't why anybody is talking about Zeiss or Svarovski.:p

Seriously, think outside the sporting goods box, the big astronomy outlets have some binocs with excellent optics at reasonable prices.

June 16, 2009, 04:29 PM
were just funnin around. but actually you can find them on ebay for a few hundred and at auctions for less sometimes

June 16, 2009, 05:03 PM
I got my dad some Nikon Action Zoom in something like 7-15X, adjustable. They work very well. I know increased zoom doesn't make up for clarity, but while not as clear at 15x it's still very serviceable. As I recall they were refurbished for $79. Also check out thesamplelist.com where they have Nikon Action 12x binos for $120. I also like the Leupold Yosemitie, which you can go check out at your nearest Academy for $100.

June 16, 2009, 06:08 PM
"I don't think I have ever used "only" and "$800" together in a sentence...."

i hear that brother :eek:

June 16, 2009, 08:27 PM
I grabbed up a pair of these http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/cb/steiner-10x26-mm-safari-pro-binoculars.aspx?a=478716 and have been pretty happy with them.

So far I've only used them predator hunting and bear watching. They'll get the real workout in September during moose season, but you could do a lot worse than Steiners for the money.

June 16, 2009, 11:49 PM
Find an auction/estate sale in your area. Sometimes you can get good deals.

June 17, 2009, 08:11 PM
Leupold Yosemite

Another vote for these. I picked up a set at Gander Mountain on sale and love em

James R. Burke
July 1, 2009, 07:59 PM
There correct no. The gift certifacte sounds like a great idea.

July 1, 2009, 08:51 PM
Nikon Action binoculars.

July 2, 2009, 07:19 AM
You are going to need it if you want to find good binocs for less than a $100. I would recommend looking for a good used pair if you really want to get decent optics for the price you are looking at swfa.com.

July 2, 2009, 08:29 AM
Optics are kind of an interesting point right now. I was briefling dabbling with the idea of getting into some amateur astronomy after going to one of the state science conferences. The telescope folks seem to have this exact same schism. Some swear up and down that anything less than $300 is a waste of time. Others (folks like astronomy professors at local universities) indicate that optics have come a long way and you can get "more than sufficient" quality for $100 or so.

Ironically, pretty much everybody recommends a good pair of binoculars to begin with (Good defined by them seems to be about $150 or so).

Probably like vhs vs dvd or regular cable vs HD - you don't really notice the difference until you look through the good stuff and then go back to the crap. Then again, if the cheap version gets you everything you need...

Big Ugly Tall Texan
July 2, 2009, 08:31 AM
I have a pair of 20x50 that cost me less than $30.

The 7x50s and 10x50s are available at Wally World for well under $100.

That said, the gift cert idea is a good plan.