View Full Version : Binocs: Mini or standard?

April 11, 2001, 08:27 AM
I am [finally] planning to get optics besides scopes.
Plan to get spotting scope soon, so I am thinking a mini binoc would work well enough combined with rifle scope or the spotting scope.

Does that make sense? Any particular recomendations?

I am leaning towards Nikon to start with. Probably upgrading to Swarovski eventually.

April 11, 2001, 06:03 PM
If you are planning to carry them a lot & use them a little, get mini's. The mass of a full-sized set of binoculars will help you keep a steady image and will be more comfortable to use for prolonged periods. Zoom binos that go up to 15X don't have a whole lot of practical value in my book. A good set of 7X35's or 7X50's will take you a long way. Zeiss is the absolute tops, holy cow, they are expensive!

Hot Core
April 12, 2001, 08:41 AM
Hey Glamdring, I agree that if your hunting has very little need for binoculars, then the small ones will probably do fine for you. I would also recommend you not put much money into the small ones.

On the other hand, if your hunting deals with "Low Light" conditions (like mine), then the advantage of the larger binoculars is well worth the effort to tote them. I've used a 10-50mm set for a long time and really enjoy them. Just position your hat so you can reach up with a finger from each hand and squeeze the brim against the binoculars to steady them right down.

The good folks at Bass Pro Shop just built a big store up the road from me here in the Carolinas. I went in looking around awhile back and checked out a lot of their binoculars. Some that I expected to be real good due to the brand and cost, just didn't cut it.

It can be difficult to judge binoculars during the day, but this BPS store is designed with far off, dark un-lighted corners within the ceiling. By looking "into" those dark spots, the different binoculars quickly showed which ones were better for my use. But, lots of them seem to be OK when you are just looking out into the open during daylight conditions.

I found that the Leupold 10-50mm Center Focus Wind River binoculars seem to provide what I'm looking for. They even have a few features I'd not expected and they are around $200.

Biggest tip I can give you though is not to buy anything until you have actually had them in your hands. You just can't go strictly by "name and price".

Good hunting and clean 1-shot kills, Hot Core

April 12, 2001, 12:49 PM
I bought a 9x25 Nikon Travelite IV for $99 years ago and have been very impressed with the quality. It fits in a coat pocket and weighs less than 10 ounces. The best comments on the quality have been from folks with the more common $50 Simmons, etc. They get their hands on the Nikon and won't give it back because it doesn't cause any eyestrain. They just sit and stare for as long as I'll let them. The record so far is an entire quarter of a Redskin's game. He was watching the cheerleaders!

Although it doesn't have the rubber coating of the newer version it has held up to a fair amount of abuse and rain. One example from 1993...After coming in from a morning of duck hunting, I forgot it was hanging around my neck and, after taking my coat off, jerked my sweater up over my head. Imagine my reaction when it bounced off of the ceiling and straight down onto a bare concrete floor. Didn't even scratch the plastic.

Bigger is better, but tiny is easier to live with if it will do what you need it to.


April 12, 2001, 01:40 PM
I have a pair of Celestron 12X50s that I use. I mount them on a Velbon tripod so they also double as a spotting scope.

April 12, 2001, 03:03 PM
My main binocs are Swarovski 10x42s. They are incredible. I also have an old set of mini Leupolds. Nice to carry, but not in the Swarovski's league.

April 12, 2001, 07:42 PM
Something to consider if you wear glasses (like I do) is EER (extended Eye Relief binocs. Very nice to be able to use teh binocs without having to take off/fiddle with your glasses. Too, no matter what they say about being able to adjust the binocs for "perfect viewing," you'll see better through your glasses.

I've a nice set (~$250 from Cabella's) of 8X35 Nikon Attache series EER. Prety much full-size but when you want to actually see something, the weights well worth it & they're not all that heavy anyway (a nice Cuban-type hitch makes a big difference in carrying then anyway).

I've tried a few difference (kinda cheapies) light-weights & wasn't impressed & have a couple monoculars (nice ones, too) that just don't do what a good set of quality binocs will.

Advice re checking 'em out in person makes great sense. Once you decide what you want, you can always then surf for the best price whereever.

April 13, 2001, 10:34 AM
Well I am really leaning towards the mini's because they would be small enough to carry whenever I am out. Not just when hunting.

I have used other peoples 7x50's & 10x50's and don't really want to lug one of those around. If I was doing serious hunting [something other than white tail] then I would most likely have the Spotting scope with plus the mini's.

I guess part of what I am wondering is that if the choice comes down to having a spotting scope & a mini binoc or just a 7x50 or 10x50 which would be the better way to go? Or what would the practical trade off be?

April 13, 2001, 05:33 PM
I'm thinking that if you need spotting scope magnification, any hand-held bino is not really going to be an adequate substitute. Even with electronic image stabilization, a bino is not going to give you the steady image a spotting scope on a stable mount will provide.

April 13, 2001, 08:17 PM
About 30 years ago I decided that if binoculars wouldn't fit in a large shirt pocket they were too big. Most of my hunting was in the mountains and a large pair was too cumbersome. I have used a pair of Bushnell Custom Compact 7x25 since that time and have been well satisfied. I have hunted with people who bragged on their 7x50 and other large binocs. The problem was that they left them in camp after the first day. Hunting in the mountains will make one realize how important a few oz. are. I always carried a Bushnell Sentry spotting scope when trophy hunting. I have not found the small binocs a disadvantage at dusk and dawn. I agree that larger ones are brighter at those times, but the small ones do what I need to do. I would probably buy the Nikon Travelite 9x25 today. The ones I have seen are excellent. I am not a "big scope" man also. The largest scope I will mount on my big game guns is the Leupold 2.5 - 8 V III. It is about the size of a 6x and is bright and small for a var.

April 16, 2001, 07:28 AM
I agree about the high magnification, I like Leupold's 2-7X for most things except perhaps small varmints.

I think I would use the mini Binoc's more often because I would carry them much more often than a 7x50. And I agree that the spotting scope seems to work much better at the range or for varmint shooting than full size binocs. I was just wanting other peoples opinions since all the optics I have used except for rifle scopes have been borrowed, so I don't usually use them for long periods of times [ie usually just one trip to the range or such].