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Old April 4, 2012, 08:27 PM   #1
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$100 Binoculars?

What are the best general purpose or compact ones for $100? Thanks.
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Old April 5, 2012, 09:36 AM   #2
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I'm no expert when it comes to optics, but my personal experience is that there are no binoculars at that price that are worth owning. The cheaper binocs that I've owned at various times all eventually suffer from collimation problems (i.e., the two sides look in slightly different directions) that make them virtually unusable, and even without that issue the glass has problems with resolution and light transmission.

I have a pair of compact Pentax binoculars that (as I recall) I paid about $250 for around 10 years ago and I find them to be quite good, but clearly inferior to the high-end Swarovski and Zeiss products, which of course come with very high-end price tags. If you get a chance you should look through one of the other brand just to get an idea of how good binoculars can be. Unfortunately, you'll forever after be dissatisfied with lower-end products but at least you'll have a standard to judge them against.
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Old April 5, 2012, 10:01 AM   #3
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I understand that you get what you pay for generally. That being said, true quality binoculars are not my highest priority so I am just hoping to get the best I can for about $100 + or -. Thanks for your input though.
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Old April 5, 2012, 11:18 AM   #4
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If age isn't an issue....

What magnification? I picked up some WW2 German ddx binos in 6x for $80. Very clear. I picked up some 1950's French surplus 8x Hensoldts for $75; they had a couple specs on the lenses but nothing I can't accommodate. Both are good, solid, general purpose binoculars. The WW2 binos fog up when it's cold out. I use the 8x for plane watching at the local airport; they haven't seen bad weather.
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Old April 5, 2012, 03:07 PM   #5
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Sadly the old "You get what you pay for" is becoming less & less true as everything is being made in (insert 3rd world country here) & re-branded as a major brand.

Look carefully in all the odd corners when you but a binocular from (insert major Japanese manufacturer's brand here)There is a very good chance it was actually re-branded from brand-X!

Its over $100, but I bought a set of 8X42 Cabela's Alpha Extreme full sized a few years back & they are (or rather were) exactly the same as a major Jap brand for $100 more & for only another $450 I could have had a major German high quality label stuck on them.
I've had them a while & they are excellent glasses & have had zero problems despite of hard use quite a lot or the time.

Check out some of the store brands, they are secret sleepers nowadays.
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Old April 6, 2012, 08:51 AM   #6
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If I was limited to $100 for binocs, I'd probably go for Nikon or Pentax. I've got some 9 power Nikon compacts that somebody gave me years ago, and they are really clear, though they wouldn't be much good in low light situations.

You might consider getting one of the birdwatcher magazines and see what those folks are using at the low price end. That's a group of people that spend more time using binocs than we hunters do.
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