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Thread started 12 Jul 2012 (Thursday) 10:17
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bionocular help

 
jdfinch
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Jul 12, 2012 10:17 |  #1

can anyone recommend a good pair of bionoculars for under 500 dollars . can't afford zeiss or swarovski. will be used for a trip to yellowstone.




  
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harv3589
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Jul 12, 2012 10:35 |  #2

Minox are suppose to be not bad....you can buy preowned certified ones from Camera Land in NYC. I have bought a number of binos and camera gear from them. Service is great.

What size are you looking for?




  
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crn3371
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Jul 12, 2012 11:06 |  #3

I've got a pair of Canon 10x30 IS and love them.




  
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luciddreamer
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Jul 12, 2012 11:15 |  #4

Nikon (don't shoot me) makes some nice bins in the $300-400 range.


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Russ61
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Jul 12, 2012 11:46 |  #5

I have a pair of Nikon Monarch 10 x 42 that I've used frequently (ie several times a week) for a year, purchased thru REI w/ member 20% sale for about $250. Highly rated by numerous sites. A bit dated but otherwise comprehensive info at reknowned Cornell Ornithology Lab's binocular testing (external link). My single complaint about the Monarchs is the Nikon eyecup covers....they're useless. I replaced mine with a Vortex version (external link) ($12). I also recommend the Op/Tech binocular harnesss (external link) (webbing, ie NON elastic version) for $12....your neck will thank me and it won't swing out to crash into things when bending over!

Vortex models are generally very good value and the company (Wisconsin) stands behind their products with lifetime warranties. I recommend purchasing thru the good folks at Eagle Optics...great customer service.

10 x 42 are probably best for Yellowstone. Anything with higher mag will be hard to hold steady. IS binocs are a nice concept but I find they don't othewise deliver high IQ. For that kind of money I'd rather put it toward a spotting scope and/or Swarovski binocs. If you otherwise are going to use the binocs in denser woodland (ie closer viewing), perhaps a pair of 8 x binocs.




  
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Jon
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Jul 12, 2012 12:35 as a reply to  @ Russ61's post |  #6

crn3371 wrote in post #14706693 (external link)
I've got a pair of Canon 10x30 IS and love them.

Ditto.


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bps
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Jul 12, 2012 14:28 |  #7

I agree with Russ61. We have a pari of Nikon Monarch 10x42s and they're great. Definitely a great binocular in the $200-$350 range.

Bryan


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hfgarris
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Jul 12, 2012 15:06 |  #8

I have a pair of Canon 12x36 IS II and really enjoy them.
Great for watching the wildlife around here.


-howard




  
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Jptenberg
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Jul 12, 2012 17:54 |  #9

Nikons are nice, but look into Leupold...I think they blow Nikon away. Also, sierratradingpost.com has some nice optics once in a while at really nice discounts. It's kind of hit or miss, but worth checking into.


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Lionel
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Jul 12, 2012 19:29 as a reply to  @ Jptenberg's post |  #10

I have Steiner 8 X 30 forgot how much they cost but are excellent....




  
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Lone-eagle
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Jul 12, 2012 21:09 as a reply to  @ Lionel's post |  #11

The are good I have a pair Nikon Monarch 10 x 42


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stink ­ tooth
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Jul 12, 2012 21:35 |  #12

Nikon Monarch 8x42 is a solid set up. I would stick with the 8x42 as if you step into the 10x42 or even the 10x50 your going to get more mag yes but your going to have a much harder time keeping steady enough to see well. When I go elk hunting many guys laugh cuz I am nearly always take my 8x42 Leica ultravids and have a much easier time holding them steady after a long day in the field.

I would never buy good optics from an online catalog, Go to the store and look though every set and spend time looking into shadows across the street and what not into shadows. if you can show up at dusk and use the low light to see which pair is better. Even in the same brand and model you will have some pairs that are better than others. My MIL's Monarchs are nearly as good my Lieca ultravids until it starts to get really low light. But they are are a factory freak set to my eye.

The last 2 sets of Binocs I have bought, I would show up every night for about a week at my local army/navy about 40 mins before dark (and closing time), and sit out from with about 12k in glass in a camping chair (Yeah they know me well there) and glassed all over in the fading light to figure out which glass was best. It may aggravate the guys working some, but when you are going to drop that kinda money on glass you want to get the best of even the best.

Anyway when you are looking at them. Hold them out at about arms length and check the exit pupil to make sure its perfectly round. it will be the little circle of light in the middle of eye piece lenses at arms length you want round like the pupil of your eye. I have seen a pair of nikons that slipped past q/c with a oval exit pupil


Also if you can swing it, I would really consider the extra 300 bucks or so, for the Zeiss Conquest line. I have been very very impressed with them. The glass in them is still German schott glass works (IIRC) glass, they are just assembled in Austria I think (or maybe its one of the old east block countries). For the price point you really cant beat the quality you are going to get, you have to step into Zeiss Victory, Swarros, or leicas to even come close to getting better stuff. If you do go this route, still do what I describe above to make sure you are getting the best set they have in the store.

Though vortex has some very good rifle scopes on their top of the line models, I have no experience with their binocs, I dont know if they are using some Japanese sourced glass for their binocs like their upper end scopes, or if its the Chinese stuff like in the intro line up.




  
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rick_reno
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Jul 12, 2012 22:14 |  #13

One question to ask is if you'll be spending lots of time with these to you eyes. I've had various bionics; Nikon (still a pair here somewhere), Swarovski (8x56, too big/heavy), Zeiss (7x42) and Leica Geovid (8x42). I think the Nikons are still here, I've only kept the Leicas. I found long use with cheap binoculars gave me headaches. I can spend hours behind my Leicas and not have any problems with eye strain or headaches. If you're going to using them a lot for extended periods of time, save up and buy the best you can find, you won't regret it.




  
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pssc
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Jul 13, 2012 00:01 as a reply to  @ rick_reno's post |  #14

Rick has hit the nail. You need to define how you will use the bino's. If just for looking at critters during the day as you cruise through Yellowstone, the nikon monarch is a nice bino. If you are scouting and looking at hillsides for hours and in very low light, swarovski or leica. I have used many different brands for different reasons. My go to Bino is the Zeiss conquest 10-30's. Great optic and only gives up ground in very low light. Plus it is lighter than my 10-50's. They are the set I take to Africa.

I also have compacts, and find the leica to be very good. Another option is to buy Cabela brand bino's. I have a few of them and they are very good for the price with an incredible warranty and return policy. Mine have been through hell. I keep a pair in both my 4wheelers and boat.

Cheers, Steve


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hollis_f
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Jul 13, 2012 04:42 |  #15

Another reason to go for expensive bins is that that tend to give a brighter image. I'd been to lots of optics fairs, I'd checked out various bins at Birdfair and I went for a pair of Swift Audubon 8.5x44 bins. They seemed just as good as models costing two to three times as much.

Then I went to Samburu in Kenya. At the lodge they put meat out at night for the local leopard - on the far side of the river. Through my bins I could barely make out a darker shadow. Then somebody offered me a view through their Leicas. Wow! The difference was quite surprising. So, when I got home, I did some more research and bought a pair of Swarovskis - and never, ever, regretted it.


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