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Old 11-18-2012, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by joseywales44 View Post
It depends on what you want to do with them and what performance you expect from them. I like Nikons, they have very good lenses. If you're planning to use them in a wet environment, waterproof is the only way to go. I bought a pair of Nikon 7x50 waterproofs from optics planet for around $170.00 USD. They are not light weights, but the performance justifies the weight (IMO).

A little tutorial on binos... a little math first, divide the size of the objective lens (the big end) by the magnification power (exp. 35 divided by 7=5). By doing this you get the light gathering ability number for this particular unit. Anything below a "5" is MAINLY for daylight use...not to say they CAN'T be used in low light, they're just not as effective.

The higher the magnification, the smaller the field of view (usually expressed as X feet @ 1000yrds). Higher magnification is also NOTICEABLY less stable image wise (higher magnification, well, magnifies the tremors caused by your muscles, breathing and even your heartbeat). Ten power magnification is about the most you can use, hand-held and expect a (semi) stable image. 7x50s are, IMO, the best all around glasses for day & night (7.14 light gathering ability).

I would love to have a pair of Zeiss 8x56s and I'd give up that little tad of light gathering ability, sadly... out of my budget.

Low priced binos are not going to be as sharp and clear, they may be fine at the center of the lens, but the closer to the edge you get, the fuzzier the image becomes. I have some Bushnell 8x24 H2o compacts that are really blurry at the edges. I chose these for compactness & water resistance and got a very poor compromise.

If you can wait a bit and save a little more money toward the purchase, I think you'd be more satisfied in the long term with a pair of binos in the $150.00 to $200.00 range and the 7x50 power range.

the other factors you should consider are the lens coatings and prisms used. the higher end binocs go to considerable length to polish and then use several different coatings to let the most light through and that adds much to the clarity and colors seen through the lens. they also sometimes prefer the bak-4 prisms over the bk-7's especially at lower powers (8x or less) because they let a more light through to the eye pieces.
in optics, you really do get what you pay for. but, sometimes, you can get lucky.
Old 11-07-2014, 12:03 PM
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I'd never go higher than 8x because of "shake" factor.

Started out with a $12 pair of minis from Wal-Mart; due to my lack of advanced training and gross inexperience in the wilderness, I accidentally stepped on them & broke them.

Upgraded to a $250 pair of what ever they were called, and lost them in an Austrian parking lot.

Plan to get a $12 pair from Wal-Mart. Nice binoculars are nice, but for me, the incremental "niceness" isn't worth the big, big bucks.
Old 11-07-2014, 12:22 PM
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These are actually a great choice. Light, 8x magnification, one handed focus, good field of view, and not expensive.

Old 11-07-2014, 02:06 PM
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I've been in proximity to a monocular for years. "Bi" is much preferable in my personal view....though to each their own.

BTW just for me, I find binoculars invaluable for urban tourism but that their utility in the outdoors to be limited.

Probably invaluable for scanning open country for game or enemy troops, or counting the whiskers on a squirrel from 10 yards & identifying which ever sparrow breed that one happens to be.

..but especially in dense forest they certainly aren't a necessary impediment.
Old 11-07-2014, 10:39 PM
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I have gone to using a spotting scope over all the binoculars I have ever had.
Greater range, better definition ,and a little less space in the bag, about the same weight.
Old 11-08-2014, 09:27 AM
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There are no good $100 binoculars.

Hang around with some professional hunting guides or birders. They can show you what good binoculars are like.
Old 11-08-2014, 02:16 PM
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I use a Leupold 10x20, 40mm Gold Ring compact spotting scope. Its waterproof, shockproof and fogproof. Great glass. They retail about $350, but I found mine, not a scratch on it for $130 on ebay. The shake factor is annoying at first but I control it very well now that I'm used to it.

Last edited by elmojo; 11-08-2014 at 02:20 PM.. Reason: added info
Old 11-08-2014, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by reddirt14 View Post
Certainly Nikon has some good glass, as well as others.
I had a pair of Nikon 12X50, the eye cups had dry rotted away because I would leave them out on the back porch to scan the hills. I asked Nikon for new eye cups, and they said send them in, we'll give you an estimate of repair.

They sent me a pair of brand new glasses, free, these were more than 30 years old!!!

Old 11-08-2014, 03:52 PM
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I have an old pair of Jason auto-focus 7x35 binoculars that I love. I can look at a beetle by my foot and look up and see clearly at any distance.

They are now sold by Bushnell and called "perma-focus" I believe.
Old 11-09-2014, 12:32 PM
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I've got an older pair of Minolta's that are really great. 10x50, I think, with rubberized coating. Also a nice pair of zoom Nikon and Minolta all fairly inexpensive and bought off Craigslist. I've also seen some really monster ones for sky observing made by Celestron but can't vouch for the quality. They're under $75, I believe.

Just be sure to check the optics for moisture, condensation, mildew and alignment when you buy used.


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