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Binoculars
#1
Looking to buy some decent mid-range, general purpose binocs. I've gone through a couple of pairs of low-end binocs through the years, and my eyes aren't what they used to be.



Couple bills at most, packable, for use hiking, hunting, fishing and general out door use.



Power, objective lens size, brands, etc. Stopped at my local sporting goods store and the mouth-breathing sales moron was tits on a bull.



Gracias.
I Hear Voices.....And They Don't Like You.



"Further, I propose that this "Moment of Misery" be hence-to-forth be referred to as "Moment of Misery for Misanthropic Yammering", or "MOMMY"!" ~ DDennis2



(what an effing moron. - i feel such pity now for his lovely wife and intelligent children - and maybe even for his food-quality dawg, nick-named "Spicy" sez i.)
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#2
I have a set of Leupold 10x25 Waterproof that I picked up at Dick's Sporting Goods a few years back. I got a free folder knife with them and all told it was just under $100. They are SO much better on my eyes than the cheap stuff . . . and these are cheap for Leupold.

Theophilus
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

  John Stuart Mill
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#3
[quote name='MISANTHROPE' timestamp='1433020541' post='601425']



Power, objective lens size, brands, etc.



Gracias.

[/quote]



Maybe more than you want , but........



I've not had success with inexpensive optics.



I'm personally prepared to spend more on optics than firearms on the basis that if you can't see it you can't hope to hit it.



There’s no substitute for good lenses with good coatings, other than getting closer, more magnification is no substitute.



Being able to discern fine detail at great distance in poor light can be the difference between a successful stalk and a waste of time.



Spotting scopes are better, but more cumbersome and less versatile - ideally they are both complimentary parts of a system for finding and assessing game.



Generally a lot more time is spent glassing than shooting.



I prefer laser range finding to be in the binoculars rather than the rifle scope or stand alone.



So, not sure if these are what you want but they are the definitely the most popular binoculars with my mates.



Leica Geovid 10 x 42 HD-R



http://en.leica-camera.com/Sport-Optics/...ls-HD-B-42



http://en.leica-camera.com/Sport-Optics/...ovid-Range



An essential part of the system is the harness & chest storage option - i.e. they need to be kept constantly accessible and the lenses kept as clean and dry as possible.



My criteria:



Brand - Zeiss, Leica, Swarovski are all good IMO



Optics / design – see technical specs on manufacturer’s web site

-Magnification – 7 to 10x

-Objective lens diameter

-Twilight factor

-Exit pupil diameter

-Roof prism (compact)



Portability

-Weight

-Size



Features

-Range finding – Y/N

-Body armour - toughness

-Lens caps - practicality



Accessibility aids – immediately / constantly available / safe – leaves hands free

-Harness

-Chest Storage

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViluquL383Y



Hard to imagine ML won't offer a opinion on this stuff?



<img src='http://hoodswoods.net/IVB/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/geek.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':geek:' />
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#4
I like deerstalkers list, to it I might add Optolyth, not really talked about much here in the USA but very good indeed, mine have been going strong now about +-18 years, most likely a tier down from Zeiss, I've used my mother in law's Zeiss with some regularity over about the same time period and they are a bit more clear, heavier too.



Buy the best optics you can afford.
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#5
Dear Misanthrope-



It kind of depends whose picture is on those bills- if it's Grant, you're pretty limited. Grover Cleveland would give you more room to work.



Unlike some other goods, optics is one place where price strongly linked to value- you really do get what you pay for. The buyers spec out features and trade off's based on target price- do you want more optical clarity or a tougher body? Water resistance? Coatings? Weight?



If you plan on using them for any length of time, avoid the micro models. The little fold up pocket models are fine for a quick glance to the next ridge, but you need full size glass for any serious work. (I do keep a pair of cheap blister pack mini binos in my work bag for... stuff)



You need to figure out what fits your needs. You can sometimes get more features for the price with a store brand, because the marketing costs are lower. Check warranties and return policies- the boys from Sidney decided to follow the Best Buy route and sell service plans instead of taking care of their customers...



I live on the plains, with bands of forest. My go-to binos are an old pair of Leopold 8x30s. More magnification than 10x or 12x and I start having trouble holding it steady.



Just some rules of thumb I picked up when working in the biz- in your price range Nikon has nice glass, Leopold's Redfield line looks good, based on the one's I've handled in the store. Steiner makes light and rugged stuff. I've not had as good luck with Bushnell or Simmons- but I've been out of the sales side for a few years now, things may have changed.



Just my thoughts,



Don Oso
Don Oso



Now remember, boys and girls, once the pin is out, Mr. Grenade is no longer your friend...



"Toast is just the beginning with your new toaster oven..." 6 Finger Jake



"Ninjas are SUPPOSED to be silent... they're like mimes...with throwing stars..." Overheard in the coffee shop



"Soylens Viridis hominenes est"



"She was the kind of girl you could really carry a torch for... along with all the other frightened villagers..."
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#6
Vortex is 90% of Zeiss or Swarovski quality at half the cost.

They have an unconditional warranty...our fault...your fault....no problemo.

I hope to get Leica Geovid one day....but then.....if I had all of Deerstalker's money.....I could give my money to poor people. <img src='http://hoodswoods.net/IVB/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/whistling.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':whistling:' />



Griz
Hopefully the S won't HTF and I pray every day that it won't. It would not be fun.



I have a high art..I wound with cruelty, all who wound me...Archillocus; 650 B.C.
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#7
Quote:MISANTHROPE - " ... my eyes aren't what they used to be. ...."



Nor are mine. Several years ago I decided it was time to "up grade" my binocular, so I bought a 7x42 Armored Swarovski binocular. Amazing clarity and brightness that made it worth the extra $$$$. Tired, older eyes appreciate fine quality. <img src='http://hoodswoods.net/IVB/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbsup:' />/>/>



I've had it for years now, have used it hard in all kinds of inclement weather and terrain and it is still perfect. Swarovski has an outstanding warranty if something should go wrong with your binocular. It will last you a long, long time with outstanding viewing.



If, however, the Vortex noted by Grizzly Dave is near the quality of Leica or Swarovski, etc., at less price, then the Vortex binocular might be just the ticket.



Just my take on it.



Good luck.
"Always go straight forward, and if you meet the devil, cut him in two and go between the pieces." (William Sturgis, captain, clipper ship, 1830s.)
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#8
You asked about one mid-size mid-cost pair of Binoculars.



However just in general, there is nothing wrong with accumulating more than one pair of Binoculars for various uses. In fact there are many things that recommend this approach.



I once had a pair of folding Binoculars—something like 4x20 or 4x25.They fit into a nylon case that could be worn on a belt. They cost me $10 at Big Lots on close out.



I had them with me when I would not have had any other optics with me and they were definitely better than nothing.



{I bought them for work when I was stocking with a Fork Truck. They let me read the stock numbers of the bin on the top of a six or seven bin stack without taking the time to bring the top or next to top bin down.}



7x35s are somewhat more compact. For general all around use I'd go with 7x50. I can live with 10x50 but sourly as a man would pick a bitter fruit.



I'd prefer something like 7x60 or 765 if they were commonly available.



I've also wished that I could afford some of the big "Battleship" Binoculars—something like 12x80 or 18x80—something like that. Reputedly you need a tripod to use the big ones since they magnify handshake considerably.



Quality is a good thing and I'm sure that some of the big name optics are worth the difference in price for those with the Bucks—but per the old 80-20 law—you can probably get 80% of the Quality for 20% of the top-end priced items.



I am an enthusiastic supporter of "Tasco" optics.



I've read that they're no longer in business, but can't confirm or deny that assertion.



I get good service from Tasco products and you probably would too.



I've never used any high end optics so I can't compare.



Like the fact that I love my 1903A3 Springfield. I'd like to own a Steyr-Manlicher SSG, but since I've never even got to hold one, I'm still content with my Springfield.



{Yeah, and if I got rich and found a SSG, my next step would be commissioning a Custom Glass Bedded Wood Stock for it. I hate synthetic stocks THAT much. Plastic MIGHT be lighter and more accurate—Maybe—but it is just WRONG.}





…..RVM45
There are only Two Types of People in the World:



A.} People who are After My Guns;



and;



B.} People who are Not After My Guns.



Though I am forced to live in exile, in the Twenty-First century; I am still proud to be a Citizen of the Twentieth Century.



RVM45
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#9
I was looking at the Steiner 8×30 military, good reviews, about $250. But they definitely would eat up a lot of real estate in the pack. About 18 oz.
I Hear Voices.....And They Don't Like You.



"Further, I propose that this "Moment of Misery" be hence-to-forth be referred to as "Moment of Misery for Misanthropic Yammering", or "MOMMY"!" ~ DDennis2



(what an effing moron. - i feel such pity now for his lovely wife and intelligent children - and maybe even for his food-quality dawg, nick-named "Spicy" sez i.)
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#10
[quote name='MISANTHROPE' timestamp='1433119484' post='601461']

I was looking at the Steiner 8×30 military, good reviews, about $250. But they definitely would eat up a lot of real estate in the pack. About 18 oz.

[/quote]



The Steiner military is a good set of glass- they're rugged and light for their size. I like them- as you've noticed,they run a little higher than your original price point, but I think you would be happy with those for all-around use.



Warmest Regards,



Don Oso
Don Oso



Now remember, boys and girls, once the pin is out, Mr. Grenade is no longer your friend...



"Toast is just the beginning with your new toaster oven..." 6 Finger Jake



"Ninjas are SUPPOSED to be silent... they're like mimes...with throwing stars..." Overheard in the coffee shop



"Soylens Viridis hominenes est"



"She was the kind of girl you could really carry a torch for... along with all the other frightened villagers..."
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#11
Ive been really happy with these Bushnell 12x25 compact waterproof binoculars.



They're not too big, optics are good IMO, and they're cheap enough to get a spare set or two. If something DOES happen to them, I won't be terribly upset about it.



- Jesse
Welcome to the internet, you're probably taking it too seriously.

What you see is the result of the perspective you choose.

"Knowledge isn't wisdom unless it's empirical." - My own damn self.

Grand Rapids Michigan
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#12
[quote name='Grizzly Dave' timestamp='1433084620' post='601437']



Vortex is 90% of Zeiss or Swarovski quality at half the cost.



They have an unconditional warranty...our fault...your fault....no problemo.



I hope to get Leica Geovid one day....but then.....if I had all of Deerstalker's money.....I could give my money to poor people. <img src='http://hoodswoods.net/IVB/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/whistling.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':whistling:' />



Griz

[/quote]



I haven't used Vortex optics yet Dave, but that warranty sounds just like Leupold's and I have experienced that......very reassuring.



I am the poor people now days and often reduced to borrowing binoculars, (firearms too) which is how I get to try a wide variety including all the brands mentioned. <img src='http://hoodswoods.net/IVB/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/laugh.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':lol:' />



I'll be using a pair of those particular Leicas this coming weekend as it turns out.



I bought my own Leicas about 30 years ago, but not that model.



Close range in good light the differences are not as apparent, but if you are hunting at dawn or dusk it's very obvious.



Likewise at the range, where it's little holes at long distance the high end optics are in their element.



Sounds like Misanthrope's intended purposes are more broad and the solution over time might even end up being more than one pair - it's not unlike the "if you could only have one knife / gun / pair of boots" scenarios with all the same trade offs and just as many opinions IMO. <img src='http://hoodswoods.net/IVB/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wink3.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':wink3:' /> <img src='http://hoodswoods.net/IVB/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbsup:' />
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#13
More than one pair, isn't that right <img src='http://hoodswoods.net/IVB/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbsup:' /> .....I'm at about 4 a cheepe china made pocket set,,,lives in the car...and hey don't yea know I forgot my go to's one trip and they were just fine for the occasional scan of the horizon,...wouldn't banks the farm on them..but better than none...a pair of Bruton's that traveled over seas and on the high sea's and over several mountains, they live in the kitchen cupboard now and see use on back yard critters and such, a pair of zeiss-jena EDF surplus...bomb proof maybe.. heavy very good glass....I do hunt with them...and my Optolyth.....birding, hiking, any time I leave home and want a good pair, light easy fast to focus...



Out in Yellowstone last summer.....elk and a black critter....wife says I see the black critter could be a bear or wolf with her old bousche and lome small ones.......me with the optolyths definitely a wolf,,,,lots of black fur with some grey.....we stop and pull out grandma's spotting scope, leica, ....yea you can see the individual hairs on the snout...see the black fade to grey on the chest and watch the nostrils move as it lopes around...



good tools make the day ever so much more pleasant.....
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#14
[quote name='Deerstalker' timestamp='1433032188' post='601428']

Hard to imagine ML won't offer a opinion on this stuff?

[/quote]



Speak of the devil and he doth appear.



[Image: Bino4_zpsjptnhvsc.jpg]



A big pile o' fine glass. Clockwise from top: Two pair of the awesome Zeiss 10 x 40: the newer on top, the older to the right; at about the four-o’clock position: Steiner 8 x 30 Military Marine; on the left, the giant honking Steiner 20 x 80. Old Buck 110 Folding Hunter shown at bottom for a sense of scale.



[size="5"]M[/size]Y OPINION ON BINOCULARS, EH? I’ve owned a lot of them. Made plenty of mistakes. Dicked around with monoculars, variable-power binos, roof prism, porro prism, center focus, individual focus, everything from four power up to 20 power. Some of those double-hinged pocket 8- and 10-power abominations. I spent a lot, sometimes tried to save money, overthought my problems, thought I was smarter than the other guy, tried to find a do-it-all solution, went after lightness or good glass or bargains. Took them hunting and fishing and birdwatching and to the opera. In the end I sold off or gave away all of them except for three pair.



Hindsight being 20/20, a lot of binoculars that I thought were good really had optics that looked like Ron Jeremy and John Holms had fired a huge, steaming load of jizz into each lens. You'll find that ultimately, this is what's going to drive you away from whatever you own now, because it’s hard to go back to crap once you’ve experienced something better. Nobody ever says they wish they'd spent less after they see what good glass really is. Of course, if all you know is crap, you think all binoculars much look like that. It may be bliss, but it’s still ignorance. If you’re lucky, you get exposed to some better glass and figure out a way to afford it. I got lucky.



A couple of observations: If you actually survive long enough to collect Social Security, your eyes will probably start getting worse than they were when you were young. Even today, by crude objective measure, my eyes aren’t that bad; I can still pass the State of California driving test without glasses—a pretty frightening thought. But they sure ain’t what they used to be. I’ve clocked myself on the motorcycle racetrack riding with and without prescription glasses—I’m 15 mph faster with the lenses. So in The Rat Bastard’s humble opinion a good pair of binoculars is a future investment against what time is gonna do to your eyes. The Nine-Fingered one may be one cheap SOB, but when it comes to optics money spent now on quality is money well spent for the future.



End of lecture. Here’s what I’ve ended up with:



Zeiss

10x 40 Classic




I like these so much I actually have two pair. The first is probably 35 years old—marked “West Germany.” Zeiss no longer makes this particular model, and as soon as I discovered that sad fact I scored the second pair. I paid about $650 for the first pair new, back when the dollar was kicking ass against the Deutschmark. Today the equivalent model is around a grand, and it's not as good. I like these old ones so much that, were I in the market, I’d look for a used pair. On Fleabay they seem to go between $700-$1000, and you can probably find them at a camera shop too. As long as they haven’t been dropped or the lenses haven’t been cleaned improperly, they should still be a fine choice. Heavy (at about 28 ounces), but man, these hit the sweet spot between size, view quality, ergonomics, portability, field of view, ruggedness and edge-to-edge sharpness. Roof prism. Try a pair of these, then look though something else. You almost feel bad using them because you’re so unworthy. Almost.



I’d rather spend an hour looking though those Zeiss glasses than sitting in any a church for the same amount of time. These are the binos you can bury me with, along with my Raichle boots, ice axe, and my old blue-steel M1911. Even if you can’t afford them, you owe it to yourself to look through a pair if you ever see them for sale. Then start saving. Or get your wife/girlfriend a job dancing at the local tittie bar and steal the bread out of her tip jar. I had and sold a Steyr Professional many years ago, which probably cost about what these cost. Don’t particularly miss the Steyr. No way I’ll ever sell these Zeiss binos. You can’t go wrong with them.



Steiner 20 x 80



These are really sort of “crew served” binoculars, at their best when attached to a tripod using the provided adapter or when resting on a sandbag. Steiner says they’re designed for “border observation, airports and airspace monitoring.” They’re not bad for looking at the moon or planets. But the real reason I have them is so I can watch Sister Theresa through the window at the convent a couple of hundred yards away when she climbs out of the shower, sits on the edge of her bed, and trims her bush with her cuticle scissors while contemplating new forms of sin. I mean, goddamn, you can make out the individual hairs with those Steiners, along with a lot of other juicy detail. New, they’re $1500 for the current military/marine model, but I scored these a long time ago for a lot less. Porro prism. Huge. A ton of fun. Totally impractical—unless the government is paying for them, or your neighbor is a nude yoga instructor who leaves her drapes open. Or Sister Theresa. Then they’re a bargain at twice the price.



This leaves us with the last pair:



Steiner Military Marine

8 x 30




I have to say, these are the binoculars I use 90 percent of the time. Super light, thanks to Steiner’s composite chassis. Porro prism. The optic quality isn’t as good as the Zeiss 10 x 40, but it’s still a lot better than the 7 x 50 Bushnell and Tasco glass it replaced. A real joy to carry, which is why I use them so much. Affordable at between $200 and $250. You’ll take them everywhere. Rugged enough to survive the Rat Bastard lifestyle. Easy to recommend. If I could only have one pair of glasses, I really don’t know if I’d choose these or the 10 x 40 Zeiss. The Zeiss are way better in every way. For instant gratification, the Steiners are easier to find. This is a total budget call. I'd save up for the Zeiss, but you should look through these and they might be god enough.



Actually, I do have a fourth pair, an old set of 7 x 50s, by a name you’d all recognize. I keep them in my office file cabinet. Once upon a time I was proud to own them; now they’re just painful to use. Not to knock the brand, but I’ve been spoiled. I probably look through them once a year. It’s always a disappointment.



[size="5"]S[/size]OME FINAL NOTES: No matter what kind of glass you buy, learn to take care of it. Leupold’s Lens Pen is the bare minimum in the field, but handy. Better yet, go to your local camera store and get a lens cleaning kit from them. Binocular and riflescope lenses differ from most camera lenses in that they (typically) are coated.



Don't let the kids or wife use your binoculars, or you'll go to jail for uxoricide or filicide.



Most lenses are glued into the binocular chassis, so don’t leave your field glasses in a hot automobile trunk, or sitting directly in the sun—the glue can soften, and hard direct sunlight shining through the lenses can multiply solar heat, like an ant frying underneath a magnifying glass.



I tried a bunch of those chest harnesses, stretchy neck straps and other gimmicks too. With my 8 x 30s, I just ditched the strap and tied on a piece of flat nylon cord, long enough so the glasses can hang around my neck. Paracord would work almost as well. For strenuous activity, I hang the glasses around my neck, then slip my right arm up through the loop. The glasses now hang under my right armpit, shoulder-holster style. The Steiners are so light that, slung in this fashion, I can run long distances with them.



The Steiner objective lens caps got loose after a while, so I just smeared some clear silicone calk/sealer on the inside diameter—that made them fit tight again.



A really good readable resource is John Barsness’ Optics For the Hunter (1999). I see the title used on Amazon for two dollars and fifty cents.



Hope that was some useful information. Best of luck with your search. Let us know what you end up with.



Cheers,



--ML



[size="1"]Grand Master King Dickhead Maximum Rat Bastard Slack-Jawed Leftist

White-Collar Godless Liberal California Sheeple Lumpenproletariat Jesuit Illuminati

Samizdat Intelligentsia Cultural Elite Long-Haired Gun-Hippie Desert Roach

Nine-Fingered Mouth-Breathing Mud-Running Motorcycle-Riding Alpha Über Geek

Yuppie Asshole Lazzaroni Neandertal Ragpicking Spaβbremse and Cross-Country Ski Jerk©®™

[/size]



[Image: Bino1_zpsjim1ttsh.jpg]
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#15
[quote name='--ML' timestamp='1433220982' post='601485']



I tried a bunch of those chest harnesses, stretchy neck straps and other gimmicks too. --ML



[/quote]



Always the pragmatist eh.....



I guess everyone is trying to figure out the perfect system.



I've always fancied a prehensile tail or other additional appendage (Joe Gadget style).



Cheaper & simpler is better IMO...so long as it works.



A big chest pocket might be enough for some, but my point is that they're no good in your pack if you're hunting.



<img src='http://hoodswoods.net/IVB/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cool.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='B)' />
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