The guys have given you good info. If you can hold off a bit the suggestion to save up a bunch more dollars and buy a superior model is worth it. Why? You have to use topend binocs to appreciate them. If you haven't you simply cannot compare with others. There are some intangibles such as they are built tougher, interior design such as how the lenses are secured is stronger and better. This means that they can be repaired, rather than thrown away as unrepairable if you have an accident. Natually the glass is higher grade, better quality, coatings etc so the image you see is sharper and you can see in much poorer light.
I am fortunate to have several topend binocs to use at any given time - as well as some lower priced binocs. Some of the lower priced binocs are very good, but they are not up to the highenders. What is "in" now with the highend binocs is light weight - they are all bringing out lighter, better handling binocs.
What pair to go for? Only your pocketbook and your own eyes can make that decision. Zeiss, Swarovski, Lieca, Nikon, Steiner and others are all superb. A real sleeper is the topend Nikon XL's, they are at least as sharp, bright and tough as the Europeans. I am amazed at how well they take on the others but they are about the same $. I have been using the newest Zeiss 8x42's and they are much lighter than my old Nightowls. In a head to head test the Nikons were sharper (higher resolution) than the Zeiss for some of the testers. I use a U.S. military resolution target to quantify and compare resolution of scopes and binocs.
Understand that there is no "best" binoc because the pair that my eyes work best with might not be the pair that your eyes see best through. When you get up to the 1000 dollar range you are usually comparing superb with superb.
I suggest that you take your time. Regardless of how much money you spend go to a big retailer and put several binocs on the counter. Then spend some time looking for the finest details you can spot, and look into the darkest, poorest lit locations in the store. I have been amazed when doing this - had several pairs of 7-35's on a Cabela's counter one time - one particular set just blew the others away. It beat binocs that were over 200 more dollars spendier.
Buying a really good set of binocs can be a lifetime investment, why not do it once and get all that saticefaction every time you use them?
If you decide not to spend more money check out the Cabela's Alaskan Guide binocs - they are great. Right about the dollars you are talking. They are very sharp and bright, great warantee, clicks on the focusing wheel, worked well for me on several recent hunts. Nikon Monarchs have also been great hunting binocs and would be in that range also - not sure if Nikon changed their name but probably still have Monarchs in their line. I know hunting guides that leave more expensive binocs at home and use Monarchs.
Good luck with your decision, hope the above does not muddy the water for you.
My eyes found the Leica a touch better in low light and resolution than the other top brands. I liked everything else about them too; smooth focus wheel, wide FOV etc. Doubt I'll ever trade them in except for the new Leica Geovid.
There's nothing like a pair of top end binos.
Best to find a retailer that'll let you check to compare binos outdoors near dark, or under street lights in darker unlit places at night. A Ziess resolution wall chart (not sure what it's called?) will separate the great from the very best binos.
TAC, Two very good buys in the market place. The 8X30 Wide Angle SLC Swarovski run around $650-$700 on Ebay new. Great glasses. I've owned a pair for years and are my favorite 8 power. Cabela's has a 10X40 Classic Zeiss binocular that they have exclusive sale on for $750.00. Nice glass also, but not as delux as the newer models of Swarovski, etc. Also, watch Ebay. An older pair of 8X30 Swarovski just sold for $400.00 because of the old style rubber eye cups. Lots of deals at gun shows. Go around and look at models and decide what you really want. Then if you see a used model, you can snap it up. Good luck. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
thanks for the information, I do appreciate it. I went today and looked though all of the upper end binoculars - Steiner’s, Kahles, Nikon Lx (wow), Swarovski’s, and Leicas. My favorites were… Leica Ultavids 10x42.
What I can afford – maybe someone else’s who’s upgrading.
The counter guy (Sportsman’s warehouse), broke out a pair of Leica range-finding binoculars that ranged out to 1500 yards, nice but had a price tag of $1,700.00. He said there was a waiting list of five for the 8 power version of the same model!
It’s pretty exciting to see the technology that’s becoming available. Maybe in another five years these will be commonplace and offered more affordably. In the mean time I’ll watch for a second hand pair of Nikon LX’s and Leica’s
Wapiti's suggestion of the Zeiss 10-40 Classics is a great idea. I used them for years and they are superb hunting binocs. Nice size, super sharp and bright. Cabela's has an excellent deal on them - they are an "older" model but they are very good. I have been on several hunts where most of the participants carried this binoc - they were guys who hunt all over the world and could afford any binoc they liked.
I have been using the ATB 8X for a few years now and am very happy with them. They are now dirt cheap so my best bang for the buck. are they as good as the mega buck Euros, of course not. Are they good enough to hunt with and glass effectively out to 1KM? They work for me.
Excellent low light performance and resolution. so let's say they are 90 to 95% the performance of the big boys. $1000 is worth a bit of edge fuzziness. Not as flat when panning but since I usually look at an area then move to another, this has not posed any problems. Compact and lightweight. So far, weather resistant under some pretty heavy snow.
Here is another gem. Just picked up the Action EX in 12X50. Better coating and the same style of glass as the ATB. All I can say is WOW. Great resolution, clarity, and colour. Even under foggy conditions had no issue defining thin branches on a hillside 2KM away. Branches are well under 1". Yes, I have visited the hillside to measure.
Would a high mag Swarovski be better? I hope so but these would be able to spot all the game I want at that range. Switch to a good spotting scope for final judging and leads away.