This is for spotting those hidden groundhogs and watching the show beyond 500 yards. Here are models I'm considering and I'd appreciate the advice of the board on them, as well as other ideas.
Power of about 20x is what I'd like, and clarity is just as important to me. Good glass comes with a cost, but I'm not terribly critical. I don't want the power to be wasted in a fuzzy image and would like to eliminate eye strain for all day hunts. I'm hearing that asronomy binos generally aren't good for terrestrial application.
The Steiner Senator 20x 80 would be the front runner if they weren't so costly. Zeiss Classic 15x 60 is even more over budget.
Because I haven't seen any of these models, I'm curious if the less expensive Asian optics' quality is as cheap as their price. I haven't yet seen a Nikon product that fits my needs.
Hart Long Range 25x 100. This might actually be the Zuhmell Tachylon, as the spec's are alike. How clear these are and country of manufacture are an unsolved mystery as of yet.
Oberwerk 20x 90 and 22x100. Possibly Chinese, as their website states their military model used to be available to no other country.
Pentax 20x 60 PCF. A 3mm exit pupil is getting on the small side.
If there isn't a good buy out there, I might just have to wait and save for the Steiner Senator.
Thanks for your input and the links. To be sure, the Sportsman's Guide price is by far the lowest. In fact, the price was so much better that I got suspicious and studied the details.
Someone I know on another shooting board deals in some expensive optics, and he advised me NOT to get astronomy binos for terrestial use. The Stiener Observer falls into this category. And there must be some reasons why it costs so much less than the Senator model.
The model with the best price is the Steiner Rallye. This is an unknown line to me, and it's not even listed on the Steiner website. And since it costs even less than the Observer, It's tempting to conclude that I'm going in the wrong direction with an even lesser line, like the Rallye might possibly be.
Even though I'd very much like to get a long range bino, it ought to be something that works well. Glass that turns my eyeballs inside out after a few hours of use isn't worth it to me, even if it's free. I'd much rather use my 10x50 B&L Legacy any day.
I'm not looking for a free lunch, but I still want to eat right.
If you've got good binos, I'd be tempted to just get a good spotter, and use it as needed. 20x binos are something you very seldom need. I can see all the prairie dog I want with 10x Pentax binos or even my 8x Swarovskis.
Sounds like you're pleased with your system and that it works well for you. The places I hunt groundhogs are surrounded by fences that have 3-6' of brush and overgrowth on each side, with the majority of the groundhog holes in these dense areas. The rascals will often stay in the cover and are hard for me to discern at distances of 500 yards and more. I see lots of hogs here close up, but I'm hunting more farms now that are new and am not seeing them but know they're present. I'd really appreciate it if they'd all go out in the field for me!
With binocular vision, I've learned that I "see" lots more with twice the information for my modest brain to process. From a nedical standpoint, we really see with our brains and not our eyes anyway. I work with microscopes for a living, and it makes a big difference to have two eyes in use on tissue...the depth of field advantage alone is worth it.
Also, I would like to see more detail in the hits when spotting for my son and shooting buddies. It may sound like using binoculars is excessive, but I've found it really increases the fun factor for me.
We don't have PD's in Va, so I just hunt what we've got on my kinfolks' farms for varmint control. You're blessed to be in a situation to hunt them.