Re: What Binos for long range hunting?
Last year I had the opportunity to hunt with four sets of premium binocs. I hauled all four sets out to several big game hunts, including a couple of mountain hunts and some real wide-open western hunts. The binocs had similar specs, all 8 by 40mm or close.
During the hunts I got a wide variety of guides and hunters to use a different set each day or for a couple of days, ensuring that everyone used each pair. I also took them to shooting ranges and asked anyone there to rate them as per their personal preferance. I had dozens of guys look through all four sets.
The binocs were made by Zeiss, Leica, Swarovski and Nikon - they were all top-end models, fairly even in price.
Results - it gets down to comparing superb against superb. Ergonomics becomes a big factor because most eyeballs cannot discern any significant difference. We used them in poor light, rain, bright sun - you name it and although the results varied a bit I was interested that the Nikons got the most points.
This was despite the fact that many viewers had very strong brand-loyalty - seems if a person owns Leica or Zeiss or whatever they do so because they are convinced that is the best brand period.
I own a set of Zeiss 8-56 Nightowls that are superb for long range spotting but they are too heavy to carry in the field (we call them truckbinocs). I do take them a lot but usually in a packsack. My son uses Swarovskis, I use the Nikons a lot or a set of 8-45 Nightowls.
I use the Crooked Horn Outfitter bino flex carrying system that is sort of like a shoulder harness - it is the only way to carry any binocs, large or small.
Seems like really good binocs give the impression of being stronger than they really are - for example top-end 8 power binocs are frequently mistaken as being 10 power. Of course the biggest difference (compared to cheap glass) is how easy they are on your eyes at the end of the day, how long they stand up to rugged use and how they feel in your hands. Plus you can define things with good glass that you can not see with cheap glass, in good light and particularly in poor light.
Brightness, sharpness and color trueness are so hard to quantify that most guys form opinions that are very hard to verify - since everyone has different eyeballs and accuity.
Good glass, whether in binocs, scopes or spotters is worth having.