Premium large bins from Swarovski, Leica or, Zeiss?

Sid Post

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I am in my mid-50's and live in rural East Texas. When COVID is over, I hope to restart my travels which are usually two-weeks to the Pacific Northwest, Atlantic Northeast coast, Canada, National parks, etc. I also hope to spend more time along the Texas Gulf coast on 'three day weekends'. I like to watch wildlife graze and to a lesser extent birds, and ships going into and out of ports. I'm not much of a plane spotter though I've been known to occasionally watch planes land and take off in scenic places.

In larger binoculars, say 12 power give or take a little bit, what are the better options for what I want without totally breaking the bank? The Leica Ultravid 12x50mm HD-Plus is running right now at $2K but, I wonder about Swarovski options which seem to get better general reviews for the EL's, and I wonder about the steep price increase for NL's and being only 42mm. Then there is Zeiss which seems to be top-notch and generally a lot more expensive than similar options from Leica and Swarovski.

Based on my other post, I should note I wear glasses but, that didn't seem to be a huge factor. Also, being older with smaller pupil dilation can be an issue but, even at 8 power, I think I'm well served with 50mm or 56mm objectives.

Initially, I'm thinking I want 10 power but, with some Minox 8.5x43's I think there is a lot of logic to step up to 12 power though I wonder about hand shake and general use without a tripod. Even big 10's and 8's are likely a similar size and weight so, maybe I'm overthinking the weight and the hand shake issue without a tripod.

In the $1,000 to $2,000 range is best but, the most expensive option is replacing something that didn't live up to expectations and needs. $3500 isn't realistic and I wonder about the performance trade-offs in sub=$1,000 bins.

What am I overlooking?

TIA,
Sid
 

Orange Dust

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The biggest difference is resolution, and why more expensive is better for aging eyes. As my eyes age and they themselves are losing both resolution and ability to see in low light I find I have to have more expensive optics to compensate. More power helps if resolution is "Good Enough". Only you can answer this question by looking through your own eyes. Anyone can easily say more expensive is better, but only you can judge adequate performance / price. Shop carefully.
 

Ranger Rick

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There is the challenge of shake in high power binoculars; however, Canon makes some impressive Image Stabilization binoculars that you should try out. As with any optic, it is always best to try them out at dusk.
 

TheFishBox

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If you aren’t glassing off a tripod don’t even think about over 10 power and 10 is borderline unless you have steady hands. I would take a hard look at maven binoculars.
 

Orange Dust

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Here is a tip when glassing with 10X sitting without a tripod. Wrap your hands around the binos and the brim of your hat tightly and rest your elbows on your knees or a rock. Surprising how much steadier they are that way. Not tripod steady but good enough to see well and really cuts eye fatigue.
 

Sid Post

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Texas, USA
Here is a tip when glassing with 10X sitting without a tripod. Wrap your hands around the binos and the brim of your hat tightly and rest your elbows on your knees or a rock. Surprising how much steadier they are that way. Not tripod steady but good enough to see well and really cuts eye fatigue.
Yes, sort of like building a shooting position with or without a sling.
 

Sid Post

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Texas, USA
The biggest issue I have is lack of any retail support locally. If I want cheap Chinese bins, no problem though. 🤬

I may spend the day driving out to Dallas or possibly Austin to visit some stores with good bins to do hands-on comparisons but, still comparing them inside a store really isn't super helpful for resolution of use at dusk in the countryside.
 

Orange Dust

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Joined
Oct 23, 2015
Messages
2,162
Location
Mingo Swamp
The biggest issue I have is lack of any retail support locally. If I want cheap Chinese bins, no problem though. 🤬

I may spend the day driving out to Dallas or possibly Austin to visit some stores with good bins to do hands-on comparisons but, still comparing them inside a store really isn't super helpful for resolution of use at dusk in the countryside.
make them let you take them outside to look through them or walk away. The employee can go with you if they don't know you. Pick a really dark dreary day when you don't feel like doing anything else.
 

Jeremy338

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Aug 19, 2017
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328
12x42 NL is the way to go. 10x fov in a 12 same weight and size as a 10. Price is crazy but it’s the pinnacle of binos. Wouldn’t settle for less than the swaro’s period. Wether slc or el swaro is simply the best. Stressful decision cause the cost but nice stuff isn’t cheap and cheap stuff isn’t nice.
 
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