Trouble seeing detail through binos

megastink

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2011
Messages
526
Location
Southeast PA
So there I was, sitting in the hill in my avatar photo last Sunday. It was about 11am in the morning, and from the left hand side of the swamp, 200 yards away, steps out a buck. Here in PA, a shooter must have three points on one side of at least 1" long. This buck had nice, wide inside spread, good mass at the base, and beautiful chocolate colored antlers. However, I only saw two points on either side; which would qualify this busk as the biggest four pointer I had ever seen. I put my Bushnell binos to my eyes and STRAINED to see brow tines. Hoping and praying, but I couldn't see any. It doesn't mean they weren't there, I just couldn't see them. The buck bedded down, got up, meandered around for a while, ultimately exiting the opposite end of the swap.

I was frustrated with my eyesight at first, but then my gear for letting me down. This was a nice mature buck, and this is public land. About an hour after he left, a shot rang out in the direction of where he was heading. May not have been him, but I'll never know. This is the first time I've had this issue in my life. But that the wheels start falling off in your mid 30's.

I don't know the exact model of binos I have, but they were about $150 at Cabela's, and are around 10x40's. I decided then that I need another system of seeing fine detail at moderate range. I was hoping someone here might be able to tell me what system you use. I wanted something small and compact. Not sure if upgrading the glass is best, or to get something with more magnification. I just ordered a Kowa TSN502 (thanks Doug at Cameraland!) as backup in case the binos, or my aging eyes, fail me again. The Kowa's size and mag range that I think will be effective on my hunts. I plan on putting it on a monopod and sinking the monopod in the hill that we sit on (we sit on the slope). If someone here has a better idea or some suggestions of optics in the sub $300 class, please share. I don't want this to happen again.
 

LaHunter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2012
Messages
610
Location
N.E. Louisiana
Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your eyes are only gonna get worse as you get older. I started noticing a difference in my early 40s. Quality optics become more important as we get older. Huntsmann22 is spot on. I am sure you have heard, or read this before, but it is worth saying again; with optics your typically get what you pay for. Just my opinion, but I would consider binos in the $300 range to be lower end. If you get into the $500-$700 range, you can get into some solid binos. Using a tripod is also a good idea, this will help you get the most out of your glass. You may be able to find some used binos with a transferable lifetime warranty at a good price too.
 

megastink

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2011
Messages
526
Location
Southeast PA
Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your eyes are only gonna get worse as you get older. I started noticing a difference in my early 40s. Quality optics become more important as we get older. Huntsmann22 is spot on. I am sure you have heard, or read this before, but it is worth saying again; with optics your typically get what you pay for. Just my opinion, but I would consider binos in the $300 range to be lower end. If you get into the $500-$700 range, you can get into some solid binos. Using a tripod is also a good idea, this will help you get the most out of your glass. You may be able to find some used binos with a transferable lifetime warranty at a good price too.
You guys are right. What suggestions can you make for a compact spotting scope with good glass in the $500-$700 range? I'd rather a spotter because I target shoot at range as well. In fact, I'll take whatever suggestions you want to give. Thank you!
 

Dean2

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2010
Messages
909
Location
Alberta
I have to ask what kind of scope you were using that you couldn't see good enough dtail with it either? As far as the Binos, at the higher price point you are talking check out Maven. They are as good as many higher end Euro type glass at a quarter the price. I don't like Vortex scopes becasue they break but they do make decent Binnoculars and spotting scopes in your price range. I used to like Nikon but since they screwed everyone over on the disappearing Lifetime Scope warranty I sold all Nikon products.
 

megastink

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2011
Messages
526
Location
Southeast PA
I have to ask what kind of scope you were using that you couldn't see good enough dtail with it either? As far as the Binos, at the higher price point you are talking check out Maven. They are as good as many higher end Euro type glass at a quarter the price. I don't like Vortex scopes becasue they break but they do make decent Binnoculars and spotting scopes in your price range. I used to like Nikon but since they screwed everyone over on the disappearing Lifetime Scope warranty I sold all Nikon products.
My rifle scope is a Leupold VX3i 4.5-14x50. I dont like to use my scope as an observation device for safety reasons. Lots of hunters in the woods here in PA.
 

Dean2

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2010
Messages
909
Location
Alberta
My rifle scope is a Leupold VX3i 4.5-14x50. I dont like to use my scope as an observation device for safety reasons. Lots of hunters in the woods here in PA.
I get not using it for general spotting and observation but I have some trouble seeing not using it to look at an animal you intend to shoot if it has enough horn on it. If it isn't safe in that situation I don't know when it would ever be safe to line up an animal much less actually take a shot. I have to say this really brings into question this whole story, but IF u let that deer go because you wouldn't put your rifle on him then I don't have any more useful advice.
 
Last edited:

M77Fan

Active Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2020
Messages
32
Location
Wyoming
Most of what has already been said is true. You do generally get what you pay for in optics. And even "name brands" are not always best. While I use Nikon photo equipment, I have found their binoculars to be pretty bad - but maybe they have improved by now. I have Swarovski binocs largely due to a DIY sheep hunt some years back. At the time I was spending a lot of time behind Ziess binoculars at work and they woere good, but I had also looked through Swarovskis. Before buying my own, I ordered both from Cabela's and did a side by side comparison. Set them up on tripods to eliminate all the hand shake and tested them against each other at dawn, dusk, and during the day. The Swarovskis edged out the Ziess in several places that made a difference to me. The difference in price was negligible. I still have the Swarovskis, and the company has given great service even when a scratch on a cover glass was my doing. They refurbished it and sent it back no charge.

So one suggestion I would make if purchasing new optics is compare if you can before you buy. Going to a well supplied store like Cabela's is best, but ordering 2 and sending back the one you don't want can also work. For best clarity rest your binoculars on something: a tripod, bipod, monopod, your pack, a tree limb, or whatever can steady your hand movement. Go from standing to sitting or kneeling if the cover around you allows, especially in the wind, as this can eliminate a certain amount of sway from your body movement. Any and every optical device benefits from a steady rest. The higher the power the more this is necessary, but even with a lower power, rock steady provides better clarity for the power you have. This applies to spotting scopes too.

There was one comment about using your scope. A thought on this is have you adjusted the focus on your rifle scope lately? It occurred to me recently to do so after an eye doc told me I had "age appropriate" changes in my eyes. My scope that had been riding on my rifle for years didn't seem quite as clear as it had. Now it does, after a little focus adjustment. This also applies to your binoculars. Have you checked the balance on both sides lately? If they are individual focus, could one or both have moved? If you have a single eye balance, maybe it needs adjustment to bring the sharpness back? If they were really inexpensive and are also old, they may have outlived their useful life. A friend of mine on an antelope hunt was having difficulty seeing through his binoculars what I was describing, so I handed him my binoculars. After looking through mine he called his "my first grade binoculars" for the rest of the trip. After looking through his, all I can say is his were abysmal.

Just some thoughts. I use all my optics a lot, and I expect performance. But there is nothing like making sure your focus is right, that the balance is correct, and that you are using a rest to enhance the clarity of your view. Cleaning them regularly is also a must.
 
Top