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Binocular recommendations. All experiences welcome.

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  • Originally posted by violator View Post
    Andy. I was out yesterday looking at a new range finder when i saw the leupold 12 x 50 for around the $900 mark. They are something special. So there is another one to look at.
    The problem with Leupold stuff, particularly the gold ring gear is that it's really hard to find in Australia. I've seen the rifle scopes every now and then, but only one set of binos ever..
    Status is not defined by the amount of gear in your signature.
    Performance cannot be purchased.

    "The Internet offers everything - except quality control" - K. Anders Ericsson.


    • Guess im lucky. I have a gun store down the road that is the local stockist and they stock the lot or will order it for you. I think the bax 3 mojave 12 x 50 were $1100.



      • Today I got to look through a set of Leica Ultravid HD 10x42's.

        I would seriously suggest that you might want to avoid these.

        To help you identify them and make sure you don't look through them by accident, they look like this:

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        Now, I believe that in a lot of cases, it's not beneficial to experience some things.
        Particularly if you can't afford them.

        The day that I finally get to drive a proper supercar, I expect that anything that I ever personally own from that point on will be diminished in potential joy just that little bit.
        If not a lot.

        Now I need to find someone who has some of the Zeiss Victory HT 10x42 to bring balance to the Force.

        If my expectations of binoculars have now been stepped down a bit, there's no point in NOT looking through some.

        So Zeiss, if you ever want to help me out, you know where I am.

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        Status is not defined by the amount of gear in your signature.
        Performance cannot be purchased.

        "The Internet offers everything - except quality control" - K. Anders Ericsson.


        • Unfortunately I never had to chance to look through top of the line binoculars.
          I do own though a set one step below, a pair of Zeiss Conquest HD 10x42 and I am really pleased with them.
          Still would love to have a look through a set of Swarovski EL, Zeiss Victory HT or Leica Ultravid HD binos.

          Here is a good comparison review on binoculars for those interested in this kind of thing.

          Last edited by taz00; 8th August 2016, 01:57 AM.


          • I think it would be hard to be upset with a pair of Conquest HD's.
            The biggest problem with comparing the top of the line stuff is that you have to start resorting to testing procedures which compare things like the good old days of computer video cards.
            Once you had to test them with a computer program because you couldn't actually tell the difference with your own eyes, was it worth spending the extra money?

            If you look through two different binoculars and can't say "Yep, these ones are brighter/better focussed/better sweet spot/ less distortion/ better colour/ better CA" within a short period of time, they're pretty close. If one was twice as expensive... you start to wonder what you're getting for your money.
            That's when you have to start doing other sorts of evaluation.

            So, now that the bodgenoculars aren't available and the other little binoculars betrayed me by being 8x, it's time to find a new contender and I have.

            But getting back to the little binoculars, I have to say that they've grown on me. I haven't taken them into the deepest woods, but I've stuck them in my jacket pocket at archery events and other places. I have handed them around and people are quite happy to use them. There was only one comment of "The edges are a bit cloudy" and yes. They are.
            Being the first longer term 8x binoculars I've had, I have to admit that 8x does have the hand held advantage for longer observation. If we're looking at arrow scores, you can work out pretty quickly where things are because everything is familiar. You know what you're looking at for the most part.

            If I had to earn money holding binoculars, I think I'd go with eights.

            But back to the new cheap arse bino challenge.

            The new competitor is this $35 (Delivered) no name brand of 10x42's.

            Can they dislodge the bodgenoculars as the epitome of budget binocular excellence?

            I guess we'll have to wait to find out. Free delivery isn't express rate.

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            Status is not defined by the amount of gear in your signature.
            Performance cannot be purchased.

            "The Internet offers everything - except quality control" - K. Anders Ericsson.


            • A few things have happened since the last update.
              The new ebay specials have arrived - more about them later.
              I've had a look through some more Vortex binoculars, some Steiners, some Alpens, some Zeiss Terra's and the most interesting to me, some Bushnell Legend M series.

              Particularly, these ones, courtesy of a gentlman from New Zealand while I was out on the Red course at the IFAA World Champs.

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              And I must say that I was very impressed. These are the next step up in terms of upgrades if I was going to abandon my other main binos.

              But now I've done some digging and I'd like you chaps to have a look at the pictures below.

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              I haven't been able to look through the Sapphires yet, but I don't think I need to.

              I don't know about anyone else, but I think it's amazingly convenient that all these binos are made in China and have virtually identical specifications and performance.

              Some, like the Bushnells have different coatings to repel water, but other than that, they're all really good.

              I'm rather convinced that they all come from the same place. I'd be happy with any of them, but I'd probably now give the nod to Vortex because of their stupidly good warranty.

              I've discovered another property with binoculars since looking through more than a few. Usability.

              Some come up to your eyes and BAM, you're there.
              Others take a bit of dicking around.
              Status is not defined by the amount of gear in your signature.
              Performance cannot be purchased.

              "The Internet offers everything - except quality control" - K. Anders Ericsson.


              • One of the very neat things about our little trip along the optical path in the last couple of years is that anyone who has bothered to stick with me up to this point will have a fair idea of what we look for binoculars and how the cheap ones compare to the expensive ones.

                What we haven't looked at yet is how the old ones compare to the current ones.

                Today, Paul Smith bought a surprise out to the club for me to check out.

                The first thing I noticed was that the case was genuine leather. This can be an issue sometimes. The bendy parts tend to break.

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                I expect that the warranty on the case has expired by now. Other than the strap, it's actually still holding together quite nicely. Keep in mind that if it had been left wrapped around the original cow, it wouldn't be looking so good 88 years later.

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                What is inside is a relatively youthful 76 year old set of A Kershaw and Sons, Number 2, Mk II 6 x 35(ish) Military Binoculars. They have the Mil spec arrow on them too.

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                You'll note that they have separate diopter adjustments for both eyes. None of this "set it up for any variation and just dial the focus knob convenience" faffery

                Focus one eye.
                Focus the other.

                Boom. You're done.

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                Having a look through needs to be considered because of the state of the lenses.

                This is probably the second worst case of fungus I've ever seen.

                It's reasonably common in old binoculars, telescopes or camera lenses kept by the sea or in humid conditions. These binoculars were kept in a cupboard under a leaky roof not especially close to the sea, but once a little bit starts growing, it will continue unless treated.

                The best way to kill fungus is UV light, so just using lenses is a good way to keep them fungus unaffected. Sometimes you can just scrape the fungus off. Other times it will etch the coatings or surface of the glass. I have seen some nice lenses trashed. One of my lenses has a bit in the edge, but hasn't grown that I can tell in seven years. Looking at the photos, you would never know.

                This is reasonably noticeable.

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                However, if we focus on the result, rather than the damage, you can see what sort of potential was there.

                I'd like you to consider that the white goal posts, the building and the ridge line are in quite reasonable focus.

                We're talking about 200, 500 and 3.4k's away.

                Also, look at the sweet spot. Things across most of the width of this lens are in pretty good focus.

                Have a look at the straight lines up and down on the buildings. They stay pretty damn straight at the edges of the field of view.

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                Luckily, the other lens isn't nearly as bad with fungus, so looking through that gives a bit better view.

                Looking at that central light, it's pretty damn good. Also note that the edges of the circle are sharply defined and the ridgeline and building features are also pretty good.
                It's not even focussed for that distance either.

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                Here's a zooming in shot of the lights against a brighter bit of sky. The way to bring out chromatic aberration is do this kind of nasty thing with high contrast.
                Hmm. That looks ... fairly damn impressive actually..

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                If we zoom in to the point of individual pixels, you can see that on the left side of the dark shapes, there's a bit of blue tinge. On the right side it's a bit orange/brown.

                It's easiest to see it on the post. Mr Kershaw and his sons in Leeds knew what they were doing.

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                This is a target at 70m and you can see how finely the lines are all resolved. See how clean the black and white rings are? Also look at the fence behind and how you can see the mesh in the middle, but it becomes less visible towards the edges.

                There's only one real assessment to make here. Some of the bino's that I've look through aren't as good as these optically. Where these are compromised is that they have virtually no lens coatings or internal reflection control. The light bounces around inside and lowers the contrast, making the whites tend to go grey as well as the blacks.
                Mind you, this is what lens fungus does too, so that won't be helping things at all.

                If you had the same lenses made out of modern glass, you'd be up there performance wise with midrange modern binoculars. Distortion horizontally and vertically is excellent. Chromatic aberration is also excellent. These being only 6x magnification helps all the performance significantly of course but these things are 76 years old!

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                I would love to know what the war office paid for them. I expect that they would not have been cheap.

                I fully expect that someone looked through them for Jerry. Even if they never saw him, he would have been six times bigger and in pretty good focus.
                Status is not defined by the amount of gear in your signature.
                Performance cannot be purchased.

                "The Internet offers everything - except quality control" - K. Anders Ericsson.


                • Mmmm... $50 usd rebate on any Bushnell Legend L or M series. (both waterproof ED glass binoculars) until Oct 31

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                  This means a Bushnell M Series can be had for a little as $210 use plus postage.



                  .. and the Bushnell L series for as little as $130 use plus postage.



                  Time to hit up the little sister to be my drop-shipper and refund collector again I think.

                  EDIT... mmm the USA offer has expired... the offer above is a Canada offer... still... little sis lives in North Dakota.... that's about as close as Canada gets.

                  Any Canadians here on the forum want to run a binoculars racket for a few $$$$ ????
                  Last edited by Brenton; 9th October 2016, 10:22 PM.


                  • If you're a target or field archer and don't go hunting, currently BHphotovideo have the Legend Ultra HD 10x25's for US$144 which equates to $215 landed.

                    They have always appeared to be the right combination of performance and price. Every single bit of information over the years has pointed at them.
                    I know people have sold their Zeiss folders after they’ve got these Bushnells.
                    I've wanted some of these for ages because I have a category for "Folding ED glass pocket binos of 10x" that has nothing in it.

                    Last month, I was lead to believe that Bushnell will revise this product line.
                    Yesterday, the TAC Secretary showed me that his had turned up and he was highly impressed with my recommendation.
                    Of course, I looked through them.
                    I said words which may have rhymed with "Goalie duck!"

                    About three months ago, they were just on US$190

                    I take no responsibility what you do with this information.
                    However, I might have been irresponsible.
                    Status is not defined by the amount of gear in your signature.
                    Performance cannot be purchased.

                    "The Internet offers everything - except quality control" - K. Anders Ericsson.


                    • So yeah.
                      About that being irresponsible..
                      I find it quite difficult to recommend binoculars at around the 200 dollar mark. Chiefly because, I have seen the same binoculars advertised from 50 to 200 dollars.
                      If you bought them at 50, you'd be happy. If you bought them at 200 though, you might wonder what you could have got for another 100 or so.

                      These took five days to get here, including sitting in Sydney for two days.

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                      So, the easy bits.
                      Are they good? Yes.
                      Do I recommend them? Yes.
                      I'm totally convinced that they're worth it for the money. In average daylight, they're every bit as good as my Legend Ultra HD 10x42's to look at stuff with.

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                      Upsides are: ED Glass (and you can tell) $212, Excellent warranty. Light weight and convenience.

                      Downsides are generally ease of use related, however anything which is different initially can prove less easy than what you're used to.

                      Most average binoculars are pretty easy to use once you know what causes you issues. Proper eye relief is the main thing that I've seen people have struggles with.

                      I've actually seen people say that they can't use certain binoculars (or even all binoculars) because .... various reasons.

                      All of these reasons are width, eye relief and focus related.

                      Occasionally, I have found people whose eyes are actually too close together for my biggest binoculars. Most often, people aren't aware of how to vary eye relief to suit their particular eyes. This is the biggest variation I've seen in various people. (and binoculars too, for that matter)

                      By far, most people have no idea what the Dioptre is for and how to adjust it and in what order to do so.

                      Once you get all that stuff sorted properly, most decent binoculars are effortless to use.

                      However, some take much less effort than others. These take some minor effort to adjust to using, and then they're worth it.

                      Most regular binoculars are pretty fast to use from a stowed position. These take a little bit longer because they take further to open up. We're talking extra fractions of a second.
                      Not enough to annoy you, but initially, longer than you might be used to.

                      I tend to get used to adjusting the angle to the correct size. Mainly because my fingers are straighter on regular binoculars. On these, my hands are wrapped a lot further around them, so getting them lined up takes actual attention at first. It's a bit unusual, but you get used to it pretty quickly.

                      Also, most people are used to changing the focus with their index finger as the focus knob is near the eye pieces.

                      This one has the focus knob at the other end, so I was left being a bit annoyed until I quickly realised that I could just use my ring finger to focus instead.

                      Once all this is sorted out and you slightly change your expectation of use, you never think about it again. I actually started to think that these might even be preferable for one handed use.

                      They're a bit more difficult to get a photo of the internals due to the small objective lenses, but they have made an effort to rib the insides to stop light reflecting around the place.

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                      I'm not super impressed with the options for putting a strap on these things, but it's not like they're heavy.

                      I had some problems getting photos that were representative of the quality and I think it might be because the exit pupil is smaller than usual. My Canon S110 is much bigger than the average pupil of the average human eye. The phone camera has a much smaller lens and it definitely takes the sharpest pictures through all of my optical gear.

                      Possibly the most realistic photo is this one where you can see that the sweet spot is in the middle, (as always) but the light pole still looks pretty good until about the last third, where it definitely loses focus. You'll note that there is no tinge of purple or yellow at the sides of the pole. Yay, ED glass.

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                      And now look how the bowstring toward the end of the bottom limb, looks reasonably well focussed. It's about the same point where the light pole loses focus.
                      That's quite respectable, all things being equal.

                      What I can't show with the camera lens is that when you look through it with your eyes, the edges of the viewing circle are sharp all the way around.

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                      These are advertised as waterproof, which is a bonus. They have a magnesium case and a quality feel.

                      I will be looking forward to directly comparing them to some folding Leicas and Zeiss pocket glasses, if I can ever find some.
                      Status is not defined by the amount of gear in your signature.
                      Performance cannot be purchased.

                      "The Internet offers everything - except quality control" - K. Anders Ericsson.


                      • I finally decided to update my cheapo binoculars from the 1970's, after a chat with Andy about the options I had put forward I purchased the 10 x 42 Zeiss Terra ED for $300 US plus $40 US postage. The postage would have been cheaper but I had to have the Zeiss carry bag as well (who said men can't have accessories). All I can say is these bino's are awesome, If this is midrange for optics I can't imagine what a $2000 pair of bino's would be like, the brightness and clarity of the image is so far removed from what I had I should have purchased these years ago. As I am no expert in optics I can't give any technical input on the bino's, but from the average person on the street opinion - OMG.


                        • If you are on the hunt for a pair of top binoculars, it is critical that you know exactly what it will be used for. Your travel pair might not be the best deer hunting binoculars. In the same way that your stargazing pair probably won't be the best hunting binoculars.

                          The binoculars you use when travelling, won't be suitable for elk and deer hunting. Similarly a star gazing binocular won't be much help at a concert.
                          I have done extensive research on the topic of best rated binoculars for hunting, and today I will reveal my top picks.

                          #1. Steiner Predator 10x42
                          #2. Vortex Viper HD 10x42
                          #3. Vanguard Spirit XF 10x42
                          #4. Bushnell Bear Grylls 10x42
                          #5. Nikon 8248 ACULON 8211 10x50
                          Having best compact binoculars are a must have for any birdwatcher, theatergoer or a sports enthusiast, it


                          • So, this is an example of a targeted spam post. Thanks asshole.
                            Status is not defined by the amount of gear in your signature.
                            Performance cannot be purchased.

                            "The Internet offers everything - except quality control" - K. Anders Ericsson.


                            • We had a visitor from Swarovski Opik to the club this evening. He brought a case of binoculars, from 8x25 up to 12x50s... they were all lovely. I am now looking at my brand new Vanguard Endeavor EDII 10x42 (8 hours old) with a sigh... on the up side, it is the 15th best bino I've ever looked through!

                              they also brought some spotting scopes along, including the BTX eye pieces


                              • It sucks when you look through something that you totally can't afford, but knowing such beauty is out there makes it almost worthwhile.
                                Status is not defined by the amount of gear in your signature.
                                Performance cannot be purchased.

                                "The Internet offers everything - except quality control" - K. Anders Ericsson.