Let's talk Binoculars

Discussion in 'Sports & Outdoor Adventure' started by REMINGTON700, Mar 23, 2018.

  1. REMINGTON700

    REMINGTON700 New Member

    Messages:
    47
    Let’s talk binoculars: what do you look for, what’s on your shelf and why, what additional benefits do the TOL 2k plus offer, range finders, best bang for the buck…. you name it. I am planning on a second set this year, 10x ( have a trusty pair of 8x42 Nikon Monarch 7’s, that I really like), and was fascinated by the numerous offerings available. Can vintage compete with the new? Becoming a challenge to even find a store that stocks nice optics for comparisons.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018

     

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  2. Jailtime

    Jailtime Standin' on a corner Subscriber

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    I picked up a set of Leupold BX3 Mojave Pro Guide HD last year, I really like them. I got them for a carry along on hunts glass, 8x42 is just perfect for such use. Light and compact enough to carry all day, and good light gathering for dawn/dusk. I'm pretty sensitive to eye fatigue, no problem with these. Nice color and definition all the way to the edges of the glass.
     
  3. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    52,156
    Svarovski EL
    Zeiss Victory

    Doesn't pay to dink around if one wants superb color, definition, contrast and minimal eyestrain, as far as we're concerned (i.e., at my house).

    There's a pair of each here now: 8 x 42 Swarovskis (those have some age on them); 10 x 42 Zeiss. Mrs H is a pretty serious birder and travels (now) with the Zeiss.

    Feature wise, one wants, I'd opine:

    Wide field of view
    Excellent eye relief (particularly if one wears glasses!)
    Large exit pupil
    Excellent close focus
    Rugged construction
    Reasonable weight
    Waterproof (nitrogen purged/filled)
    Excellent light transmission (fully multicoated optics; phase coated prisms)
     
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  4. nedseg

    nedseg AK Subscriber Subscriber

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  5. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    52,156
    The Canon IS binoculars are pretty good.
    We had a pair for years but eventually they were battered past usefulness and weren't cost-effective to repair :(
    I won't say anything bad about them optically, though -- and the IS is handy in many situations.
    They're not the best for low light use with 30 mm objectives, though -- but that comes with the territory on IS binoculars, I think.
     
  6. REMINGTON700

    REMINGTON700 New Member

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    47
    Mhardy, I know of a pair of Swarovski El Range Finder binoculars for sale. Do you have experience with the rangefinders? Are they gimmicky or useful for measuring ranges to birds and wildlife etc.

    - Can the vintage glasses compete with modern sets and manufacturing processes.
     

     

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  7. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    1. Zero experience with the rangefinders, sorry.

    2. How vintage? Mrs H's ELs are probably 15 years old (maybe more) and are still very, very good optically.
    We have binos here in most rooms of the house :p The oldest is a pair of 8 x 40 (give or take) Swift Nighthawks (Porro-prism binos; probably mid-1960s). There's been some deterioration of the coatings, I think, and the coating "technology" of the 1960s wasn't up to today's - but they're not bad. They do give up a lot in contrast to the good modern ones, though.

    On the other hand, we also have a pair of pretty new (ca. 1 year old) extra-cheap, Chinese made "Cabelas Intensity" branded 10 x 42 roof prism binoculars . They are not bad for two hundred bucks; they live on the kitchen counter and serve well.
     
  8. KingBubba

    KingBubba "Too Much Stuff"

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    Location:
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    I only have experience with Japanese binoculars. I had a pair of Fujinon binoculars and had to sell them during a financial event. Their clarity was astounding. The lenses were huge and this gave them excellent night vision. Looking at a full moon was almost painful in intensity. I wish I had them back. I found a pair of Sans & Streiffe at a flea market and talked the guy down from fifteen to six dollars. They are a Japanese made mariner style with huge coated lenses. I use them for bird watching. They are heavy and can take a fall from a grandchild with no damage, but the grandchild has his own now. They are extra wide angle 7X50s. I like them, but not as much as my Fujinons.
     
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  9. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Fuji optics were/are good.
     
  10. Lo-Fidelity

    Lo-Fidelity AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    839
    Location:
    Houston
    Picked up these compact 12x50 with case at GW last week. They were made for K-mart by a Japanese manufacturer. Wish I knew more about them. The design is not like any other I own.

    D48B06C1-3297-4558-A3FB-DFA1CAF025BB.jpeg

    AD250E76-D575-4674-90DA-94207DF1E1E9.jpeg

    7DAB464C-1661-4CCE-8323-17991B921495.jpeg
     
  11. 2011etec

    2011etec Super Member

    For Christmas a couple ago I got a pair of celestron binocs.I believe their 15x70.Knowing that they were not the pricest out there I was actually surprised at how clear they were.I use them to spy on fellow fishermen to see what lures their using ,lol.They never leave my boat come in handy to see if anybody is home at friends camps from a distance etc.Fairly large binocs ,I feel like a uboat commander with them.Durable also.
     

     

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  12. 7.62

    7.62 Gearhead Subscriber

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    I'm partial to Ziess & Steiner binocs. The Steiner are my favorites in clarity. Don't have them in front of me but they're a military model.

    It's been awhile I think I paid $45 bucks for a lot of 4 on shopgoodwill. One of the best purchases I've ever made period.

    If you watch you just may find that deal that slips thru every now and then.
     
  13. REMINGTON700

    REMINGTON700 New Member

    Messages:
    47
    An interesting subset of binoculars are the zoom models which I keep a few around for the fun of it. They will never make a primary go-to-bino, but I will be darned if don't reach for them frequently to take a closer look at something. The zoom style suffer from narrow field of view, like sighting down a riflescope, or paper towel tube. The large pair in the picture are Nikon Aculon 10-22x50 3.8 FOV at 10x, the silver pair are Nikon8-24x25 FOV 4.6 at 8x, midsized pair are vintage Nikon Scoutmaster II 7-15x35 FOV 5.8 at 7x. If was to keep one, it would be the silver pair for size and functionality and I seem to use those the most.

    Those Canon's with image stabilization in post 4, look REALLY neat and have great reviews. Seem like a boaters dream.
     

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  14. nedseg

    nedseg AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Location:
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    The funny thing about the Cannon IS's is that, yup, got them for boating...but have found recently that they also work well for 'stabilizing' my very slightly shaky hands as I 'age out'!! Never saw that coming:)
    But they are another one of those products that sell for 'nearly new' prices on EB - I had to watch for more than a year to snag a cheap pair, and they came w/o cups or case...so, yah, probably 'liberated' :( but then my original pair were stolen, too...ass backwards karma?
    Still, the optics seem really good, the batteries seem to last forever...great for watching critters (and have used them to check out other boaters 'in distress' before approaching). Good on floating docks, too.
    Thanks for all the good tips on more powerful ones, too!
     
  15. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Handholding 15 x 70 binoculars on a boat is an heroic achievement!
     
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  16. 2011etec

    2011etec Super Member

    yes not very easy but semi doable.I like nedseg,s idea of image stabilized ones.I had a pair of small ones that had a digital camera imbedded in them they were pretty cool.Im going to look over at my pops I'm sure we had a decent pair of east german binocs from years ago.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2018

     

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  17. GuyK

    GuyK Addicted Member

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    I have three pairs around the house. A no-name 7x35 my Grandmother gave me as a child, a pair of Zeiss N 7x50, and a fairly new pair of Nikon 7x35. The Zeiss were state-of-the-art for 60 or 70 years ago, and are still far superior in every way to the no-name glass here, but the newer Nikons are even better yet, and were only $125 or so. Vintage really can't compete fairly in this arena, there have been too many advances in manufacturing technology. New methods of grinding glass and new coatings get superior products.

    The advantages of the TOL offerings are brighter, crisper images all the way to the edges of view, and superior color rendition. Not usually terribly important unless you spend large periods of time looking through them; lesser glass leads to eye fatigue in this case.

    What kind of budget and uses do you have in mind? Modern Swarovski, Zeiss, Steiner, et al are all superb, but come priced to match. Modern Nikon, Pentax, Canon I have found to be generally just a step below, but not terribly far behind and much more affordable. I don't know if Fuji still makes binocs or not, but they used to make some of the best glass available at any price.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2018
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  18. analoge4ever

    analoge4ever Active Member

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    211
    Location:
    Lock Haven, PA
    Have to agree with many of the comments. New lenses are made from the same glass, but advances in computer technology allows grinding lens shapes that can correct for aberrations that were impossible to negate a few years ago. Same goes for new coatings and gas fill other then just nitrogen.

    You might want to research HD glass and decide if you want that, typically HD glass represents the best in a manufacture's lineup.
     
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  19. KingBubba

    KingBubba "Too Much Stuff"

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    I did some looking on eBay and was astounded at the price of some binoculars. If I had the money, I would love to buy a nice pair of Fujinon, Zeiss or Nikons, but that is not going to happen. I did find a nice pair of 10 X 50s of the same brand as the one I already have. I may pop on them.
     
  20. MaxxVolume

    MaxxVolume AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I have an elderly (early `60s) Canon 7x50 pair that are quite nice, very comfortable to use.
    Had a pair of Fujinon 16 x 70 Polaris FMT-SX for a couple of years. Their performance was incredible, but were just a tad too large for practical purposes (I had to make a custom bracket to mount them to my largest Manfrotto camera tripod).
    For general-purpose viewing, I would prefer something in the 7 x 50 neighborhood....
     

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