??Best Binoculars for the $$ [Archive] - RetrieverTraining.Net - the RTF

: ??Best Binoculars for the $$

08-15-2006, 08:46 PM
I need a good pair of scouting binoculars. Don't know much about them, so what is the best dollar to quality ratio??

08-15-2006, 10:15 PM
Leica Geovid 10X42's. They have an accurate 1300 yard range finder built in. I'd say the best quality optics money can buy. They are sweet.

But you have to spend $2000 to get them.


08-15-2006, 11:14 PM
I have a pair of Nikon 10X42 Monarch ATB's. They are water proof and fog proof. The optics compare well with my buddies high end Swarovski binoculars. Cost runs about $300.00 give or take. I got mine on E-Bay for around $270.00.

08-16-2006, 01:50 AM
On the high end, it is hard to beat Swarovski or Leica. I think a great value is the Pentax DCF HRII 8x42. Once you get over 8x, it is tough to keep it steady enough to prevent jitter w/o help.

08-16-2006, 05:42 AM
i have a pair of 10x swarovski's and love them. i know several friends who were die hard zeiss fans who made the switch to swarovski.
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08-16-2006, 06:07 AM
W/o a doubt the glass on Swar. or Leica is amazing. It also very expensive. I am one who usually buys "the best". That said, my Nikon Monarch 8X42s are all I ever need. If your use does not usually include low light situations (early morn or dusk), then you can buy quality glass such as Nikon or Pentax and be just fine.

Also, as someone said, any power over 8 and steadiness becomes an issue.

Jason Ferris
08-16-2006, 07:03 AM
I have a pair of Nikon's and a pair of Leica's. IMO Nikon is the way to go if your budget can't stretch to Leica.

Cheers, Jason.

08-16-2006, 07:36 AM
No doubt Zeiss or Swar. are the top of the line but Steiner binos are not far behind at a lower price. For scouting, if walking is involved, 10x42 is a good size.

Also, you need to shop for pricing once you decide what you want. Optics pricing varies widely, check the internet.

08-16-2006, 09:10 AM
I have a pair of Swarovski's and yes I have never seen any better, but for the money Windriver made by Leupold are a great deal.

08-16-2006, 11:35 AM
On the high end, it is hard to beat Swarovski or Leica. I think a great value is the Pentax DCF HRII 8x42. Once you get over 8x, it is tough to keep it steady enough to prevent jitter w/o help.

I have a pair of Swarovski SLC's that I wouldn't trade for the world. They are amazing and handle hard use. As I've also told the story here before....They stand 110% behind their products!!!

That said, I agree with Kevin as well. Pentax makes a VERY nice binocular for the money. I had several biologist I wouk with buy them on my reccomendation and everyone loves them....great optics as well.

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Jesse Higgins
08-16-2006, 11:44 AM
For value at low cost, the Celestron Noble 10X42's are hard to beat at this price: www.amazon.com/gp/product/tech-data/B0007UQNSQ/ref=de_a_smtd/103-6012753-6911857?ie=UTF8

I love mine!

08-16-2006, 11:47 AM
Buy the best ones you can afford. That being said, I have a pair of Leopold Windriver 10 x 42's that cost me right at $200 and are very nice.

Jason Brion
08-16-2006, 11:50 AM
I sold upper end binos for 10 years. Without a doubt swaro EL's are the best money can buy. Leica makes nice binos as well. The thing with them is that they are heavy. It is hard to put a price tag on a pair of binos that you will have the rest of your life. My advise would be to bite the bullet and buy the best you can afford.

I own a pair of pentax 8X32's as well. When I bought them they were really nice for the $. I think I paid around $400 for them. They are not made like Swaros, Leica however. Right now the prisms are a little out of wack. Things happen. We'll have to see how there customer service is.

Bobby Lindsay
08-16-2006, 12:48 PM
It is hard to put a price tag on a pair of binos that you will have the rest of your life.

I spent $700 on a really nice pair a couple of years ago. They were stollen within 2 weeks.

08-16-2006, 04:06 PM
Before you buy check out the Pentax DCF WP, when thay came out several years ago they where selling upwards of $700. Bino experts where hard pressed to tell the difference between them and Binos costing twice as much. They came in 8x42 and 10 x 43 ands 10 x 50 power wit. The 10 X50 are unbelievable but are a little big for everyday use. I believe the new replacement models are called DCF SP
You can find the WP meaning waterproof for 200 to 300 used
I was in Alaska with a friend and he had the 50's and I had a pair of Steiner 8x30 and when I got home sold the steiners and picked up a pair of 8x42 . The 50's even did a better job than a spotting scope, clarity and brightness is unbelievable.

08-16-2006, 04:21 PM
Buy the best pair you CAN'T afford. Swarovski is the best there is and I have owned a pair of each of the big three. The Zeiss classic are very good glass but the ergonomics suck and Leica are great as well but heavy as someone else already stated. You will never regret spending the extra for the best.

08-16-2006, 06:03 PM
Good point spend what you can aford to lose without going bankrupt.
On that Alaska trip I had a back pack on with my steiner looped over my neck. I stopped to take a rest so off came the binos and backpack, Now the steiners where drab green but after loosing gear in the past I always put a strip of orange surveyors tape on everything. Well make a long story short I took off and after a 1/2 hour of hiking remebered I left the binos behind, the tundra is like the desert every thing looks the same but I got lucky and spotted the tape blowing in the wind. A $2000 bino lost would still be giving me nightmares.

Henry V
08-16-2006, 07:20 PM
After buying a good pair a couple years ago my advice is to go to retailer that has a range of binocular qualities on display. I went to Cabelas and spent an hour+ looking through all of them that were in my price range. I picked the ones that seemed to work best for me. I was not too concerned about their bulk so I got better optics in a larger pair for the same price of a sweet compact pair that was not as bright. The compact pair with as good a quality of optics was several hundred dollars more.

You may also want to search these forums. I think this discussion has taken place at least once before.

08-16-2006, 09:11 PM
Buy all you can afford, price for the most part dictates quality. The Swarvo ELs are very nice. For the money Minox are good. Do a google for Better View Desired. It is a bird watching site that does reviews on optics. And bird watchers are very knowledgeable when it comes to optics.

David Klotz
08-16-2006, 09:20 PM
I have a Leica binocular, which was given to me by my late Father, and cost well over $1000.00. They are extremely durable, very, very bright in low light, pretty doggone heavy for their size, and expensive. (In 20+ years of regular field use, they have never fogged or failed me in any way.) Still, they are obscenely expensive.

If that is not in your budget, I suggest considering the Bushnell Elite ($500-700) or Discover ($350-450) range. They have gotten excellent reviews, handle very well, have very smooth adjustment, and the RainGuard technology is supposed to be quite good.

Leupold also makes a Wind River line that is pretty good for the money, $280 and up from Cabelas.

The less expensive would not satisfy a hard core bird watcher, but may be all you need to get started.
Best of luck.


Patrick Johndrow
08-17-2006, 12:34 AM
There are a lot of great binoculars on the market ranging from $200 to $2000 but do yourself a favor and if you don?t plan on spending $1500+ on a binoculars DON?T look at Swarovski because once you have used them nothing else will satisfy you. I prefer the EL in 10x42 for my use.

08-17-2006, 08:16 PM
If you are looking at high end optics, you should look at Fujinon also. I used a pair with integrated compass for boating and loved them. They are in the same clase with Steiner. Not cheap, but good. I also have a small set of Nikon Travelers. They are very nice for the money and small.
For scouting game, you might look at some of the wide angle models.

08-17-2006, 08:52 PM
In my opinion, the Leica 10X42's or the Swarovski EL 10X42's are the best binocular you can buy. I went with the Leica Geovid because of the rangefinder being built in. This Leica Geovid's weigh 33.3 oz's. The Swarovski El's weigh 27.5 oz's. We do a lot of whitetail hunting and the rangefinder is a dream come true. They don't hurt when your at a trial and your trying to see how brutal the test is. If you want a professional opinion, call Chris Farris from SWFA.com. I think they sell more optics than anyone else in the country. Chris and I both agree, Swarovski for scopes, and Leica for binoculars. Lastly, do not make your binocular comparison in a store, go outside and compare, preferably around dusk. This is the true test. And Leica wins this test.

I've owned a pair of Swarovski SLC 10X50's for 8 years. I went into the local gun shop and told Scott (man in charge) I was looking for a $300 pair of binoculars. He showed me the $1500 Swarovski's (I told him he was nuts), I looked at the Nikon's, Bushnell's, Pentax, and many many more. I was 20 years old, didn't have any money, AND I bought the Swarovski's. Nothing else compared to them, and I mean nothing was even close. All of my buddies have had mid-line scopes and bino's, they all are running Leica and Swarovski now.

Good luck, Mike

08-18-2006, 06:40 AM
They currently have a number of binoculars reviewed.