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Binocular Suggestions, Hunting this year was a pain with the one I had

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by col_temp, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. col_temp

    col_temp Well-Known Member


    First off it was my first hunting trip with my Uncle. Had never hunted the area and had an old pair of binoculars handed down probably from around WW2!
    Needless to say had trouble seeing much and spent way to much time trying to focus! :banghead:

    So, obviously its time for a new pair!
    Looking for suggestion on size, power etc...
    (Also should mention, Hunting is in Eastern Washington, Montana, and South Dakota, so generally wide open spaces in the hills. My western Washington hunting probably won't need glass as its up close and personal!)

    1. Planing to get a roof prism pair.
    2. Suspect I need something in the 10x42 or 10x50. Is it worth going higher (say 12-15x)?
    3. Are adjustable power ones worth the extra cost?

    Willing to spend money but also don't need to break the bank.
    4. I know Bushnell has a rebate on at the moment. Are they any good?

    Thanks for any insights, Suggestions that include your personal favorites are welcome! :)
  2. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    You can't go wrong with a pair of Leupolds. I have some that are more than 30 yrs. old and they are still as crisp and sealed, as the day I bought them. And if they ever do leak, which I sent two pair in recently after decades of hard use, Leupold will refurbish them for free.

    Just don't get the idea that you can get decent glass for peanuts though. Good glass does cost a little bit. A decent pair of Leupolds are going to cost at least $400. But if you keep your eyes open, you can sometimes find older used ones for a couple hundred, sometimes much less. Speaking of much less, I was in a pawn shop a few years back and spotted a beat up pair for $8, yes $8. Apparently the shop didn't know what they had in their display case, I did. I bought them, and then sent them to Leupold for service, and I got a brand new looking working pair of glasses back, no charge.

    And to really glass you need either 10x or 12x power to be of much use. Then buy a tripod and adapter, and begin learning the art of glassing. Using a tripod allows you to spot game that you definitely would have missed other wise. This week alone I spotted 3 bucks in my spotting scope that were at least 1-1/2 miles away. And then I got to watch, and guide the entire kill as it went down. There is nothing more cool than watching an animal hit the ground before you hear the shot.

    What ever you do, don't waste money on bargain priced glasses. Even the bargain priced Leupolds are junk, and shouldn't have the Leupold name on them. They didn't used to make junk.

  3. Flintknapper

    Flintknapper Well-Known Member

    IF you will be 'glassing' from a fixed point more than roving...then a good pair of 10X-12X (and something to steady them) will serve you well enough. Most folks find that anything over 8X (if handheld) becomes tiresome.

    Fortunately, there are a number of manufacturers offering decent glass these days for reasonable prices.

    I like Pentax (for the money) and 8 x 43 does everything I need, but shop around and get a few models in hand before you buy.

    Good luck afield!

  4. huntershooter

    huntershooter Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately you get what you pay for with optics.
    My preference is 8X33+- as I "still hunt", or spot and stalk. Size and weight is a consideration.
    I have had excellent results from Kahles and Minox binoc's.
  5. WaywardSon

    WaywardSon Well-Known Member

    I have used and abused a pair of 8X Steiners for going on 30 years. Good glass and still going strong. $225 for them back in the day. No such thing as good cheap glass.
  6. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    I sure like my compact, armored Bushnell 10 power for carrying, but they ain't worth a toot at dusk in dim light. Size is a trade off. Hunting from a box blind as I'm now doing, I need a new pair of larger objectives. My wife had a $3K pair of Cannon image stabilized binos when we moved here and we ain't found 'em, yet, but we don't have all the boxes gone through, yet. I still have hope I can find those things. They were bought by her ex when he was in a bird watching phase. :D They're a might too powerful for hunting in the woods, though, 16x. Dang, I could watch the ticks on a deer's arse at 100 yards with those things. In the woods, field of view is more important than power.
  7. jmr40

    jmr40 Well-Known Member

    Your budget is vague. $1,000 wouldn't break the bank for a lot of guys. There aren't many under $200 that I'd take a chance on, but these have proven to be very good for under $100.


    I know of a lot of people, including some professional guides who use these and swear by them. I own $600 binoculars that stay home and I take these instead. The difference in quality is so small that I cannot justify carrying the extra weight or worrying about damaging the more expensive binoculars. This is also a good size. Easy to carry, but with good light transmission. Smaller more compact binos are easier to carry, but you sacrifice low light ability with smaller objectives. The front objective MUST be at least 5X the magnification, 6x30, 7X35, 8X40, 10X50, 12X60, etc. for use in low light. Bigger glasses will allow greater magnification, but you must go with a much larger objective lense to be effective.

    Anything bigger than 8X40 would be OK if you have someone else carrying them. If not you don't want anything over 8X and you won't be handicapped by 6X or 7X even in Western states. Leupold makes this version in a 8X30, but the quality of the 8X just isn't there because the front objective is too small.

    If you really want something bigger than 6X most any of the name brands selling in the $200 and up range should be pretty decent. More money almost always equals more quality, but not always. You really need to look through some before buying off the net without looking through them. Just make sure you get a front objective at least 5X greater than the magnification. Anything smaller will disappoint in low light. They all look good in the store or in good light.
  8. Patocazador

    Patocazador Well-Known Member

    I don't know of a compact model that would qualify. I bought a pair of Bausch & Lomb Elite 10x40 about 15-20 years ago. I paid $750 at the time and everyone said I was nuts. I've never regretted it.
    Bushnell bought out B&L but I don't know if they maintained the quality on their higher-end optics. I know that their compacts and inexpensive glass is sub-standard as far as I'm concerned.
  9. DM~

    DM~ Well-Known Member

    I got sick of bino's failing when i needed them most! SO, i bought these,


    That was more than 30 years ago and they have been worth every penny i paid for them!! Especially since to day they still work perfectly, so how much per day will they have cost me, by the time i take my eternal dirt nap???

  10. col_temp

    col_temp Well-Known Member

    thanks Guys,

    Yes I don't plan on the bargain brands! But It's still hard to justify $1000 for something that gets used very little.
    The rough price point of 200 is well taken. I also plan to drop by Cabela's and another to try a few.
    I posted the question so I didn't have to waste time and can start where I need to.

    Thanks JMR40 for the insights. I will keep that in mind. Since I am mostly deer hunting low light is a must. And the grey days of Washington mean lower light is regular here.

    Thanks for the tips about the Pawn shops. I have several good ones nearby and will start prowling them from time to time.
  11. col_temp

    col_temp Well-Known Member

    The ones I was lugging around were 7x35 steel binoculars. Weighing like 2.5 - 3 lbs.
    No wonder the strap kept digging in!

    (Probably should add that to the useless items taken hunting thread!)
  12. Davek1977

    Davek1977 Well-Known Member

    I have a pair of Nikon Attache 10x42 that have served me quite well hunting west river South Dakota.
  13. col_temp

    col_temp Well-Known Member

    I have an older pair of Bushnell 10x50 porro prism, wide angle, q/ quick focus.
    Do you think these would suffice or should I look for something a bit better?
  14. skoro

    skoro Well-Known Member

    A few considerations, from an old guy who has owned and used LOTS of binos over the years.

    1. The higher the magnification, the narrower the field of view and the more difficult it becomes to hold them steady. Higher magnification also magnifies any hand movement, making focus and viewing fuzzier and more fatiguing.

    2. When moving around the boondocks, a heavy bino soon becomes a real pain in the neck.

    3. Good glass doesn't come cheap.

    All that said, this is my suggestion:


    Relatively compact and lightweight. Excellent optics. And the image stabilizer really works well. Worth every penny, IMHO.
  15. Patocazador

    Patocazador Well-Known Member

    There's nothing substandard about porro prisms. They just aren't as compact as roof prisms. The thing that matters is whether the glass is coated. This helps tremendously in low light.
  16. col_temp

    col_temp Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the clarification Patocazador. Didn't know that.
    Skoro, Takign a look at the link. Will consider. Could agree more with your points! Part oft eh reason I asked was to make sure I was thinking reasonably!
  17. wgp

    wgp Well-Known Member

    I have tried various binos over the years. I have a pair of Steiner Military/Marine that are excellent but very bulky. I have a good set of Pentax that gets the most use, and are left in the truck at all times. I have some $100 or so glasses that get left in tool boxes and car consoles for occasional use.

    But, I found a pair of Zeiss glasses in a sporting goods store going out of business and bought them for about $400, half-price. One of the great things I ever did. I don't know that I'd have paid full price, but I do know that they are hands-down the best glasses I've ever used, you can truly see the difference, and even at full price would cost less than all the cheap glasses I bought first. As for infrequent use, I keep these glasses stored away and basically just get them out for deer hunting and it's one of the great pleasures in my hunting/shooting life to get them out and use them.

    Power? I find that I prefer 8x for most hunting (Kansas) but 10x is OK too, just a bit harder to keep steady. If I was in the mountains a lot I'd prefer the 10x I suppose.
  18. skoro

    skoro Well-Known Member

    col temp -

    I was skeptical about the reports I'd heard and read on the image stabilized Canons. I now own not only the 10x30s for all-around use, but I have a 15x50IS for stargazing. Outstanding night binos, but big and heavy. The 10x30s are just right for field use.
  19. Dinosaur1

    Dinosaur1 Well-Known Member

    I have a pair of Leupold 8x30's that go everywhere. Happy compromise between weight, power and size all for under a hundred bucks. Don't take my word for it, go look through a pair.
  20. witchhunter

    witchhunter Well-Known Member

    10x40 Leupolds. Had em 20 years and struggled with cheap stuff before these. Wish I could afford the Swarovskis though. Glass is worth the money you pay. I like the new Vortex that my cuz just bought too.

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