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#5464155 - 12/07/14 09:07 PM Binocular Reccomendations
oilag Online   content
Bird Dog

Registered: 11/14/12
Posts: 393
Loc: Houston, TX
Looking for recommendations - have no clue about which magnification aperture combo is best and definitely have no clue on brands. I'd use them for general scouting / hunting purposes. Looking to stay in the 250 dollar price range. waterproof would be nice too if this is possible. thanks fellas!

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#5464293 - 12/07/14 09:47 PM Re: Binocular Reccomendations [Re: oilag]
TTUGrad08 Offline
Tracker

Registered: 07/13/08
Posts: 820
Loc: TEXAS!
I got a pair of Vortex 10x50 that are nice but I keep a old Nikon in the blind bag
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#5464309 - 12/07/14 10:00 PM Re: Binocular Reccomendations [Re: oilag]
Aggieduck Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 07/27/10
Posts: 2286
Loc: TX
http://www.amazon.com/Vanguard-10x42-Binocular-ED-Glass/dp/B005DQG5XC

Those were $175 earlier in the week might want to keep watch on a price drop

Vortex makes a great glass

Nikon monarch 5 (8 or 10x42)
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#5464486 - 12/08/14 06:30 AM Re: Binocular Reccomendations [Re: oilag]
Going Green Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 08/20/13
Posts: 383
Loc: Camp David
Another nod for the vortex stuff. Got a pair last year, they are great!
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#5464499 - 12/08/14 06:46 AM Re: Binocular Reccomendations [Re: Aggieduck]
dawaba Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 4200
Loc: Big Eddy Road, Noonday
Originally Posted By: Aggieduck
http://www.amazon.com/Vanguard-10x42-Binocular-ED-Glass/dp/B005DQG5XC

Those were $175 earlier in the week might want to keep watch on a price drop

Vortex makes a great glass

Nikon monarch 5 (8 or 10x42)


IIRC, the Vanguard Endeavors are simply remarked Zen-Ray ED3s. The picture certainly is similar to the ED3 I keep here in my home office. If so, this sale is an OUTSTANDING value.

Like it or not, China is producing the best value in optics these days. I own euro binos as well as top-quality Japanese glass, and the difference just barely favors the expensive stuff. But at 4 to 8 times the cost, it's hard to justify the extra expense. My go-to bino is still the Leica 10x42, but I admit there may be a little snob factor there.....
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"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple.....and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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#5464737 - 12/08/14 09:26 AM Re: Binocular Reccomendations [Re: oilag]
wfhunter Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 04/04/13
Posts: 310
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
You do not want anything over 10X or you can not hold them still enough without a rest. For the price Nikons are hard to beat. Cabela's has a big sale on optics going on with free shipping over $49. Retuning them is also easy if for some reason there is an issue. This is a good buy on this model, but it is currently on back order. I have a set of these I have had for years and they work very well. I wear glasses and have no issue using them with my glasses.

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Hunting/Optics/Binoculars%7C/pc/104791680/c/104752080/sc/104217480/Nikon-MONARCH-5-10x42-Binoculars/1676966.uts?destination=%2Fcatalog%2Fbrowse%2Fbinoculars%2Fnikon%2F_%2FN-1100054%2B1000004133%2B4294724391%2FNe-4294724391%2FNs-CATEGORY_SEQ_104217480%3FWTz_st%3DGuidedNav%26WTz_stype%3DGNU&WTz_l=Unknown%3Bcat104217480

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#5464810 - 12/08/14 09:56 AM Re: Binocular Reccomendations [Re: oilag]
TXPride Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 1876
Loc: Lost
If you can, go to Cabela's and try them all out side by side. They have Leupold, Vortex, and Nikon right there in the case. I did that, and preferred and selected Nikon Monarchs.

With that said, I've used Ranger Eagle Optics several times, and those are still my favorite pair.They are durable too, and I even ran over a pair without phasing them. I wish I would've waited and ordered those instead.

If you want some good reviews, look up birding forums and websites. Those folks really have optics figured out.


Edited by TXPride (12/08/14 10:00 AM)
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#5464932 - 12/08/14 10:59 AM Re: Binocular Reccomendations [Re: oilag]
GravyWheels Offline
Tracker

Registered: 11/12/04
Posts: 561
Loc: In Waders
Nikon 10x42 are what I use

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#5465747 - 12/08/14 05:50 PM Re: Binocular Reccomendations [Re: TTUGrad08]
TTUGrad08 Offline
Tracker

Registered: 07/13/08
Posts: 820
Loc: TEXAS!
Originally Posted By: TTUGrad08
I got a pair of Vortex 10x50 that are nice but I keep a old Nikon in the blind bag

http://www.nativeoutdoors.com/optics/binoculars
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#5465905 - 12/08/14 07:14 PM Re: Binocular Reccomendations [Re: oilag]
Deputy T Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 293
Loc: East Texas
I use Nikon 10x50....Absolutely love them


Edited by Deputy T (12/08/14 07:14 PM)
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In God we trust, All others I run through TCIC/NCIC

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#5466036 - 12/08/14 08:06 PM Re: Binocular Reccomendations [Re: oilag]
beaversnipe Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 14775
Loc: Terlingua,TX
Nikon monarch are pretty slick

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#5466412 - 12/08/14 11:36 PM Re: Binocular Reccomendations [Re: oilag]
foodieguy Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 02/07/13
Posts: 260
Loc: Austin
I picked up some vortex diamondback 8x42s and have been impressed with the quality and the price. They have a better warranty (lifetime) than the nikons that the are freq compared to. PM me for the contact I got, his prices were way better than I could find any place else.

My buddy has the 10x50s in the diamondback line. The 8x42s were noticeably brighter this past weekend hog hunting w the full moon.
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New fish, looking for advice.


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#5467039 - 12/09/14 10:19 AM Re: Binocular Reccomendations [Re: oilag]
jrg_80 Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 01/04/10
Posts: 208
Loc: New Braunfels
Redfield 10x42

jrg

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#5470039 - 12/10/14 05:35 PM Re: Binocular Reccomendations [Re: oilag]
Blue Moon Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 01/04/05
Posts: 449
Loc: Republic of Texas
Originally Posted By: oilag
Looking for recommendations - have no clue about which magnification aperture combo is best and definitely have no clue on brands. I'd use them for general scouting / hunting purposes. Looking to stay in the 250 dollar price range. waterproof would be nice too if this is possible. thanks fellas!

With a background in astronomy and photography, I know firsthand that selecting optics is always a compromise when you’re staying within any reasonable budget. The good news is that within your budget you can acquire binoculars that provide really good performance and features that meet your wish list; you’ll be happy with your choice as long as you don’t compare low light or edge resolution with glass that costs five or ten times as much.

For regional hunting and general scouting, consider passing on the popular 10x50 models and focus on 8x42 models. Staying within your $250 budget, you’ll likely be happy with either the 8x42 Nikon Monarch 5 or the 8x42 Vortex Diamondback. These are just two popular examples, other brands mentioned above are worth considering.

The Nikon and Vortex models listed above have similar image resolution plus both are waterproof and fog proof. The Nikon model weighs less and has better eye relief, important if you wear glasses, while the Vortex features a wider field of view and a superb warranty program. While both meet your wish list items, if possible, find a dealer that sells both so you can make sure they’re comfortable and you’re personally satisfied with the visual performance.

Regardless of brand, here’s some food for thought that might help when making a purchase decision. Binoculars are described initially by two numbers; examples include 7x35, 8x40 or 10x50. The first number plus the x is magnification, often referred to as power. The second number is the diameter of the large objective lens in mm. Think of the second number as the aperture, the opening that gathers light. The ability to gather light comes into play in low light viewing situations.

Most people have a limited understanding of optics and assume more magnification is better; this assumption is a false myth and often leads to regret down the road. Too much magnification is the cause of shaky, distorted images and makes handholding viewing all but impossible for long periods of time. Also as power increases, field of view narrows and becomes a serious limiting factor if you’re scanning for, or trying to follow moving game. In other words, target acquisition becomes much more difficult and defeats the entire purpose of scouting.

Experienced birders, biologists, naturalists, hunters and guides that observe and scout with binoculars rarely choose more than 8 power magnification, especially if they’re planning to hand hold for any length of time. The more experienced in the tribe will often select even less power. For most hand held use cases, I recommend 8x most often, followed closely by 7x as the best magnification if you only have one pair of binoculars.

When shopping look at highest rated reviews but beware of “best seller” ratings because inexperienced first time buyers often opt for 10x power binoculars thinking more power is better. While 10x binoculars usually perform OK for most use cases that don’t require a wide field of view, most people would likely have a much better user experience with 8x binoculars. If you really need 10x or more power, you’ll likely get better results with a spotting scope on a tripod.

The second number is the diameter size of the objective lens in mm, or the big light gathering end opposite from your eyes. A larger second number will gather more light and deliver a brighter image in low light conditions but makes little difference in sunny conditions. The tradeoff is wide glass equals heavy binoculars. Heavy equals shaky… A larger aperture makes a big difference when viewing the night sky but makes minimal difference in sunny conditions.

Field of view (FOV) is a very important but often overlooked consideration when selecting binoculars. A wider FOV is usually better so another reason to opt for the 7x or 8x vs 10x models. Why is FOV important? A larger field of view means you’ll move less while scanning and we all know less movement is better when trying to stay hidden when observing wildlife. Also a wider field of view makes it much easier to stay on target when following moving game or birds in flight. Target acquisition is easy with a wide FOV and extremely difficult with a narrow FOV.

The secret number that many don’t understand is exit pupil diameter. In general, the larger the exit pupil diameter the easier it is to align the binoculars and the brighter the image will appear in low light conditions. Pupil diameter is calculated by dividing the objective lens number by the power number. As a rule, if you only have one pair of binoculars, make sure the exit pupil diameter is 5mm or larger.

In low light situations youthful human pupils dilate to up to 7mm but in normal daylight conditions pupils are only 2 to 3mm wide. Also, it’s important to understand that the human ability to perceive brightness fads with age because while youthful pupils dilate to 7mm, normally beyond the mid-century mark, pupils only dilate to 5.25mm.

If the exit pupil on your binoculars is less than the size of your actual pupil, say 4 or 5mm, you’ll perceive the image to be dim in low light conditions. On the other hand, the closer the exit pupil is to your actual pupil size, the brighter the image will appear. Again, this is only an issue in low light conditions such as dawn and dusk when your pupils are dilated to 5mm or more. Over your lifetime, 5.25mm is about as wide as your pupils will dilate so another reason to consider 8x42 binoculars as they have a 5.25mm exit pupil.

Here are some exit pupil examples. 7x35 binoculars have an exit pupil of 5mm (35mm objective divided by 7mm magnification = 5mm exit pupil). 8x40s also have a 5mm exit pupil (40/8=5), while 8x42 binoculars have an exit pupil of 5.25mm (42/8=5.25). The small difference will cause reviewers to rave about a brighter low light image.

Bottom-line, 5mm will serve you OK, anything less will seem dim in low light conditions. In this case, bigger is better. If you look at FoodieGuy’s above post, even though his friend’s 10x50’s have a larger objective lens at 50mm compared to his 8x42mm and gather considerably more light, the 10x50 have a 5mm exit pupil while the 8x42’s have a 5.25 exit pupil. The wider exit pupil is the only reason they were “noticeably” brighter to FoodieGuy and his friend in low light conditions during their hog hunt. Again, exit pupil is a critical number for user experience, especially in low light conditions.

Conclusion, if you go with one of the 8x42 models mentioned above, you’ll see a bright stable image with a much wider field of view that will allow you to see more game with less movement compared to the 10x50 models. In general, 8x42 binoculars spank 10x50 binoculars in overall usefulness.


Blue Moon

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#5470456 - 12/10/14 09:18 PM Re: Binocular Reccomendations [Re: oilag]
BDB Online   content
Bird Dog

Registered: 01/30/14
Posts: 333
I don't know what your future hunting will be. But if your content with deer hunting/regional hunting then what's been recommended will serve the purpose. But if you ever get the urge to go west or somewhere else that requires glass time, save that 250.....do something to get some extra cash and spend more to get more. I used eagle ranger 8x42 for 8 years....good glass for the bread. But I wanted better so, without going full bore on one of the big three I settled on vortex 10x42 razors for $1,000 to my door. There is no comparison between them and my eagles. I think there as close as you can get to the big 3 without spending that kind of bread. With respect to others opinion, I would go 10x42 over 8x42. Not 10x50 though. Western big game hunters, in my opinion know more about glass that birders do. I researched the birders and their likes/needs. Most are cheap and really do not understand glass! There as bad as wally world shopper hunters.

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