Hard to recommend these kind of binos without looking through the very one you intend to buy. The reason is that top brands tend to have a pretty thorough (multi step) quality control so there is very little difference between each single specimen. By that I mean that if you have looked through a (say...) Leica 10x42 you could confidently comment on another Leica 10x42 . With house brands and generic brands (like the Hammers) you could have 10 of them and get 10 different levels of quality. Essentially at the end of the production line binos are graded and then labelled according to the re-sellers specs. The best stock goes to the best customers (volume and or price) Whatever stock is left is sold to cheaper brands. So if I had a Hammers 10x42 I could not tell you how good or bad yours will be. Franco
Franco I beleive you are correct. I have leupold scopes and the are awsome. I also have 3 pair os cheap Bushnell Binocs. 1 pair of Bushnells are awsome, even compaired to a leupoldrangefinder. I have 2 other pair that are garbage. All three cost about the same! Same goes for cheaper rifle scopes. They typicaly work fine, but will not hold zero trip t trip!
My comment is not what the typical customer wants to hear but I have purchased thousands of binos (for shops...) and visited 2 factories, so I am a bit aware of what happens at the source. That is why we need to be cautious when looking at very similar items at widely different prices. They could come from the same production line but simply have failed to pass the test... You would be surprised to see how many brands are made on the same production line. Franco
Very much agree, you get what you pay for, more or less. I'll add that the quality of mid-range optics has improved tremendously over the last decade, and that's where I'd focus (sorry) if I were in the market.
I have some very small and light Minolta binos that are decent, but just that, some compact Nikons that are a bit better, and some wonderful Swarovskis that cost several times the others, combined, used.
My prized optic is a Leica Televid scope, and you don't even want to know what that cost. Again, the marketplace has filled with spotting scopes since I bought it, so I'm certain it can be approximated for far less, if not exactly matched.
The best way to compare any sporting optics is outdoors, where you quickly sift through the winners and losers--for your eyes and interests. It's hard to learn anything inside a store.
To illustrate my point. There is a discussion about monoculars at BPL. One , that obviously knows what he is talking about, recommended the Barska 10x40mm. Another member just posted this comment : "My Barska 10x40 monocular arrived yesterday, and I will be returning it.
The problem is that the view through the monocular is either in focus in the center of the lens and out of focus in the outside half, or vice versa. The focused area does not cover the entire field of view - only the center half.
Very disappointing." Having sold binos for over 30 years, I can tell you that it happens a lot...
And I would definetaly NOT buy the bino's you're looking at. Again this is all personal opinion. There is a HUGE difference between 50 dollar glass and 200-300 dollar glass and esp. in low light situations the higher quality glass will let you stay in the field longer.
Edited by Richardvg03 (10/28/1005:00 PM)
Sgt. Richard V. Gilbert USMC Retired Scout/Sniper
Already getting notifications to be more "gentle"..??
I have the same rangefinder. Never weighed it though. I have a Leupold 6.5-20x50 on my 22-250 Awsome optics. Again get what you pay for. I dont take my rangefinder backpacking as the magnafication is a bit weak compaired to my binocs. I use rangefinder for Coyote hunting. I just ordered a Nikon scop for my Ar. I have read nothing but good reveiws about them. I figure they make excellent cameras why not scopes?
Personally, I'm not a big fan of 10x40/42mm bins. Too heavy/bulky for my requirements and handshake is an issue with 10X bins... if I need more than 7 or 8x I prefer to pull out a 20X spotter.
As to optics, more than most things in life, you get what you pay for. Glass from the "Big 3" (Leica, Swarovski, Zeiss) are excellent (I've owned some of each). Nikon's top tier bins compare favorably with the Big 3 too (maybe in some ways even better), though I don't like their ergo's.
For me, the "best" compromise one glass, glass for hiking, birding, hunting is an 8x30/32mm bin... I currently use a Leica 8x32 Ultravid, but have owned Swaro 8 and 7x30's and a Zeiss 8x32FL. The Leica is a superb glass, and built like the proverbial Teutonic tank. There are other less expensive 32mm bins that work well too... Minox comes to mind.
For backpacking however, I carry the even smaller Zeiss 8x20 Victory. Another superb glass.
Bottom line though, a really GREAT bin that doesn't cost an arm and a leg and is an excellent compromise in size, weight, power, and quality is the Bushnell Custom 7x26... a truly outstanding little glass for the money. It's what I recommend to anyone getting their first set of quality bins for just the purposes you describe.