$900 binos or bino/spotter combo

mlawrence125

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If you had $900 to $1000 would it be better to get one set of binos, or a combo of bino and spotter. I currently have no optics and may possibly be moving to a western state(idaho, utah, Arizona, colorado) by the end of the year. Looking to get into elk hunting. Thanks

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matthewmt

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I'm no expert but the vortex HD stuff is good, maybe save some cash over time for a good spotter.

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Dameon

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Buy the best set of binos you can afford. A spotting scope is something nice to have, but no matter where you hunt, a great set of binoculars will always come in handy. FYI....This is how I am justifying my upcoming purchase of new binos to my wife, just gotta settle on what I want first.
 

marktole

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I would get a good pair of binos and then save for a spotter over the next few years or however long. You'll use the binos way more than the spotter anyway, and unless you're out there counting antler inches, its not a necessity. But ultimately I guess it depends on personal preference.
 

rfurman24

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I must be the weirdo here. I would rather have a nice spotter and crappy binos. Yes, you will use the binos more but a good spotter will save you hours and miles of hiking. The way I glass is mostly with a set of binos until I find game, then I put the spotter on it to see if it is worth chasing. After the morning has settled down it will be mostly spotter, looking for a flicker of an ear or antlers in the brush. I have found that during the first and last few minutes of the day a good spotter is necessary. If I were in your shoes I would stretch your budget a little and get some 10x42 Viper HDs and a 15-45x60 Viper HD spotter. You can upgrade later. These will serve you well.
 

7stw

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I went with the best binos I could for a few years and spent the money to get the tripod adapter. Money well spent and mounting them on a tripod was a true game changer. I love my meopta (Cabelas euro) 10x40 binos. Great value for a grand. (Slightly higher now). I currently run a vortex razor spotter as well but am considering an upgrade to the 65mm Swarovski or the maven spotter. If I where in the same boat today and only had 9-1000 dollar budget knowing what I do today I'd probably spend around 6 on the binos and the rest on a good tripod and head with a mount for the binos then plan to upgrade the glass and add a spotter at a later date. If I wouldn't have bought so many cheaper options and had to upgrade over the years I'd be money ahead actually especially on spotting scopes !


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rfurman24

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I should have started with, if you don't have a good tripod and head that changes the entire picture. If that is the case I really only see one option with your budget and that is what 7stw said.
 
OP
mlawrence125

mlawrence125

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Ok I should add that I am military and qualify for vortex's program. Gives a significant discount on glass. In that price range I could do either razor hd binos or viper hd bino/spotter

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colersu22

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If your in the military check out expertisity and govx and thanks for your service.
 

Hunthigh1

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Ok I should add that I am military and qualify for vortex's program. Gives a significant discount on glass. In that price range I could do either razor hd binos or viper hd bino/spotter

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Meopta will give you a deal too. Get the meostar bino and a tripod adapter.


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Bruce Culberson

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Ok I should add that I am military and qualify for vortex's program. Gives a significant discount on glass. In that price range I could do either razor hd binos or viper hd bino/spotter

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Personally I would go with the viper hd combo of bino/spotter. Then you have one of each. While you are saving up to upgrade you will be using both hunting and can decide which to upgrade first (if at all, you might find them adequate). With Vortex's warranty the used market seems pretty strong and with your discount you probably won't even loose that much.
 

DenRuyter

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I'd go with just bino's. I'd be checking out the Meopta MeoStar's, Vortex Razor HD's, and Zeiss Conquest's HD's. Meopta and Vortex give awesome military discounts, but the Zeiss can be found as demo units for a great deal or someone looking to upgrade. Another one you could check out is Steiner- not a lot of love on this site, but good glass at great prices for military too. any of these options may save you enough for a good pod and head too.
 

Hatchet Jack

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Be patient and find ya some good used European glass in 10 or 12x. Put them on a tripod with a quality pan head and that'll do ya well. you'll be likely over a grand but well worth it. You can get a spotter later down the road, you'll want to spend at least 900 on a spotter.
 

mvmnts

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Longmont, CO
I'm doing my first hunt this year, so I'm not speaking from experience, but from my research and feedback solicited here, the word is to get the nicest binos you can afford 8, 10, or 12 x 42, and get a spotter down the road. That's what I did. I spent about $900 on a pair of Leica Trinovids and I'm happy with them. I'll upgrade to some Swaros after I'm an elk killing machine.
 

jm1607

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I would spend the money on some real solid binos.. for that price maybe some Leica Trinovid HDs in 10x42?

Alot of hunts you don't need a scope.. Or if you hunt with a buddy if he has a scope 1 scope between you is often enough
 

outdoor_matt

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I went through the same dilemma last year. I bought a vortex viper hd spotter, and had a cheaper set of binos. I ended up just selling both and buying a used pair of Leica Ultravid Hd 8x42's and it was the best decision ever. $900 will get you a really good pair of binos and you will use them continually, especially for elk. I would sink the money into great binos over mediocre spotter/binos.
 

frankrb3

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If I could do it over again this is what I would do.

1.) Buy the best binoculars you can afford, in your case go all in and spend the $900-$1000 on the binoculars now. Or even save a little longer until you know for sure where you will end up and buy the best you can afford. The other advantage to this is you can use binoculars right away without a tripod. Spotting scope will require a tripod.

2.) Invest in a good tripod, pan head and mounting system (I love my outdoorsmans) and mount your binoculars to a tripod.

3.) After a season or two, if your still really into elk hunting you will be ready to invest in a spotter and you will already be setup with a tripod.

I wished I had bought top of the line binoculars a long time ago. The good thing about getting the best you can afford now is you will have them forever and wont have to waste money upgrading down the road. Also if you stop hunting elk, you will still have a great pair of usable binoculars for other things like wildlife viewing, sporting events and vacations.
 

Titan

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I had the same dilemma. I needed both, but didn't want to spend most of the money on a single product then get junk for the other.

Ended up with a pair of Zen-Ray ED4 which tend to out-glass most in that price range
Then picked up a Vanguard Endeavor HD spotting scope

Both of these are products that, based on reviews, are very good glass-for-dollar units. After testing them out for a while now, I have zero regrets. I feel like I got a lot of glass for my money.
 

pods8

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I've found I personally can't glass with a spotter very easily since I can't keep both eyes open (which ever isn't obstructed will dominate) and it causes eye strain/headache. For me glassing with binos on a tripod is SO much nicer. Just going to binos on a tripod was a huge leap in my hunting/spotting game. Since I'm not a trophy hunter being able to score an animal at distance hasn't been a real need and thus in the end I didn't really use a spotter much at all (uncomfortable for me personally to glass with and I didn't need it for scoring). I'm jumping into a nice pair of 15x56 binos this year for long range glassing so ideally I'll pick up the same ear flicks and such those with spotters see while using a piece of equipment that is comfortable for my eyes. I won't be able to zoom to 45x or 60x like on a spotter but I'll have a good ideal of what I'm looking at already in 15x which suits my current hunting needs (find them and if legal try and put them in the freezer).

Having something you can comfortably glass with for your eyes will be the biggest thing in my opinion because it means you will in the end spend the time behind said optics longer. Either way get the optics on a tripod, taking the shake out of the view makes things pop out. (This year we saw some deer run into some bushes but had difficulty picking them out off hand glassing, once I had my binos on the tripod their bodies materialized for me while my partner still couldn't make them out. I noted the reference points and then refound that area in my scope a moment later when I was situated for a shot, all the while my partner couldn't see them off hand still.)
 
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