Alpha 10x42 vs B+ 8x32 and 15x56

Dirtriding4life

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I'm interested in upgrading my optics setup and currently use Zeiss Conquest HD 10x42 on a Sirui T-024sk with VA-5 head. I enjoy the Conquests but find when glassing 1/2 to 2 miles out I'd like to be able to see more detail. I would like to be able determine a mature animal at longer distances but don't care about being able to determine a 170 from a 165 buck so I think a spotting scope is overkill for my needs. Also I prefer using both eyes if spending much time behind the glass. For context I do mostly rifle backpack hunts throughout Oregon but am planning to venture out of state soon.

On my last hunt 5-day hunt I demoed Maven B3 8x30 and B5 15x56 binos and loved the wide FOV of the 8's. I put the 8's and my Conquest on a tripod next to each other and was impressed with the brightness, resolution, and edge to edge clarity of the Mavens considering they retail for about half the price. My only gripe with the B3 was the general comfort of sitting behind the glass. To my eyes the Zeiss gave a more comfortable, contrasted image and if I was spending hours behind them I could imagine the eye strain would be less with the Zeiss than the B3. Glassing 1/2 mile and closer I think the 8's on the tripod were great.

The B5 15x56 were very good but not perfect. Very bright and clear at the center however the outer 20% of the image I would consider grainy and almost unusable at distance. These I could comfortably sit behind all day. At the center I could pick out and judge bucks at over a mile until last legal shooting light so 15's meet my needs for detail resolution.

Onto my question... Does anyone believe the resolution with lesser magnification of alpha 10x (Zeiss SF, Swaro EL or NL Pure) can compete when compared with a 15x56 (Maven B5 or B1 Plus Meostar) when glassing out over a mile? The alpha 10x42 would save significant weight over the 8 and 15 combo and be about the same cost depending on model. I've left out 12x due to my doubts of being able to hand hold them well enough. Currently I think my B+ combo would be 8x32 Conquest HD and 15x56 Meopta Meostar HD. I do have the advantage of first responder discounts to help make the switch but unfortunately I don't think Swaro is offering a fire/LEO discount anymore. Thanks for any input as I have never had the chance to get behind true alpha glass.
 

AZ_Hunter_2000

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Keep your 10s. They’ll work in a lot of places, both handheld and on a tripod. Not much sense in getting an optic that you believe will give you eye strain and/or fatigue.

I’d look at grabbing a 15x or maybe even 18x.
 
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Dirtriding4life

Dirtriding4life

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Keep your 10s. They’ll work in a lot of places, both handheld and on a tripod. Not much sense in getting an optic that you believe will give you eye strain and/or fatigue.

I’d look at grabbing a 15x or maybe even 18x.
My wife wants my 10x42 Conquests to replace her Diamondbacks so I figured I’d “downgrade” to the slightly lighter weight and wider FOV of 8x32 Conquests if I’m adding 15’s.
 

Lionhound1975

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I recently used my NL 10x42 and Meostar Plus 15x56 HD to glass several mountain valleys in WY. Distances were out to around 3 miles. I put both on a tripod (Sirui ST-124 with VA-5 head) and the Meostar 15x56 showed detail that the NL 10x42 could not. The NLs are incredible and I have compared them to the Meostar 10x42 HD and the NLs are clearly better in most aspects than the Meostars, but even those improvements did not make up for an additional 5x magnification. The Meostar 15x56 HD is a fine optic as well. So to answer your question, to my eyes the "alpha" NL 10x42 did not out-resolve the Meostar Plus 15x56 HD at distances of 1-3 miles. I ended up keeping the Meostar 15 on the tripod and handholding the NL to scan an area before I started picking it apart.
 
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Dirtriding4life

Dirtriding4life

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I recently used my NL 10x42 and Meostar Plus 15x56 HD to glass several mountain valleys in WY. Distances were out to around 3 miles. I put both on a tripod (Sirui ST-124 with VA-5 head) and the Meostar 15x56 showed detail that the NL 10x42 could not. The NLs are incredible and I have compared them to the Meostar 10x42 HD and the NLs are clearly better in most aspects than the Meostars, but even those improvements did not make up for an additional 5x magnification. The Meostar 15x56 HD is a fine optic as well. So to answer your question, to my eyes the "alpha" NL 10x42 did not out-resolve the Meostar Plus 15x56 HD at distances of 1-3 miles. I ended up keeping the Meostar 15 on the tripod and handholding the NL to scan an area before I started picking it apart.

Thanks so much for your input. That’s the exact comparison I was hoping to find. I think for my use 8x32 on my chest with the ability to tripod mount and 15x56 in my pack will be the perfect setup.
 

Spiral Horn

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Onto my question... Does anyone believe the resolution with lesser magnification of alpha 10x (Zeiss SF, Swaro EL or NL Pure) can compete when compared with a 15x56 (Maven B5 or B1 Plus Meostar) when glassing out over a mile?
Based on the challenge you’re contemplating and the preferences you’ve described (optical performance, size, weight and around the price of an NL Pure 10x42), it sounds to me like you’d likely be happiest with the 2 binocular solution. To answer your direct question, “can an Alpha 10x resolve at distance equally with a B+15x?” Probably not. But a more premium 15x, such as the Meopta B1 Plus or SLC HD will more cleanly demonstrate that performance gap. Also, having at least one premium binocular in the 2-bino solution will likely offer more satisfaction and feel more like an upgrade. Either way, you’ll have to decide as your wife already has dibs on your 10x42 Conquests.
 
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Dirtriding4life

Dirtriding4life

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I pulled the trigger and ordered the Meopta B1 Plus 15x56 yesterday. I’ll be sure to report back my thoughts on them and a comparison with the Maven 15x56 although unfortunately I had to return those being a demo pair. In the coming year as I rebuild my hunting fund I will be looking for the right 8x to compliment the 15’s. I am hoping by then Meopta will have a B2 update to the current 8x32 Meostars.
 

Spiral Horn

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Congrats on the 15x Meopta - that’s a great choice and already proven in the field.

8x in this setup this will be a workhorse glass. Size and weight are a primary consideration so either an 8x32 or very small 8x42 works. For an 8x32 the Conquest you were already considering is a superb choice - I just sampled them again this past weekend and am very impressed. IMO they are the best configuration of the Conquest line, rival the view from the SF 32mms (SF shines in 42mm), and they are top performers at their price point. There is also a comparable 42mm option - the Nikon Monarch HG 8x42 is the smallest/lightest binocular I know of in that class (Conquest 8x32 = 22.2oz, MHG 8x42 = 23.5oz). If within the budget an alpha 8x32 are another option but they are not really smaller/lighter than the MHG.

Another thing most don‘t often consider is most binoculars in a series 32mm-42mm, 8x-10x, whether it be Conquest, Meostar, EL, SF, NL Pure share a base design. IME a certain configuration will often be the ”cherry“ or “sweet spot” of the line and bring out the best of that particular design. Personally like the Conquest in 8x32, the SF in 10x42, NL Pure in 8x42, etc.
 
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Dirtriding4life

Dirtriding4life

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I received my Meostar B1 Plus 15x56 this week and had a chance to spend time with them on the tripod yesterday so these are my initial thoughts and a comparison to the Maven B5 15x56 that I had had demoed and setup on a tripod in the same location.


Ergonomics- The Meopta are very sturdy with good grip. The eye cups have a solid engagement without too much or too little effort to adjust. The focus wheel is smooth and I prefer the rubberized coating over the Maven aluminum only for the feel when it would be cold. The tubes have a nice shape with thumb indents for more secure one hand holding while installing on the tripod unlike the round tubes on the Maven. The Meopta are slightly lighter and shorter overall length.

Optical performance- The Meopta are very clear edge to edge. I would estimate 95% of the view is usable at distance whereas I found the Maven to have about 80% usable view. On paper the Maven has a wider FOV, however due to the clear edge to edge performance the Meopta appears to have a wider image. If I wanted to get a better look at something with the Maven I always found myself adjusting the tripod to the center of the image whereas I feel like the Meopta was clear everywhere besides the far outer edges.

My experience with the Maven I was impressed how bright they were. Glassing at last light over a mile they were outstanding. They give a slightly warm hue and looking into the shade still showed a lot of detail. I think this is where the Maven excels. The Meopta has a very neutral image similar to my 10x42 Conquest HD. The view appears natural almost as if you are looking with a 15x view but without using optics to enhance the colors or light. I think this shows more contrast than the Mavens which hopefully will allow animals to pop.

As far as object resolution goes they are both excellent. As I said with the FOV earlier the larger sweet spot of the Meopta gives it a clearer view and more premium “alpha” view. I’m sure the light or air quality was different between both days I looked through them at a house about 4 miles away, but I could resolve slightly better with the Meopta. It showed tighter lines on white trim and windows rather than a slight fuzzy look of the Maven. Maybe that’s the superior CA control of the Meopta or just better air quality between the days I was glassing?


Overall I think I will be thrilled with my purchase of the Meopta 15x and eventually pair it with an 8x chest bino that I can throw on the tripod for closer glassing. I’ve got a baby due anytime so my fall season is done and likely won‘t get out till spring bear. Now I just gotta get my hunting buddy to buy a spotter to slow him down now that I added a little weight.
 
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