Budget 10x42 opinions

Hoodie

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Aug 6, 2020
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292
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Oregon Cascades
Currently my main bino is the Meostar HD 12x50. Love the things. I can hand-hold them pretty well, but mostly I carry them in my pack for tripod use and run the Kowa BD ii 6.5x32 on my chest for easy hand-holding/timber stuff. I'm a big fan of them as well.

Those two combined weigh 58 ounces. I don't even remotely have a problem carrying both, and occasionally a spotter too, for any mountain deer hunting I do.

Next year for archery elk I'm potentially looking at bivy-hunting a few burn areas 4 plus miles from the truck. Distances I could conceivably be glassing will be up to a mile, but more likely 1/2 mile or so. The 12s seem like overkill for this but I'd like more reach than the 6.5x32s will give me.

I could lighten my pack by close to 2lbs if I pick up a 10x42 and use it as my only optic for the hunt. Tripod will be coming along regardless. I'm not looking to spend what I did on the Meoptas, but I'd like decent glass.

Stuff I'm considering from low end to high end:

Athlon Cronus UHD 8.5x42 for $269- I know it's not a 10x, but this seems dirt cheap based on what I've heard about these. Cons are they're fairly heavy.

Maven C1 used for $300- My buddy has the 8x42 in these and I was impressed for the price. FOV seems really small for a 10x42.

Kowa BD ii for $450- Love the 6.5s so I'm leaning heavily towards these. These are also the lightest at 22oz.

Leupold BX-4 for $500- Would specifically like to hear from people who can compare these to the Kowas.

Tract Toric for $690- Absolute top end of the budget, but people seem to rave about these.

I'm mostly looking for the best balance of pure image quality vs money spent. Field of view and depth of field are important, but not deal breakers. Ergonomics I can let slide.
 

Rob5589

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Sep 6, 2014
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W Sac CA
The Mavens get reviewed well in general. I thoroughly enjoy my Meopro 10x42. Doug at Cameraland can get you set up with those.
 

jgill_pursuit

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Sep 15, 2020
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270
Location
Wasatch Mountains
My vote goes to the Maven's, without question. They easily hang with stuff costing up to 3 times as much, and lots of times beat them out in my opinion.

I understand your concerns with the FOV, but someone on here explained it to me like this. Let's say you have BrandX 10x42 HD's, and they come with a FOV of 341 Feet at 1000 yards. On paper, not too shabby. The Maven's have a narrower FOV of 314 feet, so smaller than BrandX. HOWEVER, most glass below a grand has some chromatic aberration (bending/blurring at the edge) that takes up a portion of the FOV, rendering it useless. BrandX suffers from this problem. So, for argument's sake, let's say the blurry portion at the edge takes up 10% of your view, or 34.1 feet. That means the "useable field of view" is actually only about 310 feet. For all intents and purposes, the same as the Maven. The difference is the Maven's don't have this distortion taking up such a big portion of the field of view, which means the FOV is 100% useable. You may be able to glass right through the middle of the FOV of the BrandX binos, but the bending and blurring will give you a headache. The Maven's don't give you that.

I've tested the Maven's in good and poor light against Vortex Vipers and Razor's (HD's and the new UHD's), Bushnell (high end), Leupold BX4 Proguides, and Nikon Monarchs. Although the "view" isn't as "wide," the view you do have is significantly clearer and crisper. The colors are truer, less haze (which I appreciated in the wildfire smoke this season), and overall better clarity and light gathering, meaning I glassed 20 minutes longer than my buddy with some Viper HD's.

That advice is worth what you paid for it, but just sharing my thoughts!
 

snel6424

Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2020
Messages
50
Hey I might be able to help! I just did a TON of research over binos is the $400 price range. I ended up narrowing it down to either the Hawke Frontier ED X and the GPO Passion ED. (ended up going with an older version of the Hawkes, as Cameraland had a good deal on em). You can go see my post I just made if you want some more info. I also made a spreadsheet I can send you that compares a BUNCH of binos in different price ranges.
 
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Hoodie

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2020
Messages
292
Location
Oregon Cascades
My vote goes to the Maven's, without question. They easily hang with stuff costing up to 3 times as much, and lots of times beat them out in my opinion.

I understand your concerns with the FOV, but someone on here explained it to me like this. Let's say you have BrandX 10x42 HD's, and they come with a FOV of 341 Feet at 1000 yards. On paper, not too shabby. The Maven's have a narrower FOV of 314 feet, so smaller than BrandX. HOWEVER, most glass below a grand has some chromatic aberration (bending/blurring at the edge) that takes up a portion of the FOV, rendering it useless. BrandX suffers from this problem. So, for argument's sake, let's say the blurry portion at the edge takes up 10% of your view, or 34.1 feet. That means the "useable field of view" is actually only about 310 feet. For all intents and purposes, the same as the Maven. The difference is the Maven's don't have this distortion taking up such a big portion of the field of view, which means the FOV is 100% useable. You may be able to glass right through the middle of the FOV of the BrandX binos, but the bending and blurring will give you a headache. The Maven's don't give you that.

I've tested the Maven's in good and poor light against Vortex Vipers and Razor's (HD's and the new UHD's), Bushnell (high end), Leupold BX4 Proguides, and Nikon Monarchs. Although the "view" isn't as "wide," the view you do have is significantly clearer and crisper. The colors are truer, less haze (which I appreciated in the wildfire smoke this season), and overall better clarity and light gathering, meaning I glassed 20 minutes longer than my buddy with some Viper HD's.

That advice is worth what you paid for it, but just sharing my thoughts!

This is exactly what I was looking for. I´ve had the Razor HD 8x42s in the past, and while I couldn´t compare them side to side, I don´t feel like my buddy´s C1´s give up anything to them image wise at 1/3 of the price. I figured they probably compared favorably to other mid-range stuff like the BX-4s, but I haven´t had my hands on them and figured someone on here would have.

I like a wide FOV, but like you said it doesn´t mean much if you don´t have good edge to edge clarity.

Thanks for the response.
 
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Hoodie

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Oregon Cascades
Hey I might be able to help! I just did a TON of research over binos is the $400 price range. I ended up narrowing it down to either the Hawke Frontier ED X and the GPO Passion ED. (ended up going with an older version of the Hawkes, as Cameraland had a good deal on em). You can go see my post I just made if you want some more info. I also made a spreadsheet I can send you that compares a BUNCH of binos in different price ranges.

Iĺl definitely check that post out. Iḿ not too familiar with either of the models you mentioned but people on the bird forums seem to think highly of the GPO. Iĺl look into both of those.
 

jgill_pursuit

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2020
Messages
270
Location
Wasatch Mountains
This is exactly what I was looking for. I´ve had the Razor HD 8x42s in the past, and while I couldn´t compare them side to side, I don´t feel like my buddy´s C1´s give up anything to them image wise at 1/3 of the price. I figured they probably compared favorably to other mid-range stuff like the BX-4s, but I haven´t had my hands on them and figured someone on here would have.

I like a wide FOV, but like you said it doesn´t mean much if you don´t have good edge to edge clarity.

Thanks for the response.
Not a problem, good luck! FWIW, I would rank the glass/image quality as follows for the ones I tested:

1. Razor UHD's/Maven's (The Razor's had great image clarity, but personally, I HATE the color hue they cast over the whole thing. So objectively, they are very comparable, but they Maven's, in my opinion, let through a more "natural/true" color, rather than casting a yellow-ish shade over the image. YMMV)
2. Nikon Monarch's

LARGE Step Down...

3. Leupold BX4's (coming from a confessed Leupold fan, my Maven's replaced some Leupolds)

GIANT STEP DOWN...

4. Bushnell Forge
5. Vortex Viper HD's (IMO, the most overrated binoculars in Western Hunting)

Everyone's eyes are different, but this is how I would rank them!
 

Highvoltage1

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2020
Messages
100
If your looking at true budget options the vortex diamondbacks can’t be beat, most times you can grab a set for $150-200. I’ve used mine for multiple rifle elk hunts and zero complaints. Best wishes
 

Steve C

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Mar 9, 2015
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119
Location
Klamath Falls Or
What you need to consider is the binocular apparent field of view (AFOV). In simplest terms this is the magnification of the binocular multiplied by the angular field of view. Take the Maven C1, which I would support as a choice, the 8x42 has a listed fov of 341'. Mine actually measure out to 360'. Take the 341' fov, divide by 52.5 (the number of feet in a degree) and you get 6.5*. This times 8 gets you an afov of 52*. The 10x42 lists a 314' fov for an angular fov of 6* or an afov of 60*. Long held standards classify a binocular with an afov of 60* or wider to be wide angle. Yes you have less fov with a 10x glass, but the extra magnification makes it appear wider. Hence the name afov. I am pretty well convinced this is the major reason for the popularity of the 10x for wide open spaces. Buy, hey, I've been wrong before. I have not measured the fov of a Maven c1 10x42.

Chromatic aberration is most common at the edge of the field, but the distortions you see at the edge are characteristic design necessities for non flat field designs, usually some pincushion distortion at the very edge and another ring caused by field curvature. CA shows as bright color fringes at the edge or possibly anywhere in the fov where you have a dark object in stark contrast to something loke the bright blue sky, or the edge of a snow drift aganist the background of the mountainside. Peoples sensitivity to CA will vary a lot.
 
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Hoodie

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Oregon Cascades
After some more research and taking into account these golden reviews for the Maven, I´ve narrowed it down to either the C1s or the Athlon Cronus G2 UHD

I like the price tag on the Mavens a lot. At this point that´s almost certainly what I´ll be going with.

The Athlons are supposed to be competitive with the razors at about $500. Looks like the second generation is also a good bit lighter than the first, which was a sticking point for me on them.

Anybody had the chance to check out the newer Cronus?
 

Seamaster

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2020
Messages
41
Look at the Nikon Monarch 7. For $500 it is excellent.

I normally carry Swarovski binoculars, but if I had just $500 binoculars I would buy the Monarch 7.
 
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Hoodie

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Aug 6, 2020
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Location
Oregon Cascades
For what itś worth, the warranty thing isn´t a deal breaker for me.

I´d rank my priorities:

1) Image quality
2) FOV/Depth of field
3) Weight
4) Ergonomics

I know you can´t have it all in the price range I´m considering so I´m willing to let stuff like build quality slide for a nice view. Same with considering newer companies that may not be around forever. If I were dropping $1K I´d be more concerned with the warranty.
 

Guitarman1562

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Joined
Jun 19, 2019
Messages
353
After some more research and taking into account these golden reviews for the Maven, I´ve narrowed it down to either the C1s or the Athlon Cronus G2 UHD

I like the price tag on the Mavens a lot. At this point that´s almost certainly what I´ll be going with.

The Athlons are supposed to be competitive with the razors at about $500. Looks like the second generation is also a good bit lighter than the first, which was a sticking point for me on them.

Anybody had the chance to check out the newer Cronus?
I’ve used Mavens and Cronus. The Mavens are super clear but have little depth. I felt like I had to focus the whole time using them. The Cronus are impressive but I didn’t like the eye cups. There was no real stop in the middle. I sold them to a guy who absolutely loves them so it’s different per persons. The glass was pretty incredible just didn’t fit me well. I’m still on the hunt for a good mid range bino. Recently leaning towards BX4 but don’t have experience with them. I’ve also seen Zeiss Conquests go for $500ish and used razors about $600 so may be worth watching for.
 

Guitarman1562

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2019
Messages
353
For what itś worth, the warranty thing isn´t a deal breaker for me.

I´d rank my priorities:

1) Image quality
2) FOV/Depth of field
3) Weight
4) Ergonomics

I know you can´t have it all in the price range I´m considering so I´m willing to let stuff like build quality slide for a nice view. Same with considering newer companies that may not be around forever. If I were dropping $1K I´d be more concerned with the warranty.
Really good points here. Depth of field was something I overlooked but now it’s a top priority for me.
 
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