Budget optics

blb078

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I have about $700 to spend on a spotter and binocs. Any recommendations on what I should be looking at. I don't have a spotter right now and have some Nikon Prostaff 7. I've been looking at the Zen Ray ED binocs and the Minox MD 50.
 

armyjoe

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I'd just focus on getting a really good pair of binos instead of trying to get both. You will just be getting "ok" binos and spotter if you try to get both. The Zen Ray's ED3's are good but if just binos you could get the Zen Ray HD's which are better (just example). With good bino's you can do better glassing then with a cheaper spotter.
 
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blb078

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I'd just focus on getting a really good pair of binos instead of trying to get both. You will just be getting "ok" binos and spotter if you try to get both. The Zen Ray's ED3's are good but if just binos you could get the Zen Ray HD's which are better (just example). With good bino's you can do better glassing then with a cheaper spotter.

Yea I was thinking that too, I guess w/that in mind what is a good set of binocs in the $700 range.
 

Beastmode

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I would definitely go with as good as a pair of binos as possible. Then start saving for a good spotter. There are a lot of good options around your price range. a couple I would look at are the vortex viper hds and the zen rays. For a few hundred dollars more you could get the razor HDs which are excellent for the price or the Meopta Meostars.

If your dead set on getting binos and a spotter I would consider the Vortex Talon hds and find a nomad on clearance which shouldn't be too hard to find since the nomad isn't in their 2013 lineup.
 

armyjoe

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Here are a few new ones that fit into your budget, BUT you can also look out for used deals. Sometimes you can run into a great deal on binos in that price range.
Cabelas Euro Binos (non HD but still really good)- On sale for $699
Vortex Viper HD
Zen Ray HD
 

Craig4791

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Agree with others here to get a good set of binos first and a cheap tripod to use them on for long glassing sessions. Good binos on a tripod is a deadly combo.
 

H'n'F

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I found a deal on a used pair of Meopta Meostar 10x42's a couple years ago and they are really great. They are available on the web for $749 at Amazon right now. Watch all of the boards and you can sometimes find a smoking deal on a used set of quality glass.
 

Jon Boy

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I have the Zen Ray ED3s and the minox MD50. The best budget pair of optics on the market and I highly recommend the both of them.
 
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blb078

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I've narrowed my choices down to the Zen Ray Prime HDs, Vortex Viper HDs, and the Zen Ray ED3. I know the ED3 isn't as good as the other two but I can get a pair for about $330 or possibly a little less. The Prime & Vipers I can get new for about $550. Those of you familiar w/these, is it worth the extra money to go with the Vipers or Primes over the ED3s? Will I get $200+ more in value/quality/performance by going w/one of the HDs. Thanks
 

armyjoe

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Yes the HD's will be better then the ED3's. Worth the extra $200 or so... well that's up to you really. I think they are a great bino and for the price really great. The HD's are brighter and have better contrast then the ED3's.

For me - worth the extra cash
 

Rocky

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I went with hd when I bought my spotter for the same reasons armyjoe stated. My next pair of binos will also be hd. Have you looked for a used pair of binos?
 
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blb078

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I went with hd when I bought my spotter for the same reasons armyjoe stated. My next pair of binos will also be hd. Have you looked for a used pair of binos?

I've tried to find some of the used Vipers & Primes, but haven't been able to find any deals on them. I emailed Zen Ray and they stated they'd give me their promo offer of $555 they had last year for the Primes. I've seen on ebay the Viper HDs and there are a few retail sellers that allow offers for a new pair which the lowest I've gotten an offer back was $540 for the Viper HD. To me for it to be worth buying a used pair of either of those it would have to be below $500 just because the extra $40-50 for a new pair is worth it because then I know I can return it if there are any issues. But I have yet to see any sub 500 and might be hard to find em that low.
 
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The zen primes are undoubtable better, but I don't think you're going to find any more deer than with the ED3's. I'd go demo ED3's from cameraland and look for a used spotter. With the new Vortex razor spotters coming out, there's bound to be some spotters popping up in the classifieds.
Pentax pf65 and the Minox 65 are pretty good. I would think you would be able to stay under your $700 limit.

My 2 cents anyway.
 

2ski

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The Primes aren't even a year old yet, so it would be tough to find a used pair. I think I received mine shortly after the 4th of July last year. I really like my Primes, but I will say I'm haven't look through a lot of expensive optics so can't say what's better than what. I liked the Primes better than the Vipers, but that's just me personally.
 

Matt Cashell

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I would lean towards the Vipers for a couple of reasons:

1. They are optically very good at their price point.
2. They are backed by the best warranty and customer service in the industry.

The Primes are optically excellent, but I had a hard time getting used to the large eyecups.

Leupold also has very good customer service, and is now marketing their own version of the Prime design. It is called the McKinley HD.
 

robby denning

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Looks like I'll be doing a review on Vanguard Endeavor EDs in the next few weeks. They are in the $300 range.

For what it's worth, I used Pentax binocs for years before I could afford the top glass. I could see the deer, but I did break them several times.
 

ohhiitznik

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BLB keep an eye on archerytalk.com in the classifieds in the optics section. I got a pair of Vortex 10x42 razors the 2010 model for 400 bucks. These are awesome glass. You can find steals as some guys just like having new binos every year. Another reason to check for vortex is that if anything is wrong, or goes wrong, you can get them fixed for free. Lifetime warranty of the product to any owner. Not just the original.
 
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