Optics comparison

307

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Optics experiment. Phone pictures through binoculars. 15x, 12x, 8x at a group of trees .75 miles from my location.

If someone can tell me how to rotate the dang things I'd be happy to fix it.
 

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307

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There is a very important decimal in that number. .75, or 3/4 mile.
 
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307

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I spent hours going back and forth between the 3 sets of binoculars that I had available.

8x42 Maven B1

12x50 Cabelas Euro HD/Meopta Meostar

15x56 Cabelas Euro HD/Meopta Meostar

Thankfully, I had some good targets. There are always speedgoats, at 2.25 miles, and 1.7 miles to watch and while they're not that well camouflaged, they are pretty small, especially the fawns. I was trying to get a feel for magnification, and whether I want to keep the 12x50 or 15x56 binos. I'm trying to decide on an "optics system" for my hunting, both now and in the future.

Possible components:

7x24 monocular (Leica rangefinder)
8x30 Maven B3
8x42 Maven B1
10x42 (don't have these)
12x50 Cabelas Euro HD
15x56 Cabelas Euro HD
50, 60, 80, 90 mm Spotting Scope

Trying to figure out which pieces give me the best modular system for Wyoming hunting, mostly out of a backpack.

Everything will run off a Promaster 525c Tripod with Benro S2 head, KDC bino mount.

I do not have the spotter at the moment. Likely candidates are the Maven S1 and Kowa TSN 773, but maybe the bigger scope is better (Kowa 883)

Impressions:

I was surprised at how reasonably I could handhold the 12 and 15x binoculars (especially the 12x). I wouldn't want to do it for very long, but a 5 second look was very manageable with either one.

At 2.25, and 1.7 miles, the 15x did have a noticeable advantage in gathering detail, but it wasn't as much as I expected. The 12x worked very well at those distances. Whatever I could see through the 15x, I could also see, but with slightly less detail, through the 12x.

The same held true on the other end of the distance spectrum. At 150 yards, there was a noticable loss of FOV with the 15x vs the 12x, but it wasn't major.

Heat mirage is a much bigger problem than I realized. I was looking over a reservoir for most of my "testing" which minimized the mirage. When I took them to a different location in the middle of the day, the mirage was really messing with me.

The 15's are much bigger than the 12's in terms of physical size, but they balanced very nicely and were not uncomfortable to handhold.

I really obsessed at the end of light comparison where I was surprised that there was very little difference. I thought the 12x50, with a 4.2 exit pupil (vs. 3.7 for the 15x56) would outperform the 15x56 and would give me a clear reason to choose them for my primary hunting optic, but it was not the case. There was very little difference, even up to an hour after sunset. Within shooting light timeframe, both were amazing and there was no clear difference, much to my disappointment.

So, these are my impressions/experience with binos this weekend. My family enjoyed the experience as well, my wife even sort of got involved prefering the bright picture of the 8x42 Maven over the details of the higher power binos, and the 15x56 over the 12x50 for details in bright daylight.

Not sure that I learned much more than quality optics are amazing, and that there is always a tradeoff that is neither "good" nor "bad" in these products. At least at the common levels 8x42, 10x42, 12x50, 15x56, you're going to have a very good view, just depending on whether you value brightness, detail, and physical structure (size/weight) more will determine the "best" optic for your situation.
 

elkguide

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To me the mirage and wind issues are the biggest reason why I use 10X42's for everything and if I need to, I pull out my spotter. (I did have to rely on my range finder on day when I bolted out of the truck for a run and gun and forgot my bino's...... NEVER going to happen again.)
Best combo for me.
 

Hatchet Jack

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You are spot on in the fact that there are always trade offs. Currently i'm packing 10x, 15x, and a kowa 66 in my pack with a gitzo tripod. It's a bit of weight but each piece plays an important part. The 15x are somewhat of a specialty, but if you're in big country like Wyoming they are an amazing tool. However, I think the Euro 12x50 with a Kowa 77 would be an awesome setup. Make sure you get a spotter with at least a 65mm objective.
 

Beendare

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Only Two?

You are spot on in the fact that there are always trade offs.

Yeah, and thats the reason many of us own so much different glass.....it would be hard to have 2 instruments that would work for everything. Are you really going to want 12x binos on a Whitetail or run and gun Elk hunt?

Heck, I like to have the option of carrying 8x and/or 10x on hunts. When I'm moving a lot I find I use the 8x a bunch. I like sitting behind 15x binos on a tripod in open country and its usually enough for me....but then can see why a spotter is a necessity for some. Its so dependent on what and how you hunt....when hunting the west, its nice to have choices.

If I was limited to ONLY 2 pieces of glass; for me and the hunts I do it would probably be the 8x and 15x binos
 
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307

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Yeah, and thats the reason many of us own so much different glass.....it would be hard to have 2 instruments that would work for everything. Are you really going to want 12x binos on a Whitetail or run and gun Elk hunt?

Heck, I like to have the option of carrying 8x and/or 10x on hunts. When I'm moving a lot I find I use the 8x a bunch. I like sitting behind 15x binos on a tripod in open country and its usually enough for me....but then can see why a spotter is a necessity for some. Its so dependent on what and how you hunt....when hunting the west, its nice to have choices.

If I was limited to ONLY 2 pieces of glass; for me and the hunts I do it would probably be the 8x and 15x binos

These are the questions I'm trying to answer. I don't think a person can go wrong with 10x and a spotter, so maybe there is a reason that it tends to be the "standard package" for western hunting.

Do I want 12x under certain circumstances, well, probably not, but I sure want them under others... There's the rub.

At 1000 yards, I give up 50' FOV with the 12's over 10's. Personally, at a thousand yards, over 1/2 a mile, I'll take magnification over the FOV.

At 100 yards, the 'run and gun' or whitetail distances, I'm giving up 5' FOV, correct? I think I like that tradeoff.

Also, I'm counting my Leica 7x rangefinder as an optic also. 7x24 seems to be a pretty good scanning optic for me and at those close ranges, I'm pretty likely to want a yardage along with taking a look. (It seems like an 8x30 rangefinding binocular would do well in the market, maybe...)

So, the proposed combo is 7x24 monocular/rangefinder, 12x50, and a 77 or 88 mm spotter.

I think hunting style plays a role here, but I really don't have a defined style. I'm sure that I've been moving too much, and glassing too little in the last 3 years. I've hiked literally 100 miles per year chasing elk, and have one archery bull to show for it, so I'm trying to become a smarter, and more efficient hunter. I've never had anything other than my 8x42 Maven's and never a tripod until this year. In this process, I've discovered that I really enjoy glassing. I'm also not averse to a bit of weight on my back. I don't want to be frivolous with the ounces, but at 6' 190# and a front squat north of 350#, weight isn't a limiting factor like it may be for some smaller folks.

The optics game is a puzzle, a really expensive puzzle. Interesting to try to work out the best pieces.
 

outdoor_matt

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Fascinating post, thanks for the comparisons. I have 8x42s and will likely get a spotter to run with it in the future. I'd love some 12 or 15x binos as well but budget just doesn't allow. Sometimes I wonder if 1 pair of 12x would be a good option to run.


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jlmoeller

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Apr 1, 2014
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Iowa
I hunt with a partner so our optics were meant to complement each other. I have vortex viper hd 10x42 and kaibab 15x56 binos. He has 10x50 vortex diamondbacks and a 80mm vortex razor spotter. This set up should cover us for just about any situation.
Jason
 

lee peet

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Feb 17, 2014
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Leica 10x42 hd-b and a zeiss diascope 85 covers everything for me! Used to run a 65mm swarovski but prefer the 85 zeiss. Also used to run 10x42 swarovision and a leica rangefinder but prefer the all in one package
 

Boreal

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Recognize that it's an older thread, but a question many think about. I've had the same pair of Zeiss 10x42 BG for more than 20 years and they are still the most useful optic I have. When they finally go, I'll get the best 10x42 I can find. Next is a good quality scope, I got a MeoPro 20-60x80 after getting suckered into a Vortex Viper. Heavier, but great for long hours scanning. I've also got 8x32 Vortex for weekend hikes and travel, and 8x50 for the boat. It when heading to the mountains, the Zeiss 8x42 and the MeoPro 80 come with me.


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