Which binoculars are just step down from the best of the best?

Ridgerunner7

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I'm trying to find reviews but they are all different. One review had Vortex Diamondbacks at number 3! Lol

When I'm in Cabelas it's difficult for me to see a huge difference between the Swarovski vs Leupold vs Vortex etc.

I know a lot of emphasis is put on buying the best glass you can afford but I know guys that glass up and kill great deer with mid level binos.

Guess I'm wondering about some more affordable options while still getting great quality. Any recommendations? Are the Leupold Mohave HD Pro, Vanguard HD, etc any good? Can they hang somewhat with the big dogs?

Almost seems like guys turn up there nose unless it's 2000$ Swarovski, Zeis, or Leica.


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ljalberta

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I'll let others with a lot more experience chip in on the details, but a lot of it comes down to your eyes and how you plan on using the glass. In terms of being a step down from the best, it seems the Cabela's Euro/Meostar HD, Maven's, and Zeiss Conquest get a lot of love from people and come in around the $1000 range. I'm not sure about the $500 range, but the Tract Toric bino's seem to have some positive reviews - no personal experience.
 

AGPank

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What are you looking for? 8x32, 8x42, 10x42?

I bought, tried, and sold a lot of glass the last few years. For my eyes I have liked Swarovski, Leica, Meopta Meostar. I've bought all either second hand/demo to save significant $. I looked through some Zeiss Fls, thought the Conquest HD were better to my eyes.

Vortex Razor HDs are just below the alphas. Can usually be found used and have good transferable warranty. The new Nikon Monarch might make the list.

Lots of articles to read in the section with lots of information. Birdforum.com has lots of information too.

You will need to set a budget, look at glass, and be patient to look for good deals.

Pick out what performance factors are important to you and compare them to decide. You will see incremental losses from alphas as you go down. It may be magnesium vs aluminum body, coating quality, light transmission, chromatic aberration, weight, overall size, focus adjustment, build quality, or eye relief.

Another thing to consider is resale. Will you keep them forever, or do you like to change gear frequently? The alphas are easier to resale. There are many new companies popping up selling glass, most made from Kamakura, a Japanese manufacturer. Tract, Maven, SigSauer, German Precision Optics, and I'm sure there are others who are branding someone's glass to their specs. I haven't looked through any, but I'm sure they all have lines that will meet many people's needs.
 

Mjm316

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Minox are great for the money and won't break the bank either. The Hg line is European glass at a very fair price
 

Rhansen

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You will get a bunch of different options here. I would use the search on forums (including bird watching) and read as many reviews as you can. Then check them out as much as you can in person at low light conditions.

I like the Meopta/Euros the are above the Razors and IMO (for the price) can't be beat.
 

WestNE

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After trying most of the
"Almost alphas" I have found my bino, the monarch HG from Nikon. Lightweight, build quality easily exceeds the razor, most importantly to me is the relaxed view provided by the HUGE field of view. Of course all eyes are different.
Nick

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RussGS

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+1 on the Meopta/Euros. For my eyes, they are noticeably better than razors. I spent some time inside and outside the store, comparing Swaro SLCs and Euros. The Euros were so close that I could not pass them up.
 

EsteemGrinders

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I like the Vanguard ED2's. ED coated Japanese glass. Very good for the money. The bird viewing people really like them and have very good things to say about them. There a pretty picky group. LOL
Also, these are rating pretty high in reviews as well. Amazon.com: Athlon 113004 Midas 8 x 42 ED Binoculars, Green: Sports & Outdoors The main thing is don't be afraid to get away from the big names in the hunting world.
 

NDarrough

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Probably more in the budget category but the Stryka S5 set I got off camofire has been serving me well so far this spring. Similar warranty to Vortex.
 

AK Shane

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I spent a bunch of time a year ago comparing binos from Swaro EL down to everything in the $1000 range. I reaĺly wasnt looking to spend EL money and found the best bino for the money to be the Cabelas Euro HD. They retail $1200 but which can commonly be found for $1000. I really liked the Swaro SLC and Zeiss HT but just couldn't justify the extra cash. Other great binos in the $1000 ranges are the Maven B1 and the Zeiss Conquest.

I'm a gear nut but will probably never own a $2,500 bino. I spent so many years with a pair of $500 binos out glassing all my hunting partners. It taught me that good dilegent glassing is more important than high dollar glass. With that said there really isn't much you can't do these days with a $1000 pair of binos.
 

LIWolverine

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I went store to store comparing $500-$1000 binos this last year. Monarch, Razors, Ziess, lots of others. I was very surprised to find that the Leupold Mojave 10x42s were the nicest to look through. The adjustments seemed to be the smoothest and they were the clearest to my eyes. I was able to look at a bunch of full body mounts around 100-200yrds away in the store and went through all of them and the adjustments looking at horns and antlers and the Mojaves gave me the crispest/sharpest image of them all. I now have them and love them. Now I didn't try any of the $1500+ binos just because there was no way I could afford them. I would definitely find somewhere like Cabelas where you can try a bunch of them and actually look at animals at least at some kind of distance. It helped me a lot in my search.


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dotman

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It's hard to compare Binos in a store, find a store that will let you take them outside close to dark or in crappy light to make a comparison as that is where you will see the majority of the diff. I've found in great lighting even cheap Binos can seem close to alpha. I agree that the Zeiss Conquest HD and Meopta/Cabelas HD are pretty darn good. I would also keep an eye out for demo swaro SLC's, there are good deals to be had on them all.
 

5MilesBack

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Almost seems like guys turn up there nose unless it's 2000$ Swarovski, Zeis, or Leica.

Unless it's your nose, don't worry about what everyone else thinks.

I still use 10x42 Kahles and 8x32 Kahles because they work great for me. I have never even once sat there thinking to myself that I needed better glass using these (maybe more power, but not better glass). And when I bought them, I was considering the Swaro's and Zeiss and still liked these better for my eyes.

I had a Swaro HD spotter and sold it. Now I have the Meopta S2 spotter and I like it better than the Swaro. I also have the Meopta 15x56 bino's, and while I really like the 15 power......I still think my 10x42 Kahles have better glass. And my eyes have never liked any of the Vortex glass.
 

Hatchet Jack

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Unless it's your nose, don't worry about what everyone else thinks.

I still use 10x42 Kahles and 8x32 Kahles because they work great for me. I have never even once sat there thinking to myself that I needed better glass using these (maybe more power, but not better glass). And when I bought them, I was considering the Swaro's and Zeiss and still liked these better for my eyes.

I had a Swaro HD spotter and sold it. Now I have the Meopta S2 spotter and I like it better than the Swaro. I also have the Meopta 15x56 bino's, and while I really like the 15 power......I still think my 10x42 Kahles have better glass. And my eyes have never liked any of the Vortex glass.

I've heard great things about Kahles binos. Would love to look thru some one day.
 

WestNE

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Another good source for reviews is allbinos, some disagree with a few of there testing methods but their rankings offer good info.

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WRO

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I'd buy used alpha, I picked up a set of hts last year with a tripod adapter for 1200.00.

I kept them one season and turned them for a tidy profit.

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dotman

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Between the classifieds, swfa sample list, natchezss and Red Hawk Rifles you should be able to find a smoking deal on alpha glass.

I used to add caneralandny to the list but ever since their web redesign I see half the brands that they used to offer demos of.

8x42 Swaro SLC's $1299. DEMO Swarovski SLC Binocular - 8x42mm W B | Natchez
 
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Muley Buck

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I spent so many years with a pair of $500 binos out glassing all my hunting partners. It taught me that good dilegent glassing is more important than high dollar glass. With that said there really isn't much you can't do these days with a $1000 pair of binos.

YES! I 100% agree...Ahhh but to have both, simply amazing.
 
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