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In the market for 10X binoculars
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Picture of Fjold
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I know that we have some real optics junkies on here so I'd like to get some informed opinions.

Up to $2,000 what are the best, bang for the buck, hunting binoculars? Who has the best glass, features, etc.?


Probably with 40-42 mm objective lens, I've never liked the 20-30mm lens binoculars in the higher end glass and the 50s seem to get large and heavy.


Frank



"I don't know what there is about buffalo that frightens me so.....He looks like he hates you personally. He looks like you owe him money."
- Robert Ruark, Horn of the Hunter, 1953

NRA Life, SAF Life, CRPA Life, DRSS lite

 
Posts: 11981 | Location: Bakersfield CA. USA | Registered: 30 December 2002Reply With Quote
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Hard to beat swaro 10x42. Think they’re a little over $2 grand, but I see good used ones for sale at times that fit your budget.


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Posts: 2338 | Location: Minnesota | Registered: 08 December 2006Reply With Quote
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Hard to beat swaro 10x42.

+1
 
Posts: 16222 | Registered: 04 April 2005Reply With Quote
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Hi Frank,
My own binos are Swarovski SLC 10 x 42, and I love them. I use these on all big game hunts. They are not so heavy that they become a nuisance by the end of a long day.
I think Swarovski recently discontinued this model but I would think clearance examples could be found reasonably priced. Might be worth enquiring with Doug on here. Also, the odd one for sale appears in the AR Classifieds from time to time. I have bought pre-loved Swaro optics on occasion and have no regrets. Good luck.


Hunting.... it's not everything, it's the only thing.
 
Posts: 1174 | Location: New Zealand's North Island | Registered: 13 November 2014Reply With Quote
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Thanks guys, I'm not going to quibble over a few hundred dollars.


Frank



"I don't know what there is about buffalo that frightens me so.....He looks like he hates you personally. He looks like you owe him money."
- Robert Ruark, Horn of the Hunter, 1953

NRA Life, SAF Life, CRPA Life, DRSS lite

 
Posts: 11981 | Location: Bakersfield CA. USA | Registered: 30 December 2002Reply With Quote
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Along with Swarovski I would check out Leica.
You may not need to spend $2k+. Leica has 3 lines of 10X40 type binoculars. Leica Trinovid HD 10X42MM sell for around $1K and are pretty high quality glass. Leica has two other upgrade 10x40’s at around $2K and another around $2900.
 
Posts: 358 | Location: Western USA | Registered: 08 September 2018Reply With Quote
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I have a pair of 12x50 Swarovski El's, a pair of Bushnell $350 10x50's I can't remember the name, and a pair of 8x56 $650 Minox. In 2019 and 2020 I horse traded about 15 pairs of binoculars through the house.

I am extremely near sighted, something like 20x450 in one eye, and 20x400 in the other.

This means that I need 18-19mm of eye relief, as I can not use a pair without my eye glasses.

So I am always chasing eye relief and it is hard to find a pair of 10x42's that will do it.

Your own optical needs might be different than mine, but if you are near sighted it is worth looking into.

I don't know that I would buy from www.gohunt.com, but they have a guy on there that is an optics expert.

If you are going to go with Swarovski send me a PM, and I'll send you the phone and email of Eddie from Oklahoma. He is a Swarovski dealer and has good discounts if you call. I bought mine from him, and we have done a lot of business together.

Everyone has different needs, here are my favorite optics companies to do research and buy from.

https://www.bestbinocularsreviews.com Good reviews, unbiased and he isn't a dealer. Good youtube channel, explaining everything.

https://www.eurooptic.com/

https://cameralandny.com/

https://www.optics-trade.eu Good reviews, unbiased and a lot more background information on the companies. Great youtube channel explaining even more.

$1000 retail will buy a serviceable pair of 8x42, 10x42 or 10x50's from most makers.

I wouldn't buy a pair from anyone at the $1000 price point that was made anyplace but Japan. Even most European brands at this price point will not be made in Europe (German Precision Optics is a perfect example).

$2000 price point will be a mix of Japan and Eastern Europe, and lower end German/Austrian models.

$3000-4000 price point will be made in Japan, Austria or Germany.

Do not believe for a second that anything less than $1000 retail will get you anything made outside of China or the Phillipines.

Some really good optics on the less than $500 range are the Bushnell Forge in 8x42 and 10x42 models.

$1000 my pick would be something from Meopta or a pair of Japanese made binoculars from Vortex, Maven, Leupold or others. I don't think there is a $1000 Leica or Zeiss that is as good as the same money in Eastern Europe or Japan.

$1500-2500 pick would be Swarovski SLC or Leica Ultravid.

$2500 and up there is only Swarovski EL, Leica Noctovid, and Zeiss SF.
 
Posts: 7274 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: 10 October 2012Reply With Quote
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I love my 10x42 Swarovski EL's


Owned a bunch of different binoculars before I got them. Now I don't have to continue trading/searching for better.
 
Posts: 3139 | Location: Permian Basin | Registered: 16 December 2006Reply With Quote
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I have seen the Leica Ultravid HD+ 10X42's for about $1,800.00 on sale.
They have been my go to binocs (Paid $2,300) for mine a few years back.
I like their compact size.
One of Leica's attributes is the ability to look a few degrees off the rising and setting sun and not get a lens full of "flare"; that big orange glob and the ability to differentiate grey scales in the closing light hours.
Hate to say it but Swar does not manage flare well and that is when many of us see game; that early and late light periods.
There are a lot of good binocs to choose from thee days!

EZ
 
Posts: 2527 | Location: Texas | Registered: 06 January 2009Reply With Quote
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I have two pair of the Leica 10X42's as well, and like them, along with two pair of the Swarovski 10X42's. Three out of the four are range finding binos which I would not hunt without anymore. tu2
 
Posts: 16222 | Registered: 04 April 2005Reply With Quote
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Most folks think that top glass is Swaro (EL's), Leica (Ultravid HD's), or Zeiss (SF's, though the FL's are still made and supposedly same class). Nikon's top glass is also in the running for most folks.

Each brand has a second tier that's very good, too.

Oh, google "pin-cushion effect". This is the potential negative some folks find with the Swaro's.

Every prism coating cheats slightly to red, yellow, or blue. Leica cheats to red, and I think the "picture" through them looks the best. But most tests I've seen show people can make out detail in the center of the field (read an eye chart) best with the Zeiss blue. That said, most experts I've read think the Swaro is the overall best (yellow). The clarity stays better to the edge, "truest" color rendition, etc. Of course, eyes are different and each unit is slightly different. But this is what I remember from my research.
 
Posts: 1549 | Location: Maryland | Registered: 17 January 2004Reply With Quote
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Also consider Meopta Meostars HD.
 
Posts: 476 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: 03 February 2013Reply With Quote
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Likely the best advice is to select a few models listed here then go to a store that sells them. Set them on the counter and one by one let your eyes decide what you like best. That's what I did years ago when I bought my Swarovski 10x40 SLC HD's.

Interestingly I went in with a bias toward Leica from close association with their products in the aerospace biz.

Good luck with whatever you choose.


Roger
___________________________
I'm a trophy hunter - until something better comes along.
- Glen St Charles

*we band of 45-70ers*
 
Posts: 2408 | Location: Washington (wetside) | Registered: 08 February 2005Reply With Quote
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I have Leica Trinovids that are 15 years old, beat to hell other than the lenses, still awesome.

Then...I was with a friend at a very long range rifle range in Texas a few months ago and looked through his Swarovskis and nearly fainted at the clarity, colors and wonderful world that opened up before me. Plus they were pretty light. This guy hunts and works all over the world and wouldn't use anything else. I don't know if new Swaro or Leicas are better, but I can highly recommend the Swarovskis.
 
Posts: 952 | Location: Bozeman, MT | Registered: 21 October 2002Reply With Quote
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I like trying out and evaluating different glass and currently have 4 pairs of bino's in the stable and many more have passed through before. These are a pair of Leica Trinovid 10x42 BA, 2nd gen Trinovid 10x42 (Ultravid glass), 10x42 Ultravid HD+ and Swaro SLC 10x42.

They are all great glass and we're splitting hairs when comparisons are made, but I much prefer Leica's glass and design/construction philosophy compared to others; magnesium for their binocular bodies (Zeiss uses similar construction) and a robust titanium hinge pin compared to carbon fiber bodies. I don't care for Swaro's field flattening optics of the EL's and agree with the post above about Swaro's edge flare. Swaro and Zeiss also have a very blue color bias that I don't care for.

I've also spent enough time behind a pair of 10x42 Noctivids to assert that they are the most amazing glass I've ever looked through, I just haven't pulled the trigger on a pair yet.

All that said, the pair that gets used the most when its time to hunt are 2nd gen Trinovids. The glass is excellent (Ultravid glass...) they are compact, durable and I like the ergo in use in the field.
 
Posts: 1068 | Location: Golden, CO | Registered: 05 April 2001Reply With Quote
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Here is an interesting link I forgot I had from an independent binocular aficionado. He has an interesting method of testing and showing color rendition and brightness among different binoculars as well as good objective reviews of the different makes.

Greatest Binoculars
 
Posts: 1068 | Location: Golden, CO | Registered: 05 April 2001Reply With Quote
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I have 3 Leica binos. 10x50, 8x25 and 10x25. They have been great. Just bought a pair of Swaro 15x56 SLC for glassing on tripod. I would lean toward the Swaro 10x42 or 10x50. Bought the Swarovski 15x from Ryan at Muley Crazy, he had the best prices. Scott
 
Posts: 375 | Location: Ridgecrest,Ca | Registered: 02 March 2007Reply With Quote
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You will many different opinions.

I have the Swaro 10x42's
I also have 10x42's Leica Range finding bino's.

I really like both of them.
I give the Leica's the edge for clarity and the fact that I love the built in range finder.

I would never sell either.

I would go look through a pair of Zeiss, Leica, and Swaro to see what your eyes like best.

On a side note, my friend had an old pair of Zeiss Classics (still kicking myself for not buy a pair when Cabela's had them on clearance years back). I looked through them and was amazed. I tried to buy them from him but he would not sell them. I have seen the for around $600-$700 (great value)
 
Posts: 1989 | Location: Utah | Registered: 23 February 2011Reply With Quote
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Thanks for all the informed posts, I learn something new every day.


Frank



"I don't know what there is about buffalo that frightens me so.....He looks like he hates you personally. He looks like you owe him money."
- Robert Ruark, Horn of the Hunter, 1953

NRA Life, SAF Life, CRPA Life, DRSS lite

 
Posts: 11981 | Location: Bakersfield CA. USA | Registered: 30 December 2002Reply With Quote
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No one has mentioned the NL Swaros. Well worth a look if you don't want a built in RF.
 
Posts: 154 | Location: Victoria Australia | Registered: 30 October 2012Reply With Quote
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I like the Leica in 10x42. Best in its class.
 
Posts: 738 | Registered: 25 February 2009Reply With Quote
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I like the Leica in 10x42 Best in its class.
 
Posts: 738 | Registered: 25 February 2009Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Jason P:

On a side note, my friend had an old pair of Zeiss Classics (still kicking myself for not buy a pair when Cabela's had them on clearance years back). I looked through them and was amazed. I tried to buy them from him but he would not sell them. I have seen the for around $600-$700 (great value)


Me too! Wink


Roger
___________________________
I'm a trophy hunter - until something better comes along.
- Glen St Charles

*we band of 45-70ers*
 
Posts: 2408 | Location: Washington (wetside) | Registered: 08 February 2005Reply With Quote
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Thanks again guys, since these will be for hunting only, I think that I'm going to go with the Leica Geovid range finder binoculars.


Frank



"I don't know what there is about buffalo that frightens me so.....He looks like he hates you personally. He looks like you owe him money."
- Robert Ruark, Horn of the Hunter, 1953

NRA Life, SAF Life, CRPA Life, DRSS lite

 
Posts: 11981 | Location: Bakersfield CA. USA | Registered: 30 December 2002Reply With Quote
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Sounds like a great choice. Report back after you have had time to play with them.
 
Posts: 358 | Location: Western USA | Registered: 08 September 2018Reply With Quote
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I've been on the fence with buying bino's with a built in rangefinder.

Here's some of my reasoning:
I can easily differentiate and range out to 500 yards with my own judgement and I don't plan to take a shot at any greater distance.

I have a Leica handheld rangefinder that will give me an accurate distance beyond that, and most likely, past 500 yards, you'll have all the time in the world to use it.

The non-range finder bino's are lighter and probably have slightly better optics.

Non-rangefinder bino's will be a heirloom I can hand down to my spawn, rangefinder bino's only last as long as their electronics are supported and only have a true utility to someone who shoots.
 
Posts: 349 | Location: Denton, Texas | Registered: 18 May 2004Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Cougarz:
quote:
Originally posted by Jason P:

On a side note, my friend had an old pair of Zeiss Classics (still kicking myself for not buy a pair when Cabela's had them on clearance years back). I looked through them and was amazed. I tried to buy them from him but he would not sell them. I have seen the for around $600-$700 (great value)


Me too! Wink


The rubber armored 10x40s? I still love those and kick myself for not buying them before they got more popular again or those out there will not be on the market until a settling of an estate it seems.


I meant to be DSC Member...bad typing skills.

Marcus Cady

DRSS
 
Posts: 2971 | Location: Dallas | Registered: 19 March 2008Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Cougarz:
Likely the best advice is to select a few models listed here then go to a store that sells them. Set them on the counter and one by one let your eyes decide what you like best. That's what I did years ago when I bought my Swarovski 10x40 SLC HD's.

Interestingly I went in with a bias toward Leica from close association with their products in the aerospace biz.

Good luck with whatever you choose.


This is good advice if you have a local seller. It would be wise to try some outside in fading light. You can’t tell a damn thing in a fluorescent lit showroom. The kid behind the counter may not allow you to walk outside with expensive glass, but try to talk to a manager and leave ID or something. That being said, if they allow you to “test drive” please buy from them If the price is reasonable. I suppose many of us are guilty of trying stuff at a brick and mortar place and finding a better price online, that’s just economics, but it also affects the retailers out there.


I meant to be DSC Member...bad typing skills.

Marcus Cady

DRSS
 
Posts: 2971 | Location: Dallas | Registered: 19 March 2008Reply With Quote
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My final answer is Swarovski 10x42 SCL or EL's... if you have the dough.
I use the SLC along with several in my family and a couple daughters use the EL and they're wonderful too.

Zeke
 
Posts: 1574 | Registered: 27 October 2011Reply With Quote
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Thanks for all the information guys, I just ordered the Leica 10x42 Geovid HD-B 3200 Rangefinding Binoculars

Budget, what budget?


Frank



"I don't know what there is about buffalo that frightens me so.....He looks like he hates you personally. He looks like you owe him money."
- Robert Ruark, Horn of the Hunter, 1953

NRA Life, SAF Life, CRPA Life, DRSS lite

 
Posts: 11981 | Location: Bakersfield CA. USA | Registered: 30 December 2002Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Fjold:
Thanks for all the information guys, I just ordered the Leica 10x42 Geovid HD-B 3200 Rangefinding Binoculars

Budget, what budget?


Hahaha! You’ll be pleased.


I meant to be DSC Member...bad typing skills.

Marcus Cady

DRSS
 
Posts: 2971 | Location: Dallas | Registered: 19 March 2008Reply With Quote
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Delivered to the office today.



Frank



"I don't know what there is about buffalo that frightens me so.....He looks like he hates you personally. He looks like you owe him money."
- Robert Ruark, Horn of the Hunter, 1953

NRA Life, SAF Life, CRPA Life, DRSS lite

 
Posts: 11981 | Location: Bakersfield CA. USA | Registered: 30 December 2002Reply With Quote
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Pretty slick!

I am probably going to get rid of my 8x56's at some point and buy a pair of 8x42's from Leica, Zeiss or Swarovski.
 
Posts: 7274 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: 10 October 2012Reply With Quote
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Very nice Fjold!

Look forward to the report. You’ll love the rangefinder.
 
Posts: 1989 | Location: Utah | Registered: 23 February 2011Reply With Quote
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Yep, you will love them! I have a pair of them and they are fantastic!
 
Posts: 16222 | Registered: 04 April 2005Reply With Quote
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I have some Swarovski 8X42 ELs and they are great glass...

But the past year I bought a pair of Leupold BX4 guide pro and a pair of Vortex Razor HD binos. Both retail for about a grand. These were for my daughter to use and I was going to figure out which I liked better and send the other back. I liked them both so much I kept both of them.

They are so close to the Swarovski's its not worth talking about the differences. And 40% of the price. In some ways the glass and clarity on the Leupold and Vortex surpasses my 10 year old Swarovskis.

If you are a veteran both companies offer deep veteran discounts and you can order directly from their website. Its worth your time to do this....I promise.
 
Posts: 514 | Registered: 03 March 2005Reply With Quote
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