7 replies [Last post]
Joined: 03/13/2010
Posts: 18
Binoculars for Colorado Elk Hunt

So I am working on my next purchase. WIsh my budget was bigger, but I'll just have to make do.

My question is, do you prefer 8 or 10 power binos for elk hunting? I will have a cheap spotting scope with me as well, and a friend with some nicer glass, but would still like a pair of binos. I would like 10x but know the low light coniditons is improved with 8x with same objective.


exbiologist's picture
Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
Re: Binoculars for Colorado Elk Hunt

I use 8x42s. I thought I wanted 10xs, but 8x gives me more than enough magnification, without the shaky picture of the 10X. If you have a way of stabilizing the binoculars, then you may as well use the spotting scope. But for me, I rarely use a spotter when elk hunting. I find they are more useful for deer hunting. Elk aren't hard to decipher from the vegetation the way deer can be, and since I'm not concerned whether a bull will go 300 or 290, I don't find the higher magnifications useful.

Critter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4274
Re: Binoculars for Colorado Elk Hunt

I have a pair of 10x42's that are a good all around pair. I use to use some 12x25' compacts and never did have a problem holding them steady along with a pair of 16x50's. All it takes is a little practice and you should be OK as far as holding them steady. As far as the spotting scope leave it at home unless you are planning on just pacing it or watching something from your camp, I personally believe that they are way over rated for spotting game in a hunting situation unless that is all you are packing. As far as the light gathering capabilities between a 10x and a 8x using the same objective lens I doubt that you could really tell the difference between the two. To check them out go down to your local sporting goods dealer at just about sunset of just after. Take a pair of both outside into the natural light and see how they look while you are looking at a license plate across the parking lot.

Joined: 03/13/2010
Posts: 18
Re: Binoculars for Colorado Elk Hunt

Glad to hear I can leave the spotting scope behind!

Sounds like 8 or 10 power will work. Now just have to find some good clear glass at a decent price!

WesternHunter's picture
Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2374
Re: Binoculars for Colorado Elk Hunt

I have 10x40mm Zeiss, and like em. I do however wish when I bought them 12 years ago that I had gone with the 8x30mm instead. The old 8X Bushnells I used to use were conventient but those old Bushnells were terrible as far as clarity and brightness were concerned. Looking back and recalling, the main reason I was deciding on 10X40 at the time was because of the superior light gathering advantage of a 40mm objective lense. Didn't realize at the time that with a quality German optic a 8X still gets great light gathering abilities with 30mm OJ. A slightly smaller 8X is more convenient to carry while hunting and still offers enough magnification too. Either way 8X or 10X are great choices for hunting.

HOGGETTER's picture
Location: CenCal
Joined: 11/05/2009
Posts: 767
Re: Binoculars for Colorado Elk Hunt

I have EL10X42 Swarovski and with them you can see in almost any condition, low light, heat waves, light fog, and they are crisp and clear. I first had bushnells, those went in the trash, then i got $400 leupolds which were nice but dont compare to my EL10X42 Swarovski i bought last year with my tax refund and this year ( a couple weeks ago ) i got my 20X60 X65mm Swarovski spotting scope with my tax refund and after i looked thru it up on the ranch i went home and put my leupold spotting scope on ebay. Ex is right about not packing the spotting scope for elk and westernhunter is right about wishing i would of sucked it up and got the best bino's sooner. As for as the power, after using 10 power i'd never go back to 8 power magnifcation, especialy if not packing a spotting scope.

Location: Midwest
Joined: 03/21/2009
Posts: 41
Re: Binoculars for Colorado Elk Hunt

The best advice I have received on hunting is spend all that you can possibly afford on your optics – and then figure out how to save up for the other stuff. A person spends all of this time and money on a hunt - and then finally a bull elk steps into the edge of the dark timber near sunset – you can not tell if he is a legal bull because you are looking through cheap glass. (Sad to say this happened to me twice – and I still loose sleep over it). I no longer own cheap glass.

I have owned several pair of binoculars over the years including the cheaper models all the way up to the more pricey models. I have had a pair of Zeiss 10x40, Nikon 8x42LX and Swarovski in 10x50slc, 8.5x42el and 10x42el. I own the 10x Swarovskis now and love them.

As mentioned by others the biggest difference you may find between the 8x and the 10x is the ability to see when shaking. It is one thing to sit in a store and look through binoculars, but it can be quite another to look through them when you are very cold, or after climbing a steep hill, breathing hard and looking at a big bull elk coming into range as the adrenalin kicks in. Just something to consider.

As far as the cost, I look at the higher end optics as rented – not owned. If you buy good glass you can always sell them for about what you paid for them. Of course, you need to still tie up a good amount of money while you have them.

Critter mentioned Eagle Optics, and I would second them also. I was in their store on Thursday and they have some nice sales going on. They have the Vortex Binoculars which seem very nice for the prices they have on them. (Vortex is a Sister Company of Eagle Optics). You could give them a call and talk to them about your question – they are very helpful.

You really won’t go wrong with either the 8x, 8.5x or 10x, but save up if you can and avoid cheap binoculars for elk hunting.

Joined: 03/15/2010
Posts: 53
Re: Binoculars for Colorado Elk Hunt

I use the 10x42 and like them you might check into the nikon eagle view they have a zoom to 15x never tried them outside but the zoom feature would be nice but clarity over power every time

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