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tim
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Location: north idaho
Joined: 06/11/2004
Posts: 601
what binoculars for western hunting?

I was looking at getting some new binoculars. What are your suggestions?
are zeiss, swarvosski and steiner worth it? i live in idaho and hunt deer, elk and this year sheep.

thanks
tim

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2003
Posts: 394
what binoculars for western hunting?

Personally, for me, the answer is no. I just can't justify the expense of the ultra-high-end binoculars. In the mid-range I can get binoculars from Nikon, Pentax, Leupold, and the like that will cost half as much or less than the brands you named, yet will provide optics that are more than good enough my needs.

tim
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Location: north idaho
Joined: 06/11/2004
Posts: 601
what binoculars for western hunting?

what sizes do you recommend? ie 10x50, 10x42, 8x42 etc

thanks
tim

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Location: North Carolina
Joined: 08/05/2003
Posts: 50
what binoculars for western hunting?

Tim, The Swarovski / Kahles is the perfect setup for the western hunt. 8 x 42 anything higher is hard to hold with out shake, especially when you are looking at a great bull or buck. The lesser price binoculars will look perfect until you compare side by side the difference. I too was one of those that thought that I could do as well with lesser quality optics until I purchased a Kahles by Swarovski. On that hunt my hunting partner was always asking for them after the comparison had proven the superior detail you see with the higher quality optics. Midrange binoculars do not standup to the quality of Swarovski / Kahles. You will never be sorry for the purchase. I promise!

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2003
Posts: 394
what binoculars for western hunting?

I would agree with the 8x42 recommendation.

I would also say, well sure, if the guy next to me had a pair of $1200 binoculars I would be borrowing them all the time! But, again, I just can't justify the expense for myself. My $300 pair of binoculars has always been adequate for my needs--not the very best available, but adequate.

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Joined: 12/28/2003
Posts: 8
what binoculars for western hunting?

It is funny that you say that mid-range glass is not as good as high end glass and then you say that Kahles is great ..... corrent me if I am wrong but Kahles is mid-range glass. When I think of high end glass, only 2 makers come to mind: Zeiss and Swarovski. Personally, I think that the quality of the mid range glass (Pentax SP's, Kahles, Leupold) makes it hard to justify spending twice as much just to get a pair of Zeiss's. I have a pair of 8x42 Bushnell Legends (very good glass), a pair of 8x42 Pentax DCF HRII's (very, very, very good glass, and a pair of 8x43 Pentax DCF SP's (GREAT glass). I bought the Legends 4 years ago. They were my first pair of binocs that did not come from Wal-Mart and I was amazed at how good they were compared to anything I had looked at in the past. Then, I bought the DCF HRII's for my dad to use after reading such good reviews about them. They were so much better than my Legends I decided to make the trip to a store that sold all of the name brands and compare them all side by side. After an afternoon of looking through Steiners, Swarovskis, Kahles, Zeiss ..... I ended up deciding on a pair of DCF SP's. Im not going to say that the DCF SP's are as good as the Zeiss's, but there is no way that the Zeiss are twice as good as their price would indicate. Bottom line is I would compare before you buy .... and then make your own decisions. I think you should be able to find a pair of binoculars for between $400 and $700 that will do everything you want and more as well as last a lifetime.

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Location: North Carolina
Joined: 08/05/2003
Posts: 50
what binoculars for western hunting?

Swilk, you said >
I have a pair of 8x42 Bushnell Legends (very good glass),
I have a pair of 8x42 Pentax DCF HRII's
And I have a pair of 8x43 Pentax DCF SP's
All of these in my catalogue are listed at or below $300.oo
The Kahles is listed at $759.oo (wholesale). What is midrange?
With all the binoculars you own you could have purchased a pair of Kahles.
Just my opinion, but I only own one pair of binoculars.
Once again, Tim compare side by side you can see the difference!!! :-?

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Joined: 12/28/2003
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what binoculars for western hunting?

If you can buy a pair of Pentax DCF SP's for $300 or less PLEASE let me know where. I will buy another pair or two. They are listed at $600 in Cabelas and I purchased them off of the Internet for around $550 last year. The DCF HRII's and the Legends are both right around the <$300 mark. I consider the Kahles and the Pentax DCF SP's both to be midrange glass with a slight edge in quality going to the Pentax (just my opinion). The Zeiss and Swarovski's ... glass that costs over $1000, is the high end stuff. And I totally agree, go to a store that offers several different makes and models and compare them all. Do this and more than likely you will walk away owning a good quality, mid range glass like the Pentax or the Kahles, instead of spending twice as much to own a pair of Zeiss or Swarovskis

Also, you say you only own one pair of binoculars .... what did you do with the pair that you used before you purchased your Kahles? What were they?

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Location: Georgia
Joined: 08/13/2003
Posts: 29
what binoculars for western hunting?

Interesting subject.
In 1997 I purchased a set of Nikon Monarch 8X40's. At the time I wanted binos a lot more expensive but seeing as I was also purchasing a new .300 Mag with a Leopold 3.5X10 scope I had to cut corners somewhere. I used them throughout the 97 deer season in Georgia as was surprisingly impressed with the Nikons. But, I'm from the South. What do I know about Binos?
In 1998 I took the Nikons on an Elk hunt to NW Colorado. I did an extensive amount of glassing and experienced no eye strain or headaches.
All but one hunter tagged out by the 4th day and we were camp rats just loafing around one afternoon when we started comparing binoculars.
I had my Nikons.
The outfitter had a set of Zeiss 10X50's.
There was a Redfield 10X, a set of Steiner 9X40 Bighorns. And an assortment of Tasco and other $39.95 Walmart types.
ALL agreed that there was NO discernible difference between the Nikon, the Zeiss and the Steiner.
On the other hand the cheap Walmart types were pitiful. Looking at far distance Antelope the better binos could make out the color difference in the body and see it in sharp resolution. The cheap ones couldn't even make out a white blur.
I have since used them twice in New Mexico with complete satisfaction.
I have stood on the mountain and compared the mid price Nikons with the high end binos. For my money I'll save a few hundred bucks and buy the Nikons everytime. I think the Pentax would be comparable.
In looking at imported Binos one thing should be kept in mind. Labor is more expensive in Europe than in Japan. So right off you will pay more for the same quality. Plus at one time the tariffs were higher for Europe. You also pay for that.
You don't always get what you pay for.
Order the Bino buyers guide from Nikon. They are not afraid to tell you what to look for when comparing Binos. Take this knowledge when you make comparisons and don't let a well known name or a high price tag make the decision for you.
By the way, D&R Sports Center has one of the best prices I have seen on optics.

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Location: North Carolina
Joined: 08/05/2003
Posts: 50
what binoculars for western hunting?

Swilk, they were Nikon. I gave them to a kid one day during a breakfast stop in Steamboat Springs. He was happy. I was glad. There was no comparison to the Kahles.
Any way I’ve had enough of this one so good bye guys Happy Glassing and hunting. Big smile

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Location: Colorado
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Re: what binoculars for western hunting?
tim wrote:
are zeiss, swarvosski and steiner worth it?

Depends on your meaning of "worth". If your asking if a high end versus anything else will make the difference between success and failure, I personally don't think so. (Ok, maybe if they are complete trash and have a fly stuck in one chamber it could be a hinderance smile).

I've never really been a "heavy-glassing" hunter though. I prefer instead to try to use my unaided eyes as much as possible, I think the myopic view of binos can constrain you and you might miss stuff trying to "scan" in a rasterized way a distant hill side etc. Personally I've been amazed at what I and my hunting partners can pick up with the unaided eye, if you just set down, relax, and look. If you have been hunting a long time, I'm sure you probably have that nack for picking up faint movement and color differences that is the mark of a stalking hunter.

So for me, moderate priced is just fine, because I can just zero in once I have noticed something. Maybe if I was looking through binos all day long, some of the high end might be useful, although Darkhorse's comparision is good to note.

Elkman point about jitter is well made. Personally if I'm going to be glassing a lot (I've done it sometimes), jitter wears my eyes out. Although the jitter dampens the further out your trying to see. This is just a matter of matching how far you are typically going to be glassing at, with the magnification and not really a choice of brand though.

As an aside, the difference between high end and moderate is huge in cost. Some swarovski's run $1,700, that is over 5x more expensive than a typical $300 nikon, etc. Optics are not a new science and I would find it hard to believe that swarovski deliver 5x more performance than a $300 Nikon or Leupold. Maybe double as a WAG, but then why pay 5x more for only 2x more in performance?

I'd probably go with a roof prism design whatever you get. Roof prisms are more expensive, but everybody claims that they are more durable than a comparable porro prism design. Bird watchers swear by porros though...

good luck on the sheep hunt.

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