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I'm looking to purchase a nice pair of binoculars.
These will be used for limited use while backpack hunting, they will be mostly used from a stand or for bench work while shooting varmints.
I've been admiring the 15X Swarozskis, they seem to be very nice. There is a slick little tripod adapter available also. From what I have read they offer some of the best glass available and a lifetime warranty. The down fall ofcourse is the price tag. But if these will be the last pair of binos I will ever buy.....
 

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15x is very high power. If you haven't used something like this before, you might wanna try it before you drop the $$$. For most people 8x or maybe 10x is more than enough. For benchwork a spotting scope would be much better and for hunting, unless you're scanning a helluva long way, it's too much. I use 10x50s for prairie dogs and I can see way further than I can shoot.

Of course, you may know that this is exactly what you want.

Rick
 

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Hawkeye,

I bought a pair of 7x50 Bushnell's back in 1971 at the Base PX. If memory serves me correctly, I paid $57.00 for them. More then 1/3rd my monthly pay.

Anyhoo, I've used them for everything I was doing at the time. I carried them instead of the 8x35's we were being issued. Adjusted night fire on Mortars and Artillery with them. Spotted for CAS. Watch the ladies at the pool.:eek:

Greyfox is right about maybe using a lower powered set of Bino's. And I'm one of those folks that do not believe that price equals quality. Nor big name equals quality.

But I'm just a simple old country boy.
 

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Binoculars

I found myself in your exact same situation. I spent several weeks doing an investigation. I was also going to buy the 15X Swarovski. I ended up buying the Swarovski 8 X 56 SLC's. They will do everything you want out to 500 or 600 yards. If you want longer distance viewing, you need to go with a spotting scope. The 15X's are indeed incredible. The problem is that they are almost useless if you do not have a fixed position to use them from. I am a handicapped hunter, and all my hunting and shooting is fixed position. And I still felt no need to go with the 15X. With the 8X I was looking at a Sycamore tree at 150 yards. I could actually see the folds and color differences in the bark. They are truly incredible. Tom.
 

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Try 'em first....

Whatever you decide, try them in a field environment first. Each of us "sees" a little different than the next guy and what looks good to me, may not look god to you, soooo try them first. The guys are right tho....15X is a lot of glass. I have been using 8x42 Leica's on prarie dogs for 5 years now and love them! Good luck.:)
 

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Tom is right on. Go for the quality rather than the name or the power. Better yet, go to some of the birding sites and see what the birders are using. A couple of years ago they were recommending the Bushnell Elites as the best for clarity , light and true color. I was able to get a set for my wife and she has never felt short of glass. They are still very good glass and I would choose them over the Swarovski's.

Tom also correctly points out that the higher magnifications are very difficult to use, something like trying to shoot prairie dogs with 36x scopes, you can do it, but they are hard to locate. Without a tripod magnifications this high are almost worthless.

Rick
 

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About a year ago I was looking for a better pair of binocs. Couldn't justify the money for the 3 big names, so I took a chance on some demo's Doug at Camera Land was pushing on 24 hr. Minox BD 9.5 x42 IF. Got them in great shape, you can't tell they were not new. I've been very happy with them. They seem to be much better to my eyes than my older Pentaxs. The Minox are starting to make a name for themselves as good solid glass. They are if I remember right Leica's development brand.
 

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Binoculars

I would certainly not go with 15x as others have stated, and would not go over a 50mm objective due to the weight. I have used 10x for years but lately am using my 7x more and more. For general hunting use I recommend 8x42's or the 8.5x44 Swarovski, or any of the top line brands at 8x or 10x. Nikon Monarch's are hard to beat at the $300 price point. You will probably see as much with a top of the line 8x42 as with a lower quality 10x50.
 

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Chalk me up as another fan of the 8X vicinity. I can see a coyote blink his eye at 900 yards with them.

Give the Nikon Monarchs a look. Their latest is a 8X56. Those have to be absolutely brilliant, as my 2001 model 8X40's are just fine, even in very low light.

I think they sell for around $380.00 new. No doubt, the Swarovskis are great glass, but are they 5 times better? Its your call.
 

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Ditto on the Nikon Monarchs, excellent glass and the price is right
 

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went through the same thing at christmas this year, ended up with a pair of swaro 10x42 slc. used 10x42 nikons for 4 or 5 years good glass,have a pair of 16x60 pentax also good, it all depends on what you need,how you hunt,and what your after.
 

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Chalk me up as another fan of the 8X vicinity. I can see a coyote blink his eye at 900 yards with them.

Give the Nikon Monarchs a look. Their latest is a 8X56. Those have to be absolutely brilliant, as my 2001 model 8X40's are just fine, even in very low light.

I think they sell for around $380.00 new. No doubt, the Swarovskis are great glass, but are they 5 times better? Its your call.
DITTO !! on what John has said on the monarchs.I bought a pair of the Nikon monarchs on his advise and sure glad I did.:D
 

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If you're looking to buy a lifetime investment, definitely spend some time choosing. Actually look through different models. As a generality I'd say buy something known to be high quality, not just "for the money." There's a lot more to a binocular than what you see when looking through it. Construction-materials-precision can't be seen but make a difference in cost and longevity.

One thing....when going from one to another the visual differences can be slight and hard to see. But get used to a really quality pair of binoculars and then switch back to lesser / cheaper ones, and the difference will be huge.

I'd read good things and got a good price on the 10X42 Minox. And it was clear and sharp and bright, but when scanning an area there was something not quite right. Objects seemed to change shape.....it was only barely perceptable, hard to really see but enough to tell that something was going on. It was just annoying enough to not want for a lifetime of use. I traded them up for a 10X50 Leica and couldn't be more satisfied.....they're about as perfect as you could expect a binocular to be. But kind of heavy.....great for stationary use but I wouldn't want to carry them all day.

For smaller and lighter, I had an 8X30 SLC Swarovski. Terrific binoculars that feel good in the hands, and a perfect size for walkaround. Beautiful optically and a really quality product, but eye relief wasn't quite comfortable because the eyepeices didn't hit quite right. So they were sold. Leica fits me well and I'll probably get another pair.

If at all possible, find a place that carries a bunch of different brands and compare them. Inside even a large building like Sportsmans Warehouse doesn't compare with being in the field but you can still see differences. Look for field of view, and look for brightness in dark corners of the room. Also look for no wavering of the picture when panning and look for straight lines bending at the FOV edge.....you'd be surprised at how many "top end" binoculars will have some of this. And especially, it's really surprising how different they all feel....how the eyepieces hit your nose and eyebrows and how it affects eye relief. Some binoculars just don't fit. Also where the focus knob is and how natural is feels during adjustment. There can be a big difference one to another and you just don't know without actually trying them.

Every eye looks through the same piece of glass and sees something different. The real shocker is looking through binoculars and closing one eye, then the other.....it's amazing how different the colors and view can be from one eye to the other. Then imagine how this can carry over into what people see through a riflescope and realize why there are so many opinions about what's better than something else.

Personally, I wouldn't put birdwatchers as the authority on optics. Varmint shooters spend hours and hours glassing. A day prairie dogging or rockchucking will add up to a tremendous amount of time spent looking through binoculars, and the demands are at least as rigorous as looking at birds.
 

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Binocs

In optics you do get what you pay for. I have two of the Swarovski's, 10 and 8x SLC, and you can see so much clearer that the magnification doesn't need to be that high in my opinion...
 

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Nikon Monarchs

My 10X42 6 deg Nikons are wonderful. Bught in mid 04 for just over $200.00.

They performed great on PD shoots last two years. I was using thiem this am to look at the color change on Goldfinch and couple of different warblers.

I can't wait to try their new side focus longrange scopes when available.

Old Doug
 
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