Binocular recommendations?

Discussion in 'Hunting Equipment, Gear & Optics' started by FFemt5287, Dec 25, 2009.

  1. FFemt5287

    FFemt5287 AH Senior Member

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    Hello all,
    I'm currently looking into a good set of binoculars for general hunting use as well as to brough to Zimbabwe with me. I have numerous Leupold rifle scopes and love their optics. Any suggestions as to what power/FOV/size binoculars would be best for hunting in Africa?
     
  2. Bushwack

    Bushwack AH Fanatic

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    Any 8x42 or 10x50 will do for the African bush
     
  3. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH Fanatic

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    I've only been once but, I took a pair of 8X30 and they were fine. I was in Namibia and it was fairly open. I wished at the time I had brought my 10X50's. Anything in those ranges should be great.
     
  4. Skyline

    Skyline AH Fanatic

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    If you use binoculars a lot then you should be OK with 10x, but if you don't you are much better off with 8x. As with scopes people tend to pick optics with too much magnification and it takes a lot of use to be good with optics and be able to handle the higher magnification.

    I spend many months each year using binoculars. In the past when I guided for sheep you had the darn things glued to your eyes every day for hours and you needed very good optics. Over time I came to settle on a set of Zeiss 10x40's as my go to binoculars. They are the right combination for me of magnification , bulk and weight for most situations and for carrying on long days.

    My recommendation would be an 8x30 to 10x40 on the high side. What is most important is that you select a pair of quality binoculars. Far too many people scrimp on optics and they should be of the best quality you can afford.
     
  5. Big5

    Big5 AH Enthusiast

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    I agree with each of the points made in Skyline's above statement 100%. I most especially agree that you should purchase the best quality binoculars you can afford.

    When comparing binoculars at the local sporting goods store they will all seem pretty comparable when looking out the front door at noon time. The difference comes into play in low light conditions and when having them "glued to your eyes" while glassing for game over extended periods of time. In those situations you will never regret having invested in high quality optics. During low light you will see things that the guy with the bargain binoculars sitting next to you cannot see and while glassing for extended periods of time your eyes won't feel nearly as strained or like they're being sucked out of their sockets.

    Leica 10x42's and the more compact Leica 8x32's are my personal favorites, but you can't go wrong with Zeiss, Swarovski or other high quality binoculars that suit you. When put into actual field use quality binoculars can make a major difference.
     
  6. AndresRam

    AndresRam AH Member

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    Hi my friend I would like to recommend to you the following binoculars:

    They are the:
    Leupold Wind River Cascades 10x42mm Center Focus Roof Prism Binocular (as written in the factory box)

    I swear by them! I have used them so far on two hunts one what a whitetail hunt and the other one was a mountain hunt, and really they are wonderful equipment. Plus they are not cheap, but they are not expensive either!

    They are very light and easy to carry, they have wonderful balance, they are waterproof and over all I think they are probably the best pair of binoculars I've ever owned! They have amazing quality and are as rugged as they get.

    I have probably about 4 more binoculars and at least three of them are "better" in theory but two of them are to big and the other one is to fragile, this binoculars have proven to be the best for me under field conditions and that is what matters, hope I was helpful!
     
  7. billrquimby

    billrquimby AH Veteran

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    Zeiss are fine, but my personal binocular is the old rubber-coated nearly indestructible 10x50 Swarovski. My first pair was stolen after I'd used it for seven or eight years, and I searched until I found another pair just like it. There is no better glass IMO for hunting anything in North America.

    However, I must admit that they're just too heavy to lug around halfway around the world. I'd suggest a Swarovski 8X instead. Most of the time you will merely be checking trophy size in Africa, not searching for game at long distances.

    Bill Quimby
     
  8. ctulpa

    ctulpa AH Member

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    best binos

    There are many really good optics available in the market.

    Best would be to get the best binos you can afford. You will spend a lot more time on your optics than you will on the trigger.

    I have used Swarovski, Leica, Zeiss, Leopold and Burris. All have great binos and a lot depends on your eyes and preferences. You need to go and try them out to see which works best for you.

    I currently use the Burris Eurodiamond Binoculars in 10 x 42. Have tested them throughout 5 continents and they have performed great. And they are not nearly as expensive as some of the other glass that I have used.

    Try several out and see what looks good for you. And try them outside. Most shops will take several different binoculars out with you to try outside the store in daylight and at distance so you can see field of view, clarity and how much you have to "stay on the focus wheel" to keep in focus.
    If you use bad glass over an extended period of time (like Brown Bear glassing or for Sheep or other mountain game) you will get severe headaches. So get the best you can afford.

    Good luck hunting!
     
  9. Mike70560

    Mike70560 AH Fanatic

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    My favorites are Leica 10 by 32. Fairly compact, not too heavy, and the Leica optics are excellent. I have used them for a couple of years and two trips to Africa and have never been disappointed.
     
  10. Ron Duval

    Ron Duval Guest

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    My favorites are Swarovski 8x30 SLC but I also have a pair of Leupold Gold Rings that I use quite a bit. The Leupolds are very nice.
     
  11. CT Safaris

    CT Safaris AH Enthusiast

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    I have owned Swarovski 10X42EL's (which were great) and presently use Leica 8X42's Which I actually prefer to the Swaro's. As others have stated - the key is to have good glass - wich unfortunately comes at a price. BTW Cameraland sells refurbished binos with original factory guarantees at really affordable prices.
     
  12. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I just bought a pair of Swarovski 10X42 SLC this year. They are an investment! To me binoculars are very critical for a good hunt and no corners should be cut. I use to think I saw everything with a pair of Nikon Monarch 10X42, and I really wasn't even close. Buy the best you can afford and practice using them. It always shocks me how many people don't know how to glass. And I still consider myself a novice. Never go hunting without a good pair of binoculars!
     
  13. Shallom

    Shallom AH Enthusiast

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    No much contrast between the Leica, Zeiss & Swarovski but i prefer a Leica for its' clarity, design and now the combined technology of binocular and range-finder in one. Been using the 10x42 for three years now and i do not see myself using anything other than what i have and i know it will probably last me through a bigger part of my hunting years before i even have to think about bino's again. Try them - you cannot go wrong with a Leica.
     
  14. FFemt5287

    FFemt5287 AH Senior Member

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    Thanks for all of the input so far, guys. I'm going to head to Cabela's this week and spend a little time checking out some optics. I'm primarily going to look at the Swaro SLC's and the Leupold Golden Ring HD's.

    I'd also like to get my hands on a nice low power scope for my CZ .375H&H. Being I've had good luck with Leupold scopes in the past, the VXIII 1.5-5x20 looks rather appealing to me with the German #4 reticle. However, now this Swaro Z6 1-6.24 with the #4 reticle has my eye, also. Decisions, decisions.

    It basically boils down to spending ~$1500 on Leupold binos and scope or ~$2500 on Swaro glass. Essentially, do I want to to add another animal to my game list, or have THE top notch optics?
     
  15. Heeler75

    Heeler75 AH Senior Member

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    Have you ever looked at any of the Bushnell line? I have the Legends and they work well for me. A friend has the Bushnell Infinity and he really likes them.

    They definitely aren't Swaros, but they do work quite well for the money.

    Since you are heading to Cabela's, you might as well check them out also.
     
  16. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    If I was going to skimp on something it would be the scope. A Leopold scope is plenty good. I have not been impressed with there binoculars. I haven't seen a Gold ring pair yet, but I have tried the Wind River and others and they can't hold a candle compared to a Swarovski SLC. That is my opinion.
     
  17. Larry Mikelsen

    Larry Mikelsen New Member

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    Vortex Binoculars

    Thought I just might throw another binocular into the mix. I upgraded a fine set of Nikon 8X binos last year (getting older and need a wee bit more magnification) and spent some field time checking out my options. I finally cut it down to three binoculars: the Leopold Gold Ring HD, Swarowski EL, and the Vortex Viper.

    There are a number of quality binos out there in the market place now, and some are pretty comparable. The three mentioned above were, for me, all quality binos and in my requirements and price range ($600 - $1500). I agree 100% with spending as much as you can for binos, and if you do need to skimp, do it with your rifle scope.

    Looking through these three (outside), and looking to clarity (all 10 X 42) I found the Leopold Gold Ring HD drifted to the bottom of my list. Don't get me wrong here, they are fine binos, but I found them, for me, not quite as clear, and had noticeably less light gathering capabilities than the other two in my field test. You cannot judge a bino looking at posters in the store, get outside and look through them in natural light AND low light conditions. If the salesman doesn't want to bother, go elsewhere.

    I felt that the Swarowski EL (a great bino) and the new Vortex Viper were almost impossible to tell the difference in where they stood tall above the Leupold. At $1400 for the Swarowski and $650 for the Viper (introduced as "poor mans Swarowskis") I chose the Vortex (which by they way has a better warranty) for it appeared to give more bang for the buck. I expect them to go up in price as they become more popular, but we'll have to wait and see if that happens.

    I have used my Vortex on two hunting trips so far, and have zero complaints with my choice. Even had an offer from anothe hunter to buy them from me on my last antelope hunt. LOL! With what one can save on Vortex binos, perhaps they won't need to skimp on that rifle scope!

    Like I said earlier, there are a lot of good quality binos out there, and it can be just a personal thing.

    The above is just my thoughts and experience. Some may wish to check Vortex binos out. Thank you the chance to speak out.
     
  18. VonJager

    VonJager AH Senior Member

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    thanks

    I checked these bino's out at Cabelas.com today. They are on sale for 264.99, normally 349.99. After a $30.00 on 150 and over purchase and in store pick up, I am grabbing me a pair for approx 250.00 USD.

    The only pair I currently have is a Nikon action that I got as a gift from my father when I was about 12. They had worked for all my whitetail hunts, but after checking out some other pairs, they are bulky, 33oz, and not waterproof.

    Thought I would share.

    Thomas

     
  19. speedbump

    speedbump AH Member

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    I bought a pair of Steiner 8x22s for a Namibian trip and was VERY well pleased. They're rubber armored, MilSpec waterproof, clear, crisp, and easy to focus. They fit nicely into the breast pocket of a safari shirt by the standard strap too, so they're easy to keep out of the dust while on the back of a bakkie, and if you're in a quick moving spot and stalk hunt, there's no wasted time or motion. The eye cups work well with or without glasses. They were on sale for @ $120 when I bought them, they're advertised for $170 now:

    43776 - 8x22mm Predator Pro Binoculars, High-Contrast Optics, Center Focus, Roof Prism, Black Matte, Warranty

    Several others are listed on that site for decent prices.

    A couple things to consider:

    1. If you need to get a larger pair of binos, a Heber strap (that hooks to your belt in back) is a very good piece of kit. It'll save your neck if you glass all day.

    2. Good eye cups are a must and not all the same. Try what ever you choose with and without standard glasses and sunshades.

    3. Alot of African hunting - like Namibia and RSA, etc are in pretty brightly lit areas. You can get by with more magnification there and still have good acuity. A pair that is good for the Kalahari might not be the best choice in the CAR or on a leopard bait though. If your PH says to get high magnification binos to help judge horns with - do it. If that's the case, a compact aluminum tripod with bino/ camera adapter is nice. Personally, I'd rather go with a slightly higher powered scope than a huge set of binos better suited to the bridge of a battleship.

    If money is no object, sure, Leica, Swaro, etc. are great. If not, there are some good options out there. For an extra grand or two (or three) saved on binos, you can afford to stay longer, have an extra shoulder mount (or two) done, or add a couple of nice animals to your list. Just my two cents.....
     
  20. Thunder head

    Thunder head AH Enthusiast

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    If your going hunting in the mountains where you will spend alot of time glassing i would say bump up to 10x magnification. If your going to the flat lands where distance is limited i would save the wieght and go with 8x.

    I have both and was glad i took my 8x42s to the thornveld country.
     

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