Optics?

Discussion in 'Hunting Equipment, Gear & Optics' started by Johnny reb, Mar 14, 2014.

  1. Johnny reb

    Johnny reb AH Senior Member

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    Wanting a new pair of binos would like some recommendations . I have looked at Swarovski, and Leica over those two I think I'm leaning towards Leica I'm also interested in the new zeiss victorys but have not been able too look at any I' d like too compare side by side but unable too. All help is appreciated thanks
  2. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    depends on how much you want to spend ? among others i have a pair of kahles 10x42 that are 12+ years old and very good, but i use most of the time steiner 10x32 that are pretty compact and do what i need, and cost me less than $400.00 in bass pro 6 or so years ago, and arent that much more these days i dont think.
  3. PaulT

    PaulT AH Fanatic

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    Johnny Reb, I have had a pair of 10x42 Liecas for well in excess of 20 years that have travelled extensively and used in some extremely harsh conditions and despite showing some external scars as a result, optically and from a functional perspective they are brilliant. My only criticism is that they are extremely big, bulky and heavy !
  4. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    I would certainly try and fine a store where you can compare them side by side.
    It's your eyes that matter.
    Some binoculars feel better in your hands than others.

    Good luck.

    I settled on some Pentax 10X50 DCF ED.
    With a shoulder harness I don't notice the weight.
  5. Johnny reb

    Johnny reb AH Senior Member

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    I would like too look at all 3 side by side I'm unable too find anyplace within a few hours from me that carry all 3 I have several zeiss scopes and I'm expecting the binos would be just as nice not in any big hurry but camera land has some good prices right now on all 3 going too try and get out tomorrow and go look at a few more .
  6. 35bore

    35bore AH Elite

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    if the closest place, that Carries all the brands you have selected, is over 3 hours away then just make a day trip of it. drag the family along with you, promise them lunch or something. you listed some not so cheap optics, best take your time, and view them together. good luck on your upcoming purchase. don't rule out Leupold or kahles, both are great glass.
  7. Big5

    Big5 AH Enthusiast

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    I too have used a pair of Leica 10x42's extensively for more than 20 years with the same great success as 'PaulT'. I never found them to be at all bulky until I got older (it's funny how things get heavier and more bulky as we get older). Then one day several years back I bought a more compact pair of Leica Trinovid 8x32's for an upcoming trip. My 10x42's are terrific binoculars, but my smaller 8x32's are of equal quality and they are all I seem to use anymore. I don't see how you can go wrong with Leica's.

    Good hunting to you!
  8. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    Both are excellent. I use Swarovski and my brother carries Leica, hundreds of hours are spent glassing for sheep and both perform flawlessly. Mine are lighter but his has the built in rangefinder so he has 1 less gadget to carry so it evens out in the end. If you decide to go with the Leica, consider the range finding model. It is really quick and handy.
  9. uplander01

    uplander01 New Member

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    I have had Both Leica and Zeiss as a sales rep selling to retailers and I can tell you that Leicas have the best and most forgiving eye relief, are probably a little better glass, and easier to focus. That being said I am currently using Zeiss Victory 10x42 and aside from the fact they are a little bulky, they have worked well for 5 years so far, including one incident flying off the hood of a truck. I personally feel that you are splitting hairs with the big 3 (swaro, zeiss, leica).....although I have never used swaros, the glass is good, but I have heard that they are easier to break. Try all 3 and use what you like, keep in mind the comfort in your hands, weight, eye relief, and the focus wheel....you spend a lot of time holding and looking through your binos, it is not an area to scimp on.
  10. Custom

    Custom GOLD SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    I am sure anything from the Big 3 are great. I have a pair of 8 x 42 Victories that I bought from Cameraland NY as demos. They periodically sell salesmen's samples that are barely used at about 60% of their regular price. They are tough as nails and very clear. I am quite certain they will last me until I make the great safari in the sky.
  11. blackdog001blackdog001

    blackdog001blackdog001 AH Member

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    I have a pair of 7x35 Swarovskis my wife purchased me for a Christmas present, before my first African trip, back in, I think 1996. They are excellent, rugged and I've never had a problem with them.

    Like they used to tell me "Take care of your equipment and it will take care of you."
  12. rnovi

    rnovi AH Veteran

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    So, did the original poster ever make a decision?

    I have Leica 10x42hd's, Zeiss 8x32 and 10x32 Victory binos, Minox 8.5x42 and 8x33 HDs.

    I like the Leica glass the best, hands down. They are my goto binos for stand hunting and car spot and stalks. But they are heavy to me - not the heaviest 10x42's out their but they are heavy to carry all day. Zeiss x32's are my gotos when I have a lot of walking and stalking to do. The Zeiss also have the best eye relief, bar none, which is a benefit to glasses wearers.

    The truth is that any of the Big Three will do you for life. The real question is which ones do your eyes like the most. I like Leica glass. But I like Zeiss weight.

    Either way is a win.
  13. JGRaider

    JGRaider AH Veteran

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    I've owned Leica, Swaro, and several others. Truth is, if we can put our preconceived notions and biases aside, we're much better off. A Meopta HD will run with anything made, period, at half the cost. I've had well over 100 hunters in camp over the past 10+ years, and I've either owned or seen most every high end "alpha" bino made.
  14. Johnny reb

    Johnny reb AH Senior Member

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    Thanks for all the replies
  15. adam12

    adam12 AH Member

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    I've got a little pair of Steiner 8 x 22. Their nylon "case" has a belt loop so you can just wear them right up toward the front. For under $300 they're extremely handy and fine. They might not be o a par with "the big 3" but, truth be told, are most of the situations you need binocs that extremely demanding? Look, I can get as carried away as the next guy when it comes to equipment, but it really pays to try to assess what is really needed. My 2 cents
  16. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Fanatic

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    Hello All,

    Worked in a gun shop part time for awhile that, also sold optics, new and used/consigned, trade-ins, etc.

    It gave me the opportunity to peer through various brands and models of new and used binos, as well as rifle scopes and spotting scopes.

    My dos centavos are:

    Swarovski makes the clearest/most "crisp" image binoculars on the market today, as long as you are willing to pay for the "Swarovision" coating available on some models.

    If considering Swarovski binos without that expensive, extra coating (or extra polishing or whatever they do to their glass to call it "Swarovision"), then Leica is the best (clearest).

    However, be that as it may, Zeiss makes the very clearest spotting scope, compared to any other brand I have looked through, and I cannot think of a brand that I have not, except the Meopta and the Doctor, if those two even make spotting scopes.

    Cheers,
    Velo Dog.
    Last edited: May 5, 2014
  17. adam12

    adam12 AH Member

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    Thanks for sharing your experience, Velo Dog. What about scopes? What would you advise and for what situation(s)?
  18. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Fanatic

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    Adam12,

    You're welcome.

    I forgot to articulate that my opinion on the binoculars (spotting scopes and rifle scopes as well, even though I run the risk of veering away from the man's original thread) is according to my eyes and I do not claim to know what is best for all souls.

    That being said, the following is my opinion and not the end of all knowledge:

    The best big game scope I ever had (actually have 2 of them) is the old but not ancient Zeiss 4x with rubber coating over the forward bell.

    I've never heard of one failing.

    They are perfect to fit on a 98 Mauser but a bit short for a true magnum length action unfortunately.

    For that, I have had excellent luck with the now discontinued Conquest model Zeiss in 4x and one of my closest friends has 3 of them on 3 decent kicking rifles, also with excellent results.

    Another man we know owns a safari company (and has seen about all brands), he prefers the Conquest series in 3 to 9x variable.

    I also have had pretty good luck with the Leupold 6x, on decent kickers, as well as their varmint scopes in fixed power on light recoilers.

    (Nothing wrong with variable power scopes if you dig them but for me, they are just one more thing to get tempted to fiddle with when, I should be pressing el trigger instead.)

    I like the other brands of Austro-German rifle scopes that I have examined but confess that I have not sacked any animals while looking through those other brands.

    One thing I strongly recommend is that you consider how much a larger/heavier scope wants to separate itself from your rifle during recoil (or some internal parts/big heavy lens, etc).

    If I cannot hit a springbok at 300 paces or a bit more with a reasonably flat shooting caliber (.30-06, .375 to name a couple) , then I do not need a bigger scope, I just need to practice more.

    In other words, for typical southern African conditions, including everything from riverine forest to the open desert, I like a 4x, with smaller lenses so I can install it down as close to the bore as possible.

    I will never hunt Central Africa / rain forest so, I guess I have no opinion on jungle hunting at this juncture.

    Sorry this was so long winded.

    Keep well,
    Velo Dog
    Last edited: May 5, 2014
  19. adam12

    adam12 AH Member

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    Not long winded at all; rather, informative, which has no particular length. Thanks again.
  20. bellero

    bellero AH Veteran

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    In 1993, I was in Germany for work , I bought a pair binoculars for 199.99 Deutch Marks in an army store without really knowing what they were. These binos were military surplus from the Ex-East German army made by Carl Zeiss Jena, the model name was EDF 7x40. Built like a tank and clear as crystal, they are the best binos I have ever owned and are reputed to be the best roof-prism binos ever made. I had them for 20 years and my only complaint was the 7x40 magnification, I would have preferred a higher magnification.

    Well, last year, I found out that the German optics company Docter had bought all the tooling from Zeiss and were still manufacturing EDF binos under the Docter brand and they now offered them in 7x40 and 10x42 magnification. I also found out that my ex-NVA EDF were now a collector item and I sold them for $900.00

    I placed an order for a pair of Docter 10x42 EDF priced at $1000 and I would highly recommend them. I have owned other Zeiss and Swaro binos and I would put them on par with the Docter.

    My old Carl Zeiss Jena EDF 7x40

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    The new Docter EDF 10x42

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