Binocular Advice Needed

jpr9954

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On my just concluded hunt in the Eastern Cape I used my Maven B.3 8x30 binoculars. They worked fairly good and were light enough. However, the PH and my brother-in-law who had 10x binoculars were able to pick out some animals that I missed. This was especially true when we were searching for kudu on a conservancy where we had to look across a valley at 5-700 yards to see them.

I am considering taking advantage of some of the Father's Day sales to upgrade to 10x binoculars. While my PH suggested 10x42, I'm wondering if having a 10x30 or 10x32 would be handier. One that I'm looking at are the mid-range Kowa BD II's in 10x32 as well as 10x42. The 10x42's are about 4 ounces heavier. They get some good reviews from the birders.

I'd love to go the Swarovski/Leica route but they are out of my budget range. I'm open to suggestions on other brands.

Should I upgrade or make due? While I no longer have 20/20 vision, I still don't have to wear glasses except to read.
 
Personally I like the 10x42 style. That 42mm objective lets in about 25% more light than the 32mm one does and if you do a lot of glassing towards the end of the day or first thing in the morning it is a big plus.

The only time that I felt like I needed more was on a couple of coues deer hunts in southern Arizona. While I could see the deer with the 10x I wished that I had my 16x with me to be able to see a little bit more of the antlers.
 
I see a lot of guys moving toward more compact x30 type binos… and I understand their argument… but I still prefer 10x42’s for Africa …

If you’re a veteran, look at both the leupold VIP program (roughly 40% off msrp) and the different guidefitter options (maven, Steiner, and a few others offer good discounts there)…

With their discounts you can step into some of those companies higher quality lines for the same or less money than buying their lower lines at a major retailer like cabelas or bass pro…

For sitting in my deer stand I definitely prefer the more compact and lightweight x30 type binos.. I came close to buying a nice pair of Steiner at an auction recently but got distracted and missed a barely used $500 set for $52…

It’s a very different situation at my deer blind though… I’ve got one particular blind I sit most often that’s is set up on the edge of a cut in the woods where there are some old telephone poles and lines… it’s a long (400 yards is about as far as I see before the woods curve and a hill gets in the way) but narrow (25 yards) shooting lane with game trails that come into the lane at about 80, 125, and 170 yards…

Typically all I am doing is sitting, waiting for something to come out at one of those distances and then watch it make its way to the feeder that’s set right at 100 yards… all I’m trying to do is age and judge antlers at fairly close range.. so the smaller sized 10x binos work great for that..
 
I am partial to Steiner binoculars the 10x50 military marines are about $400-$500
I had a pair of leica with a internal range finder and preferred the Steiner
and when someone stole the Leica‘s I bought a pair of Steiner commanders with a compass inside
+ German glass and warranty
 
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I am, alas, not a veteran but I did take advantage of the Guidefitter program when I bought my Maven's.

As to passing on to kids, I have two step-daughters ages 38 and 47 respectively who are not outdoor people.

It looks like the 10x42's are it.
 
On my just concluded hunt in the Eastern Cape I used my Maven B.3 8x30 binoculars. They worked fairly good and were light enough. However, the PH and my brother-in-law who had 10x binoculars were able to pick out some animals that I missed. This was especially true when we were searching for kudu on a conservancy where we had to look across a valley at 5-700 yards to see them.

I am considering taking advantage of some of the Father's Day sales to upgrade to 10x binoculars. While my PH suggested 10x42, I'm wondering if having a 10x30 or 10x32 would be handier. One that I'm looking at are the mid-range Kowa BD II's in 10x32 as well as 10x42. The 10x42's are about 4 ounces heavier. They get some good reviews from the birders.

I'd love to go the Swarovski/Leica route but they are out of my budget range. I'm open to suggestions on other brands.

Should I upgrade or make due? While I no longer have 20/20 vision, I still don't have to wear glasses except to read.
Zeiss Conquest, not the super premium Zeiss but they are good binoculars.

Zeiss Conquest
 
I took the maven 10x30 last time and had no problems spotting with my PH Dale, and buddies, who carried higher end optics than mine. They’ve got a tighter eye box and I was looking to go 8x for FOV…maybe we could trade?
 
I am partial to Steiner binoculars the 10x50 military marines are about $400-$500
I had a pair of leica with a internal range finder and preferred the Steiner
and when someone stole the Leica‘s I bought a pair of Steiner commanders with a compass inside
+ German glass and warranty
Yes Steiner makes good glass as well.
 
Mavens componets and ED glass are made by Kowa. You wouldn’t notice a difference. Kowa keeps their fluorite glass for themselves.
 
I second AimSmall. Buy the best you can afford. If i had to chose, I would perfer to have better binoculars vs the scope.
I have used 3 different pair of binos over the past 25 years:

Leica 10x32 BN , Leica 8x32 BN and Swarovski SLC10x42 WB

I would look at ebay for the above or like product. I believe they are as good as products offered today.
Just a note, I use Vero Vellini bino staps and a String type chest strap the PH Dean Kendall uses made by Rick Young Products. They are excellent.

Good luck in your search, safe travels and good hunting,
Jack
 
I’d stick with the 10x42 for longer range and go to 8x32’s for bush hunts. Check out Steiner. They are a lot of glass for the money. I just gave my dad my old Steiner 10x42’s and he loves them.
 
The smaller objective size could have been reducing your perceived performance just as much as the magnification, especially depending on the time of day.

I would never take a sub 40mm bino for hunting big game when hunting can include the first or last hour of light in the day.

8x or 10x but with 40(ish)mm objective is the way to go. Some people are steadier with the 8x and have difficulty keeping 10x steady so between those magnifications I call personal preference.

Best of luck. There are a lot of acceptable choices on the market right now just up to you on your price point.
 
I've got and older pair of rubber covered Zeiss 10x40's (made in Germany). These go to Africa and out west every time I go.

IMO - you can skimp a little on your scope, but buy the best binoculars you can afford.

A long time ago, an elk hunting guide let me look through his 7X Zeiss and I could see things that were invisible to my 24X Bausch & Lomb's.

European glass can't be beat for binoculars.

I have 2 pair of Leupold's that are pretty good for the money.

I use Leica compact's when hunting near home.




My son uses Maven's and I'll admit that they seem to be on par with the Leupolds.



IME - Vortex optics are craptastic. I've owned one scope that wouldn't hold zero, sent it back and got a new one, but sold it immediately.
 
I've got and older pair of rubber covered Zeiss 10x40's (made in Germany). These go to Africa and out west every time I go.

IMO - you can skimp a little on your scope, but buy the best binoculars you can afford.

A long time ago, an elk hunting guide let me look through his 7X Zeiss and I could see things that were invisible to my 24X Bausch & Lomb's.

European glass can't be beat for binoculars.

I have 2 pair of Leupold's that are pretty good for the money.

I use Leica compact's when hunting near home.




My son uses Maven's and I'll admit that they seem to be on par with the Leupolds.



IME - Vortex optics are craptastic. I've owned one scope that wouldn't hold zero, sent it back and got a new one, but sold it immediately.
I still use my 1982 west German Zeiss 10x40 binoculars. Some things just work. I was thinking maybe it's time for a new pair, but it's hard to let go of no problems.
 
I used a pair of Leupold Wimd River Pinnacle 10x42’s for several years. At the time they were the best I could afford. Still a nice bino. I’ve since switched to Swarovski 10x30’s. At the time they were about $1k, which was still a little steep for me but was worth the investment as they are bright and clear.
 
Interesting topic to me as I’m considering doing the opposite. I hunted in the bush last year with swaro 10x42 and while they worked great, I’d prefer something smaller and lighter. I’ll be in the bush again next year and considering the maven 8x30. Let me know if you decide to sell yours haha.
 
I have the maven 8x30s and love them - they are my backup/ wife/ kid binos. Also have older Japanese Vortex Viper 10x42s and they are damn good for the price- although a little heavy. I took the Vortex on my trip to Kenya - no worries. My guide used Zeiss Terra 8x32s. Any decent name 10x will do you fine. Having said that, my grail binos are Leica 8x32 Ultravids.

Be conscious of exit pupil. Aim for 4+ and you’ll be good.
 
Interesting topic to me as I’m considering doing the opposite. I hunted in the bush last year with swaro 10x42 and while they worked great, I’d prefer something smaller and lighter. I’ll be in the bush again next year and considering the maven 8x30. Let me know if you decide to sell yours haha.
I'll probably keep them for the same reason - to have something smaller and lighter in the bush.
 

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