The last pair of binoculars

festuscat

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I have a 3 pairs of binos I have used for over 20 years. My first pair was
Leica 8x32 BN. I liked them so much that I bought a pair of Leica 10x32BN on eBa. i also have a pr of Swarovski 10x42.

Leica no longer makes the BN’s but if you can a pair, I’d consider purchase. I hunt DG 90% of the time, so weight and compactness was important for me.

I will echo Swarovsk’s customer service. I just had a 20 yr + PV 1.25-4 sent for repair ( the reticle was off vertical) returned from Austria at no charge.

I’ve compared my Leica BNs to current high end binos and I’ll stay with the Leicas

My 2 cents
 

Graham Hunter

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I have had my 10x42 for over 20 yrs. Many of those years they were used professionally. My wife has the 8X and I also have a pair of 15x56 that have seen a lot of use. Sent the 10x42's back a couple of years ago. Not broken just wanted them cleaned and eyepieces replaced. Took about 2 weeks and were returned to me like new for$75 including postage.
 

Bonk

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I guess I'm the opposite of an optics connoisseur. Optics neanderthal? All I ask of my scopes/binos is they be reliable, durable and get the job done. It's been my experience I can get all that without having to spend thousands of dollars. I have a pair of Nikon 8x40 binos I bought 25+ years ago. IIRC I paid about $300. Armored, waterproof, shockproof, fog proof, etc. I don't hunt 250 days a year but they get used regularly. They're not sitting on a shelf waiting for hunting season. I pick them up for one reason or another at least once a week. So far I've been able to figure out what I was looking at and they've never broken or failed in any way. I'm not exactly sure what else a pair of binos is supposed to do. The idea of a built range finder has some appeal.

You'll have to forgive me if I don't see the cost vs quality equation the same as some of you. I don't doubt for a second that in a lab there's a measurable difference in optical quality between my Nikons and a pair of Swaro binos. Where we part company is whether or not that difference has any real world application and, finally, whether or not it's worth an additional $3500. The answer to both questions is no for my needs. If I used my scopes/binos daily as part of my profession I might feel differently. It also seems from this thread that premium binos break at about the same rate and for the same reasons less expensive binos do. Anything mechanical is subject to the vagaries of use and abuse. Thank goodness for excellent warranties.

There's something to be said for extreme quality and pride of ownership. I bet the precision feel and mechanical smoothness of the focusing mechanism on high end binos make my Nikons feel like doorknobs by comparison. There's also absolutely nothing wrong with buying the best quality you can afford simply because you appreciate it for what it is. I'm not opposed to any of that. I'm guilty of it myself with certain products but scope/binos aren't on that list for me. I lean heavily towards simplicity, value and utility when it comes to hunting glass. Good enough is good enough.

To the OP, good luck with your search. There are a plenty of excellent binos to choose from. I hope you find your perfect (and last) pair no matter how much or little you decide to spend.
 

WAB

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True, And you get a thorough workout carrying the things around. I used Steiner throughout my military career and use Leica and Swaro now. I don't think there is much of a comparison. I owned a Vortex for a while years ago and have never owned another.

For Africa, where I do not think a range finder is of much use, I love my Leica HD Ultravid 10x42. You will be equally well served by the Swaro EL or the SLC (which is a very rugged instrument). For Noth America and Europe I love my Leica 10x42 range finding Geovids.

That’s probably why I gravitate to the 8x30’s in the Steiner’s. The 10x42’s are significantly heavier.
 

Opposite Pole

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I use Leica Geovids HD-B. I have both 8x56 and 10x42. The one issue with 10x42 is the front lens covers - they are absolutely crap! I’ve lost a few of them already. They aren’t particularly expensive to replace but are hard to get, I now keep spares at home. Otherwise both are fantastic binoculars.
 

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My wife and I have EL 10x42s and have used them for decades. Bounced around in pickups, rafts, and on horseback and going strong. I thought the Zeiss were as good optically, but the sales guy said Swarovski had much better warranty service.
I have a pair of old Leitz Wetzlar 7x35s, which I bought used in the 80s, and had rebuilt by a guy in Tennessee a couple of years back, and they are excellent as well, especially since the newer coatings weren't invented then.
 

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A trick that I have learned on the lens caps is to pick up a pair of the Butler Creek scope caps. On some binoculars you will have to do some trimming to get them to fit but they work a lot better than the factory ones that everyone looses at one time or another.

To find the right size you will need to measure the outside diameter of the binoculars lens but that is it. The Butler Creek caps even have a spring on them to hold them open, but on a pair of binoculars that I had the spring broke so I just turned the caps around to where they would hand open and swing freely.

Now back to what type of binocular, I have a pair of Swaro El's in 10x42 and while they are slightly heaver than the ones that they replaced I really don't notice the weight with the harness that I use when I am wearing them.
 

Travis2282

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The slc model has been discontinued in 10x42. I purchased a pair last year and while I do enjoy them I wish I would have went with the EL. The EL has the field flattening lense. As long as you don’t get the rolling ball effect when looking through field flattening I would choose the EL or the new NL pure for the larger field of view. There are just a few places I have seen the SLC still in stock though!
 

redriverjake

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Firstly, I would like to thank everyone again for the experiences and opinions you’ve shared. I hope this thread helps anyone else that is in the market for new glass and is on the fence. I ended up pulling the trigger on a pair this morning, I will share when they arrive and give my first impressions. In the meantime I would like to share my experience with my Vortex Razor 10x42.

These binos were bought at Cabelas in the spring of 2019 leading up to the season. I had initially gone into replace a pair of Zeiss Conquest 10x42 that I had given away. The man behind the counter somehow convinced me that the Razors were a better value. At first I was reasonably impressed, the glass was good and they felt quite sturdy. Unfortunately that didn’t last long. The first things to go were the eye cups, that was easy to fix with some superglue and electrical tape. The next set of issues were considerably more serious. While following a herd of Roan antelope one morning the strangest thing happened. Things were going swimmingly until I pulled my binos up to my eyes to look at a bull and the whole world had gone blury. I was making my adjustments and noticed that the focus wheel was extremely rough and wouldn’t do it’s job and locked up, when I pulled the glass away from my face to address what was happening the cover to the wheel fell off and a series of washers and such fell out rendering them completely useless. Fortunately, we had already selected a fine bull and were able to proceed with the hunt and collect him. I was terribly embarrassed that my equipment had failed in front of my client in such spectacular fashion. The glasses were unrepairable but thankfully I had a backup pair in camp or else I would’ve been in a very awkward position as the safari still had a long way to go. When I returned to civilization I sent them away immediately. True to their word, Vortex “repaired” them and sent them back in a timely manner. When I got them back the eye cups had been replaced and they “fixed” the primary issue of the focus wheel. That being said their work was subpar and the glasses still had an issue with focusing for whatever reason but they were usable with some extra effort. Later that year I was caught in a short but heavy rain shower, they fogged up shortly afterwards. I sent them in again with my list of issues, again they returned them rather quickly. While they were no longer foggy the focus was still out of whack. Another thing that deteriorated in short order was the tension in the bridge and the lenses scratch quite easily. In short, I simply can’t recommend that anyone spends their hard earned money on this product. Sorry for the lengthy explanation but I hope it saves someone from the same frustrating experience. Cheers

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Red Leg

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Firstly, I would like to thank everyone again for the experiences and opinions you’ve shared. I hope this thread helps anyone else that is in the market for new glass and is on the fence. I ended up pulling the trigger on a pair this morning, I will share when they arrive and give my first impressions. In the meantime I would like to share my experience with my Vortex Razor 10x42.

These binos were bought at Cabelas in the spring of 2019 leading up to the season. I had initially gone into replace a pair of Zeiss Conquest 10x42 that I had given away. The man behind the counter somehow convinced me that the Razors were a better value. At first I was reasonably impressed, the glass was good and they felt quite sturdy. Unfortunately that didn’t last long. The first things to go were the eye cups, that was easy to fix with some superglue and electrical tape. The next set of issues were considerably more serious. While following a herd of Roan antelope one morning the strangest thing happened. Things were going swimmingly until I pulled my binos up to my eyes to look at a bull and the whole world had gone blury. I was making my adjustments and noticed that the focus wheel was extremely rough and wouldn’t do it’s job and locked up, when I pulled the glass away from my face to address what was happening the cover to the wheel fell off and a series of washers and such fell out rendering them completely useless. Fortunately, we had already selected a fine bull and were able to proceed with the hunt and collect him. I was terribly embarrassed that my equipment had failed in front of my client in such spectacular fashion. The glasses were unrepairable but thankfully I had a backup pair in camp or else I would’ve been in a very awkward position as the safari still had a long way to go. When I returned to civilization I sent them away immediately. True to their word, Vortex “repaired” them and sent them back in a timely manner. When I got them back the eye cups had been replaced and they “fixed” the primary issue of the focus wheel. That being said their work was subpar and the glasses still had an issue with focusing for whatever reason but they were usable with some extra effort. Later that year I was caught in a short but heavy rain shower, they fogged up shortly afterwards. I sent them in again with my list of issues, again they returned them rather quickly. While they were no longer foggy the focus was still out of whack. Another thing that deteriorated in short order was the tension in the bridge and the lenses scratch quite easily. In short, I simply can’t recommend that anyone spends their hard earned money on this product. Sorry for the lengthy explanation but I hope it saves someone from the same frustrating experience. Cheers
Vortex has a lot of fans here, but your experiences track very closely to mine. And unlike the CZ that won't feed properly out of the box, there is no secondary market to make a Vortex safari worthy.
 

Travis2282

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Firstly, I would like to thank everyone again for the experiences and opinions you’ve shared. I hope this thread helps anyone else that is in the market for new glass and is on the fence. I ended up pulling the trigger on a pair this morning, I will share when they arrive and give my first impressions. In the meantime I would like to share my experience with my Vortex Razor 10x42.

These binos were bought at Cabelas in the spring of 2019 leading up to the season. I had initially gone into replace a pair of Zeiss Conquest 10x42 that I had given away. The man behind the counter somehow convinced me that the Razors were a better value. At first I was reasonably impressed, the glass was good and they felt quite sturdy. Unfortunately that didn’t last long. The first things to go were the eye cups, that was easy to fix with some superglue and electrical tape. The next set of issues were considerably more serious. While following a herd of Roan antelope one morning the strangest thing happened. Things were going swimmingly until I pulled my binos up to my eyes to look at a bull and the whole world had gone blury. I was making my adjustments and noticed that the focus wheel was extremely rough and wouldn’t do it’s job and locked up, when I pulled the glass away from my face to address what was happening the cover to the wheel fell off and a series of washers and such fell out rendering them completely useless. Fortunately, we had already selected a fine bull and were able to proceed with the hunt and collect him. I was terribly embarrassed that my equipment had failed in front of my client in such spectacular fashion. The glasses were unrepairable but thankfully I had a backup pair in camp or else I would’ve been in a very awkward position as the safari still had a long way to go. When I returned to civilization I sent them away immediately. True to their word, Vortex “repaired” them and sent them back in a timely manner. When I got them back the eye cups had been replaced and they “fixed” the primary issue of the focus wheel. That being said their work was subpar and the glasses still had an issue with focusing for whatever reason but they were usable with some extra effort. Later that year I was caught in a short but heavy rain shower, they fogged up shortly afterwards. I sent them in again with my list of issues, again they returned them rather quickly. While they were no longer foggy the focus was still out of whack. Another thing that deteriorated in short order was the tension in the bridge and the lenses scratch quite easily. In short, I simply can’t recommend that anyone spends their hard earned money on this product. Sorry for the lengthy explanation but I hope it saves someone from the same frustrating experience. Cheers

Which binos did you purchase today?
 

Bonk

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I've never tried Vortex binos because I've not had great luck with Vortex scopes. I'll give them credit for decent customer service but unfortunately it seems they need it. What happened to the OP's Vortex binos is ridiculous.
 

Nevada Mike

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I've been using my pair of Zeiss rubber armoured 10 X 40s for many years, they are durable and have good optices. Never needed any repairs at all. Swaro 10 X 42 binocs are also good.
 

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I have really poor vision 20-400 on both eyes.

I prefer 8x42 or 8x56 for most general hunting, as they have lots of eye relief. 10x50's can be ok, 10x56's are awesome. If you have poor eye sight and are going to be wearing eye glasses while using the binoculars you need at least 18mm of eye relief.

Currently have a pair or 8x56 Minox and a pair of 12x50 Swarovski EL.
 

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I've never tried Vortex binos because I've not had great luck with Vortex scopes. I'll give them credit for decent customer service but unfortunately it seems they need it. What happened to the OP's Vortex binos is ridiculous.
I have used Vortex's warranty many times, price is good but quality is eh????
 

Nyati

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I´m a Steiner fan, 1 monocular, 2 bino´s, 1 Scope.
 
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I have a pair of Swarovski SLC 10x42 that I got with some discount from the store. Very happy with them, no blurring along the edges, Cristal clear image and no tint/hue I can notice. If I could warrant the expense, I’d probably go for Swarovski EL’s with or without range finder. But my SLC’s will probably never warrant me to buy others :D

For a pair for a lifetime, I’d go for Swarovski SLC or EL, due to being the best or at least top three optics out there, with great warranty and customer service. Buy once, cry once.
 

Ridgewalker

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OK, lots of great info here! I can’t really argue with any of it, but...my $.02 worth.
Personally 1 pair doesn't serve my purposes. I currently have a fine Swaro 10x42, a Leica 10x42 ranging, a Nikon Monarch 7, I believe it is, 8x30 and finally an ancient Bushnell Custom Compact 6x28 circa 1969.
Nikon-I typically only take my Nikon to Africa along with a Leica rangefinder I needed once for a 300+ yard shot on a blesbok. I like the light weight compact bino for bushveld hunting where you are never that far from game. The same setup has worked well here in the Colorado mountains for dark timber elk.
Bushnell-Briefly the Bushnells work great for archery and dark timber I did for quite a while.
Swarovski-10x42s I got primarily for Alaska brown bear where you sit for hours scanning through the rain for distant (as in miles!) brownies before you start your stalk. They have worked well along with the Leica rangefinder for antelope, coyote and prairie dog hunts.
Leica rangefinding-I thought these would replace the Nikons binos and Leica rangefinders, but not for me. Too heavy hanging around my neck. Still they work spotting prairie dogs and ranging them without switching out between binos and rangefinder. If I sat in a blind all day, they would work great IMO.
The Swaros are also heavier than I want to carry around the mountains of Colorado.

That’s my uses and some of my reasoning.
I will suggest you spend at least as much on your optics, both binos and scopes, as you do for a rifle. JME&O but you can fix a bad shooting rifle, but bad optics are only good for a paper weight.

Best of luck only getting one for everything! I’ll be watching this thread just to see your decision.
 

Justhunt

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A lot of guys bought into the Vortex sales pitch. It was the price point and slick marketing. Where we hunt here in Montana, you might be way back in when they crap out. Happens with vortex way more than it should. So the best warranty in the world is no good out in the field. If you hunt more than occasionally, that great deal on vortex will end up costing more in the long run. IMO.
Remember the old saying "great optics weigh nothing and cost nothing"

Good luck with your purchase.
 

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