The last pair of binoculars

Rimshot

Bronze supporter
AH senior member
Joined
Feb 10, 2021
Messages
51
Reaction score
104
Media
4
My only question for those who use binoculars that have a range finder included in them, what do you use for either when the range finder fails and you have sent them back to the factory for repairs and you have a hunt in the next couple of weeks?
I would counter that in my experience, high quality and relatively simple laser rangefinders are extremely robust. There simply isn't anything mechanical to "wear out" except for the battery. To be fair, failure can certainly happen but like all decently engineered electronics if it IS going to fail, it will do so early on in it's life aka infant mortality. If it doesn't die an early death then I can usually count on it for decades. There's a world of difference between something like this and a sub $100 chineseium electronic gizmo.

If the rangefinder failed right before a trip, I wouldn't be sending them for repair then. The binoculars still work. I'd just take a pocket rangefinder and deal with it and repair when I got back. I'd like to see just how often this happens, but I'd bet the odds are approaching astronomical enough to just worry about other things.


Having a rangefinder separate seems a better choice if only for the future upgrade as that technology is moving faster than on the optics themselves. I have the Sig Kilo 2200BDX and it is very good. I can see the advantage in use but seems like planned obsolescence and contrary to a "lifetime" purchase.

Yes, a lot of rangefinders now have a ton of other features built in with ballistic apps, atmospheric sensors, inclinometers, bluetooth to your phone, etc. My Zeiss has ballistic features but I don't use them. Except for some of the PRS and competition stuff I don't think they'd be particularly useful, especially in most hunting scenarios. I see it as mostly a gimmick that a lot of people are convinced they need but is in reality pretty niche. I just want to know the range to the target - I can dial the range on my scope and as long as the altitude is within 2000 ft and temperature within 20 degrees of the calculated values the turret is etched for it will be within 1/4 MOA.

In my opinion, the most important technology in laser rangefinders is actually pretty slow moving and has reached mostly a plateau as far as the hunter is concerned: 1 - maximum range, and 2 - laser beam width (horizontal/vertical spread). They come up with longer ranged lasers all the time but do you need more than 2 miles of range?
 

Newby

AH veteran
Joined
Oct 22, 2019
Messages
138
Reaction score
257
Location
Australia
Hunted
Australia, New Zealand, North America, UK, Central Asia
Thanks for starting this great thread. I am also looking for my "Lifetime binoculars". Does anyone have direct feedback on the new NL Pure? I am leaning that way or possible to the Zeiss Victory SF both 10x42.
I have the 10x42 NL Pure. For the reasons in my previous post I prefer 8x to 10x for all around use, but I wanted something with a little more punch than my Zeiss 8x42 HTs. The FOV was the tipping point for me with the NLs - near enough to the same FOV as my 8s.

Theoretically there should be a tardeoff with depth of focus with 10 as opposed to 8 but I can't see it with mine. Don't doubt that it may be there, but when looking for it, I can't see it. There is also a little more shake with 10s as opposed to 8s, but the way the NLs sit deep in your hand, right down on the big bones, without much grip from the fingers, reduces shake noticeably. The forehead rest also reduces shake, but more so in hastily assumed positiions, rather than the braced positions likely to be used by a hunter.

I don't have much use for a RF so a stand alone RF works fine for me. For me, the NL Pure is currently at the top for a non RF bin. If I didn't my my 8x42 Zeiss, I could get by very nicely with only an 8x42 NL.

I agree with others who have said that if one has much use for a RF, built in to the bin is the only way to go. Low light/dark performance is noticeably worse, but if you have 10x, that performance has already been lost. The built in is just much easier to use, because of the much bigger exit pupil and the much steadier grip, that it's a no brainer, regardless of any update/failure considerations or expense.

I see the bumps on the bottom of the Swaro RF bins as actually being an advantage, because the junk that is in the bumps is being kept out of the tubes, which should improve low light performance
 

Tra3

AH fanatic
Joined
Jan 22, 2019
Messages
982
Reaction score
1,654
Location
Minneapolis, MN
Media
18
Member of
SCI
Hunted
Namibia
I would counter that in my experience, high quality and relatively simple laser rangefinders are extremely robust. There simply isn't anything mechanical to "wear out" except for the battery. To be fair, failure can certainly happen but like all decently engineered electronics if it IS going to fail, it will do so early on in it's life aka infant mortality. If it doesn't die an early death then I can usually count on it for decades. There's a world of difference between something like this and a sub $100 chineseium electronic gizmo.

If the rangefinder failed right before a trip, I wouldn't be sending them for repair then. The binoculars still work. I'd just take a pocket rangefinder and deal with it and repair when I got back. I'd like to see just how often this happens, but I'd bet the odds are approaching astronomical enough to just worry about other things.




Yes, a lot of rangefinders now have a ton of other features built in with ballistic apps, atmospheric sensors, inclinometers, bluetooth to your phone, etc. My Zeiss has ballistic features but I don't use them. Except for some of the PRS and competition stuff I don't think they'd be particularly useful, especially in most hunting scenarios. I see it as mostly a gimmick that a lot of people are convinced they need but is in reality pretty niche. I just want to know the range to the target - I can dial the range on my scope and as long as the altitude is within 2000 ft and temperature within 20 degrees of the calculated values the turret is etched for it will be within 1/4 MOA.

In my opinion, the most important technology in laser rangefinders is actually pretty slow moving and has reached mostly a plateau as far as the hunter is concerned: 1 - maximum range, and 2 - laser beam width (horizontal/vertical spread). They come up with longer ranged lasers all the time but do you need more than 2 miles of range?
I regularly use the rangefinding option in my vortex fury binoculars to measure how far I need to hike to close the gap for a shot. An antelope at 1200 yards means I should walk for a while, it also gives me a concept of how long it will take to get there. Sometimes 600 and 1000 yards seem similar, but if you crawl up on the wrong hill for a shot, whoops. That measurement helps me to pick where to go.
(Funny thing is I seemed to be able to do the same thing before rangefinders).
 

uplander01

AH member
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
33
Reaction score
41
Member of
NRA, SCI
Hunted
Namibia, Mozambique, Canada (BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, Oueen Charlette Isl), USA Rocky Mountain Region, Alaska
I work in sales for the hunting industry in the US for the last 16 years, and have represented Leica, Ziess, Minox at one time or another. Been through all the training and used all three extensively to almost outright abuse testing. In the circle of ultimate optics snobs you can put Swaro, Leica, Ziess in any order of 1,2,3 that you want and that is the answer.

All that being said the most extreme case of durability I have ever seen was on a trip to Canada bear hunting, had the Leica 8x32 fly off the back of a truck and roll behind on a gravel road as we started to move. Picked them up and brushed the dust off, had a couple small scratches on the lens, other than that perfect working order. Horse traded those along the way, wish I never would have. Currently use Zeiess 10x42 victory for last 10 years, no regrets. Bino fine print, you get what you pay for.
 

redriverjake

AH veteran
Joined
Sep 25, 2011
Messages
103
Reaction score
58
Media
5
Hunted
USA, Mexico, Europe, Middle East, Australia
Hello again gentlemen, I hope everyone is well. First, let me start off by saying thank you again for everyone’s input and advice. The “chosen one” has arrived and I’m currently sitting in the back yard soaking in my first impressions. I’m going to lay out the reasons I picked what I did and tell you how I feel about my decision so far.
CB089376-95E3-46AC-AB1C-D60B53AEFBEB.jpeg


For as long as I can remember wanting a pair of top tier binoculars Swarovski has been at the top of my list. It’s a brand that is synonymous with quality.

B5C91E16-2227-4228-84CE-6F766BFBF62A.jpeg


The model that always caught my eye from an esthetic point of view was the SLC. That was true way back when and is still the case today. There is something I find classic and ruggedly elegant about them. I’ve always been attracted to the classics in all aspects of life. I’m an analog guy in a digital world.(never mind my digital watch at the moment, it’s temporary )
24F14A4D-B52D-42D5-ABC3-A6EBE3B6E5D0.jpeg


I chose the 10x42 because detail is important to me, I need to be able see that broken horn tip just as badly as I do those little fuzzies on the backside of a big tom. I’ve used 7x, 8x,10x,12x, and 15x. The 10s have always been my preferred magnification, not too much and not too little.
674CA082-71A0-465A-B7C7-7344F30B8041.jpeg


In closing, I couldn’t be happier with my decision. When I look at these I feel like I can see every dollar that I spent. They came beautifully packaged. The ergonomics are wonderful, they fit in my hand/hands like they were specifically crafted for me. The weight and size are ideal, they ride perfectly under my left arm and the weight makes them feel solid and easy to steady. The optical quality is all I could ask for, clear and crisp where I need it to be. There might be “better“ but with everything considered I honestly don’t feel like I’m missing a thing. I also got to save a little money that I had allocated for glass and put it in savings towards my “two pipe”. All together a wonderful experience and I look forward to viewing the great game fields of Africa for many years to come with these in tow. Onwards and upwards gents ! Salute
 

Newby

AH veteran
Joined
Oct 22, 2019
Messages
138
Reaction score
257
Location
Australia
Hunted
Australia, New Zealand, North America, UK, Central Asia
Lifetime purchase, as you were seeking. Well done. Obviously there is still SLC stock around.
 

MarkB

AH enthusiast
Joined
Dec 6, 2011
Messages
396
Reaction score
548
Location
BC Canada
Member of
NFA, SCI, DU, CCFR, BCWF, African Gazete
Hunted
Zimbabwe, SA, Namibia, BC, AB, Ont
Dam good job, on this thread (lots of good info drawn out) and on your purchase.

MB
 

fourfive8

AH elite
Joined
Apr 27, 2017
Messages
1,814
Reaction score
3,133
Media
234
Hunted
USA, South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana
Agreed, those Swarovskis were a good choice!

As an addendum to this binocs selection discussion. At least 20 years ago I purchased an armored Zeiss Jena 7x40 NVA pair of binoculars for a whopping $60 from a milsurp source... Wish I had bought several! Research indicates they were made in the 60s - 70s under contract for the East German Army. Pretty heavy, very clear glass, perfect collimation and built like a tank- typical Eastern Bloc military simplicity and toughness. Individual diopter focus. These probably spent time on "Wall" duty. I wouldn't doubt some of the most rugged binoculars ever made. Not necessarily for all day carry but would be excellent for vehicle or knock about use. I just looked at some online and I see they have been discovered :( Prices for decent used condition units look to be running about $200-400. However if you see some online or hear of any for decent price, IMO, worth serious consideration and second look.

Zeiss Jena NVA 7x40.png

Zeiss Jena 7x40.png
 
Last edited:

Chago

AH enthusiast
Joined
Jan 19, 2018
Messages
447
Reaction score
888
Location
Canada
Media
102
Hunting reports
Africa
1
USA/Canada
3
Too bad your vortex didn't turn out for you. I personally have had great success with them for rifle scopes. I have never owned one of there binos.

I currently own the Nikons with built in rangefinder. I love the combination of two tools in one. One less thing to carry around. I wouldn't classify them as a last pair of binos. But I have a number of hunting buddies who have the swaro version. And personally. There's no comparison. The glass and quality is mountains better. I will be buying those likely this summer before my Limpopo trip. But again I would strongly suggest the combo version.
 

WAB

AH legend
Joined
Oct 8, 2015
Messages
3,054
Reaction score
6,777
Location
Alabama
Media
94
Hunting reports
Africa
5
USA/Canada
1
Member of
DSC, NRA, SCI
Hunted
Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Scotland, England, Canada, Alaska, Ireland
I appreciate @redriverjake starting this thread. After reading the combined experiences of the group and following on with quite a bit of research of the relative merits of the Swaro SLC and EL models, I just received a pair of 10x42 SLC’s. I believe I may have bought my last pair of bino’s.
 

Woodcarver

Bronze supporter
AH veteran
Joined
Dec 23, 2020
Messages
103
Reaction score
252
Location
Colorado
Media
4
Member of
NRA Benefactor Life, Ducks Unlimited Life, RMEF Life, NAHC Life
Hunted
USA (CO, KS, TX, WA, AZ, TN), Alberta, Canada
A Nikon 10x28 ATB has served me well for about 25 years. Unfortunately, they quit making them a number of years ago. These binos have lived in a truck all their life; used several times a week. Carried around my neck for several weeks at least every year. We'll see if the Prostaff line of compacts does as well. I have one of them, but the old set still gets the most use.
Having played with Swaro and Zeiss binos, I liked the clarity of both (don't remember the specific models), but I cannot rationalize the significant price difference for the marginal improvement over my Nikons. If I think I have a need to be looking at stuff a significant distance away, that's what the spotting scope is for.
As to rangefinders, somebody else said it pretty well, they just give me an idea of how far I'm going to walk before I take a shot. If I need one, there's still some walking to do.
I cannot figure out how Vortex has been mentioned as a potential for anything but the trash bin. Their spotting scope was junk, terrible light transmission compared to anybody else, including Tasco. This was in a side by side comparison of every spotting scope in the case. Spent almost 2 hours packing spotting scopes out to the sidewalk, 2 at a time, and counting cracks on the side of Cheyenne Mountain in late afternoon with storm clouds darkening the sky. Ultimately came down to the 60mm Swaro and the 80mm Nikon. Settled on the Nikon because it was half the money of the Swaro. (The 80mm Swaro was the best glass, but weighed almost a pound more, that's why it was eliminated). This was in advance of a sheep hunt that took 16 years to get the tag. The Nikon has performed perfectly for the 9 years I've had it.
The 3 Vortex riflescopes I've used had the same issue as the spotting scope; poor light transmission. And one of them wouldn't hold zero either. Haven't tried their binos because all the other stuff was unimpressive to say the least.
 

Ike85123

AH fanatic
Joined
Mar 21, 2021
Messages
738
Reaction score
1,408
Location
Arizona, USA
Media
1
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
None
I have Swarovski 12x50 binos that I use while in truck. They see very far away and are great for low light. Then those go in the bag and are left in the truck, too heavy to carry around.
Then I use 8x32 Swarovski binos for the field. They fit in my chest pocket and are very light.
I find have 2 pair is great, plus I always have a back up pair that way.
I never worry about a range finder in them. The ph will tell u distance and windage.
 

fourfive8

AH elite
Joined
Apr 27, 2017
Messages
1,814
Reaction score
3,133
Media
234
Hunted
USA, South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana
While Kowa isn't mentioned often they make pretty good optics. I see the big Kowa spotting scopes at the range fairly often. I know nothing about their binocs but no reason to believe they wouldn't be pretty good. I guess not a lot of buzz nor track record. I've noticed an odd phenomenon about the Kowa name. Since the uninformed sometimes don't pay close attention, many get the Konus spotting scopes thinking they are buying the Kowa for a bargain. Ooops :)
 

Quaticman

AH veteran
Joined
Feb 20, 2018
Messages
100
Reaction score
176
Location
Kitchener
Media
21
Hunted
Namibia
I just purchased a set of Leica Trinovid HD 8 x 42 binoculars. I wanted to get a
" high end" binocular and did a fair bit of research before purchasing. I looked at Swarovski, Zeiss, Steiner, Nikon, Leupold and Vortex.
In my opinion it's hard to beat the combination of build quality, optical clarity and price point ($1,200.00 CDN) of the Leica Trinovid line of binoculars.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
37,707
Messages
721,212
Members
67,468
Latest member
ModestaSea
 

 

 

Latest posts

Latest profile posts

flatwater bill wrote on john stroud's profile.
Leopard Legend....................Hi John.............I see that you have not visited AH in awhile. Hope all is well. I am looking for a hunt in Namibia..............would like to ask a few questions about your hunt.............all the best..............................Bill
Cervus elaphus wrote on Bob Nelson 35Whelen's profile.
Hi Bob, how's things going in Wyong?. Down your way a couple of years back but haven't been in NSW since Ebor for the fishing. just getting over some nasty storms up here in Qld, seeing the sun for the first time in a few days. I'm going to NZ in the spring and hope to clean up a few buns while there and perhaps shake the spiders out of my old .303LE (currently owned by my BIL). Cheers Brian
A couple pictures of the sable i chased for miles in Mozambique, Coutada 9!! We finally caught up to him and I had the trophy of a lifetime. Mokore Safaris, Doug Duckworth PH
sable Coutada 9.JPG
sable 2 - Coutada 9.JPG
Safari Dave wrote on egrmpty507's profile.
Did you purchase your hunt at a US SCI fundraiser?
uplander01 wrote on colorado's profile.
Heard you may have load data for the 500 Jeffery,.....any info would be appreciated. Was thinking 535gr, but already had a response that the 570gr would be a better way to go, not sure why.
 
Top