Alpha glass “ownership” experience - and a rehash of “is it worth it…”

mcr-85

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May 28, 2014
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Did you compare the Mavens to the Vortex Razor UHD 18x56?
No I haven't ever looked through those. I did have a pair of Vortex Kaibab 20x and a pair of Zeiss Conquest 15x. and have spent some time behind Meopta 15x. The Mavens and Meoptas have been my favorite so far.
 

ArchStanton

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Feb 21, 2021
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No I haven't ever looked through those. I did have a pair of Vortex Kaibab 20x and a pair of Zeiss Conquest 15x. and have spent some time behind Meopta 15x. The Mavens and Meoptas have been my favorite so far.
I've read positive comments about the Meopta B1 Plus 15x56 and own a couple of Meopro scopes. I'm debating whether to get a 15x56 with more FOV or go for a higher power in an 18x56. The Mavens and Razor UHD 18x56's seen pretty comparable with the Maven's having fluorite glass in the objective lenses if that makes any difference. Thanks for the reply and have a good one!
 

Wrench

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I bought my first pair of alpha bins, leica ba's in 1994 for $742.00. I made 8.50 per hour at the time. From that time I used them for 22 years then sold them for $750. I replaced them with SEVERAL pairs of alegedly superior bins and finally settled on the noctovids as good enough.

The quality between the Chinese and European glass in build quality is real. The optical differences are getting pretty close.

If you want a forever glass, buy one. If you want a good enough, know that you may experience build quality failures or compromises, but will save you bucks up front.

Resale on Chinese bins is about 50%. Resale on European glass is in the 75-150% area.
 

Centralcoastca

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May 3, 2020
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I bought an older pair of els used a couple years ago that were in great condition for $1k and couldn’t be happier. I didn’t have the budget for new ones though I had always lusted after a pair when looking through a couple of my friends Swaros. We’ve swapped glasses around comparing the new and old ones and none of us noticed any big difference. I’m sure in certain conditions the new coatings or whatever do something better but I would not hesitate to check out some used ones if you find them. In answer to your original question are they worth it? To me they are and if I lost mine or whatever and couldn’t find a used pair I’d figure out a way to afford a new pair. Like has been said, you have to try different brands and models out in person and preferably side by side to really see what your eyes like. I did just look through another friend’s new Leica trinovids and thought they were great and right at or maybe slightly under $1k would be worth checking out.
 

aaronoto

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Oct 9, 2018
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I've got a pair of SLC's but would be perfectly happy running a Razor or Maven. With that said, I don't regret spending the money either.
 

Rich M

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The trick is to get yer paws on the glass and compare.

The numbers in the advertising are BS and measured to diff classifications to sound better.

Unrtil you see what your eyes like and what the big brands do, its all speculation.

I had a leica scope and could count tines when i could not physically see the deer, looked like a smudge, and here i am looking at his tine length. You cant grasp that kind of performance until you experience it.
 

Wrench

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Another thing that doesn't get compared enough is the timing. The last minutes of light are where quality really shows up.

Imagine temperature is another thing that is personal preference. I prefer the warmer image of leica. Some prefer the cooler Swarovski look. My meopta and torics are fairly neutral.
 
OP
Bluto

Bluto

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Man, great feedback and experiences, thanks to all. Lots of good points, and one that I didn’t mention but should probably be a bigger part of the equation is the use factor. When I was stationed out west it was a constant use kind of thing but affordability purely drove the purchase. I got stationed back East and now retired and momma has dug her heels in so for the near future - I’m realistically getting one or two big hunts per year. (Of course, some may say that’s just another reason to make sure you don’t have a failure point in your glass. Which could also be valid.) I’ll have to put some thought into that one.

For the question on Maven’s being at the $1000-$1200 range, I think that’s normal. Right now there’s a couple of avenues where I could pick up a B6 10x50 for what seems like a steal - if they’re as good as advertised.

My initial goal was to nab a used pair of EL’s, but that’s the same goal of about 1,000 people just on rokslide, so chances are slim of making it happen. In the end, I guess if I do and suddenly determine it wasn’t worth the money, I certainly won’t be losing any I needed to get rid of them.

I didn’t purposely discount any Meopta/Steiner other than I need to realistically keep the choices narrowed down, because getting my hands on multiple versions is near impossible, to actually try them out. I may be in for more trial and error than I really want. At least want to spend. I also purposely listed Maven as a comparison point because of Japanese components. While I steer away from Chinese stuff to the max extent, Japan is a different universe in manufacturing quality in my opinion.

Thanks again, all. Good stuff!
 

AkMtnRunner

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Jul 24, 2016
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I went through some nice Nikons, Meoptas 15x, a Maven B5 18x, and Swaro EL's. For the money, I really liked what Nikon had to offer, then Meoptas at the $1200 range showed me what alpha glass was but they were a bit heavier so I went back to the Nikon HG's. I didn't think the EL's was noticeably better so I resold those.

Then I tried some Swaro NL's and did notice a significant improvement so when the funds were available I went for it and don't regret it one bit. Every person needs to make their own decision.
 

Alaskan89

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Oct 15, 2013
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If weight isn't an issue take a look at the Swarovski Habicht's, a hunting guide turned me onto them back in the mid 90's and I was stunned at their performance. I've been running those same bino's (10x42) to this day and have never had them fail me in the field. I send them in every couple years to have them cleaned and it only ever cost me shipping to them. Twice they have been sent to the factory in Austria because there was an issue with the lens', once it didn't cost me a dime and this last time it cost me $155 total, I was more than happy to pay it. I know a lot of people will poopoo at the idea of buying Habicht binoculars but they are well worth the money and warranty/CS.
 

displacedtexan

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You also need to ask yourself, are you the the type that will be satisfied at the 1k level and be done or are you eve person that will wonder what you are missing and buy later. If you are the second type just buy the top and be done.

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Valid point... But it's not always that simple.

There some stuff I have thought midrange was good enough and been wrong, wound up upgrading.

There's other stuff I've sold or traded the premium for midrange.
 

Marble

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May 29, 2019
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Swaro for me and everyone who has used them can't say enough good things about them.

Totally worth it for me. I have great vision and a good eye for game. What I always lacked was the best glass. I can see earlier and later then everyone else and I see stuff you can't see with the lower end stuff. I'll walk over to my buddies and put their spotter on what I'm looking at and sometimes I can't even see well enough through their spotter to even tell what I'm looking at.

If you are a serious hunter and one of the animals you hunt requires hours of glassing, alpha glass is worth it.

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ghostrider272

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Have several Swaro PH, Kahles C/CL/CSX and Zeiss Diavaris all bought used or demos (from Doug). Well worth the money. The only optic I have that isn't is a Pentax DCF-SP set of binos (bought new from Doug) that were my first binos and they just about keep up with my Swaros that recently picked up.
 

jimh406

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Assuming you have the money, buy “the top” and a few other from Amazon or somewhere else that let’s you do free returns and then try them at low light.

My wife’s Aunt thought her binoculars were great until we got to twilight at Yellowstone. Then, she could see the difference between her 200 binoculars and my Nikon Monarch 7s which were more like 400 and 4 times as good. Of course, that’s true for most people. When it gets near dark, the better glass dominates.

She and her husband looked through my second gen Vortex Razor HD spotting scope, but bought the Diamondback. When the came to visit I think it was obvious to them that their spotting scope wasn’t in the same league as the Razor HD. Fwiw, my Vortex Razor HD was $1600 on sale, so not cheap. The Diamonback is half that and not even close to the same.

The next time they were shopping, they went straight to the Tract Torics and skipped the in between. They had visited and tried out the Tract Torics Binos. They are really a fair deal at around 7-800 for very good glass.

I could buy Swaros or similar, but honestly, I can see in the dark with my Tract Torics, so I’ve convinced myself that they are good enough for binoculars.

However, if you want to buy once and never wonder if you bought the best, buy the Swaro top. I don’t think too many people complain about the Swaros, but it is a lot more money.
 
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Bluto

Bluto

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I’m about 85% sure I’m just gonna go with alpha glass at this point. My issue will be how the heck did you guys decide on which ones to even jump into? I *think* it’s between EL’s and Victory SF’s (provided I can find the latter - the camera land guys told me today they just filled a customer order from January…) but I feel uneasy about even that since it’s based off of reading. Decent chance my eyes would prefer the Leica but I have no idea. Buying $8,000 in binos to check out and sell two at a loss, even if minor, isn’t really in the cards. Not to mention, most folks will say that field use is the only way to tell, and I can’t even get to a place that has more than one of these to see in a parking lot In the daytime.

Thats what’s pushing me down to 85% sure. I’m not sure having alpha glass and wondering if the other two would Better suit me is any better than buying some GPO HD’s and wondering if Zeiss would be that much better. In other words, two grand is a lot to drop on hope and I’d be less than pleased if I picked up EL’s and got two days into an elk hunt and hated the field flattening aspect.

Sidebar conversation - with the NL release, the EL’s are the cheapest of the bunch. I find it kind of funny that they are the “budget” alpha glass all of a sudden.
 

MattB

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Sep 29, 2012
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I bought my first pair of Swarovski binoculars in the 1990's and have never had a reason to buy another manufacturer's glass. Great quality/resale and even better customer service on the few occasions I've needed to use it.
 

mxgsfmdpx

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Meopta Meostar lands in a place that I feel makes them the all around best. Quality, warranty, price point, performance. Number 1 in my book.
 
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Bluto

Bluto

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And of course add into the mix the SLC’s. Gotta buy used, I know, but that doesn’t bother me too much with Swaro
 

amassi

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Meopta Meostar lands in a place that I feel makes them the all around best. Quality, warranty, price point, performance. Number 1 in my book.
How do these compare to slc

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