Would like some opinions on 10x42 binoculars I'm considering, $500 (soft) limit

cytherian

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For reference, I have 2 Nikon Travelites (9x25, 12x25) and one Simmons (7x42) that have served me well for many years. The 12x25 are great for hand-held distance in daytime, "meh" at night (though they're fantastic for the moon, and I could spot the 4 Galilean moons around Jupiter this summer), and the 7x42 are great for casual panning. I know Simmons is a lower tier brand, but these 90's era binos are amazingly crisp. Still, I am looking to get something with a larger field of view. At first I thought 12x50, but I think that may be a bit much and it knocks up the price more. So I'm figuring 10x42 will be good enough to fit the gap.

I spent about a week scrolling around the Internet reading reviews, watching videos, combing through forums... found about 10 different models of interest, then weaned them down to a few. I've concluded that about a $500 target (possibly lower down to $400 with sales) is a great price point for someone who doesn't want to unload a fortune (Swarovski, Leica, Zeiss are gorgeous, but can't see myself spending thousands).

So in this range I've looked at Leupold BX-4, Nikon Monarch M7, Steiner Safari Ultrasharp, Kowa BD-II XD, Maven C.1, Athlon Midas G2, Athlon Cronus G2, SIG Sauer Zulu 5/7, Alpen Optics Teton HD, GPO Passion HD, Vanguard Endeavor ED-IV and Zeiss Terra ED.

The Leupold BX-4 struck a chord with me. I like the design and specs. Reviews have been great. I saw it on sale, for $499.95 across 6 different websites over this past weekend, but dawdled just a bit too long. *BANG* By Monday morning, the sale was gone, erased from all of the online vendors. I guess some of these brands have coordinated sales campaigns across multiple vendors on the same timing? Anyway... I don't know if that was just a teaser sale and that it'll be on sale again over the coming holidays, or if I'd have to wait until April. Frustrating.

At the moment, I'm mulling over these models: Athlon Cronus G2 [$480], SIG Sauer Zulu 7 [$550], Nikon Monarch M7 [$400], Alpen Optics Teton [$450], Zeiss Terra ED [$350], and Vanguard Endeavor ED-IV [$360].

Athlon Cronus G2 UHD - Got a seriously impressive review and is ranked highly, but not yet sure if it's "too good to be true," or if it's a sleeper waiting to be resoundly better than the rest. I really like the physical design of the Alpen Tetons, but the company got bought out by Explore Scientific which has the Bresser USA brand--it's not reviewed much and reselling would be difficult, because closeouts a couple years ago went as cheaply as $260. I was shying away from Nikon after hearing some testimonies of quality cheapening a bit, but the latest model has lots of really nice features, like locking diopter and FOV at 362 ft (so many are showing 340 ft and less). One other consideration is the Zeiss Terra ED in orange dropping to $350 just recently ($500 usual price), and despite being the entry-level model of Zeiss (made in China), it has held up well. I did come across Cabela's Vanguard Endeavor ED-IV that can be found discounted to about $355... and spec-wise it may be preferable to the Terra. But then the Monarch M7 is showing up in some sales as low as $400, which has gotten great reviews.

OK, after all that... thoughts? :unsure::sneaky: Thanks!
 

SteveCNJ

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The only brand of those I've had are the Nikons, had the M5's and they were very good for the price. I'm sure the M7's are bettter. I bit the bullet a few years ago and got Swaros.
 

Thinkingman

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I have Nikon LX Premier and love them, so I looked at the Monarch 5/7 and was pretty impressed.
After much research and a demo outdoors at a 3D shoot, I ended up buying Sig Zulu7.
Very clear, sharp and bright, good color rendition.
Sig has excellent warranty coverage.
 

Bearwhisky

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I really like my Bx4 Leupolds. Granted, I havent spent much time behind expensive glass. You can find them on sale for $425 fairly regularly. I think I bought mine from Cabelas for that price and ive seen them on europtic and amazon for about the same.

Dont forget, blck friday deals will be here soon.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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cytherian

cytherian

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I have Nikon LX Premier and love them, so I looked at the Monarch 5/7 and was pretty impressed.
After much research and a demo outdoors at a 3D shoot, I ended up buying Sig Zulu7.
Very clear, sharp and bright, good color rendition.
Sig has excellent warranty coverage.
Thanks for sharing that. What are some qualities about the Sig Zulu 7 that put it above the M7? And do you feel this Backwoods Pursuit review is accurate with respect to the likes/dislikes noted? They had noted the eye cups are a bit loose (dioptic not locking isn't a deal breaker, but you'd expect it at this price point). They also said edge-to-edge clarity wasn't great, "the outer 30% of the image loses significant clarity" was said about the Tract Toric, and they put it ahead of the Zulu 7.
 
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cytherian

cytherian

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I really like my Bx4 Leupolds. Granted, I havent spent much time behind expensive glass. You can find them on sale for $425 fairly regularly. I think I bought mine from Cabelas for that price and ive seen them on europtic and amazon for about the same.

Dont forget, black friday deals will be here soon.
Thanks for sharing that -- yeah, I have to admit I'd thought about going to a store to try out some of the higher end binoculars, but then I almost don't want to know how good it can get (because I just don't have the budget for it)! It sounds like the BX-4's are very good on image quality, color rendition, and handle low light well. Having the best build quality in class isn't a high priority for me, because I don't plan to rough it much with my binos. "A nice crisp image, very little chromatic aberration, pretty good edge-to-edge clarity with very little eye strain, and are tripod mountable." Plus they raved about low light performance, something I like to do a lot (viewing near dusk/dawn times, and at night).

I'm trying to hold out for Black Friday deals... but then wonder if I see something good now, will it be better for Black Friday / Cyber Monday, or not at all? I've sometimes seen specific models of things have a better sale outside Black Friday / Cyber Monday.
 

Thinkingman

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Thanks for sharing that. What are some qualities about the Sig Zulu 7 that put it above the M7? And do you feel this Backwoods Pursuit review is accurate with respect to the likes/dislikes noted? They had noted the eye cups are a bit loose (dioptic not locking isn't a deal breaker, but you'd expect it at this price point). They also said edge-to-edge clarity wasn't great, "the outer 30% of the image loses significant clarity" was said about the Tract Toric, and they put it ahead of the Zulu 7.
Send me a link of the review you mentioned.

I put emphasis on field of view, clarity, color rendition and ergonomics/feel.
To be fair, my Nikon Premier LX 8x32 ruined me for life re field of view.
My son's Vortex Viper HDs are like looking through a paper towel tube.
Honestly there are a handful of companies I wouldn't consider just because they are not well enough established in the near-alpha optics market to make me want to spend real $.
Not a referendum on their optical quality, just me saying if they're still around in 5 years with a good reputation, maybe I'll consider it.
 

TreeWalking

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Ah, the age old question of how to become a better hunter. As someone once said, "Is it the shoes? It must be the shoes."

Better glass will probably not put more pounds of meat in your freezer. Better glass will likely allow you to spend less miles afoot only to find out the critter is not what you hoped but were not able to tell from your glassing location. Binos will tell you the two mule deer bucks are each wide and tall. The spotter will tell you there are two kickers on the buck to the left.

My brother told me the following: You will spend hours behind a spotter on true Western adventures compared to the minutes you spend behind binos and the seconds you spend behind your scope.

I used that advice as I spent my limited money when had ankle-biters at home though overtime upgraded the spotter and binos then upgraded the scope finally to reach out a bit further with confidence rather than my Kentucky windage approach.

I like Leica binos as can adjust one side so can ditch my glasses when using binos. I prefer to use my spotter but will through up my binos to check something if am in motion. The spotter is where I spend my time on hunts that have wide open vistas.

I value my boots more than any other part of my hunting clothing. I value my spotter over the rest of my glass except my rangefinder which is more about my inadequacies of judging things beyond bow distance. I value my sleeping pad over the rest of what is in my tent. If my feet are sore or I am not getting sleep then the hunt is screwed by Day 3.
 

Nosferatu

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Pick the lightest ones. The glass is going to be nearly indistinguishable from each other at that price range. They are all likely made in the same place.
 

SIR_34:16

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I have a pair of 8x42 bx-4 and 8x42 Tract Torics. They are both made in Japan and seem very close optically to my eyes. Whenever someone borrows either of them, the first thing they say is "Wow!". To me, the choice between these two comes down to ergonomics. If you are mainly going to hand hold them, go with the bx-4 (open bridge). If you want to put them on a tripod often, go with the Torics (stud located closer to the center of mass).
 

JStol5

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Used higher end glass is a good bet. Wish I went that route with my first binos. Look at Outdoorsmans
 

Jimss

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If it were me and you want a 1 time investment I'd save up a few more $ and buy a nearly brand new pair of Leica bino-rangefinder combo demo from Cameraland when they have them. You won't need to buy or carry both. Also won't have to have to buy another pair in your lifetime!
 

zacattack

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I have the Kowa in 8x, very impressed with them at the price point.

I will suggest or strongly urge to call Doug at cameraland before buying anything.
 
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cytherian

cytherian

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Send me a link of the review you mentioned.

I put emphasis on field of view, clarity, color rendition and ergonomics/feel.
To be fair, my Nikon Premier LX 8x32 ruined me for life re field of view.
My son's Vortex Viper HDs are like looking through a paper towel tube.
Honestly there are a handful of companies I wouldn't consider just because they are not well enough established in the near-alpha optics market to make me want to spend real $.
Not a referendum on their optical quality, just me saying if they're still around in 5 years with a good reputation, maybe I'll consider it.
Sure thing. It's from Backwood Pursuit.
Yes, for overall "viewing the scene" and not needing to zero in on one specific object, the 8x magnification can result in such a nice wide FOV.
 
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cytherian

cytherian

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Wait for used Meostars to pop up around $650. They will be WAY better than anything you listed.
Do you mean the Meopta Meostar B1 Plus? They look amazing, but the list price is upwards of $1,200~$1,400. Are there certain older models that are fetching about $650 on the used market? How do these compare to the Nikon Monarch HG?
 
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