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

OP
cytherian

cytherian

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2022
Messages
28
FWIW, to add... and this is my layman's opinion here...
Looking at a group of 10 binos in a given price bracket, it's unfair to go sequentially through the whole list and size up characteristics like this. Because of human subjectivity, the previous bino characteristics are going to influence the next bino examined.
My take would be to cover each bino with the same material, all branding covered over with black tape, and even the focus wheel covered with some thin tape. Each bino gets a number. You go sequentially through the list and make your observations. THEN... the moderator of the shoot-out changes the numbers and keeps track of the assignments. Then the binos are repositioned into a new 1 to 10 order. Repeat the testing.

This way there's no inherent bias by the brand / model known. AND, you mitigate a bit of influence from sequential order of review. I think this way you'd really get a better sense of characteristics.

Lastly, once the second test completes, then add up the responses and identify the "top 3." Now, each person looks at all three, back and forth. Make note of the characteristics and prefered ranking. Moderator collects the data and then ranks them according to consensus. Now, reveal all! After something like this, I think you'd get a really good "nearly objective" assessment of bino performance.
 

MikeJ1970

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2022
Messages
24
From what I was gathering it was the edge-to-edge clarity and chromatic aberration that had Backwoods Pursuit lowering their opinion of the Kowa BD-II XD's. Their overall opinion, "Below average image resolution." They did say that in the center sweet spot things looked good, though.
If this was just 1 person, I'd take it with a grain of salt. But this was a large team of people looking at all of these binoculars in a direct 26 model shoot-out. So that carries more weight. Still... is there any way to directly measure edge-to-edge clarity? And what happens to the subjectivity when someone comes from a more expensive model with better characteristics, then the Kowa BD-II XD's viewed? That kind of thing can skew a perception, versus going the other way (from a lesser performer first).
Yeah, I guess they never said if they started at the top and worked their way down or vice versa. It would make more sense to grade them by the way they grouped them at different times ( ie.. do all of the $500 and below one day, the $700-$1000 another day, etc, etc)Trying to grade 26 binoculars with three or 4 different price points seems like would be a real challenge to keep things straight.
 

MikeJ1970

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2022
Messages
24
FWIW, to add... and this is my layman's opinion here...
Looking at a group of 10 binos in a given price bracket, it's unfair to go sequentially through the whole list and size up characteristics like this. Because of human subjectivity, the previous bino characteristics are going to influence the next bino examined.
My take would be to cover each bino with the same material, all branding covered over with black tape, and even the focus wheel covered with some thin tape. Each bino gets a number. You go sequentially through the list and make your observations. THEN... the moderator of the shoot-out changes the numbers and keeps track of the assignments. Then the binos are repositioned into a new 1 to 10 order. Repeat the testing.

This way there's no inherent bias by the brand / model known. AND, you mitigate a bit of influence from sequential order of review. I think this way you'd really get a better sense of characteristics.

Lastly, once the second test completes, then add up the responses and identify the "top 3." Now, each person looks at all three, back and forth. Make note of the characteristics and prefered ranking. Moderator collects the data and then ranks them according to consensus. Now, reveal all! After something like this, I think you'd get a really good "nearly objective" assessment of bino performance.
Yeah, that would definitely cut down on the bias.

So have you made a decision yet, or are you waiting to see what deals come out on Black Friday?
 
OP
cytherian

cytherian

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2022
Messages
28
Yeah, that would definitely cut down on the bias.
So have you made a decision yet, or are you waiting to see what deals come out on Black Friday?
I've gone back & forth a few times and I've chased down a few models I hadn't mentioned on the odd chance of finding a "sleeper." But frankly, I keep coming back to the Leupold BX-4 and the Monarch M7 as the top 2 contenders. The cheapest I've seen the BX-4's were $450 ($499 sale plus coupon code promotion, usually like 10%). The M7's seemed to be pretty much around $499 with some discounts here and there, but Nikon's store on Amazon has had them a good bit lower. There's an "up/down" trend on the price, with the lowest being $360. So my plan is that once it hits back down to that, I'll buy even if before Black Friday, as I don't think the M7 ever gets discounted lower than that. The good thing about buying from Amazon is that you can try them out and then return if not satisfied, often with free shipping on the return. NONE of the other retailers provide that. The trick is always making note of the seller for a listing. Some don't offer free returns. But if they do, usually "free returns" is noted there.

Btw, here's the trend I was talking about for the M7 pricing:
Nikon-M7-pricing-chart.png
As you can see in the peaks/troughs over the past 2 weeks, price has been jumping back/forth between $384 and $360. Free shipping but you have to pay tax (may be state dependent though).
 

Blue72

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Nov 2, 2018
Messages
500
Location
Long Island, ny
Optics are like guns and cars…..everyone has their favorites

its best just to buy them all…your eyes tell you immediately which one you want and just return the others
 
OP
cytherian

cytherian

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2022
Messages
28
Probably not going to get the Nikon Monarch M7. Looking at a few other possibilities, like the Hawke Frontier ED-X.
 

MikeJ1970

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2022
Messages
24
I ended up going with the Meopta Meopro HD. Meopta had 30% off on Black Friday so that brought it down to $385 to my door. Pretty tough to pass that deal up. I thought they might be closing them out and discontinuing that model because they came out with the HD plus, but I haven’t found any statements from Meopta that support that.

I don’t get to play with them until Christmas Day, but I liked the Optikas when I compared them to the Leupold BX-4 at Sportsman’s Warehouse, so I can’t imagine I won’t like them. I won’t know for sure until I actually use them on a hunt, but I can pretty much guarantee they are better than what I have now.
 

NDGuy

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Feb 13, 2017
Messages
3,407
Location
ND
Hey @cytherian I listed some Sig Zulu 9s in the classifieds if interested. Much better option than the initial glass you were looking at. I'd go $675 on them.

 

Drenalin

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
1,636
I really like my BX-4 10x42s, but didn't realize the price had gone up so much on them. I got mine for a shade under $400 a couple of years ago and at that price couldn't be happier. Really like the open hinge design and the overall weight, and the glass is pretty good. I can't say I'd spend close to $600 on them, but I can't necessarily say that I wouldn't either.
 

MtnW

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jul 15, 2020
Messages
136
Buy a lightly used pair of Leica Trinovid 10x42 BN’s for around $650 and thank me later.
MtnW
 

tony

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Nov 13, 2015
Messages
284
Location
WV
Like you OP, I wanted a good do it all pair of binos, I wanted 10x42s. I know nothing about optics other than I wanted a good pair for the money I wanted to spend.
Called Cameraland and talked to Joel one day, then Doug a few days later.
The guys recommended Kowa BD 2's and that's what I got.
Well build, clear glass according to my novice eyes.
I picked up a last few years ago Mystery Ranch bino pouch/harness from Black Orvis for I think $50.00-60.00.
 
OP
cytherian

cytherian

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2022
Messages
28
I ended up going with the Meopta Meopro HD. Meopta had 30% off on Black Friday so that brought it down to $385 to my door. Pretty tough to pass that deal up. I thought they might be closing them out and discontinuing that model because they came out with the HD plus, but I haven’t found any statements from Meopta that support that.

I don’t get to play with them until Christmas Day, but I liked the Optikas when I compared them to the Leupold BX-4 at Sportsman’s Warehouse, so I can’t imagine I won’t like them. I won’t know for sure until I actually use them on a hunt, but I can pretty much guarantee they are better than what I have now.
Very nice, Mike! I had looked at the Meopro HD but they were out of my price range unless at a good discount. You're lucky to have nabbed that 30% off! Where did you find that deal?
 
OP
cytherian

cytherian

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2022
Messages
28
OK, you guys are probably going to roll your eyes on me for this, but I cheated... and dove down to a lower price point. For now, anyway.

Some of you may have seen the Svbony brand review by Neil English. He has tested and reviewed many binoculars. He was really blown away by the SV202. And he wrote a great review on it, here. I have to admit, I was very cautious and made sure to read reviews by others who picked up a pair. Looked good, so I waited until the BF/CM deals. I got it for $117 shipped. They just arrived tonight. And really, all things considered, they're quite amazing. I do day/night viewing about 50/50. I spent a good hour looking around various things to see at night both close and far with these and they're excellent. My night time playground:
MZVrv51.jpg


Build quality is up there. Easily matching binos I've felt in the $300~400 range. Lens and prism quality seems excellent so far. At least my night time tests have passed. Next, for the day time tests.

Btw, in closer range there are dark areas, like unlit stretches of river coast. I could make out details nicely with the SV202, even better than my other binos either in brightness, clarity, or both. So given what I paid, I'm very happy with these so far.

I am still needing to satisfy my curiosity with a good example in the $400+ range at some point. If and when I get the chance to go to optics shops, I'll be bringing the SV202 along for comparison.
 
OP
cytherian

cytherian

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2022
Messages
28
I really like my BX-4 10x42s, but didn't realize the price had gone up so much on them. I got mine for a shade under $400 a couple of years ago and at that price couldn't be happier. Really like the open hinge design and the overall weight, and the glass is pretty good. I can't say I'd spend close to $600 on them, but I can't necessarily say that I wouldn't either.
$400 is a very good price. The going price these days is $599. Pre-holiday and pre-BF/CM, there was a deal for them at $499. I was pondering it and almost pulled the trigger when... like a sweeping wind, every single site I'd been looking at with that price dropped the deal. I'd never seen anything like that. Perhaps it expose how some brands manage discounts at retailers, that they have coordinated campaigns and dictate when and how long a discount lasts. Probably based on marketing research. Anyway, not wanting to go up to $599, I dropped the BX-4 for now. If I could make my way to a good local shop, I'll still check them out in hand.
 
OP
cytherian

cytherian

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2022
Messages
28
Like you OP, I wanted a good do it all pair of binos, I wanted 10x42s. I know nothing about optics other than I wanted a good pair for the money I wanted to spend.
Called Cameraland and talked to Joel one day, then Doug a few days later.
The guys recommended Kowa BD 2's and that's what I got.
Well build, clear glass according to my novice eyes.
I picked up a last few years ago Mystery Ranch bino pouch/harness from Black Orvis for I think $50.00-60.00.
There are many great reviews on the BD-II series by Kowa. Very respectable. The Backwoods Pursuit negative kind of concerned me, "Below average image resolution," but I think it was concerning edge-to-edge clarity in some scenarios. But the BP test was very confined to a specific usage and lighting scenario... The BD-II XD is apparently very good in low light conditions, even better than their overall winner the Athlon Cronus G2 UHD.
 

centershot

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2022
Messages
48
Not sure if you found a bino yet or not, but Cabelas has Vortex Viper HD 10x42's for $299 currently. They are very, very good. I have compared them to SLC's and Leica Trinovids and they more than hold their own. For $300 I don't think you can do better.
 
Top