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hunting binos

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hunting binos

Postby Sponxx on Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:15 am

I have posted here before and I am looking for a new set of hunting binoculars 8x or 10x. I kind of had it narrowed to something along the lines of the Steiner Merlins, Pentax DCF SP, Vortex Vipers, etc. I am planning on not spending more than 600$ or so. Basicaly something a step up from the Nikon Monarchs that would allow me more glassing time.
They are to be used in the west, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska.
I was looking around and haveing a feel for the Steiner (really comfortable for my hands), the 10x42mm a little heavier. The salesperson who claimed to have been in the army for 20years using Steiners, showed me a pair of Vortex Diamonbacks, and the new Razors. He did not care for any of the Leupold mojaves, Acadias, etc. The 10x42mm Razors were superb, had a nice feel to them and were much lighter than the Steiners in the same magnification. It was a price jump though. I know that the Razors are lighter, but the Steiner 8x42 felt really good too.

He said that the Diamonbacks were better than the Monarchs, and basically that is what I wanted to confirm. Since they are discontinued, how do the Vipers and Diamonbacks compare to the Monarch, Steiner Merlins or Pentax DCF SP (not the ED).

Thanks a lot!
Sponxx
 

Re: hunting binos

Postby Jne_K on Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:50 am

Hi

Not sure who that salesman was and he is certainly welcome to his opinion, but I would not rate the Diamondabck to be better than the Monarch and I am basing my opinion on side by side tests on an optical test target, not some general impression. In my tests, the Diamondback scored lower in resolution and contrast and had serious issues with rough focusing. For the $200 asking price, I still considered it a great value, but no way will I support a cliam that it is as good as a Monarch and it is a long, long way from being an SP, Razor or Merlin. I also think it is a bit ludicrous to dismiss all Leupolds as well, given that they various models are contracted from different sources and different manufacturers and each is quite different from the other. I know, becuase I have also tested the Cascades, Olympic, Pinnacles and Gold Ring many times. In your price range, I would strongly recommend you give the Pinnacles a look, then decide for yourself.

Thank-you for coming back to us to discuss, this, regardless of what you decide. By the way, I think it is quite important that you go with a model you like in your hands. For hunting out west, especially, you will need to become friends with that binocular. Good chance you will be using it for hours everyday. Absolutely nothing wrong with your choice of the Merlin if that's the one you like.
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Re: hunting binos

Postby Sponxx on Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:02 pm

Yup.. that statement of the Diamonbacks being better than the Monarchs surprised me... I however may have been unclear on how he rated the Diamonbacks vs the rest of the binos I described. He did say that the other choices were better, but that if my plan was to just upgrade Monarchs I should consider those. He wasn't totally dimissing the Leupold, but said that for the asking price (of each of the models) there were far better binos.
I will definitely take a peak at the Pinnacles and was I guess asking about how did the Vortex Vipers would compare to the Pinnacles, Merlins, Monarchs and Pentax DCF SPs.
I throw in the Monarchs because those are the ones I know best I guess.
Sponxx
 

Re: hunting binos

Postby Jne_K on Fri Mar 27, 2009 9:15 am

Hi

The Monarch 8x42 and the Olympic 8x42 are remarkably similar in every way. In fact, if you had them both in front of you it would be asy to confuse them for each other. Given that they are exactly the same in price, I not sure how your salesman rates Leupolds as overpriced.

The Viper is a good glass for the money and rates quite well with both the SP and the Pinnacles. It will more likely boil down to personal preference as to handling, brand and your budget than anything in terms of actual performance on these.
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Re: hunting binos

Postby Sponxx on Fri Mar 27, 2009 12:21 pm

Jane, thanks so much for your patience. I havent had the chance to go back yet to test the binos in adeuqate lighting. However doing some online research I came across the fact that the Stokes DLS seem better rated than the Vortex Vipers. What is your take on this?
The Steiner on paper seem to have a much narrower view than either the SPs, Pinnacles and the Vortex binos in the same magnifications.
On the vortex website page seemed to me that the Stokes DLS are on par with the Razors, minus the ergonomics.
Am I wrong? What is the quality level of the Stokes DLS?

Thanks again... the more I read the more confused I get.
Sponxx
 

Re: hunting binos

Postby Jne_K on Fri Mar 27, 2009 1:25 pm

Hi

The Stokes is a basically a special birding edition of a Vortex, sponsored by the Stokes, who are very active couple in the birding community. Very fine bino, but no more or less than others in its price range.

Do not read too much into FOV specs - to actually see a noticeable difference, we need to be talking at least 30 or 40 feet at 1000 yards. Anything less you will never miss or notice. Note also, that those really wide angle models with really impressive wide FOVs get there at the expense of edge sharpness. Personally, I'll take edge sharpness, anytime. I've used many a 10x with less than 300ft/1000 yards and never had an issue. Sharp beats wide and fuzzy every time. In fact, for working cover out west, too much of a field can work agaisnt you - tends to draw your eye away from the center of the field where you need to concentrate the most. Remember, you are trying to spot an ear, a tine on a rack, an eyeball, something, anything in the way of a clue - you rarely, if ever, get to see the whole animal as per those fancy magazine photos.
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Re: hunting binos

Postby Sponxx on Fri Mar 27, 2009 8:51 pm

Joanie, I think you just made my decision a little better... I will just have to wait and save a little longer prior to ordering the Pentax DCF SP 10x43, unless I come across an unusual deal on something else worth the money. I know that I wont go wrong with any bino in that price range, but again I want to make the best choice for me.

Thanks so much for your help.
Sponxx
 

Re: hunting binos

Postby ET on Mon Mar 30, 2009 7:17 am

Good plan.

I had Monarchs for several years, you could not then get the Pentax SP and the 300 dollar level was the best for under 1000. It served me well, though the eye cups never stayed out well.

By now the Monarch is dated. But you do have the Nikon warranty to go with it. I am a little disappointed in Nikon offerings these days. They really need to come up with an improved midprice model. The top end is for 2000 dollars, Nikon.

Nikon scopes are still a good deal.

ET
ET
 

Re: hunting binos

Postby Jne_K on Mon Mar 30, 2009 7:44 am

Hi ET

Have heard rumors about a midline Nikon to fill that very large gap, so we'll see. Let you know if I get something definite.
Thanks for posting with us
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