best compact binocular
It seems that you have used most compact roof binoculars out there. In your opinion, if price does not count, which of the following 8X20 compacts would you consider the best choice for a right handed person, w/o glasses, with small hands: Nikon LXL, Zeiss Victory, Swarovski, or Leica Ultravid? Also, how does the Zeiss stack up in optical quality and compactness, when folded, relative to the others? Thanks.
I know this is going to sound crazy, but I actually own each and every one of those. Call me a premium compact binocular nut, I guess.
Let me say right up front that all are outstanding in terms of optics, including the Zeiss Victory, or I wouldn't own it. What separates these are really the little things. There are some quirks about all of them and plenty of strong, points, obviously.
For sheer contrast, color and resolution, my Leica Utravid has the edge, but keep in mind that it is also much fussier about eye placement and the interpupillary distance than the others. You gotta have those eyeballs spot on and the IP adjusted just right or you will feel some discomfort. My Nikon Premier LX, on the other hand is about as forgiving as it gets. I can throw it up to my eyes and be a little sloppy. It's a bit bulkier than the others, but it is a great workhorse of a binocular with super optics. The Zeiss is hands down the most comfortable for me to operate and hold. That arched single bridge just melts in my hand. It is a joy to hold and a relief not to have to fuss with double bridge headaches. My Swarovski Pocket just exudes quality. It has a feel and heft that brings a huge smile to my face. Optics are terrific, but under certain lighting conditions I do get some glare that I do not get with the others. For some reason, though, this one may be closest to my heart.
To be honest, I wouldn't sell any of them. Love 'em all.
Feel free to ask anything you want on these.
Thanks for the response. I'm leaning toward the Zeiss because of the design. Do the Zeiss give up much to the others in size when folded?
I recently purchased the 7X26 Bushnell Elite. I like them very much but they are a little large for most of my pockets. Also, should I expect the view to be superior or on par with the Bushnell 7X26?
To elaborate on my post above, I would like to purchase a compact binocular that I can’t improve on much optically; how it handles is relatively important. I want it as compact as possible, so I don’t have any excuse for not taking it with me everywhere. I want the binocular to be waterproof. The lower the magnification, the better.
I currently have more binoculars than I need but not as many as I want. I have filled all my imagined niches except for the compact roof binocular that goes with me everywhere.I have never felt an overwhelming need for alpha brand binoculars; I’m more of a best bang-for-the-buck type. However, I get the feeling I should not skimp on compact roofs.
My current accumulation of binoculars include: 1) Minox HG 10X50 and Minox 15X58 ED for star gazing and long distance wildlife viewing, 2) Brunton Epoch 7.5X43 and Minox HG 8X33 for general use and 3) Vortex Viper 6X32 for the woods. The Bushnell Elite 7X26 is my current compact, but I’d like to go smaller. My dollar investment in this group roughly equates to the current retail price of a single alpha brand full sized roof binocular; all of the above were demos, closeouts, or purchased at great sale prices.
I know this all sounds goofy. I probably won’t be able to justify any additional binocular purchases due to my expected reduction in future income, so I’d like to make this last purchase count. I’d like to feel I could not have made a much better choice. Do you think the Zeiss Victory 8X20 would meet my desires? Or would you recommend I look in a different direction?
Thanks for your advice.
The Zeiss fold up close in size to double hinge designs. Not enough difference to be a factor.
Yes, I can definitely recommend the Zeiss for your needs. Optics are going to be right there with the Elite (and that says a lot for the Elite, by the way), but in a nicer, more compact, easier handling design. They are also lighter in the hand as well. My guess is that your Elite will not see much action after you get the Zeiss.
I just wanted to thank you for your advice regarding the Zeiss Victory 8X20. The binoculars arrived today and I compared them to my Bushnell 7X26 Elite. Just as you said, the view quality is equivalent and quite good. The single hinge design fits my hand well and feels very solid; the binoculars, even in the case, fit all my shirt and jacket pockets. They are exactly what I was looking for. You saved me the time needed to locate various sets of binoculars to look through and prevented me from making an unsatisfactory purchase. I appreciate the guidance.
I just wanted to agree with you on the Nikon Premier's, I take my 10x25's with me on all my travels. Nice and compact plus outstanding optics. They'll fit into a day pack and leave plenty of room for other necessitites. Here's a pic of my pair from their latest journey....
They worked flawlessly watching boats,fishermen and sailfish break water. Can't ask for much more.
http://i1216.photobucket.com/albums/dd3 ... mier-1.jpg
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Yeah, probably the best value there is in a premium compact binocular. I use mine almost daily.