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Hiking binoculars

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Hiking binoculars

Postby EricB on Thu Apr 12, 2007 5:52 pm

I think I have narrowed down my Binocular choices, but have some questions...

I am looking at the following [url=http://www.opticsplanet.com/brunton-binoculars.html]binoculars:
Brunton[/url] Echo 8x22
Simmons Wilderness Waterproof 8x25
Simmons Wilderness Waterproof 8x32
NRA Sports Optics 8x28 Compact
Leupold Wind River 8 x 30mm Yosemite
Leupold Wind River 8 x 30mm Yosemite

The Leupold models are sold by WalMart, but I am unable to find any information on them, even on the Leupold site, so any information you could give me on them would be greatly appreciated.

My use will include scanning mountains, forest, ridgelines for animals in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

Questions:
1. Do the Simmons models have "twist-up eye-cups"?
2. Not factoring price, or weight, just performance, how would you rank these binoculars against each other?
3. Are all of these suited for a person wearing glasses?


Thanks,

Eric
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Postby opticsplanet.com on Fri Apr 13, 2007 7:14 am

Hi

First, any binocular with less than about 15mm of eye relief is not suitable for eyeglass wearers. For more discussion on these basics, see my article at How to Understand Binoculars, http://www.opticsplanet.com/how-to-buy-binoculars.html This eliminates the Brunton Echo (12mm) and makes both models of the Simmons Wilderness (14mm) marginal.

This leaves you with the Brunton NRA 8x28 (17.9mm) and the Leupold Yosemite 8x30. We haven't yet added the 8x30 Yosemite to our website, but eye relief is, again, a marginal 14mm. It is also a completely different binocular as far as handling in that it is a porro prism.

If you are willing to consider a porro compact, and you should, you might also look at the Nikon Prostaff 8x25, http://www.opticsplanet.com/nikon-8x25- ... ulars.html or the Pentax UCF WP 8x25, http://www.opticsplanet.com/pentax-ucf- ... -8x25.html Both have the needed eye relief and both offer better optics than the Simmons or the Brunton Echo.
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Postby Guest on Sat Apr 14, 2007 3:35 pm

Joanie,
Thanks for the quick reply.

I went to many stores today and sampled quite a few binoculars, but other than the NRA Bruntons, none of the stores here carry the models from my list or those that you suggested.
I did try the NRA Bruntons, and a pair of Nikon Travelite 8x25, and found, to me at least, that the Nikons were definitely better than the Bruntons.

I also tried the Nikon BuckMaster 8x and found that they felt heavy and unbalanced, and would definitely not be high on my list of binoculars to purchase.

The only "good" binoculars I have ever used are those a buddy of mine has, which are Luepold Pinnacles in 8x and I was very comfortable with them, liked them a great deal, and would purchase them except that they are over my budget.

I went read your article, and what I read made sense, and helped me out.

A couple of further questions...

1. If I were not wearing eyeglasses (wearing contacts instead):
a. Would you still rank these the same way?
b. Are there other binoculars that you would suggest?

2. Since the Luepold binoculars are roof prism, would that not make them better than the porro prism Nikon or Pentax models you suggested? I am assuming since they are Luepold, that they have the high quality features Luepold is known for.
3. How do the Luepold Yosemite 6x30mm binoculars compare to the ones on my list (other than the fact that they are 6x rather than 8x)?

Thanks,

Eric
Guest
 

Postby Wuchak on Mon Apr 16, 2007 7:25 am

I recently purchased the 8 x 30 Yosemites for my wife and myself as birding binos. I couldn't be happier with them and would highly recommend you try a pair of them before settling on something else. They are one of the best binocular deals going. Eagle Optics had the best price I could find, $109 shipped, and they have a 30 day trial with free return shipping in case you don't like them. Even here in Kansas City where we have Cabela's and Bass Pro that carry Leupold neither has the Yosemite. The 6 x 30 is identical to the 8 but has longer eye relief and wider FOV.

There is some discussion about the Yosemites over at the bird forums. www.birdforum.net. Here is a review that I posted over there:

In my very amateur opinion Leupold has hit the mark with the 8x30 Yosemites. After spending ~25 hours in the field and as many at the kitchen table with them over the past two weeks I am addicted to these binoculars and cannot wait to get out and use them again. I have yet to experience even a hint of eyestrain and I continually find myself forgetting that I am looking through binoculars; the view is that easy on my eyes. If you were thinking of getting a pair I’d say place your order and I predict you will be very pleased with them. ($109 shipped w/30 day trial and free return shipping at Eagle Optics)

In the box:
- nice padded vinyl case with Leupold name printed on it and a permanently attached shoulder strap
- objective lens covers
- joined eyepiece covers that attach to the strap
- cotton cleaning cloth
- very nice 1” neoprene strap with Leupold printed on it
- binoculars, natural color for me and red for the wife. The natural color is a very pale green/tan that looks sharp with the green rings and the Leupold name and model printed in gold. The red is really terracotta and is also a very nice looking binocular. My wife really likes hers.

Specs
- Power x Obj. Dia.: 8x30
- Field of View: 7.5 degrees or 393 ft. at 1000 yds
- Exit Pupil: 3.75 mm
- Eye Relief: 14 mm
- Dimensions: 4.5 in.
- Close Focus: 16.4 ft.
- Weight: 18.5 oz.
- Weatherproofing: Waterproof
- Prism Material: BaK-4
- Coatings: Fully Multi-coated
- Armoring: Rubber
- Eye Cups: Twist-up
- Design Type: Porro Prism
- IPD: 50-70mm
- Available in black, red, natural, and dark earth (NWTF Edition)

The first thing that struck me was the small size of the Leupolds. They are not much larger than my 8x25 Nikon Mountaineer II’s. They are wider overall than the Nikons but the Leupolds are thinner to hold. There aren’t many places the Nikons can go the Leupolds couldn’t. Both my 5’4” wife and I (6’) find them comfortable. They are just heavy enough to be stable but light and compact enough to go just about anywhere and carry comfortably all day. The first look through them blew me away (bear in mind that my eyes are not used to high end optics). The image was very bright with a sharp center focus that faded only slightly in sharpness at the outer 10-15% of the edges (where even through the window glass I can still clearly see the yellow and black of a Grackle eye at feeder setup 60’ away), colors look natural, and it’s a nice wide FOV with an excellent depth of field. This initial impression has been reinforced with every use. In fact the more I use them the more I see. My wife and I have used them at the local nature center, the zoo, the arboretum, and Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge. They have continually exceeded my expectations and I think they will keep us happy for quite a long time. When my wife tried them for the first time she remarked that she couldn’t believe there was such a difference between the Yosemites and her Steiner Safari 10x26’s. She’s wondering what to do with the Steiners now.

I went to Cabela’s to compare them to the Bushnell Legend 8x32’s (same as the Brownings I liked). Cabela’s carries Leupold but did not have the Yosemites in stock yet. Fortunately I had mine with me. I liked the Yosemite’s much better than the Bushnells and all of the <$300 pairs I tried. The person at the binocular counter which is stocked with Leica, Swarovski, Meopta, Bushnell, and Zeiss was incredibly impressed with and excited by the Yosemites. He had all of his co-workers at the binocular station and every other Cabela’s employee he could flag down (about 8 in all) come try them and they were all impressed. No one could believe the price. One of the optics counter employees was going to order a pair of the Yosemites for himself when he got home. On a side note he had me try a pair of Cabela’s 10x42 Euro binoculars ($799 – currently on sale for $749) they have made for them by Meopta. He said they were his favorite of all the 10x42’s they carry and after trying them I can see why. American Rifleman just field tested them for several months and compared them favorably to optics costing twice as much.

If there is a formal test of some kind someone would like me to do with the Yosemites please PM me and let me know.

The only suggestion I can make for improving the Yosemites is the addition of a tripod adapter receptacle for extended/long-distance viewing.

If anyone has the Yosemites and the Swift Audubon porros that could post a comparison I would appreciate it as the Swifts are the ones I have been lusting after but unable to try.

Close focus update
I just pulled out the measuring tape and with the Yosemites I can clearly focus on the lettering on the toaster oven with one eye at 8'9" and with both eyes at 9'4".
Wuchak
 

Postby opticsplanet.com on Mon Apr 16, 2007 7:50 am

Hi

Just a note to add. Roof prism does not automatically translate to better than a porro when it comes to optics, as many believe. The Yosemite is a good case in point, as Wuchak has demonstrated (tanks for the info, by the way). A porro, such as the Yosemite is more light efficient than a roof and, in this price range, you will get more optics for your dollar with a porro. If you can't afford the excellent Swift Audubon porro, the Yosemite will make a good option. At this price, the only significant advantage of a roof is its handling and that is still a somehwat subjective factor.

For the record, I use a Nikon Premier SE for all my serious birding - a superb porro.
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Postby EricB on Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:29 am

Wuchak,
Thanks for the info. The review was very helpful. I am heading over to my local Wal-Mart (I just have to remember which Wal-Mart it was that I saw them in...) to try them out. If I remember correctly, they were $108+tax, so if they are in stock, and as good as you say they are (and I have no reason to believe otherwise), I'll probably have a pair this afternoon.

Thanks again for the review.

Joanie, thanks for all of your help.

Later,

Eric
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Postby opticsplanet.com on Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:32 am

You are very welcome.
----------------------
Your personal optics expert
Joanie (Jne) K
http://www.OpticsPlanet.com
Phone: (888) 263-0356
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Postby Wuchak on Mon Apr 16, 2007 12:26 pm

You're welcome Eric. If you get a chance to try/buy them please let us know what you think of them.
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Postby EricB on Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:48 am

Wuchak,

I thought I remembered seeing the Yosemite binos in my local WalMart, but I was wrong. So I ordered them off of Eagle Optics. While searching the web for them, I found the following dealers that have them (at least according to their web sites):

Luepold Wind River Yosemite 8x30 binoculars
banned
http://www.banned/c-1207-leupold-wind ... ulars.aspx
99.95 shipping included
Edited: They do not have them in stock at this time.

ScopesNMore
http://www.scopesnmore.com/binos4less/l ... culars.htm
109.99 + shipping

Eagle Optics
http://www.eagleoptics.com/index.asp?pa ... 19&purch=1
109.99 shipping included

Anacortes Telescope & Wild Bird
http://www.buytelescopes.com/search.asp ... Image1.y=0 - 105.00

Cals Sporting Armory
http://www.calssportingarmory.com//Sear ... h=yosemite
90.71 + Shipping
CAUTION: Based on posts on the HKPro forums, Cals Sporting Armory has many issues so you may not want to chance them

I also found a "Leupold Binocular Tripod Adaptor" at SWFA (part number LEU48826) at http://www.banned/p-2903-leupold-bino ... aptor.aspx that might work for you.

As soon as I get mine and get a chance to try them out, I'll post a review.

Later,

Eric
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Postby Wuchak on Wed Apr 18, 2007 4:00 pm

Thanks Eric,

Unfortunately that adaptor won't work with the Yosemites. They don't have the plug that unscrews at the end of the hinge.

Wuchak
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