Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old Friday 3rd June 2011, 20:50   #1
Red Horn
Registered User
 
Red Horn's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: High Desert CA
Posts: 26
Question Want To Start Out W/Decent Binoculars

After moving from Mid West to the California desert I am missing a lot of nature. Want to jump into bird watching. There is a regional park near by and my college campus has a small lake that attracts a lot of wildlife. My thought is to get a good pair of binoculars for 120-$200 or so. Later if I have been investing enough time to warrant an upgrade will try a Nikon Monarch 8x42 or similar model. For now my uses will primarily be:

1) Every day casual use (almost always carry a bag they can be kept in)

2) Birding

3) Use around lakes and rivers to try and spot good fishing locations


Feature wise I desire:

A) Long eye relief (wear glasses)

B) Semi compact and <24oz

C) Durable

D) Weatherproof


Please give my some strong candidates. Any and all ideas warmly welcomed.

Thanks,

-Red

Last edited by Red Horn : Saturday 4th June 2011 at 16:10.
Red Horn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 3rd June 2011, 21:08   #2
looksharp65
Registered User
 
looksharp65's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Varberg, Sweden
Posts: 1,639
OK Red Horn,

this is my recommendation: A Vortex Fury 6,5x32.
It has a wide FOV, deep DOF, really great eye relief, large exit pupil, fast focus.

Some people don't think of a 6x or 7x as an allround bin, but if I had to pick only one of my bins, this would be the one. Oh, and I have bought a spare too.

At the current $170 it's a steal.

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....71#post1890071

And if you can't accept the lesser magnification, the 8x32 is well regarded too, if you find one.

//L
__________________
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visby_lenses - The Viking optics
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuBYpRkbzrs - The Viking War Cry
looksharp65 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 3rd June 2011, 21:33   #3
Red Horn
Registered User
 
Red Horn's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: High Desert CA
Posts: 26
Question

Can possibly accept lesser x. Although here out west I think viewing distances will be much greater than I was used to. Been doing a little research here are some others I have sighted listed in increasing price. Please let me know which ones need to be struck off the list:

1) Nikon Trailblazer (Sportster?) 8x42 $125

2) Pentax DCF NV 8x36 $140

3) Vortex Crossfire 8x42 $140

4) Vortex Fury 6.5x32 $170

5) Nikon Prostaff 7 8x42 $190

6) Nikon Monarch ATB 8x36 $200

Also still open to any other recommendations.

Last edited by Red Horn : Friday 3rd June 2011 at 21:49.
Red Horn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 3rd June 2011, 21:43   #4
looksharp65
Registered User
 
looksharp65's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Varberg, Sweden
Posts: 1,639
Three first go away. I absolutely love the Fury. Am not sure what the Prostaff is. The Monarch is decent, but if you want an 8x42 you should go for the ZenRay ZRS HD.
Even Vortex Diamondback is nice.

There are so many fine bins, but you would probably love the ZRS HD. There will be a 32 series according to the rep, who regularly writes here.
__________________
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visby_lenses - The Viking optics
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuBYpRkbzrs - The Viking War Cry

Last edited by looksharp65 : Friday 3rd June 2011 at 21:50.
looksharp65 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 3rd June 2011, 22:45   #5
RJM
Don't Worry, Be Happy!
 
RJM's Avatar

 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 2,455
Spend a little more now and never have to upgrade. A good binocular has lots of uses over a lifetime. I also recommend adding low-dispersion objective lenses (ED/XS/HD moniker) and ultrawide AFoV (60+) to your needs list. These are usefull features in bright light and open terrain at 10x.

Try the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x42mm or the 10x36mm for ~$250. They are relatively light/compact for their class too.
RJM is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 3rd June 2011, 23:12   #6
Red Horn
Registered User
 
Red Horn's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: High Desert CA
Posts: 26
Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by RJM View Post
Spend a little more now and never have to upgrade. A good binocular has lots of uses over a lifetime. I also recommend adding low-dispersion objective lenses (ED/XS/HD moniker) and ultrawide AFoV (60+) to your needs list. These are usefull features in bright light and open terrain at 10x.

Try the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x42mm or the 10x36mm for ~$250. They are relatively light/compact for their class too.
OK, more valuable info with the low-dispersion lenses and AFoV. Almost starting to get overwhelmed . The offerings/feature details have more layers than an onion. In a 10 power would probably go with 42mm for added light. Thought at the 250-$300 range the Monarch's were the hot value? Then again a 10x42 is getting up there in size and makes daily carry less feasible. Need to find the best balance for size v. performance.

Looked hard at the Vortex Diamondback 7x36, but at pricing 229MSRP/$190 street and the Fury 6.5x32 at 359/160 the DB makes little sense. Realistically a 8-10x is probably better for my use since everything seems so spread out in CA.
Red Horn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 00:00   #7
RJM
Don't Worry, Be Happy!
 
RJM's Avatar

 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 2,455
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Horn View Post
OK, more valuable info with the low-dispersion lenses and AFoV. Almost starting to get overwhelmed...
Ah, but once you move those features to the top of the list the number of contenders narrows considerably for a 10x binocular, with most being more expensive than the Bushnell's.

FYI since many binocular's specs neglect to mention AFoV, when you are comparing features for a 10x don't consider anything with a FoV much less than 315ft/1000yds or 420ft/1000yds for an 8x.
RJM is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 00:17   #8
ceasar
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: NE Pennsylvania
Posts: 8,330
These 8 x 42 Eagle Optics Denali's might fit your needs. They are under $200.00. They are about as light weight as an 8 x 42 gets, have a nice wide FOV and long eye relief. And they have listed 39 mostly rave reviews that you can read. The one from the College teacher in PA who got them for his students is most interesting.

http://www.eagleoptics.com/binocular...rism-binocular

I don't work for Eagle Optics but I have ordered a number of binoculars from them and I still have one of their old 6 x 32 Ranger Platinum binoculars that I got many years ago.

Bob

PS: There is also a 10 x 42 version. But in this price range 8x usually is a better option.

Last edited by ceasar : Saturday 4th June 2011 at 00:36. Reason: Add PS
ceasar is online now  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2010
Click here to Support BirdForum
Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 01:57   #9
nctexasbirder
young birder

 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Texas, USA
Posts: 462
You should not buy roof prisms at that low price spectrum. If you only have a few hundred to spend you should get some good quality porro prisms.
__________________
Birding....the most insane and irate hobby in the world!
nctexasbirder is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 02:30   #10
WiscTJK
Registered User

 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by looksharp65 View Post
OK Red Horn,

this is my recommendation: A Vortex Fury 6,5x32.
It has a wide FOV, deep DOF, really great eye relief, large exit pupil, fast focus.

Some people don't think of a 6x or 7x as an allround bin, but if I had to pick only one of my bins, this would be the one. Oh, and I have bought a spare too.

At the current $170 it's a steal.

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....71#post1890071

And if you can't accept the lesser magnification, the 8x32 is well regarded too, if you find one.

//L

I will second the vortex fury 6.5x32. and they are only $130 at cameralandny right now on close out. for $274 you can get the vortex viper 6x32 which is a really nice binocular see the link for more options. Both of these are nearly half price from there original selling price.

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=201468

Last edited by WiscTJK : Saturday 4th June 2011 at 02:32.
WiscTJK is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 03:31   #11
Red Horn
Registered User
 
Red Horn's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: High Desert CA
Posts: 26
Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by nctexasbirder View Post
You should not buy roof prisms at that low price spectrum. If you only have a few hundred to spend you should get some good quality porro prisms.
See this is how I start to get confused. Did some prism research and found; "The Porro prism design is usually optically superior to the roof prism design, especially in medium priced class binoculars." OK, I can see where an advantage lies in this design.

You neglected to mention any models that fit criteria.

I don't want to over think this, but as a student on a tight budget really need to make a wise selection.

Thanks for all the input so far. The 6.5 Fury's will be the choice unless another overlooked option presents its self that is more viable.
Red Horn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 05:35   #12
Steve C
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Klamath Basin, Oregon
Posts: 2,694
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Horn View Post
I don't want to over think this, but as a student on a tight budget really need to make a wise selection.
The best $200 binocular I have ever owned is the Zen Ray ZRS HD. Get this and forget the Monarch. Next is the Fury mentioned. I have the 6.5x32 and it is a nice glass. For my tastes the Bushnell Legend Ultra is third place.
__________________
Steve

"Do what you can, where you are, with what you have" Teddy Roosevelt.
Steve C is offline  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2009
Click here to Support BirdForum
Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 05:52   #13
CSG
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Idaho
Posts: 437
Another vote for the Vortex Fury 6.5x32's. I just received a pair last week from Eagle Optics for $160 shipped (I'd buy from them based on their excellent customer service and return policy). I live in Idaho and feel these are fine power-wise for general use. You're getting them for about half of what they originally sold for and they are excellent bins. You won't find yourself wanting with these.
__________________
Minolta 6x20, Vortex Fury 6.5x32, Jason 7x50, Nikon SE 8x32, Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32, Zeiss Terra ED 8x42, Zeiss Victory HT 8x42, Zeiss Victory 10x25, Canon 10x30 IS, Garrett 25x100 IF, Televue Pronto
CSG is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 06:26   #14
ceasar
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: NE Pennsylvania
Posts: 8,330
The Vortex 6.5 x 32 Fury has been around for a bit and it did not sell for some reason. I had one shortly after it came out and it was OK for a short time until I had to return it because the diopter mechanism went haywire. Essentially it is a small 7x which isn't a bad idea but it was not nearly as good as my Leica 7 x 42 Trinovid so I never replaced it. It was optically better than a Vortex 7 x 36 Diamondback that I got later but not as well built. I still have the Diamondback. It cost under $200.00 new and is worth that price and is built like a tank. In any case Vortex has one of the best warranties in the business.

The Vortex 7 x 36 Diamondback has a twin 9 x 36 (tank like too) that is also a very good binocular for the money. It has a nice wide field of view. About 365' at 1000 yards. I used it as my car binocular for a year and liked it very much. I gave it to my son who is not much interested in binoculars but wanted a reliable one to use. He wears glasses and the eye relief is long enough for him.

http://www.eagleoptics.com/binocular...9x36-binocular

If I needed a binocular for use in California's high desert I think I would prefer an 8x or 9x over a 7x.

Bob

Last edited by ceasar : Saturday 4th June 2011 at 14:52. Reason: correction
ceasar is online now  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2010
Click here to Support BirdForum
Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 06:36   #15
lilcrazy2
Registered User
 
lilcrazy2's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Delaware
Posts: 973
Since your primary use will be desert viewing as well as across a small lake, I find the 6.5 Fury extremely limiting for this type of viewing, and would opt for an 8x as an all around first choice. While the 6.5 is a nice bino, I would want more magnification for the type of viewing you are proposing.

The 8x42 Zen ray ZRS HD is a fine bino at about $205, but my preference would be the 8x36 Bushnell Legend Ultra HD for about $220. Optically it it a much superior bino to the the 6.5 Fury, and it is more compact. I even prefer it to the 8x42 Zen.

If you wanted to get a nice porro prism bino, I would look at the 8x42 Bushnell Legend and the 8x42 Orion Ultraview as both can be had for around $120. They will be a little larger and heavier than the aforementioned roofs, but provide outstanding views.

Tom
lilcrazy2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 16:29   #16
Red Horn
Registered User
 
Red Horn's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: High Desert CA
Posts: 26
Question

Tom,

You make a strong case for the Legend Ultra HD. They seem to have a lot of the high end features, benefits, and a nice included accesorie package. What do you think about the 8x42 that should add better low light viewing to the mix? I know that certain products have a star within their different product level lines. Is that the case with the LU HD 8x36 over 8x42? Also their 15mm eye-relief seems a little short compared to most others. Do they work well for eye glass wearers?

Also for the porro's did you mean the 8x42 Bushnell Legacy WP? I could not find a porro Legend. Have noticed the porro 8x42's are generally only 4oz or so heavier. May go this route to save some initial invest.

Last edited by Red Horn : Saturday 4th June 2011 at 17:04.
Red Horn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 19:18   #17
looksharp65
Registered User
 
looksharp65's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Varberg, Sweden
Posts: 1,639
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Horn View Post
I could not find a porro Legend.
http://www.bushnell.com/products/bin...prisms/190842/
__________________
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visby_lenses - The Viking optics
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuBYpRkbzrs - The Viking War Cry
looksharp65 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 20:03   #18
lilcrazy2
Registered User
 
lilcrazy2's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Delaware
Posts: 973
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Horn View Post
Tom,

You make a strong case for the Legend Ultra HD. They seem to have a lot of the high end features, benefits, and a nice included accesorie package. What do you think about the 8x42 that should add better low light viewing to the mix? I know that certain products have a star within their different product level lines. Is that the case with the LU HD 8x36 over 8x42? Also their 15mm eye-relief seems a little short compared to most others. Do they work well for eye glass wearers?

Also for the porro's did you mean the 8x42 Bushnell Legacy WP? I could not find a porro Legend. Have noticed the porro 8x42's are generally only 4oz or so heavier. May go this route to save some initial invest.
I meant the 8x42 Bushnell Legend porro model 190842 - not the Legacy which is a little cheaper but not quite as good. An internet search will show them from sellers such as Amazon, Adorama, Opticsale, Opticsplanet.

For the money, I fell like the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD roof series gives by far the most bang for your buck, as you generally have to spend a couple of hundred more for even the smallest improvements. Their lifetime warranty is also a plus.

Although I almost never wear glasses when using binos, I test them all with my progressives, bi-focals and computer glasses, and I had no problems on ER with the 8x36. That said, I have owned the 8x42 as well and have stated, as have others, that the 8x42 is probably better suited for those that wear glasses, due to its longer ER. The 8x42 generally gives NON eyeglass wearers a slight problem due to the fact that the eyecups do not seem to screw out far enough to give the stated ER, thus requiring them to be held slightly away from the eyes to avoid problems.

Tom
lilcrazy2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 22:07   #19
FrankD
Registered User
 
FrankD's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 7,427
Lots of good suggestions so far. Out of the group previously listed I think my vote would have to go with the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD. I was impressed optically by its apparent sharpness, brightness and CA control in the sweet spot of the field of view. Handling is very nice and it would certainly suit all of your needs.

Having said that I am going to go out on a limb with a binocular I have been tinkering with over the last couple weeks....Pro Optic 8x42. It is an Adorama house brand binocular which sells for $150.

Roof prism
Phase Coated
Fully Multicoated
ED glass
435 foot field of view
Open bridge design
Very smooth focus

I posted a thread about it under the "Others" forum. You can access it here....

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....18#post2159218

Optically it is just a hair less impressive than the Zen Ray ED 2....and that is saying alot. It meets all of your physical criteria...fairly compact (for a full-size bin) and less than 24 oz. Very ergonomic for my hands......

...and only $150.

Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

FrankD is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 5th June 2011, 00:33   #20
Red Horn
Registered User
 
Red Horn's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: High Desert CA
Posts: 26
Question

Frank,

Do they work well for us eye glass wearers?
Red Horn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 5th June 2011, 00:46   #21
FrankD
Registered User
 
FrankD's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 7,427
Yes. Very generous eye relief.

I don't wear glasses but because of the shape of my face I am required to have the eyecups on any binocular fully collapsed in order to see the full field of view. I have no problem seeing the full field stop through these binoculars. My guess would be 18-19 mm of eye relief.
FrankD is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 5th June 2011, 01:06   #22
lilcrazy2
Registered User
 
lilcrazy2's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Delaware
Posts: 973
If you decide to go with the Pro Optic 8x42, as has been pointed out in another post, they only have a 1 year warranty. Adorama sells an extended 3 year Mack warranty for an additional $14.95.

I stopped buying extended warranties on computers, parts and electronics a while back, as it always seemed they didn't cover what was expected and I wound up getting shafted.

Frank

You kinda downgraded these on edge performance and noticeable field curvature in the outer 1/3 of the FOV. The one area I did not see any mention of is how they handle glare and stray light,which is one of my pet peeves in a bino. Were you able to do any testing in these areas?

Tom
lilcrazy2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 5th June 2011, 05:28   #23
Steve C
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Klamath Basin, Oregon
Posts: 2,694
My reason for not placing the Legend Ultra HD higher on my list is the absolutely HORRIBLE Bushnell customer service and warranty/repair. Mine is a long story and I will not bore anybody with the details, but after my dealings with that outfit, I won't own another Bushnell. That outfit is the world leader in bubble wrap crap as far as I am concerned.

The Legend is a fair deal optically. I owned one for a while (part of my disdain for the company comes from that). It was an 8x42. The armor was slick and felt like holding a grapefruit seed. The edge performance on that and the several pairs I have encountered since was pretty poor. That is not a big deal for me, but edge sharpness is bothersome for a lot of folks evidently. I do agree with Tom in that the 8x36 is a better binocular by a long ways than the 8x42. It is one I could own if it were from somebody other than Bushnell.
__________________
Steve

"Do what you can, where you are, with what you have" Teddy Roosevelt.

Last edited by Steve C : Sunday 5th June 2011 at 05:46.
Steve C is offline  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2009
Click here to Support BirdForum
Old Sunday 5th June 2011, 05:29   #24
FrankD
Registered User
 
FrankD's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 7,427
Tom,

Good point. I will give them a go tomorrow morning and let you know. I have not noticed the dreaded "half crescent" in any situations at this point. Come to think of it I don't remember experiencing any of these types of issues with this bin. Will take some pics of the baffling in addition to actually trying to induce it in several situations.
FrankD is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 5th June 2011, 06:37   #25
lilcrazy2
Registered User
 
lilcrazy2's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Delaware
Posts: 973
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve C View Post
My reason for not placing the Legend Ultra HD higher on my list is the absolutely HORRIBLE Bushnell customer service and warranty/repair. Mine is a long story and I will not bore anybody with the details, but after my dealings with that outfit, I won't own another Bushnell. That outfit is the world leader in bubble wrap crap as far as I am concerned.

The Legend is a fair deal optically. I owned one for a while (part of my disdain for the company comes from that). It was an 8x42. The armor was slick and felt like holding a grapefruit seed. The edge performance on that and the several pairs I have encountered since was pretty poor. That is not a big deal for me, but edge sharpness is bothersome for a lot of folks evidently. I do agree with Tom in that the 8x36 is a better binocular by a long ways than the 8x42. It is one I could own if it were from somebody other than Bushnell.
Steve

I have no idea what your issue with Bushnell's customer service was, but in the several times I have had occasion to use them, I have had outstanding service and satisfaction. They even replaced a defective pair of 8x32 Excursions I bought off ebay for $8 last September to test their lifetime warranty, with not one, but 2 new pairs of newer Excursion EX binos. They have sent me replacement eyecups for my older Customs for free. I love Bushnells customer service!!!!

Having had both the older Legends as well as a total of 6 pairs of Legend Ultra HD's, I have no complaints with the armor, either the camo or the black. I prefer it to some of the other brands that have a more tacky surface that acts like a dust and dirt magnet where you have almost have to take a lint roller to clean them up.

I have posted before that I prefer the 8x36 over the 8x42 because I felt the sweetspot was larger, better control of glare and the edges are a little better, with no noticeable difference in brightness to my 62 year old eyes. They are also smaller and lighter. Had it not been for the ER issue of having to hold them slightly away from my eyes, I probably would have kept one of the 2 pairs of 8x42's I had. But after getting the 8x42 Alpen Wings ED, I would have gotten rid of the 8x42 Ultras anyway, so it all works out in mysterious and unexpected ways.

Now, if only Bushnell would make one of these 8x36 HD's in black, I'd buy another one.

Tom

Last edited by lilcrazy2 : Sunday 5th June 2011 at 06:51.
lilcrazy2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Decent Binoculars for an affordable price, a weighty issue mcepjg Opticron 16 Monday 1st June 2009 13:47
At last, some decent photographs ! JGobeil The Birdforum Digiscoping Forum 11 Wednesday 21st November 2007 23:13
Re: Binoculars.. to start out with egret3 Tips For New Birders 17 Monday 13th June 2005 13:19
A decent lunchbreak CJW Your Birding Day 18 Thursday 6th May 2004 17:52
So that's why you need decent bin's! Denis J Birds & Birding 13 Monday 1st December 2003 13:06

{googleads}

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.28596497 seconds with 34 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 01:30.