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Old Tuesday 17th January 2012, 16:21   #1
bmrisko
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8x42 ZR Vista or 8x36 Bushnell Ultra HD - Which fits my needs?

My wife and I are planning a trip to Yellowstone later this year and I would like to purchase a pair of binoculars for us to use for wildlife spotting and taking in the sights. We are avid hikers, so these would come on hikes with us. Unfortunately my budget is only around $125. I have purchased a set of Bushnell Legend Ultra HD on closeout for $115 (that I have 30 days to return), which looks to be a great price for this model. The other pair I am considering is the Zen-Ray Vista 8x42 that I can get for around $125.

From what I have read, people are saying you need an 8x42 minimum for wildlife watching at Yellowstone. Will the 8x36 be that much of a downgrade in brightness? The Bushnell appears to be the better binocular on paper (and I managed to get it for a few bucks cheaper), but would the 8x42 Vista better suit my needs? My main concern w/ the Vista is that it is slightly larger and heavier, which might be noticeable while hiking, but the trade-off may potentially be brighter viewing...?.

What would some of you guys do in my situation? Would the 8x36 suit us just fine? As I mentioned, this is my first pair of binoculars aside from some cheap throwaways my father used to have. FWIW, neither my wife nor I wear glasses. Aside from the Yellowstone trip, we would likely use these while hiking here in the South, as well as looking at deer and other wildlife in our neighborhood. Thanks in advance!
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Old Tuesday 17th January 2012, 17:02   #2
BrightIdea
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Originally Posted by bmrisko View Post
... I have purchased a set of Bushnell Legend Ultra HD on closeout for $115 (that I have 30 days to return), which looks to be a great price for this model. ...


...Will the 8x36 be that much of a downgrade in brightness? The Bushnell appears to be the better binocular on paper (and I managed to get it for a few bucks cheaper),

GREAT price for the ultra at 115

Nonsense that a generic 8x42 will be brighter than the bushnell ultra x36 during daytime. NIght? maybe, I dont know. Day? I am not buying that anyone would tell a difference.

You'll probably be fine with either.
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Old Tuesday 17th January 2012, 17:38   #3
Steve C
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Originally Posted by bmrisko View Post
My wife and I are planning a trip to Yellowstone later this year and I would like to purchase a pair of binoculars for us to use for wildlife spotting and taking in the sights. We are avid hikers, so these would come on hikes with us. Unfortunately my budget is only around $125. I have purchased a set of Bushnell Legend Ultra HD on closeout for $115 (that I have 30 days to return), which looks to be a great price for this model. The other pair I am considering is the Zen-Ray Vista 8x42 that I can get for around $125.

From what I have read, people are saying you need an 8x42 minimum for wildlife watching at Yellowstone. Will the 8x36 be that much of a downgrade in brightness? The Bushnell appears to be the better binocular on paper (and I managed to get it for a few bucks cheaper), but would the 8x42 Vista better suit my needs? My main concern w/ the Vista is that it is slightly larger and heavier, which might be noticeable while hiking, but the trade-off may potentially be brighter viewing...?.

What would some of you guys do in my situation? Would the 8x36 suit us just fine? As I mentioned, this is my first pair of binoculars aside from some cheap throwaways my father used to have. FWIW, neither my wife nor I wear glasses. Aside from the Yellowstone trip, we would likely use these while hiking here in the South, as well as looking at deer and other wildlife in our neighborhood. Thanks in advance!
You can just about get two Celestron Nature 8x30 porros with 430' fov for the $125 (or the same rebranded glass as the Barska Crossover which may be less than the Celestron). That is what I'd do in your shoes. You each will have a good binocular with a nice view, and a wide field that are small enough to go hiking. You can even get a Pink camo one for your wife (provided she likes pink I guess) to keep them seperate. The 30mm glass will be fine except for some darkest of twilight use. Daytime will be just fine.

But that is a good price for the Ultra. If you already have one and are wanting one instead of two, then thet $115 is a deal.The Vista is a good glass too, bt larger than the Bushnell. The 8x36 is, I think the best of the Legend Ultra HD line,
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Last edited by Steve C : Tuesday 17th January 2012 at 17:47.
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Old Tuesday 17th January 2012, 19:49   #4
bmrisko
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Thanks for the replies guys. I guess I should have prefaced my first post by saying that $125 was my budget for 1 pair and that my wife had already picked out one of the 8x36 Nikon Monarch "She" sets for herself. $119 on clearance seems like a good price for the Nikon Monarch and she loves the purple color (which is important, right?).

http://www.nikonsportoptics.com/Prod...-8x36-ATB.html

I will probably go ahead and order that for her and stick with the Bushnell Ultras I found for myself since it looks like we will be good on the 8x36 sizing.

Last edited by bmrisko : Tuesday 17th January 2012 at 20:04.
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Old Tuesday 17th January 2012, 21:39   #5
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For $115 the 8x36 Legend Ultra HD's are a superb buy and easily a better bino than the 8x36 Monarchs. Unless your pupils can open to 5mm or beyond in total darkness you will not notice ( or at least I can't) any difference in brightness between the 8x36 Ultra and the 8x42 model.

And yes, colors are important. I have the 6x30 pink camo Yosemites and wouldn't trade for any other color, as they are very cool looking in addition to being very easy to spot where you left them last.

You have made some great buys which should enhance your trip experience.

Tom
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Old Tuesday 17th January 2012, 21:45   #6
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FYI - I have a pair of Zen-Ray Vistas 8x42 right now, and my wife has 8x42 Monarchs. The Vistas are perfectly good glass for the money, but the Monarchs have better optics and from I've heard about the Bushnell's they should too (I haven't tried them but most think they are better than the Monarchs too). Additionally, the Vistas are quite a bit bulkier and heavier than either the Nikon or Bushnell 8x36's.

So, given that you appear to be a more "casual" wildlife viewer as opposed to a hardcore birder, and that size/weight is a factor since you are avid hikers, I think you will be very happy with the Monarch and Bushnell pairing. They are both compact and only 20oz... doesn't seem like a big difference with the 24oz Vista but, trust me, you will feel it and the Vista is also physically bulkier to hold.

You should compare the two and report back to the forum as to your thoughts on the two. The biggest difference is likely to be the much wider FOV of the Bushnell's; the Monarchs have very nice optics but their most obvious shortcoming is the narrower FOV.

I agree with everyone else that 8x36 will be fine and the difference between that and an 8x42 (especially an inferior one!) is negligible. The 8x42 Vista isn't a particularly bright binocular anyhow.
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2012, 13:50   #7
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Thanks again for the input and I will definitely post up a comparison of the Nikons and Bushnells after I receive them.
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