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Absolute top 10x (under $3000)

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Old Sunday 4th March 2018, 23:14   #1
black crow
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Absolute top 10x (under $3000)

I have a friend who has no money issues at all ever. She loves to go birding now in later life. I have helped her find several good binoculars but have come to the realization that she can do better than what I'm finding because I have cost restraints and I look for something I can afford.

We've been talking about 10x for her for a couple of months now. I want her to have the best and it shouldn't be much trouble to convince her to pay close to top end because frankly why not, she should have the best as she can easily afford it and her birding brings her, her greatest joy.

She wears eyeglasses so that is a top consideration. She is slight of build and older so weight and size might be a small factor. She's actually in pretty good shape so I think the optical view is paramount along with a nice wide FOV.

Anyway what's the best of the best at about 3 grand give or take? I'm guessing a Swarovski and I'm sure she'd love some well known alpha name just to fit in well and give her some cred on her birding trips with strangers. She's a little bit shy and these things count. She'd rather fit in than stand out.

The perk for me is I'll get to look through whatever she gets. She lives only a couple of blocks from me on the creek. Plus I get to do much of the research based on your recommendations and links and dream.
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Old Sunday 4th March 2018, 23:34   #2
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I have a friend who has no money issues at all ever. She loves to go birding now in later life. I have helped her find several good binoculars but have come to the realization that she can do better than what I'm finding because I have cost restraints and I look for something I can afford.

We've been talking about 10x for her for a couple of months now. I want her to have the best and it shouldn't be much trouble to convince her to pay close to top end because frankly why not, she should have the best as she can easily afford it and her birding brings her, her greatest joy.

She wears eyeglasses so that is a top consideration. She is slight of build and older so weight and size might be a small factor. She's actually in pretty good shape so I think the optical view is paramount along with a nice wide FOV.

Anyway what's the best of the best at about 3 grand give or take? I'm guessing a Swarovski and I'm sure she'd love some well known alpha name just to fit in well and give her some cred on her birding trips with strangers. She's a little bit shy and these things count. She'd rather fit in than stand out.

The perk for me is I'll get to look through whatever she gets. She lives only a couple of blocks from me on the creek. Plus I get to do much of the research based on your recommendations and links and dream.
8X32 Swarovision
It's light and bright, has superb eye relief for eyeglasses and a wide field of view. It's a fantastic optic.

Personally, I use a 10X50 but rarely recommend 10X to others.
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Old Sunday 4th March 2018, 23:38   #3
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She has plenty of 8x binos and a couple of them are good. She has a very decent Kowa 8x32 that ran over a grand. She now has her heart set on a 10x and 10x it will be.

Thanks though. Maybe once she has the perfect 10x she'll want to upgrade her 8x.
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Old Sunday 4th March 2018, 23:44   #4
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I have a friend who has no money issues at all ever. She loves to go birding now in later life. I have helped her find several good binoculars but have come to the realization that she can do better than what I'm finding because I have cost restraints and I look for something I can afford.

We've been talking about 10x for her for a couple of months now. I want her to have the best and it shouldn't be much trouble to convince her to pay close to top end because frankly why not, she should have the best as she can easily afford it and her birding brings her, her greatest joy.

She wears eyeglasses so that is a top consideration. She is slight of build and older so weight and size might be a small factor. She's actually in pretty good shape so I think the optical view is paramount along with a nice wide FOV.

Anyway what's the best of the best at about 3 grand give or take? I'm guessing a Swarovski and I'm sure she'd love some well known alpha name just to fit in well and give her some cred on her birding trips with strangers. She's a little bit shy and these things count. She'd rather fit in than stand out.

The perk for me is I'll get to look through whatever she gets. She lives only a couple of blocks from me on the creek. Plus I get to do much of the research based on your recommendations and links and dream.
With enough money you can buy an ultra-expensive binocular. However, she may be more interested in VALUE; ladies usually are. You can buy 95-97% of a $3,000 bino for well under $1,000. Does the ability to spend money reveal status or ... naiveté? You can't put a price tag on observational pleasure. Besides, the birds don't care.

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Old Monday 5th March 2018, 00:20   #5
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Anyway what's the best of the best at about 3 grand give or take?
There is no "best". Everyone's eyes see things differently. Everyone evaluates things differently. What you will get here is a list of people's favorites. The good news is -- there aren't any bad choices in your stated price range.

Since she is of a slight build, I would recommend a 10x32, which IMO are a joy to use because of their excellent handling. Of course these would not be a good choice if she will be using them when the sun is below the horizon, or on really deeply-cloudy days. I can tell you that the Leica UV HD is out, as it has a really short ER. Personally, I would highly recommend the Swarovski EL SV, as it has enough ER for most glasses-wearers. And of course the view cannot be beat by any other 10x32, IMO of course. Even though I have a Canon 10x42 L and a Swaro 10x50 EL, I use my 10x32 EL SV more than any of them.

If she needs a 42mm, then definitely try the Nikon MHG. It weighs just a few ounces more than a good 32mm glass. However, it's ER is too short for me to use with sunglasses, although my eyeglass-wearing wife can use them. You can get these for around $900. Of course there is always the 10x42 EL SV/FP, Zeiss SF, and the Leica Noctivid too, but these will weigh more. I think they have more ER than the MHG, but I am not sure.
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Old Monday 5th March 2018, 00:38   #6
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Hello Black Crow,

The 10x32 Zeiss FL deserves inspection but she should try before she buys. It is neither big nor heavy with wide FOV and it has good eye relief.

The 10x32 Zeiss Conquest HD might be another suggestion, at a lower price but I have no experience with it. It has a little more eye relief, a larger FOV but it is a little heavier. Again try before you buy. I am basing these comments on published specifications.

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Old Monday 5th March 2018, 00:53   #7
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Thanks. She may have to buy a couple of pair and return one or two because it's hard to see top line binos around here.

I like the specs on these. Swarovski EL 10x32 Swarovision Binoculars. Light, wide FOV at 362ft. and 20mm eye relief and weight at about 21oz. Nice Reviews at the sites I usually look at.

I see that PhilR above gives these the nod also.

The 10x32 Zeiss FL looks right in the ballpark with the Swarovski and a little bit lighter. That's another to consider.


And yes there is no "best" for everyone PhilR. I agree. I guess I should have said Alpha.
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Old Monday 5th March 2018, 01:30   #8
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Thanks. She may have to buy a couple of pair and return one or two because it's hard to see top line binos around here.

I like the specs on these. Swarovski EL 10x32 Swarovision Binoculars. Light, wide FOV at 362ft. and 20mm eye relief and weight at about 21oz. Nice Reviews at the sites I usually look at.

I see that PhilR above gives these the nod also.

The 10x32 Zeiss FL looks right in the ballpark with the Swarovski and a little bit lighter. That's another to consider.


And yes there is no "best" for everyone PhilR. I agree. I guess I should have said Alpha.
The 10X32 SV will do it!
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Old Monday 5th March 2018, 01:31   #9
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In your all opinion how do the Nikon EDG - 10x32 compare to the Swarovski and Zeiss above?
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Old Monday 5th March 2018, 01:59   #10
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In your all opinion how do the Nikon EDG - 10x32 compare to the Swarovski and Zeiss above?
I would rank them Swarovision 1st, EDG 2nd and Zeiss FL third. I would recommend the 10x32 Swarovision for an older lady.

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Old Monday 5th March 2018, 07:04   #11
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The 10x32 SV is a good suggestion, but she should definitely try the Leica Noctivid 10x42. The image is fantastic, and eye relief for eyeglass wearers among the best, better than the SV.

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Old Monday 5th March 2018, 07:23   #12
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Consider also the Canon 10x42L IS stabilized binoculars if she has trouble hand-holding at 10x. There are also the new Swarovski 10x30 B CL Companion that are very light, but have excellent reviews.

She should try them, or any other binoculars, in a store.
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Old Monday 5th March 2018, 07:47   #13
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We've been talking about 10x for her for a couple of months now. I want her to have the best and it shouldn't be much trouble to convince her to pay close to top end because frankly why not, she should have the best as she can easily afford it and her birding brings her, her greatest joy.

She wears eyeglasses so that is a top consideration. She is slight of build and older so weight and size might be a small factor. She's actually in pretty good shape so I think the optical view is paramount along with a nice wide FOV.
It sounds like a Zeiss SF 10x42 would fit perfectly. Good eye relief (18mm), very wide FOV for a 10x bin, acceptable weight (800 grams) and the best ergonomics you could find which will be crucial for a stable view. View feels almost* like using an 8x IMO.

Another alternative would be the 10x42 Ultravid HD Plus. It's both smaller (shorter) and lighter (750g), good ergonomics and might fit smaller hands better. Eye relief might be an issue but could work (effective eye relief with glasses is probably as good as competiton even if specs are a bit lower at 16mm).

A 10x32 I would not recommend due to the smallish exit pupil which tend to give more eye strain and an unstable view. Though the 10x32 Swarovski SV is probably the best alternative in that format considering eye relief and viewing comfort. Effective eye relief with glasses is a bit shorter than stated in specs though.

The 10x42 Leica Noctivid have been mentioned, it is a very good binocular with excellent eye relief (19mm) and glare resistance, the view is lovely, but some might be disturbed by peripheral CA that are a bit higher than in Zeiss and Swaro. Downsides are weight (895 gram) and somewhat quirky ergonomics.

As always, binoculars are very much about personal preferences. You really need to try them to see if you like them.

*A 10x might be a bit too much magnification for some people. An unstable view will never be comfortable or help much in identification of birds.

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Old Monday 5th March 2018, 08:33   #14
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I endorse Vespo's advice.

The point of balance of the SF means it handles better than other 10x I have tried but it is longer than most, while the Leica is more compact.

Give them both a try.

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Old Monday 5th March 2018, 10:27   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by black crow View Post
I have a friend who has no money issues at all ever. She loves to go birding now in later life. I have helped her find several good binoculars but have come to the realization that she can do better than what I'm finding because I have cost restraints and I look for something I can afford.

We've been talking about 10x for her for a couple of months now. I want her to have the best and it shouldn't be much trouble to convince her to pay close to top end because frankly why not, she should have the best as she can easily afford it and her birding brings her, her greatest joy.

She wears eyeglasses so that is a top consideration. She is slight of build and older so weight and size might be a small factor. She's actually in pretty good shape so I think the optical view is paramount along with a nice wide FOV.

Anyway what's the best of the best at about 3 grand give or take? I'm guessing a Swarovski and I'm sure she'd love some well known alpha name just to fit in well and give her some cred on her birding trips with strangers. She's a little bit shy and these things count. She'd rather fit in than stand out.

The perk for me is I'll get to look through whatever she gets. She lives only a couple of blocks from me on the creek. Plus I get to do much of the research based on your recommendations and links and dream.
Hey BC, This question is something I've looked quite closely at. I wear glasses too, so all of the following recommendations are suitable for me, and likely your friend also.

1. The best 10x I have seen is the Swarovski 10X50SV, an immersive 3D-like view that seems much wider than its 351ft Fov - it remains my favourite view, though at a fraction under a kilo it's probably too heavy for extended use even with harness for all but the most hairy chested. The ergonomics of grip though are really nice. I have to back the eyecups out a smidge which is very easy and secure to do. Absolutely get your friend to try it though she may prefer something lighter.

For this reason I'd also rule out other binoculars which perform admirably optically - Canon 10x42 IS, Zeiss 10x42 HT, and Leica NoctiVid 10x42. These are, or nearly are as heavy as the big Swaro, have worse ergonomics (perhaps NV excepted), and lesser fields of view (~340ft). A smidge below this is the Swarovski 10x42 SV though I don't find it does much for me ergonomically or optically in comparison to the others (we're talking realtively here and really splitting hairs). If she is going with something that heavy, she may as well get the big mumma 5mm EP, crystalline WOW view 10x50 SV.

2. Next cab down the weight scale is the Zeiss 10x42 SF. A wide 360ft Fov, lightish enough to consider, and OK ergonomics (if a bit contrived), with an ever so (barely noticeable) slight warm side view. I found it more difficult than the others (for me) to set up the eyecups for a satisfactory view. One to try though for sure.

3. Coming in at a very nice light weight, brilliant ergonomics, an equal best 360ft Fov and 99% of the optics of the above mentioned is the Nikon Monarch HG 10x42 for a bit less than a grand. Much smaller in size than any of the above. Definitely one to try - and probably the choice will come down between it and something else.

4. My last recommendation is somewhat of a surprise (well at least it was to me! :) . The Swarovski 10x32 SV ...what a gem of a little binocular. Smallest and lightest of the lot by a comfortable margin, with an equal top 360ft Fov. It performs more like a 10x42 for ease of view. Despite its scant 3.2mm EP it loses virtually nothing in brightness to any of the above even in overcast conditions (something I often run in to with my much younger eyes) .... there's some pretty special voodoo going on in there. Actually most Swarovski's (I just don't see ot to any great degree in other brands - caveat - haven't scrutinized the 10x NV yet) have this kind of punching above your weight 'eyeroamaboutability' because of the purpose designed 'randpupille' (a generous alignment margin of error capability). The best models in this regard are the 8x32 SV, 10x50 SV, 10x32 SV, and the others not so much. (see more of an explanation here: http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=293766&page=2). Great ergonomics suitable for smaller hands, and has the bonus of coming in a lovely tan colour too.

I recommend that your friend try those 4 bins (even if ruling some out upfront as too big/heavy) just to establish an optical baseline. One of those 4 bins should just jump out at your friend as far as ergonomic feel and optical satisfaction goes.



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Old Monday 5th March 2018, 11:42   #16
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I would rank them Swarovision 1st, EDG 2nd and Zeiss FL third. If she want's the best 10x I would recommend the 10x32, 10x42 or 10x50 Swarovision. The bigger apertures will be better optically is she can handle the weight.
I suspect you are correct here without having ever looked in them myself.

What exactly do you mean by bigger apertures are better optically? I didn't realize this.

What do you think of this guy? (for me maybe)


https://www.allbinos.com/314-binocul..._HG_10x42.html
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Old Monday 5th March 2018, 11:51   #17
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Vespobuteo Thanks for all those recommendations. I'll check them all out.

As to 10x being too much you are likely correct however she's convinced she wants some. She's very well off and I mean very well off so she might as well have a pair along with the 8x she has, So maybe at her age a 42mm is the best idea after all. Maybe 42 would be better for my 65 year old eyes too but I hike for hours up and down mountain trails each day so I've always preferred a smaller lighter binocular.

You folk are pushing me to recommend the 42mm size in for her and I had never considered that they might be a great deal easier to look though in her case. Thanks.
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Old Monday 5th March 2018, 11:55   #18
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She has a mental block about image stabilized binos as do I actually. I don't think she'd even consider them because she'd stand out with a pair of them. In the past when I've mentioned them I've gotten no real interest. I'll bet they are the way to go though. Someday they'll streamline them to look like a regular pair of binoculars and they will take over the industry.
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Old Monday 5th March 2018, 11:58   #19
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Chosun thanks. I'll look at them all. I think if I could have anything here just based on reviews it would be the Swarovski SV.
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Old Monday 5th March 2018, 12:00   #20
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OK folk any opinions on these in comparison to what has been recommended thus far. They are not very expensive. Even in my price range.


Nikon Monarch HG 10x42
ED Glass - Field Flattener Technology
Item: 16028 Condition: NEW Stock Key: 7
Winner of the "Best of the Best" Award for 2017 from Field & Stream Magazine!

Nikon Specifications Quick Review
binocular magnification: 10X
binocular weight: 24.0 ounces
field of view: 362 feet @ 1000 yards
authorized dealer warranty: yes - Nikon Limited Lifetime No Fault
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Old Monday 5th March 2018, 12:07   #21
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My wife is quite petite. She's also in great shape (runs a half marathon 1-2x a year). And as it turns out, over many years use, she has little interest in a 28-29oz full-size 42mm. Her favorite? 8x32 SV. We both prefer that to the 8x32 FL. She has little interest in my 8.5 SV and I doubt she'd be interested in a longish SF either. Individual choice, as always.

I haven't seen the 10x32 SV, but it's probably worth a look. The SV voodoo is real as far as a forgiving eye placement. We both like it, however it works. And she cares diddly about optics, as long as she likes it.

By most accounts the lightweight 10x42 Nikon MHG might also be worth a look. It's compact and only a few ounces heavier than a mid-size. And you can't argue with exit pupil: the bigger the better.

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Old Monday 5th March 2018, 12:07   #22
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With enough money you can buy an ultra-expensive binocular. However, she may be more interested in VALUE; ladies usually are. You can buy 95-97% of a $3,000 bino for well under $1,000. Does the ability to spend money reveal status or ... naiveté? You can't put a price tag on observational pleasure. Besides, the birds don't care.
She is not interested at all in Value in this case. I agree that something every bit as good as she needs could be had for a grand at most. I've already stated she's optically somewhat naive (but for that matter so am I compared to most of you all). Status is important in this case for the reasons I stated.
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Old Monday 5th March 2018, 12:27   #23
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If the lady really wants to go all out, I would press upon her the desirability, nay, the necessity of purchasing the Pfleusengasser 10.5x 38. They are expensive. They start at around $4,500 and go up from there depending upon the extras she desires at the requisite client "meeting." You see, they are not sold to just anyone. You must have a face-to-face conference with Herr Doktor Pfleusengasser in order to be personally selected to be seen with the product of his labors. It used to take only about 20 minutes (tops), but with his advanced years, it takes a little longer now, but no one deemed worthy leaves unsatisfied. What the hell, if she's got the bucks and has more yesterdays than tomorrows, tell her to go for it.

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Old Monday 5th March 2018, 12:48   #24
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..... What do you think of this guy? (for me maybe)
https://www.allbinos.com/314-binocul..._HG_10x42.html
BC, I was thinking of this on your other thread about the 10x32's. You said you've got your Big Eyes which must be lots of fun off the deck etc, but I think you could sell up a lot of your other bins and replace them with just one. Either:-
* Swarovski 10x32 SV
* Nikon Monarch HG 10x42

Both have ~360ft Fov sharp or near sharp to the edge, and are light and small enough to be immediately useful at the top of a long climb when hiking. The 32 feels a bit smaller in the hand, so it would be a personal choice on which suited you better, but I find both have delightful ergonomics for small compact bins.

The MHG is just a little behind optically (maybe ~1% or so - it's not much), though only costs half or less of the SV.

I hope you can get to try both of these


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Old Monday 5th March 2018, 13:01   #25
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She has a mental block about image stabilized binos as do I actually. I don't think she'd even consider them because she'd stand out with a pair of them. In the past when I've mentioned them I've gotten no real interest. I'll bet they are the way to go though. Someday they'll streamline them to look like a regular pair of binoculars and they will take over the industry.
I was going to mention the Canon 12x36 IS III, but decided not to complicate matters by doing so. The IS works quite well and actually shows a good bit of detail. Despite its small size and lightish weight (same as the Nikon Monarch 10x42 HG), they don't have anywhere near the AFov, or enough ER really, and may show more CA under challenging conditions. I also found them really difficult to hold in a steady grip, not being able to ever get rid of the shakes. For that reason I'd rule them out.


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