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Could use some help in deciding

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Old Sunday 31st July 2011, 21:34   #1
Kron
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Could use some help in deciding

First let me just say that I am new to the forum and I joined due to the amount of information I have found.

I am in the process of trying to do what most do, find the right optic for the job at the best price. I am looking for a set of binoculars that will be used primarily for scouting and spotting.

I just recently looked through a few different binoculars to include Swarovski, Zeiss Conquests, Vortex Vipers Hd's and some Bushnell Ultra HD's. I am more than impressed with the quality of the Swaro's and the Zeiss, but they are well out of my price range. I think the Vipers are very nice and was a little bit dissapointed in the ultra Hd's, due to the reviews they are getting, honestly I expected more, optically there was a pretty significant difference to me between the Ultra HD's and the viper hd's, also the Ultra Hd's ER did not fit me well, they were a pair of 8x42 and from what I have read the 10x42 does not seem to suffer the same ER problems, not to say that the Ultra HD's were bad, the ER just really kinda tainted it for me for this particular model, but if the 10x42 does not suffer the ER issue I would consider them.

I have been searching and searching and have found a few possibilites and was wondering if anyone with experiences could chime in with opinions. I am looking for a opinions/real life experiences about durability and performance.

Bushell Elite E2 10x42(249.95)
Bushnell Ultra HD (244.95) (10x42 assuming these do not suffer the ER issue)
Zen Ray ED2 8x43 (329.95)

To be honest, I would love to have the performance of the viper HD, I just cannot spend that kind of money, I am really leaning towards the Bushnell E2 due to the closeout price, any help would be appreciated. Also if there is something else out there that fits the bill that I missed please throw it out there.

Last edited by Kron : Monday 1st August 2011 at 20:53.
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Old Sunday 31st July 2011, 22:52   #2
The Kerreran
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Hi Kron, welcome to BF.

I'm afraid I don't have any experience of the bins you're interested in, other than that Bushnell have a fair reputation for build quality and that Zen Ray are trying hard to get one. I'm sure someone with experience of the binocular situation Stateside will be posting to help you out. The best advice I can give is to get to the nearest optics store and try as many as you can get your hands on - if you can't get to a store, there are a few good online stores which will send you several pairs so you can try them out, then send back the ones you don't want [again, US members will be able to help].
Good hunting!
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Old Sunday 31st July 2011, 23:40   #3
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Hi & Welcome!

I've tried both the Bushnell ultra legend HD in 8x42 and the Zen ray ED2, but in 7x36.

Bushnell had great optics for the price and accessories (wonder if your sample had so so optics?) but build quality was kind of low and they smelled like a plastic factory...

The Zen ED2 seems quite a bit better built and had great optics too.

I've not tried the Elite E2, but I remember seeing online that the field of view was kind of narrow. I think the original Elite got better reviews.

I'd probably go with the Zen ray.

Last edited by WilsonsWarbler : Sunday 31st July 2011 at 23:59.
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Old Monday 1st August 2011, 12:20   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kron View Post
I am looking for a set of binoculars that will be used primarily for hunting, in specific, elk hunting.
Something in this sentence just doesn't match with this forum ...
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Old Monday 1st August 2011, 16:31   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willito View Post
Something in this sentence just doesn't match with this forum ...
As does not the response comment "good hunting!"

Last edited by Purple Martin : Monday 1st August 2011 at 16:37.
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Old Monday 1st August 2011, 17:14   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilsonsWarbler View Post
Hi & Welcome!

I've tried both the Bushnell ultra legend HD in 8x42 and the Zen ray ED2, but in 7x36.

Bushnell had great optics for the price and accessories (wonder if your sample had so so optics?) but build quality was kind of low and they smelled like a plastic factory...

The Zen ED2 seems quite a bit better built and had great optics too.

I've not tried the Elite E2, but I remember seeing online that the field of view was kind of narrow. I think the original Elite got better reviews.

I'd probably go with the Zen ray.
My comments would pretty much mirror those above. Just out of curiousity, did you adjust the eyecups at all on the Legend Ultra when you were looking through them. If the level of eye relief was too much, and caused blackouts, then moving the eyecups out should have remedied the issue.
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Old Monday 1st August 2011, 20:35   #7
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Sadly my post has been removed re the hunting of the beautiful Elk.

Asking for advice from a forum where the killing of animals is probably of a very low priority to the birding and conservation community.

My advice is to ask some of your fellow hunting 'buddies' where they get their binoculars from.

John.
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Old Monday 1st August 2011, 20:53   #8
Kron
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I did not mean to come here and insult anyone, I guess I was a bit eager to post and did not think of my words. If I have offended anyone I do apologize and will be editing my initial post, again I apologize for being so eager and ignorant.
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Old Monday 1st August 2011, 20:59   #9
Kron
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Ultra HD

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankD View Post
My comments would pretty much mirror those above. Just out of curiousity, did you adjust the eyecups at all on the Legend Ultra when you were looking through them. If the level of eye relief was too much, and caused blackouts, then moving the eyecups out should have remedied the issue.

Yes, the eyecups were extended out fully, and I still had some issues, the swaro's, vipers, and conquests were all fine, which is why I was wondering if it is just the 8x42, I think I may go back and specifically compare the Ultra HD 8x42 and 10x42 side by side if they have them, the day I was there it was busy and the reps were trying to help 3-4 people at a time, so I took what I could get without being annoying to the sales rep.
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Old Tuesday 2nd August 2011, 00:47   #10
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Kron:

You might ask this question of some of the binocular gurus on one of the popular astronomy binocular websites. They often have quite a bit to say about binos such as the ones you are considering.

Martin
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Old Tuesday 2nd August 2011, 01:04   #11
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Kron,

Couple things....

For any given binocular....

-the 10x models typically have shorter eye relief.
-the smaller 32 mm objective size models have shorter eye relief than their 42 mm counterparts (not all models exhibit this but most do)

I have owned all of the 7x and 8x Zen Ray models at one point or another. The 8x43 ED2s are excellent optically and are currently on sale at around $350. There are also a few 8x43 ED (first generation) on sale for $251. The difference between the two is a faster focus and slightly brighter image in the ED2 model. They are also taking orders for the ED3 (same upgrades plus new armor). Price is right at $400 with the current discount.

I am curious where you came up with you original list of 3? Yes, the Ultra HD and the ED2 have received a lot of positive reviews but the Elite E2 has not received a lot of positive comments for a few reasons. One, the previously mentioned narrow field of view. Two, the price was always a bit expensive compared to other models considering the list of features. You could certainly do better than the E2 from a variety of manufacturers.

So, what are your priorities in terms of optical performance? Do you prefer a wide field of view? More magnification? ED glass for a sharper image? Is weight and/or length an issue? What price range are you looking for?

As for the comments surrounding your intended use of the binoculars....Europeans tend to have a different viewpoint of that activity....though there is still some of the same feelings in the US as well. Hunting is different on that side of the pond. Many of us here on the forum, at least those of us from the states, pursue both birding and hunting. Heck, it was one activity that actually led me to the other. Wasn't seeing much in terms of game animals so I started paying more attention to birds and other critters. For those Pennsylvanians on the forum you can thank Gary Alt for that one.

If you are interested in more optics opinions from the hunting crowd then you may consider 24hourcampfire.com or opticstalk.com . Both are hunting related and have some good forums. My only beef with them is that hunters tend to prefer 10x in general and spend way too much time talking riflescopes. Yeah, I know...they probably think the same thing about birders and binoculars or spotters.

:-)

Hope this helps.

Last edited by FrankD : Tuesday 2nd August 2011 at 01:06.
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Old Tuesday 2nd August 2011, 01:13   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kron View Post
Yes, the eyecups were extended out fully, and I still had some issues, the swaro's, vipers, and conquests were all fine, which is why I was wondering if it is just the 8x42, I think I may go back and specifically compare the Ultra HD 8x42 and 10x42 side by side if they have them, the day I was there it was busy and the reps were trying to help 3-4 people at a time, so I took what I could get without being annoying to the sales rep.
Many people who do not wear eyeglasses have problems with the ER on the 8x42 Legend Ultra HD because the eyecups do twist out far enough (myself included). I also had this problem with the 8x42 Zen ZRS HD's, but not with the 10x42 model in each line as I have both, and have no problems with ER issues.

The 10x42 Bushnell Ultra HD's are probably the best bang for the buck, but others you may want to consider in addition to the Zen ED2 or ED3 are the Theron Wapiti ED, Kruger Calderas, or Atlas Intrepid. They have all had favorable reviews.

Tom
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Old Tuesday 2nd August 2011, 01:14   #13
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The same binoculars used for birding are often used for hunting and their manufacturers advertise on both types of web sites. They make money from both enthusiasts and are neutral in their approach to either activity. In fact many also manufacture them for various militaries of the world and make profits that way too.

Bob
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Old Tuesday 2nd August 2011, 03:13   #14
Kron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankD View Post
Kron,

Couple things....

For any given binocular....

-the 10x models typically have shorter eye relief.
-the smaller 32 mm objective size models have shorter eye relief than their 42 mm counterparts (not all models exhibit this but most do)

I have owned all of the 7x and 8x Zen Ray models at one point or another. The 8x43 ED2s are excellent optically and are currently on sale at around $350. There are also a few 8x43 ED (first generation) on sale for $251. The difference between the two is a faster focus and slightly brighter image in the ED2 model. They are also taking orders for the ED3 (same upgrades plus new armor). Price is right at $400 with the current discount.

I am curious where you came up with you original list of 3? Yes, the Ultra HD and the ED2 have received a lot of positive reviews but the Elite E2 has not received a lot of positive comments for a few reasons. One, the previously mentioned narrow field of view. Two, the price was always a bit expensive compared to other models considering the list of features. You could certainly do better than the E2 from a variety of manufacturers.

So, what are your priorities in terms of optical performance? Do you prefer a wide field of view? More magnification? ED glass for a sharper image? Is weight and/or length an issue? What price range are you looking for?

As for the comments surrounding your intended use of the binoculars....Europeans tend to have a different viewpoint of that activity....though there is still some of the same feelings in the US as well. Hunting is different on that side of the pond. Many of us here on the forum, at least those of us from the states, pursue both birding and hunting. Heck, it was one activity that actually led me to the other. Wasn't seeing much in terms of game animals so I started paying more attention to birds and other critters. For those Pennsylvanians on the forum you can thank Gary Alt for that one.

If you are interested in more optics opinions from the hunting crowd then you may consider 24hourcampfire.com or opticstalk.com . Both are hunting related and have some good forums. My only beef with them is that hunters tend to prefer 10x in general and spend way too much time talking riflescopes. Yeah, I know...they probably think the same thing about birders and binoculars or spotters.

:-)

Hope this helps.
I came up with the list based on reading reviews and framing a price range, I would like to stay around 250.00, but I figured I would see what people say about the price vs performance difference of the three, and also if there was something else that anyone knew of that fit into that range.

I would like a decent pair of binos that I can use that will have some durability and good glass, not great, but good. I would consider that Ultra legend glass as good for comparison purposes, I would consider Vipers as very good, Zeiss as great and Swaro's are out of my league.
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Old Tuesday 2nd August 2011, 03:16   #15
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Originally Posted by lilcrazy2 View Post
Many people who do not wear eyeglasses have problems with the ER on the 8x42 Legend Ultra HD because the eyecups do twist out far enough (myself included). I also had this problem with the 8x42 Zen ZRS HD's, but not with the 10x42 model in each line as I have both, and have no problems with ER issues.

The 10x42 Bushnell Ultra HD's are probably the best bang for the buck, but others you may want to consider in addition to the Zen ED2 or ED3 are the Theron Wapiti ED, Kruger Calderas, or Atlas Intrepid. They have all had favorable reviews.

Tom
This is what I was wondering, I guess I need to find a 10x42 to look through and see what the ER is like, the 8x42 is a definate no go for me.

On another note, since you mention the Krugers, do you know if the Malheur line is any good? I have seen them on sale too, maybe they are on sale for a reason....
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Old Tuesday 2nd August 2011, 03:25   #16
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Since the Kruger Calderas were mentioned I thought you might also consider this.

http://www.adorama.com/PRO1042.html

Extremely similar to that design with ED glass and well within your price range. Exceptionally wide field of view for a 10x42 model. I have the 8x42 version and it is only bettered optically by the Zen ED2 and 3. For size and handling I prefer it to any of my other full-sized binoculars.
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Old Tuesday 2nd August 2011, 04:57   #17
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Originally Posted by Kron View Post
This is what I was wondering, I guess I need to find a 10x42 to look through and see what the ER is like, the 8x42 is a definate no go for me.

On another note, since you mention the Krugers, do you know if the Malheur line is any good? I have seen them on sale too, maybe they are on sale for a reason....
If the problem I described on the 8x42 Ultra HD's is the problem that you had with them, then you shouldn't have any trouble with ER issues with the 10x42's.

The Malheurs were made by Kruger for Columbia, and when Columbia got out of the bino business, they got dumped and discounted. Same is true for the Kruger/Columbia Backcountry's. The 10x42's have one of the narrowest FOV's (260 ft) on the market, whereas most 10x42 have between 315 to 340 ft FOV. I would not even consider a 10x42 with a 260 ft FOV for myself, particularly if I was glassing around looking for the big W or smaller MD.

Here is a link to the thread on the Adorama Pro Optics Frank was referencing:
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=200997

Tom
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Old Tuesday 2nd August 2011, 05:12   #18
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If you are looking for a 10x with a wider field in this price range you should also consider the Vortex 10 x 42 Diamondback. I'm surprised it hasn't already been brought up.

http://www.cameralandny.com/optics/v...amondback10x42

Bob

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Old Friday 5th August 2011, 19:54   #19
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I second the recommendation of Vortex Diamondback. Very good all around binoculars. Another option is Zen-Ray VISTA, a seemingly identical binoculars to Diamondback under different rubber housing. To step up from these two models, you can try Vortex Viper or Zen-Ray ZRS HD. Just a few months back, some of the Vipers were on sale for around $200.
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