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Oh No, Not Another Binocular Advice Plea!

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Old Monday 13th May 2019, 17:54   #26
FieldSurveyor
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Originally Posted by justabirdwatcher View Post
I've always been a big Nikon Monarch 7 fan. I think they represent the best price:performance value in their price range and have for a decade or more now. Viper HD's are close, but I trust the Nikons more.

I'd be curious to hear how your Vanguard IV's stack up to the Monarch 7's.

...

I just bought a pair of Zeiss Conquest HD 8x42's off FeeBay for less than $500. So if your budget changes any, and you're patient, you can upgrade your glass. I had a chance to buy some 8x32 Swarovski SLC and 8x32 Meostar's for $450 recently (but passed on both) - just for reference.
I'll report back here with my findings. The latest news is Amazon sent an email saying the shipper has reported the item damaged in transit so I will be waiting until the weekend to get a pair (they can get a pair here sooner but I will be out of town until Friday.)

As for used, yes, I see a lot of great deals on FleaBay. I'm tempted to pick up a pair of older Nikon porros.

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Originally Posted by ceasar View Post
Hi again!

I suggested the Monarch 8x42 because Jerry Liguori, who has written two popular books about Hawk Identification: HAWKS At A Distance and HAWKS From Every Angle uses and recommends using binoculars that have a wide field of view.

He personally used a Zeiss 7x45 Nightowl from1994 until 2008 when he began using a Zeiss 7x42 Victory FL because of their very wide fields of view but he said many people may prefer an 8x or 10x. He did stipulate that they be "High Quality" binoculars.

Here is a personal review of the Monarch 7 10x42 from Allbinos. The reviewer purchased it for watching Hawksl

https://www.allbinos.com/1476-Nikon_...ons.html#oceny

Bob
Note taken. It will be interesting to see if I prefer the FOV of a lower power binocular.

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Originally Posted by jgraider View Post
I'd make note of a bino called the Athlon Midas in 8x42. You'll be shocked.
I do remember reading about the Athlon. They sound like nice glass, but again, nowhere to try them first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
"Here is a personal review of the Monarch 7 10x42 from Allbinos. The reviewer purchased it for watching Hawksl

https://redirect.viglink.com/?format...s.html%23oceny

It is interesting that the reviewer only gave the Nikon Monarch 7's 10x42 3 stars for optical quality. He must not be that enamored with them. It sounds like he likes his Leupold Gold Rings better.

"My comparison binos are 8x42 Leupold gold ring HD, which is definitely a step up in the lack of CA, and low light operation."

The reviewer also comments on the soft edges of the Nikon Monarch 7 10x42

"Cons: Some chromatic aberration when the view is backlit sharply falls off in outer 1.3 of fov

That is one thing I don't like about Nikon Monarch 7's. Soft edges. Here is Allbino's result on edges on the 8x42 Nikon Monarch 7.

"Blurring at the edge of the FOV The blur occurs in a distance of 73% +\- 3% from the centre of the field of view. 4/10.0"
Many speak of soft edges on the Monarchs. I'm not sure I would notice. I honestly don't spend much time looking around the edges!

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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
On Outdoor Gear Lab's review which are quite good reviews the Athlon Midas was 11th out of 15. They said they were pretty good at the $300.00 price point but the Celestron Nautre DX was nearly as good for 1/2 the price.

https://www.outdoorgearlab.com/revie...lon-midas-8x42
Outdoor Gear Lab really likes those Celestrons. I'd be curious to try a pair.

By the way, of the binoculars under $500, are any still made in Japan? I know many Vortex used to be but it sounds like they're all Chinese now. Monarchs are made in China too, and the Nikon EII is made in the Philippines I hear.

Thanks
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Old Monday 13th May 2019, 18:01   #27
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There was somebody on Bird Forum who REALLY liked those Celestron Nautre DX's for $140.00. I forgot who it was. The Nikon EII being made in the Phillippines is news to me. I always thought they were made in Japan. I wouldn't doubt it though. I see soft edges for some reason even when I am looking on-axis.
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Old Monday 13th May 2019, 18:08   #28
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As for ordering a bunch, that would probably be the way to go. I just never seem to have the guts to order 4 or 5 pair out of fear I might get stuck with them! Amazon is pretty good about returns though.
You could use Amazon, B&H, Adoramma, or OpticsPlanet (to name a few). I've ordered and returned stuff with all of them, they all take returns well. Amazon is likely the zippiest are processing refunds. B&H has a program with a store credit card (only works at B&H) where they will charge you CA tax then refund you the same amount on the credit card. They call it Payboo. In any case, if you order just after your credit card statement comes out, you should be able to get the bins, try them out, and return them before the charges hit your statement. I usually don't bother trying to time it.

If you want to buy semi-locally, you could try Out Of This World Optics, in Mendocino. Marilyn there is super helpful, and responds to emails or phone well. I bought my Opticron MM4 fieldscope there because I could try it out first and they could customize it as I wanted. They do some birding events and optics events, so they might be up in your area. Give them an email or call if interested. In your price range, they probably have a fair selection in stock.

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Old Monday 13th May 2019, 19:17   #29
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
On Outdoor Gear Lab's review which are quite good reviews the Athlon Midas was 11th out of 15. They said they were pretty good at the $300.00 price point but the Celestron Nautre DX was nearly as good for 1/2 the price.

https://www.outdoorgearlab.com/revie...lon-midas-8x42

My buddy owns the new mega LGS here. I can tell you first hand that the Midas is way better than the Terra, and every bit the bino the Viper HD and McKinley BX4 is.


I guess it all depends on which review you trust, doesn't it Dennis? Most people trust the one that matches their opinion. I prefer to go into it open minded, knowing I have always had to look through a bino to determine if it was worth a crap for my needs.
https://www.bestbinocularsreviews.co...Review-230.htm
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Old Monday 13th May 2019, 19:20   #30
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
There was somebody on Bird Forum who REALLY liked those Celestron Nautre DX's for $140.00. I forgot who it was. The Nikon EII being made in the Phillippines is news to me. I always thought they were made in Japan. I wouldn't doubt it though. I see soft edges for some reason even when I am looking on-axis.
They really were not on my radar actually. If I see some I will try them though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marcsantacurz View Post
You could use Amazon, B&H, Adoramma, or OpticsPlanet (to name a few). I've ordered and returned stuff with all of them, they all take returns well. Amazon is likely the zippiest are processing refunds. B&H has a program with a store credit card (only works at B&H) where they will charge you CA tax then refund you the same amount on the credit card. They call it Payboo. In any case, if you order just after your credit card statement comes out, you should be able to get the bins, try them out, and return them before the charges hit your statement. I usually don't bother trying to time it.

If you want to buy semi-locally, you could try Out Of This World Optics, in Mendocino. Marilyn there is super helpful, and responds to emails or phone well. I bought my Opticron MM4 fieldscope there because I could try it out first and they could customize it as I wanted. They do some birding events and optics events, so they might be up in your area. Give them an email or call if interested. In your price range, they probably have a fair selection in stock.

Marc
It's really funny you mentioned Out of This World, because tomorrow I have to go to Fort Bragg (10 minutes from there) for work. I may just have time to swing by there. I was there years ago (at least 10) and remember looking through some Carsons for the first time. I was really impressed.

Thanks
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Old Monday 13th May 2019, 20:07   #31
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Originally Posted by jgraider View Post
My buddy owns the new mega LGS here. I can tell you first hand that the Midas is way better than the Terra, and every bit the bino the Viper HD and McKinley BX4 is.


I guess it all depends on which review you trust, doesn't it Dennis? Most people trust the one that matches their opinion. I prefer to go into it open minded, knowing I have always had to look through a bino to determine if it was worth a crap for my needs.
https://www.bestbinocularsreviews.co...Review-230.htm
I trust the reviews more than one persons opinion because they usually have a group of people doing the reviews and some of them like Allbino's have objective testing instead of just subjective testing as part of their review process which I like. I pretty much agree with all the reviews except in a few cases. I like Allbino's, Outdoor Gear Lab, Scope Views and Best Binocular Reviews. I really feel Allbino's is spot on 99% of the time.

Last edited by [email protected] : Monday 13th May 2019 at 22:17.
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Old Monday 13th May 2019, 23:23   #32
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Zeiss Dialyt 10x40. I know they can be had used for close to my price range. Is that something I should consider? I suspect coatings have come a long way since then, and possibly glass (Iím not sure when ED glass became available.)
I have no experience of most of the binoculars you mention in your original thread, but I use my P model Dialyt 10x40 quite a bit (including yesterday to observe two successful hunts by the male of a pair of peregrines in West London). The top-line Zeiss products that succeeded it eg. Victory FL are a little brighter and a little sharper, and so too is today's Conquest HD (at least the one I tried at Birdfair a couple years back), but it is still more than good enough optically for most of the birding I do, and remains a very compact handy package that, for me at least, handles and points very well. The silver mirrored prisms give a warmer colour cast and a less "contemporary" view compared to modern dielectric coatings - you do notice this if you have something like a FL to make a side by side comparison with, but in actual use this hasn't been an issue, to my eyes at least.

Now for a contrary view you should consult this thread: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=371882
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Old Tuesday 14th May 2019, 08:15   #33
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The Nikon EII being made in the Phillippines is news to me. I always thought they were made in Japan. I wouldn't doubt it though. I see soft edges for some reason even when I am looking on-axis.
Hi,

the box my pair came in says Made in Philippines for the box and bins made in Japan iirc. Maybe the differentiation between box and contents was not always there.

As for unsharp edges - that is not necessarily a flaw and to be expected for a pair without field flattening (see Smyth corrector - http://www.brayebrookobservatory.org...%20lenses.html).

The question is, if you can bring the unsharp edges to focus by turning the focus drive - if yes, the bins are fine. If not there are off axis aberrations present in the instrument.

Joachim
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Old Tuesday 14th May 2019, 14:15   #34
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Exactly that is field curvature. I know soft edges are not technically a flaw but I don't LIKE them. I can see them even when I am looking on-axis. That is why I prefer flat field binoculars with sharp edges. Swarovski SV's and Nikon EDG's are my favorites. My Nikon EII's said MIJ on them also so I am sure they are.
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Old Tuesday 14th May 2019, 14:28   #35
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Exactly that is field curvature. I know soft edges are not technically a flaw but I don't LIKE them. I can see them even when I am looking on-axis. That is why I prefer flat field binoculars with sharp edges. Swarovski SV's and Nikon EDG's are my favorites. My Nikon EII's said MIJ on them also so I am sure they are.

Yes, they are made in Japan.

Nikon chose the 8x30 EII to be their 100th Year Anniversary Binocular and issued a special edition of them.

Bob
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Old Thursday 16th May 2019, 00:32   #36
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Originally Posted by jring View Post
Hi,

the box my pair came in says Made in Philippines for the box and bins made in Japan iirc. Maybe the differentiation between box and contents was not always there.

As for unsharp edges - that is not necessarily a flaw and to be expected for a pair without field flattening (see Smyth corrector - http://www.brayebrookobservatory.org...%20lenses.html).

The question is, if you can bring the unsharp edges to focus by turning the focus drive - if yes, the bins are fine. If not there are off axis aberrations present in the instrument.

Joachim
Ok, not sure where I read that EII's were made in Philippines. It must be incorrect.

It sounds odd that the focus wheel could (in some bins) bring the dull edges into focus. I will be on the lookout.

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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Exactly that is field curvature. I know soft edges are not technically a flaw but I don't LIKE them. I can see them even when I am looking on-axis. That is why I prefer flat field binoculars with sharp edges. Swarovski SV's and Nikon EDG's are my favorites. My Nikon EII's said MIJ on them also so I am sure they are.
This makes sense to me.

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Originally Posted by ceasar View Post
Yes, they are made in Japan.

Nikon chose the 8x30 EII to be their 100th Year Anniversary Binocular and issued a special edition of them.

Bob
Get them while you can. I'm told all EII's are gone...the only ones available are the ones you see at various shops on the web. Out of This World in Mendocino doesn't have them and can't get them.
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Old Thursday 16th May 2019, 01:34   #37
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So I was able to swing by Out of This World in Mendocino yesterday. Marilyn was awesome and took the time to let me look through at least 10 pair of binoculars. Here's what I looked through:

Nikon Monarch 7 in 8x42 and 10x42
Leupold BX-T HD in 8x42 and 10x42mm
Vanguard Endeavor IV in 8x42 and 10x42
Meopta MeoPro in 8x42 and 10x42
Zeiss Conquest in 10x42
Leica Trinovid 10x42

(The last two were just to see what I was missing. I didn't dare try out the top of the range stuff.)

All in all it was a very informative visit. I immediately was able to make some decisions. Firstly, the Nikon Monarch 7 is a very nice binocular. It is very sharp almost all the way to the edge. The build quality is (as far as I can tell) very high. But it didnít look as bright as the Vanguard, nor quite as sharp away from center.

The Meopta is a really nice piece of hardware. When you pick it up it just feels high quality. The chassis is all metal. Looking through them I saw no obvious defects. Again, I am a novice, so take that with a grain of salt. But again, they were lagging just a bit behind the Vanguards.

The Leupold was interesting. It was the only piece made in Japan, so I had high hopes. It felt fine, but I dismissed it fairly quickly. The view just didnít look as vibrant as the others (for me.) And it was $559.

I kept going back and forth, expecting to like something else better, but honestly the Vanguardís had the best view. They were really bright, and appeared sharp way out to the edge. The build quality felt top notch, with smooth focusing and a nice feel in the hand.

My favorite bino of the day was the Zeiss Conquest though. ButÖ.just too much money right now. I may keep my eyes peeled for a good used one. The Leica was right there with it and I know Iíve seen those for under $700.

One thing that really puzzled me is the Vanguard 8x vs the 10x. They looked almost identical. I went back and forth many times. The 8x felt more like a 10x to me. All of the other brands were easily discernible between the 8x and the 10x.

I was so tempted to just buy right then and there! I remembered the 8x Vanguard on Amazon was $120 less than the 10x, but the price there at the shop was the same for each power. Also, I have the $100 gift card at Amazon.

I highly recommend making a trip to Mendocino to see Marilyn at Out of This World (as a plus it is absolutely beautiful up there on the coast.)
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Old Thursday 16th May 2019, 01:51   #38
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So I was able to swing by Out of This World in Mendocino yesterday. Marilyn was awesome and took the time to let me look through at least 10 pair of binoculars. Here's what I looked through:

Nikon Monarch 7 in 8x42 and 10x42
Leupold BX-T HD in 8x42 and 10x42mm
Vanguard Endeavor IV in 8x42 and 10x42
Meopta MeoPro in 8x42 and 10x42
Zeiss Conquest in 10x42
Leica Trinovid 10x42

(The last two were just to see what I was missing. I didn't dare try out the top of the range stuff.)

All in all it was a very informative visit. I immediately was able to make some decisions. Firstly, the Nikon Monarch 7 is a very nice binocular. It is very sharp almost all the way to the edge. The build quality is (as far as I can tell) very high. But it didnít look as bright as the Vanguard, nor quite as sharp away from center.

The Meopta is a really nice piece of hardware. When you pick it up it just feels high quality. The chassis is all metal. Looking through them I saw no obvious defects. Again, I am a novice, so take that with a grain of salt. But again, they were lagging just a bit behind the Vanguards.

The Leupold was interesting. It was the only piece made in Japan, so I had high hopes. It felt fine, but I dismissed it fairly quickly. The view just didnít look as vibrant as the others (for me.) And it was $559.

I kept going back and forth, expecting to like something else better, but honestly the Vanguardís had the best view. They were really bright, and appeared sharp way out to the edge. The build quality felt top notch, with smooth focusing and a nice feel in the hand.

My favorite bino of the day was the Zeiss Conquest though. ButÖ.just too much money right now. I may keep my eyes peeled for a good used one. The Leica was right there with it and I know Iíve seen those for under $700.

One thing that really puzzled me is the Vanguard 8x vs the 10x. They looked almost identical. I went back and forth many times. The 8x felt more like a 10x to me. All of the other brands were easily discernible between the 8x and the 10x.

I was so tempted to just buy right then and there! I remembered the 8x Vanguard on Amazon was $120 less than the 10x, but the price there at the shop was the same for each power. Also, I have the $100 gift card at Amazon.

I highly recommend making a trip to Mendocino to see Marilyn at Out of This World (as a plus it is absolutely beautiful up there on the coast.)
Why not buy there, and use the Amazon card later or resell it?

I'm sure that shop will try to help you out a bit on price if you explain things and stand behind you if you need to swap your new binos or need help with them.

More importantly, it's usual to test a pair before buying it, binocular samples vary a lot.

Edmund
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Old Thursday 16th May 2019, 03:28   #39
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Hi,

the box my pair came in says Made in Philippines for the box and bins made in Japan iirc. Maybe the differentiation between box and contents was not always there.

As for unsharp edges - that is not necessarily a flaw and to be expected for a pair without field flattening (see Smyth corrector - http://www.brayebrookobservatory.org...%20lenses.html).

The question is, if you can bring the unsharp edges to focus by turning the focus drive - if yes, the bins are fine. If not there are off axis aberrations present in the instrument.

Joachim
I read somewhere recently that Kamakura has a plant in the Philippines.

Bob
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Old Thursday 16th May 2019, 04:13   #40
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From Scopeviews Reviews http://scopeviews.co.uk/Swaro10x40Habicht.htm

"So, I thought it was time I took a look at the last porro-prism binocular range from a premium manufacturer – Swarovski’s Habichts, specifically the 10x40 which should be good for both birding and astronomy. These don’t really count as a modern porro-prism design, though, because they are based on a sixty year old model. But what they are is a porro-prism binocular built to the highest standards, in the same Austrian factory as Swarovski’s other products. (I’m afraid that Nikon’s EIIs – now made in Malaysia – don’t count as premium on either front, design or manufacture, good though they are.)"
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Old Thursday 16th May 2019, 04:34   #41
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I was so tempted to just buy right then and there! I remembered the 8x Vanguard on Amazon was $120 less than the 10x, but the price there at the shop was the same for each power. Also, I have the $100 gift card at Amazon.

I highly recommend making a trip to Mendocino to see Marilyn at Out of This World (as a plus it is absolutely beautiful up there on the coast.)
Generally, my rule is if I use the services of a brick & mortar store like you did, I'll buy there unless their price is really out of line. And even then I'll come out and say if they can get close to the on-line price, I'll buy it there. Their service and time is worth something. Though I can see how $120 on top of $363 (33% increase) might be considered out of line. Did Marilyn say what the deal was?

I'm glad you were able to narrow it down. What you found was similar to what I've found -- there's a large personal preference factor that really can count for a lot when picking binoculars. It's not all about stats, as others have pointed out too.

Marc
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Old Thursday 16th May 2019, 04:38   #42
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By the way, there's someone on the BF forums selling the Conquest HD 8x42 for $650 from Texas.
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Old Thursday 16th May 2019, 13:15   #43
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From Scopeviews Reviews http://scopeviews.co.uk/Swaro10x40Habicht.htm

"So, I thought it was time I took a look at the last porro-prism binocular range from a premium manufacturer – Swarovski’s Habichts, specifically the 10x40 which should be good for both birding and astronomy. These don’t really count as a modern porro-prism design, though, because they are based on a sixty year old model. But what they are is a porro-prism binocular built to the highest standards, in the same Austrian factory as Swarovski’s other products. (I’m afraid that Nikon’s EIIs – now made in Malaysia – don’t count as premium on either front, design or manufacture, good though they are.)"


Scopeviews has an impressive and well designed website.

The Austrian made Swarovski Habicht Porro prisms are highlighted in it. A comment is casually tossed off in the 3rd paragraph that the popular Nikon 8x30 EII and 10x35 EII, Japanese made Porro prism binoculars with impeccable reputations are now made in Malaysia.

If one is going to make such a statement in it that one of Nikon's most famous and popular binoculars are made in Malaysia and "don't count as premium..... anymore," one should provide proof of it.

Otherwise it is just a fancy way of spreading rumors!

Bob

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Old Thursday 16th May 2019, 14:36   #44
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By the way, there's someone on the BF forums selling the Conquest HD 8x42 for $650 from Texas.
Or an 8x32 pair from UK for 450 quid - if you manage to talk the seller into sending them stateside...

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Old Thursday 16th May 2019, 17:35   #45
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If not in a rush I would look for used binoculars in the 10x42 configuration, but first go to a local store or on a bird outing and be sure that the 10x work for you. I get more magnification but a less stable image when I hand hold my 10x43 binoculars. I have saved 50% on used optical equipment and when I buy a new item and then sell it I figure on getting 50% of the price for a new item.

There are also some 8.5 and 9 power binoculars which are worth considering as well, including the Pentax 9x42 that sell new for $300 and the Kowa 8.5x44 that sell new for $1,350 but used I would expect to pay a great deal less.

In the $500 to $900 price range it is hard to beat the Nikon Monarch 5 and Monarch 7 binoculars. Owners love the Nikon Monarch 5 10x42 binoculars that sell new for $300. The Monarch 7 version sells for under $500.
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Old Thursday 16th May 2019, 18:44   #46
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In the $500 to $900 price range it is hard to beat the Nikon Monarch 5 and Monarch 7 binoculars. Owners love the Nikon Monarch 5 10x42 binoculars that sell new for $300. The Monarch 7 version sells for under $500.
Tract Toric UHD is much better than either Nikon.
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Old Saturday 18th May 2019, 01:45   #47
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Why not buy there, and use the Amazon card later or resell it?

I'm sure that shop will try to help you out a bit on price if you explain things and stand behind you if you need to swap your new binos or need help with them.

More importantly, it's usual to test a pair before buying it, binocular samples vary a lot.

Edmund
I really wanted to. I left because I had to get to work, but I was under the impression I would be there overnight and thought I could return before they closed. I ended up getting a call from work saying to return to Sacramento. I was really bummed. It's 4.5 hours from my house, so it's not like I'm up there often. Marilyn was so helpful.

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Originally Posted by marcsantacurz View Post
Generally, my rule is if I use the services of a brick & mortar store like you did, I'll buy there unless their price is really out of line. And even then I'll come out and say if they can get close to the on-line price, I'll buy it there. Their service and time is worth something. Though I can see how $120 on top of $363 (33% increase) might be considered out of line. Did Marilyn say what the deal was?

I'm glad you were able to narrow it down. What you found was similar to what I've found -- there's a large personal preference factor that really can count for a lot when picking binoculars. It's not all about stats, as others have pointed out too.

Marc
I have the same rule. I like to support brick and mortar business, especially good ones. If the 8x hadn't looked so similar I probably would've just bought the 10x right there. But I knew the 8x was $120 cheaper on Amazon...that's asking a lot of a merchant to come close to that (though I should've tried I suppose.) I see that the suggested retail is the same for both pair, so I'm not sure why they were so cheap on Amazon.

Anyway, I feel bad about the whole deal. She helped me and I didn't buy from her. Crappy. But in my defense it was unforeseen.
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Old Thursday 23rd May 2019, 00:30   #48
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I have the same rule. I like to support brick and mortar business, especially good ones. If the 8x hadn't looked so similar I probably would've just bought the 10x right there. But I knew the 8x was $120 cheaper on Amazon...that's asking a lot of a merchant to come close to that (though I should've tried I suppose.) I see that the suggested retail is the same for both pair, so I'm not sure why they were so cheap on Amazon.

Anyway, I feel bad about the whole deal. She helped me and I didn't buy from her. Crappy. But in my defense it was unforeseen.
You might send her an email thanking her for helping you and explaining about the $120. If that really is a new price, something fishy might be going on, like it's an import or something.

Actually, when I look at Amazon now, it shows that $324 price is a used price from Amazon Warehouse.

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Old Thursday 23rd May 2019, 01:00   #49
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Good idea Marc.

I actually got the last one. I don't think the price reflects a change in pricing for the model. The price is always up to the seller, which in this case may just be the factory or the company themselves. They also could be using repricing software and maybe one hadn't sold in a while.

Thanks.
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