• 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.

Best 8x bins for $200 (1 Viewer)

b-lilja

Well-known member
Best 8x bins for $200?

Any thoughts? My office is buying some SWAG for folks and I thought this would be a cool option. I've always liked the Travelites, but know they have been cheapened. Any thoughts on the 8x30 prostaffs?

Also needs to be readily available in US.
 

PhilR.

Well-known member
For small (~25mm) binos, look at the Meopta 8x25 Meosport. But also consider the Pentax U-series, Nikon Travelight, and Vortex Vanquish, all of which are pretty good little binos for half the price of the Meopta.

For mid-sized (30-32mm), consider the Sightron 8x32 SII Blue Sky, Vortex Diamondback, Nikon 8x30 Prostaff 7s, and the Kowa SV II. My favorite is the Kowa, but it’s really a toss-up between them, and I would be happy to have any of them. The Kowa will probably run around $10-$15 over your budget.

For large (42mm) binos, look at the NIKON Prostaff 7s, Vortex Diamondback, and Leupold Alpine, all in 8x42. All are decent, none are perfect. I would pick the Nikon, but like the above, would be happy to have any of the three.
 

Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast.
United States
I thought that the BirdForum default answer was Sightron 8x32 Blue Sky SII, usually available for $177.

--AP
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I thought that the BirdForum default answer was Sightron 8x32 Blue Sky SII, usually available for $177.

--AP
The Hawk Endurance 8x32 ED would be a good choice. The Hawk has ED glass and is almost sharp to the edge and is has better resolution, contrast and it is not as dark as the Sightron. It also has a magnesium chassis which is amazing for a binocular in this price range and it comes with a nice hard sided case. The Sightron is a nice binocular but it is plasticky, has no ED glass, has a smallish sweet spot compared to the Hawk and the focuser is on the stiff side and it gets stiffer in the cold and it comes with poor accessories.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/prod...optics_36200_8x32_endurance_ed_binocular.html
https://irelandswildlife.com/hawke-endurance-ed-8x32-binocular-review/
https://www.bestbinocularsreviews.com/Hawke8x32EnduranceED-161.htm
 
Last edited:
8x30 prostaffs all the way. just picked up a set for myself. can't say a bad thing about them. Esp if it is for others the Nikon name is easily recognizable as a quality product
 

Sterngucker

RⒶdneck
United States
Vortex Diamondback 8x32. I have it and I'm happy with the bang-4-buck. Vortex do an 8x28 too, plus now they're all 'HD' but according to their CS dept. the Diamondbacks contain no HD/ED or other fancy glass.


Also they're 'Murican ... if that gives you an extra tickle.
 

jgraider

Well-known member
Vortex Diamondback 8x32. I have it and I'm happy with the bang-4-buck. Vortex do an 8x28 too, plus now they're all 'HD' but according to their CS dept. the Diamondbacks contain no HD/ED or other fancy glass.


Also they're 'Murican ... if that gives you an extra tickle.


90% of Vortex stuff is Chicom made. It's pathetic.
 

Sterngucker

RⒶdneck
United States
90% of Vortex stuff is Chicom made. It's pathetic.


No idea what or where 'Chicom' is, but Vortex is an American company based in WI who manufacture in China just like pretty much everyone else except maybe the top models from the usual suspects: Zeiss, Swarovski and Leica.


Maybe you are a follower the erroneous assumption that everything made in China is cheap trash, because that is what you are used to from Walmart.
Many companies have their own factories in China, often with design being done in their home country, manufacture in China and final QC again in their home country.
Others send their designs and exact requirements to a Chinese OEM who then gets the contract, provided his quality matches the standards set out by the contractee.


So you see, just parroting 'Chinese-made is crap' is missing a large part of the story. But I guess the parrots don't care.
 

jgraider

Well-known member
No idea what or where 'Chicom' is, but Vortex is an American company based in WI who manufacture in China just like pretty much everyone else except maybe the top models from the usual suspects: Zeiss, Swarovski and Leica.


Maybe you are a follower the erroneous assumption that everything made in China is cheap trash, because that is what you are used to from Walmart.
Many companies have their own factories in China, often with design being done in their home country, manufacture in China and final QC again in their home country.
Others send their designs and exact requirements to a Chinese OEM who then gets the contract, provided his quality matches the standards set out by the contractee.


So you see, just parroting 'Chinese-made is crap' is missing a large part of the story. But I guess the parrots don't care.


Maybe you're under the false assumption that Chinese made binoculars are on par with high quality, of which your sadly mistaken. Japanese made optics still run circles around Chinese crap. You can choose to buy into that nonsense all you want, but those who've been around the block a time or two in this arena know better.

The last Chicom Razor HD and Viper HD I tried were of very low quality control. The hinge was so loose on the Razor it wouldn't stay where I put it, and the Viper's eyecups were way too loose as well.
 

Sterngucker

RⒶdneck
United States
Maybe you're under the false assumption that Chinese made binoculars are on par with high quality, of which your sadly mistaken. Japanese made optics still run circles around Chinese crap. You can choose to buy into that nonsense all you want, but those who've been around the block a time or two in this arena know better.

The last Chicom Razor HD and Viper HD I tried were of very low quality control. The hinge was so loose on the Razor it wouldn't stay where I put it, and the Viper's eyecups were way too loose as well.




QED.
 

Mike C

Emeritus President at Burnage Rugby Club
The Hawk Endurance 8x32 ED would be a good choice. The Hawk has ED glass and is almost sharp to the edge and is has better resolution, contrast and it is not as dark as the Sightron. It also has a magnesium chassis which is amazing for a binocular in this price range and it comes with a nice hard sided case. The Sightron is a nice binocular but it is plasticky, has no ED glass, has a smallish sweet spot compared to the Hawk and the focuser is on the stiff side and it gets stiffer in the cold and it comes with poor accessories.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/prod...optics_36200_8x32_endurance_ed_binocular.html
https://irelandswildlife.com/hawke-endurance-ed-8x32-binocular-review/
https://www.bestbinocularsreviews.com/Hawke8x32EnduranceED-161.htm

I have the Endurance 8x32 as a spare pair in the car boot.
They are very good
 

WJC

Well-known member
The Diamondbacks are Made in USA?

There are no consumer binoculars MADE IN AMERICA and there hasn’t been since surplus models from WWII were depleted. Even, prior to the war, when Bausch & Lomb was the big dog, much of their inventory came from Zeiss. Yes, Leupold makes optics (Beaverton, Oregon) ... riflescopes. Yes, Meopta has a plant on US soil (just northwest of Tampa, Florida) ... but they only (for now, at least) develop AR coatings.

I know others will disagree with me. That's okay, I've been fighting this battle for MANY years. Sometimes, it's good not to argue with folks, and just let them be wrong. :cat:

Celestron, Meade, Oberwerk, Vortex, Eagle, the late Alpen, and many others, ARE American companies. Now, American IMPORTING COMPANIES. And 3 names we all know, Bushnell, Jason, and TASCO are all imported to the same location in Overland Park, Kansas. David Bushnell sold his company in 1972. Even before, he was an IMPORTER. These days, Celestron does only one thing to one product (no, don’t ask me), the rest is off the shelf from China.

But as my non-Pecosite buddy has indicated, “If you have the money; they have the product!” The problem is, most of those who shop in China either don't HAVE the money or they can keep their bottom line up by not spending it.


Bill
 
Last edited:

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
To add to Bill's observations about the limited optical production in the US . . . .

Swarovski does assemble some telescopic sights at their SONA facility (Swarovski Optics North America, located in Cranston RI)
The components are made in Austria, but assembled and subject to final inspection in the US
Both the units and packaging are clearly marked ‘Assembled In USA’


John
 

WJC

Well-known member
To add to Bill's observations about the limited optical production in the US . . . .

Swarovski does assemble some telescopic sights at their SONA facility (Swarovski Optics North America, located in Cranston RI)
The components are made in Austria, but assembled and subject to final inspection in the US
Both the units and packaging are clearly marked ‘Assembled In USA’

John

Hi, John,

You're ever the gentleman. The PRODUCTION is not limited; it's non-existent. As an American, I don't like it. * But old myths die hard and I have to live in the REAL world. It's just that the armchair optical experts won't let this one die! :-C :cat:

Bill

* History has shown nations that DO NOT PRODUCE die a relatively early death. We once produced oil, steel, transportation, Electrical power, Science, and much more. The Pennsylvania Railroad alone once owned more rails than every other country in the world COMBINED. Today, we have: Accountants, Actuaries, Computer wizards who buy off-shore, Philosophers, Political Science gurus, Sports Stars, Celebrities, and Nintendo experts. Thus, I’m certain the potentates who want to do us harm are shaking in their boots, as we Americans continue to trade WHAT WORKS for WHAT SOUNDS GOOD. "However beautiful the strategy, you should accasionally look at the results." — Winston Churchill

Once again, that's not political. It's just an old-style journalist with relitively good vision and memory.
 
Last edited:

Upland

Well-known member
Thought this thread was about binos under $200 not where they are made. Maybe a separate thread so you guys can fight it out.

Back to the topic I have a pair of Bushnell Engage that I really like. You can find them on Amazon for under $200. One interesting thing to note is that Bushnell has revamped the Engage line and the top of line with ED glass and dielectric prisms is the most expensive. However the original version has these features and are the ones being sold cheaply on Amazon. Also the Legend M model is highly thought of and was widely available for $200 but I don’t see them for sale presently. Good luck with your search.
 

dries1

Member
Best $200 bino

I would say just give them the $200.

This is the best suggestion so far..:t::t:

Regarding the Bushnell Engage comment by Upland, you better make sure you get a good sample prior to giving it as swag, or it will be a useless piece of plastic/glass trash. I say so since many of these Bushnell binos on the Amazon site are returns, recycled and resold, and the customer service from Bushnell?....well that is another story.

Andy W.
 

Upland

Well-known member
This is the best suggestion so far..:t::t:

Regarding the Bushnell Engage comment by Upland, you better make sure you get a good sample prior to giving it as swag, or it will be a useless piece of plastic/glass trash. I say so since many of these Bushnell binos on the Amazon site are returns, recycled and resold, and the customer service from Bushnell?....well that is another story.

Andy W.

Mine are fine. They have a twenty year warranty and you can return them to Bushnell if you have a problem or use Amazon’s 30 day return policy if you don’t like them. When you return just click item not as described and the return shipping is free.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top