• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Better 8x56 binoculars at ~$1,000USD? (1 Viewer)

sidpost

Well-known member
United States
I'm getting into a little bit of "Analysis Paralysis" regarding some 8x56 binoculars that won't break the bank for this specialized use. I'm leaning towards the Steiner ShadowQuest which currently is $730. I have looked at GPO and Meopta among some of the less well-known brands (at least in East Texas ;) ) along with more common Japanese brands.

I think I want to stay with Porro design but, a good Roof model is acceptable too. Differentiating the Meopta options, Kowa, and Athlon among the more common options is difficult in terms of performance differences and keeps ending up being a value ($) comparison.

Using these almost exclusively at dusk, dawn, and night to me suggest glass and coating quality is most important. However, with proprietary 'trade name' coatings there really isn't a good way to compare the options.

Lastly, what "HD" or "ED" options exist in this price class? Zeiss Conquest HD at ~$1400 is getting to be a bit too expensive but, I am also not opposed to buying a good used pair of bins. Do 8x56's turn up on the used market very often?

One 'feature' I'm finding to work well for me is the Steiner "Sport Focus". Setting the IF once during the day and not touching it again is NICE! At night, I can see this being a really good feature to have since a fine focus on a dim object is probably not practical.

This type of post might be better on a hunting forum but, thread drift to hunting is likely to leave the initial question unanswered. I will generally use these over livestock looking for feral hogs or dogs harassing or killing them as a thermal scope isn't a good target identification option, at least at the ~$3K level and I don't see an ~$8K thermal in my future right now.

TIA,
Sid
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
There are some pre owned Zeiss Dialyt 8 x 56 Classic roof prisms for under $1000, with T*P* coatings. They hold their price well, not only being collectable, but also the engineering and quality of image at twilight. Zeiss Night Owls are heavy whilst an 8 x 56 FL is now both rare and most likely outside your preferred budget. I've used all these models for twilight observation.
 

sidpost

Well-known member
United States
Yes, in my searches for gently used options, the likely candidates all seem to be favored by 'collectors' so, are bid up pretty high on eBay and similar places. The COVID lockdowns also seem to have pushed pricing up some as well on used binoculars overall once you get past the disposable models with various Chinese branding and manufacturing. That's part of what has me looking towards GPO and Meopta.

Optics-Trade EU from Slovenia speaks pretty highly of the GPO Passion ED 8x33's so, I have the GPO Passion 8x56 in the mix that seems to be a good value for new bins. Meopta options seem to be a little harder for me to find with scarce reviews and information on them generally.

Without physically touching samples before purchase, it is pretty hard to decide where to put my money. Yes, generous return policies are nice but, you also have the hassle of RMA procedures, shipping costs, and money tied up for a period of time during the refund. Having been burned during COVID with really long customer service responses and very slow credits or refunds, I am perhaps overly cautious at the moment. :unsure:

On a related note, the US Mail and I are in a real "love-hate relationship". With a first-class mail USPS money order taking 20 days to be delivered and an Insured Priority mail package showing no tracking updates for so long I was starting the insurance claim process, I am overly cautious with anything not FedEx or UPS these days. [/rant mode = off]
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I agree with you on USPS. I think USPS is about ready to fold. I have lost so many packages, or they take so long to arrive that I have reached the point where I don't trust the Post Office anymore as a reliable shipper, especially for expensive items. A 8x56 binocular is about the brightest low light binocular you can buy. The GPO Passion 8x56 is built by Kamakura which is ok but with all the Kamakura clones flooding the market I question how long they will survive. Then you are left with an orphan with no support or warranty. The older Zeiss Dialyt 8x56 even though they are very good for their time aren't going to compete with the newer glass like the Zeiss 8x56 FL because of improved coatings and probably about 5% better light transmission. If you want a Porro for the 3D and high transmission, and you don't mind IF then the Steiner Shadowquest 8x56 is a no-brainer especially at the price. It is about the best 8x56 you can buy, and it is totally built by Steiner in Germany as are all the Steiner Porros. IF you can find a Docter Nobilem 8x56 BG/A Porro it is very good also, and it is CF, but you rarely see them for sale. If you want a CF Roof prism the Swarovski SLC 8x56 is probably the best overall but the Meopta Meostar B1 8x56 is very close and is way less expensive. Right below those two and also very close in optics is the Zeiss FL 8x56, Zeiss HT 8x54 and the Zeiss Conquest HD 8x56. The Fl is a little better than the HT and Conquest HD. The Zeiss FL 8x56 is probably a little sharper on-axis than the Swarovski SLC but overall the SLC is better with sharper edges. Both are excellent though. I have had all these binoculars except for the Docter, and I am going by Allbinos ranking and from what I have heard about it. A 8x56 binocular is not only good in low light they have a remarkable aberration free view and very easy eye placement because of the huge exit pupil.

 
Last edited:

sidpost

Well-known member
United States
Yep, the USPS starting to gain the bad reputation of many US Government agencies regarding poor service and lethargic to glacial responses related to customer service. This is unfortunate as some of the postal employees in my local post office are really top-notch folks who are getting painted with the same brush as the ones stealing packages, miss delivering mail or, letting it sit for weeks.

With Swarovski SLC's running ~$2200 and Zeiss Conquest's running ~$1600, the Steiner sure looks like a bargain!

I wish I could see a Meopta in person. For whatever reason, they don't seem to be distributed in the USA very widely. I guess fatter profit margins and lower prices on Japanese binoculars have them squeezed out between those and the Alpha's without much middle ground left for Meopta.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Yep, the USPS starting to gain the bad reputation of many US Government agencies regarding poor service and lethargic to glacial responses related to customer service. This is unfortunate as some of the postal employees in my local post office are really top-notch folks who are getting painted with the same brush as the ones stealing packages, miss delivering mail or, letting it sit for weeks.

With Swarovski SLC's running ~$2200 and Zeiss Conquest's running ~$1600, the Steiner sure looks like a bargain!

I wish I could see a Meopta in person. For whatever reason, they don't seem to be distributed in the USA very widely. I guess fatter profit margins and lower prices on Japanese binoculars have them squeezed out between those and the Alpha's without much middle ground left for Meopta.
The nice thing about the SLC 8x56 is the 400 foot FOV. The Meopta Meostar 8x56 has only a 334 foot FOV and the Zeiss Conquest HD has a 375 foot FOV. The Meostar has very good optics though. The Steiner Shadowquest 8x56 has as a big a FOV as the SLC for 1/3 the money and it is lighter in weight. It only weighs 38 oz. and the SLC is 43 oz.. The Conquest HD 8x56 is heavier yet at 45 oz.

I heard that Trump put his crone in as Postmaster with the agreement he would lay off postal employees to sabotage the USPS, so they couldn't get all the ballots in for the election in time. I have talked to the rank and file postal employees, and they said they have never seen it this bad with hundreds of trucks sitting all over the place and piles of mail just sitting at the distribution centers. Our distribution center in Denver is like a "Black Hole". The mail that goes in never comes out!
 

sidpost

Well-known member
United States
That black hole in Denver claimed one of my packages! The OIG claim got that Priority package to show up in 3 days after sitting for ~2 weeks with a scan in the Denver suburb and weeks later a scan in Texas near its destination.

I'm generally inclined towards Zeiss binoculars first based on past good experiences but, the SLC's I tried were a pretty good fit as well.

The Steiner's strike me as big and bulky but, they really work well for me. While some people complain about the lack of central focus and often the 20m minimum focus distance, I must say it has not been a problem for me and my "Police" Steiners focus at 2m.
 

PeterPS

MEMBER
Yes, in my searches for gently used options, the likely candidates all seem to be favored by 'collectors' so, are bid up pretty high on eBay and similar places. The COVID lockdowns also seem to have pushed pricing up some as well on used binoculars overall once you get past the disposable models with various Chinese branding and manufacturing. That's part of what has me looking towards GPO and Meopta.

Optics-Trade EU from Slovenia speaks pretty highly of the GPO Passion ED 8x33's so, I have the GPO Passion 8x56 in the mix that seems to be a good value for new bins. Meopta options seem to be a little harder for me to find with scarce reviews and information on them generally.

Without physically touching samples before purchase, it is pretty hard to decide where to put my money. Yes, generous return policies are nice but, you also have the hassle of RMA procedures, shipping costs, and money tied up for a period of time during the refund. Having been burned during COVID with really long customer service responses and very slow credits or refunds, I am perhaps overly cautious at the moment. :unsure:

On a related note, the US Mail and I are in a real "love-hate relationship". With a first-class mail USPS money order taking 20 days to be delivered and an Insured Priority mail package showing no tracking updates for so long I was starting the insurance claim process, I am overly cautious with anything not FedEx or UPS these days. [/rant mode = off]
You are right to be cautious: I have recently bought an expensive pair of binos (tax-included price: 3470$) from a very reputable retailer (which shall remain nameless) but despite their apparently good return policies it took almost 3 months to get a refund.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
That black hole in Denver claimed one of my packages! The OIG claim got that Priority package to show up in 3 days after sitting for ~2 weeks with a scan in the Denver suburb and weeks later a scan in Texas near its destination.

I'm generally inclined towards Zeiss binoculars first based on past good experiences but, the SLC's I tried were a pretty good fit as well.

The Steiner's strike me as big and bulky but, they really work well for me. While some people complain about the lack of central focus and often the 20m minimum focus distance, I must say it has not been a problem for me and my "Police" Steiners focus at 2m.
Once you get used to using IF you won't go back to CF. You just put the binoculars up to your eyes and use them. No focusing or adjusting eye cups! Did you get the Steiner Shadowquest 8x56?
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
You are right to be cautious: I have recently bought an expensive pair of binos (tax-included price: 3470$) from a very reputable retailer (which shall remain nameless) but despite their apparently good return policies it took almost 3 months to get a refund.
I returned a pair of binoculars I purchased off of eBay for $950 and sent them USPS Priority mail to the seller, and it took 34 days to get to New Jersey! 34 DAYS! Fortunately, eBay gave me a refund before the seller received the binoculars.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I get my APM APO 12x50 binoculars today from APM. I will write a review on them once I have tried them out. They were on sale at APM for about $350 and I received them in 2 days from Germany! Thanks, Markus.
 

sidpost

Well-known member
United States
Once you get used to using IF you won't go back to CF. You just put the binoculars up to your eyes and use them. No focusing or adjusting eye cups! Did you get the Steiner Shadowquest 8x56?

Yes, waiting for shipping confirmation right now. The vendor said to expect ~16 days for them to arrive.
 

sidpost

Well-known member
United States
I get my APM APO 12x50 binoculars today from APM. I will write a review on them once I have tried them out. They were on sale at APM for about $350 and I received them in 2 days from Germany! Thanks, Markus.

How did you learn about the sale? I have an account on their website and looked for a sign up for sale notifications and didn't find anything. THANKS!
 

dries1

Member
The nice thing about the SLC 8x56 is the 400 foot FOV. The Meopta Meostar 8x56 has only a 334 foot FOV and the Zeiss Conquest HD has a 375 foot FOV. The Meostar has very good optics though. The Steiner Shadowquest 8x56 has as a big a FOV as the SLC for 1/3 the money and it is lighter in weight. It only weighs 38 oz. and the SLC is 43 oz.. The Conquest HD 8x56 is heavier yet at 45 oz.

I heard that Trump put his crone in as Postmaster with the agreement he would lay off postal employees to sabotage the USPS, so they couldn't get all the ballots in for the election in time. I have talked to the rank and file postal employees, and they said they have never seen it this bad with hundreds of trucks sitting all over the place and piles of mail just sitting at the distribution centers. Our distribution center in Denver is like a "Black Hole". The mail that goes in never comes out!
Careful Dennis where you get your news these days. This last paragraph belongs on RF, unless the opinion is ok here.
Andy W.
 

Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
Sidpost, post 1,
Your best choice might be a Meopta considering price-performance and certainly not a binocular with IF if you want to be versatile.
Gijs van Ginkel
 

Maljunulo

Well-known member
I have a very strong feeling that if I posted anything resembling that I would be banned instantly.

I do not come here to read people's political opinions, there is quite enough of that sort of thing available elsewhere.

And I hope I don't get whacked for this post.
 

Nethero

Well-known member
Yes, waiting for shipping confirmation right now. The vendor said to expect ~16 days for them to arrive.
sidpost,

If you find the Shadowquest 8x56 to be too big and bulky around your neck while using the regular strap provided by Steiner I recommend you try using their floating strap (big padded strap designed for marine use). While the strap is on the expensive side I think it really alleviates pressure and distributes the weight of these binoculars quite well.

As for optical qualities and light transmission, so long as you are not trying to look at anything closer that ~15 meters or so I believe you will quite pleased and impressed. Another thing that might take a bit to get used to are the folding winged eyecups. If you wear glasses just fold them down and forget about them. Otherwise for me it took a bit to get used to. However now I have grown quite fond of their benefits in blocking out stray and ambient light.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
sidpost,

If you find the Shadowquest 8x56 to be too big and bulky around your neck while using the regular strap provided by Steiner I recommend you try using their floating strap (big padded strap designed for marine use). While the strap is on the expensive side I think it really alleviates pressure and distributes the weight of these binoculars quite well.

As for optical qualities and light transmission, so long as you are not trying to look at anything closer that ~15 meters or so I believe you will quite pleased and impressed. Another thing that might take a bit to get used to are the folding winged eyecups. If you wear glasses just fold them down and forget about them. Otherwise for me it took a bit to get used to. However now I have grown quite fond of their benefits in blocking out stray and ambient light.
Good tip on the marine strap. I may try one. I usually don't like winged eye cups, but I find the winged eye cups on the Steiner Shadowquest to be some of the best deigned I have used, and they do help block stray light considerably. When I use other binoculars I notice the glare from the sides more now.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top