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Great Binocs Under $100 (or 60 pounds Sterling) (1 Viewer)

OPTIC_NUT

Well-known member
This topic comes up with beginners a lot,
and there a lot of 'very good' models now in that range.
what are you nominees? Mention any outstanding features,
and avoid ones that have inconsistent quality (a note to me not to
recommend what's great after a fix/hotrodding).

Right off the bat we have (most times under the price limit):
 

Bear83

Well-known member
Hello, my nominee for packing a great optical punch for the price would be the Redfield Renegade 8X36. Picked one up recently for a mere $55. Waterproof, rugged porro design with a decent field of view and a superb build quality that is robust and balanced well. Eyecups are more sure clicking and refined than others in this category. The strap and case are of decent quality as well. Eye relief works perfect for both my glasses and contacts without blackouts. Finally the view, good centerfield resolution and a sweet spot that extends to approx 75% of the fov. Bright image that is a touch on the warm side, but overall fairly neutral. All in all, couldn't ask for more at this price...a real bargain.
 

WJC

Well-known member
Hi O-N:

Will $60 really buy a "great" bino? Considering field curvature, distortion, eye relief, baffling, color rendition, chromatic aberration, coatings and short cuts taken to make a bigger profit, I'm a bit leary. Of course, It really comes down to what an observer views as "great."

The following is from a conversation I had with a rep from a world class bino company:

“You’re right, it’s all manufacturer driven; I can’t deny that. The guys at the top want more and more of the market share, and that means pushing boxes out of the plant. That’s all it comes down to—boxes, not optics.”

Just a thought.

Bill

PS I realize we old guy are supposed to be hopelessly technology challenged. However, I have spent the better part of an hour trying to figure out how to upload an Avatar. I have been all over the site. Help would be appreciated.
 
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OPTIC_NUT

Well-known member
Will $60 really buy a "great" bino?

No, but $100 would do nicely. The '60' was in UK Pounds.

Considering field curvature, distortion, eye relief, baffling, color rendition, chromatic aberration, coatings and short cuts taken to make a bigger profit, I'm a bit leary. Of course, It really comes down to what an observer views as "great."

I used 'great' as opposed to 'excellent'.

Well, the:

Leupold Yosemite 6x30 (usually ~$90)
Leupold Yosemite 8x30
LL.Bean/Bushnell Explorer 8x25 (only $50)
Nikon Acculon 211 7x35 (often ~$70)
Nikon Acculon 8x40
The Aforemention Redfield Renegade 8x36
Olympus 8x25 and 8x21 Roamer

All comport themselves very well in those categories.
I'm not sure you understand how widespread the new coatings have become.
They were on the Yosemites long ago.

The Yosemites and LL.Bean definitely class as near excellent for sharpness.
The Bean focuser exceeds any I've used going for any price.
The Acculon 211 has notable curvature, but it's an extra-wide and a lot of fun.

You can very fine things under $100, more and more recent years.
After the Meos, I can pocket the little Beans and be quite satisfied.

If you find Yosemites distasteful to look through....you need anti-depressants ;-)
They're great. Yosemite 8x30 with hoods can trump an Monarch 5 for me.
Yosemite 6x30s aren't quite Meopta 6.5x32s, but I can have a great time at the
hockey game or the concert with them. The Meos are not going to a concert.

Note that the Yosemites started out at about $130 almost 10 years ago.
The binocular market has been fiercely competitive for some time now.

Oddly enough, the worst baffling was on the premium binocs 3 years ago.
Some weird hubris brought on by coatings/brightness obsession maybe.
 
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Roadbike

Well-known member
Good idea for a thread. There are of course lots of binoculars for around $100 or less to choose from. The list of great ones among that bunch should probably include 8x and 7x Nikon Aculon as mentioned above and if you can find 'em at a decent price the same sizes in Nikon Action Extreme.

Although I haven't used them the Eagle Optics house brand Kingbird seems to get good comments. And it could be good advice for a newbie to just peruse Eagle Optics for inexpensive bins on sale. Great people who stand behind their products.
 

OPTIC_NUT

Well-known member
Good idea for a thread. There are of course lots of binoculars for around $100 or less to choose from. The list of great ones among that bunch should probably include 8x and 7x Nikon Aculon as mentioned above and if you can find 'em at a decent price the same sizes in Nikon Action Extreme.

Although I haven't used them the Eagle Optics house brand Kingbird seems to get good comments. And it could be good advice for a newbie to just peruse Eagle Optics for inexpensive bins on sale. Great people who stand behind their products.

Funny you should mention that....they are on sale now and it
brings them in at $100 or so!

http://www.eagleoptics.com/search?subcategory_permalink=all-products&query=kingbird&commit=GO

The reviews seem to place them as a bit more solid than the Yosemites,
like some of the Vortex or Vixens, and worth the $20-30 more if you can
spare it. Good timing for the recommendation.
While I love the Meo 6.5x32s as a super model, it's worth mentioning that the
Kingbirds ar 5 ounces lighter! That's the one snag on the meos for me:
they are surprisingly heavy.
 
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bluespiderweb

Great Grey Looking Out
EO Kingbirds or Vortex Raptors, same fuselage, different feathers...I have the Vortex Raptor 6.5x32's and can say without a doubt, they are a fine piece of kit for the money. Even if they are now $25 less than I spent on mine last year ($119.99), and can be had for $94.99 from EO including shipping at the moment!

Just coincidentally, mine are for sale in the classifieds here, for even less! I just have found the need for 8-10x in my viewing now, so I am selling the 6.5x's. But talk about clean, sharp view-it's amazing for the money, really.
 
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bluespiderweb

Great Grey Looking Out
Funny you should mention that....they are on sale now and it
brings them in at $100 or so!

http://www.eagleoptics.com/search?subcategory_permalink=all-products&query=kingbird&commit=GO

The reviews seem to place them as a bit more solid than the Yosemites,
like some of the Vortex or Vixens, and worth the $20-30 more if you can
spare it. Good timing for the recommendation.
While I love the Meo 6.5x32s as a super model, it's worth mentioning that the
Kingbirds ar 5 ounces lighter! That's the one snag on the meos for me:
they are surprisingly heavy
.

Oh, come on J, do a little weight lifting on some of those classic bins you have around, and then pick up the Meo's. Then how light do they feel?!! ; ) But the Meo's shouldn't even be in the conversation-no where near $100, even when found as a demo.
 
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bluespiderweb

Great Grey Looking Out
I will also add another two to the pot: when on sale for $99, you can sometimes score the Eagle Optics Atlas Radian's for $99 as well (as I did recently)! In either 8x42 or 10x42. I have the 10's and they are very nice optically, if just a little narrow on the fov. But being 10's, it's not bad anyway, and with a good sized sweet spot.
 

Roadbike

Well-known member
Funny you should mention that....they are on sale now and it
brings them in at $100 or so!

http://www.eagleoptics.com/search?subcategory_permalink=all-products&query=kingbird&commit=GO

The reviews seem to place them as a bit more solid than the Yosemites,
like some of the Vortex or Vixens, and worth the $20-30 more if you can
spare it. Good timing for the recommendation.
While I love the Meo 6.5x32s as a super model, it's worth mentioning that the
Kingbirds ar 5 ounces lighter! That's the one snag on the meos for me:
they are surprisingly heavy.

Yes, the sale price is what caught my eye!
 

NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
Bill:

I do appreciate and have learned much from your posts on the forum.

There are squirrels and "nuts". I am thinking they do have something in common.

Don't be bothered by some, that like to nitpick, and think every member that posts has compared
each new model that appears every 30 days.

Keep up your posting, I look forward to your thoughts, they do mean something to me.

Jerry
 

string boozel

Well-known member
I think that the Lidl Bressers or Rocktrail ( or whatever they're calling them at the moment ) are very good value for money. If you're just putting a tentative toe into the sometimes murky waters of birding they're a great way of seeing whether the hobby is for you or not without too much outlay. Close focus is a misnomer and they are not waterproof but quality of view is pretty good. They won't give the good folks at Zeiss nightmares but they will enable people to I.D birds.

James.
 

PhilR.

Well-known member
Bill:

I do appreciate and have learned much from your posts on the forum.

There are squirrels and "nuts". I am thinking they do have something in common.

Don't be bothered by some, that like to nitpick, and think every member that posts has compared
each new model that appears every 30 days.

Keep up your posting, I look forward to your thoughts, they do mean something to me.

Jerry

+1
 

dozercsx

Active member
Strong recommendation for $100 birding/astronomy quality binoculars (with ONE caveat):
The Atlas Eagle Owl 10x50 Porro prism binoculars. They are $99 on Amazon, and a few points:
(1) they REEK of quality - they feel great in the hand, the waterproof rubber coatings are super nice to the touch, the focuser is a quality turn in any direction, the alloy frame can be felt in your hands, everything slides with that quality resistance under your fingers. They come with padded strap, case, one piece shower protectors up top, and fitted (!) tethered objective covers, which slip inside the objective housing, not outside like an afterthought. Verry nice through and through, a quality experience.
(2) They are Fully Multi Coated, fully waterproof, and the view through them is quite good. They close focus to about 15 feet, which is good for a big Porro prism.
(3) they have an unconditional, lifetime, transferrable WARRANTY - try beating that for under a hundred bucks! Even better, the warranty is honored by Vortex, one of the great optics companies today.
***CAVEAT*** they are big and heavy, about 32 ounces. Interestingly, they are well balanced and feel lighter than that, but be aware - small hands may not work with these. I recommend an Allen binoculars harness ($12 on Amazon) and any/all carry issues are solved.

As 10x50s, they have the added bonus of being awesome for casual astronomy (two birds with one stone, as it were ;-) )

Just my two cents - enjoy!
 
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