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Like Vortex 8x42 Razor - Looking for similar quality 8x30/32 (1 Viewer)

cjmassey

Member
Hello:

I am a novice birder with 20 year old binoculars, but I just retired and wanted to get deeper into birding and I decided to purchase a nice set of binoculars. I know I can get a really good set for $500 or so, but wanted to get a higher end pair without going to the very top. I wanted to spend in the range of $1000-1200 USD. I did a comparison with the Vortex Razor 8x42, Zeiss Conquest HD 8x42, Viper 8x42. To my eyes, the Razor and the Zeiss were very close with the Zeiss being a hair sharper, but I kept the Razor because I liked how they fit my eyes and the handling. The Viper was not as sharp as the Razor and I found the focus wheel too stiff.

After reading here about 8x30/32 and the lighter weight (i mainly bird in good light), I decided to try some 8x30/32s. I tried the Nikon Monarch 7 8x30 in regular and HG edition, and the Zeiss in the 8x32. The Zeiss was again sharper by a hair, but I still liked the Razor 8x42 the best. The two nikons appeared further down the scale in sharpness to me.

My question for the members here is what are other models I should consider in the 8x30/32 size with similar performance to the Razor 8x42 and Zeiss within my price range? I was thinking of trying the Swarvosski 8x30 CL against the Razor next. Any other candidates I should audition?

Sorry for the long winded explanation. Thanks

Clay
 
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PhilR.

Well-known member
My question for the members here is what are other models I should consider in the 8x30/32 size with similar performance to the Razor 8x42 and Zeiss within my price range?

Clay

The only other ones to consider are the Kowa Genesis and possibly the Swarovski CL (don’t know current pricing). But IMO there isn’t anything better in your price range than the Conquest HD.

That being said, with a little effort you might be able to find a good deal on a 32mm alpha. Last year I purchased a new Leica UVHD+ for $1200. Not saying that anyone can just go out and get one for that price any time they want, but there’s bargains to be had out there.
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
I would agree with Phil and add two - Kowa Genesis 8x33, Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32, Swarovski CL 8x30, Meopta Meostar/Cabela's Euro HD (same bin different brands) 8x32 and Nikon Monarch HG 8x30. Some would add the Trinovid 8x32, though I'm not personally a fan. Among the five I listed, I like them all, honestly, though I have personal preferences. And that is key - it is more personal preference for form factor, ergonomics, FOV, eye relief, etc among all of these binoculars. Everyone will have a different opinion and you have to use them and form your own, honestly, instead of try to let others tell you what you should like.

The idea of looking for a deal on a used/discounted alpha 8x32 is a great idea if you are open to it. You might well get a Zeiss 8x32FL for US$1200 with some patience and hunting, as the new Victory SF is imminent and will replace it. The FL is still arguably the best or top-3 of all 8x32's ever made. Some will prefer the Swaro EL or the Ultravid, I prefer the FL. The FL is a SERIOUS step up from any of the above options, and if it is in your budget it is well worth finding a way to try one and if you get on with it, start hunting for a deal.

Cheers and good luck - you have the fortune to be looking in a price range that gives you a good selection of frankly stellar binoculars.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
If you have a lot of patience you might find a Nikon EDG 8x32 or Zeiss FL 8x32 on Ebay for about that price. IMO the EDG is a little better than the FL but they are both superb with the EDG being the best 8x32 and the FL second. If you don't want to wait the Swarovski 8x30 CL would be your next best option as it is better than the Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32, Kowa Genesis 8x33, Meopta Meostar 8x32, or Nikon Monarch 8x30. The big advantage of the Swarovski CL 8x30 over the Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 is it has sharper edges, much better contrast and it is smaller in size and lighter in weight. I compared the Swarovski CL 8x30 and the Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 closely because I had them both at the same time. I have had all of these binoculars.
 
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Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
My vote goes for Zeiss Conquest HD, Meopta MeoStar 8x32 and Kowa Genesis 8x33 in that order.

Lee
 

JoeRawles

Feathers Wild Bird Care
My first thought with the Conquest 8x32 is that it isn't particularly light, and only comes in at 55g less than your Razor 8x42, so you wouldn't benefit much if your main concern was to reduce the weight.
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
I'd go with the Conquest HD as well. Only problem is if you are looking for a lighter binocular than your Razor...well it IS but only by a couple of ounces. So that leaves the Swarovski 8X30 CL B which should be about 6 ounces lighter at least and a good bit smaller. That would be my pick.
 

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dries1

Member
If your budget is $1000-$1200, I would pass on the Conquest, perhaps the CL. If you could look as Pbjosh stated l for a gently used Zeiss FL 8X32, that would be the best optic for a decent price. The likelihood of finding an EDG 8X32 even from Japan is getting rare so that is the least likely, although it is my favorite 8X32.

Good luck,

Andy W.
 

cjmassey

Member
Thank you for all the feedback guys. You guys have been very helpful in getting me to think through everything.

How do people view the accuracy and usefulness of the Allbinos.com site? I know it can't tell how a binocular will fit you, but looking at their rankings, the Swarvoski 8x30 CL which I have coming to try next week is ranked only 2 points higher than the Zeiss 8x32 FL that several have recommended looking for used. Thanks again.

Clay
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Thank you for all the feedback guys. You guys have been very helpful in getting me to think through everything.

How do people view the accuracy and usefulness of the Allbinos.com site? I know it can't tell how a binocular will fit you, but looking at their rankings, the Swarvoski 8x30 CL which I have coming to try next week is ranked only 2 points higher than the Zeiss 8x32 FL that several have recommended looking for used. Thanks again.

Clay
After having over 100 binoculars and comparing them I would say the Allbino.com site is very accurate. But you still have to decide what factors are more important to YOU. Is distortion important to you or is CA something you can't stand? Do you just love a huge FOV? In general if a binocular is ranked higher on Albino's it is going to be better than the one below it optically but you also have to consider how the binoculars works for YOU ergonomically and optically. Do the eye cups fit your eyes sockets? Do your hands fit the binoculars and feel comfortable? Is the focuser smooth and does it have equal tension in both directions? There are a lot of other thing's that go in to choosing a binocular besides just optics. That being said if budget is not a factor start with the top ranked binoculars on Allbino's and work your way down. That way you will have something to compare the lower ranked binoculars with. A reference standard so to speak. In general you get what you pay for. A Bushnell is not going to perform like a Swarovski SV, Nikon EDG or Zeiss SF nor is it going to be built as well or last as long so that is something else to consider. The more expensive binoculars in general have better warranties and customer support because that is built in to the higher purchase price. If you don't care about price and you don't know much about binoculars you can't go wrong with any of Allbino's top five ranked binoculars in each category. Start there and try them yourself. Really the Zeiss FL 8x32 and the Swarovski CL 8x30 are pretty close in optics. The Zeiss FL 8x32 has a bigger FOV but the Swarovski CL 8x30 has sharper edges and is lighter and more compact. I would never pay the $2000.00 retail for the Zeiss FL 8x32 with the new Zeiss 8x32 SF coming next week but if you could pick one up for $1200.00 it would be a good bargain but you may like the Swarovski CL 8x30 better and you can get a new one with no hassle for $1200.00. I have a feeling though if you compared the Zeiss FL 8x32 to the Swarovski CL 8x30 side by side you would be won over by the FL's considerably larger FOV. There is just more WOW factor with the FL. The people who say Allbino's isn't accurate usually own a binocular that they do not rank very highly so in their mind it can't be accurate. You hear stuff like heck, my Tasco or my Zenray or my Bushnell is the best binocular I ever looked through yet that dang Allbino's has it ranked 76th place. Them people don't know what they are talking about!;)
 
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cjmassey

Member
That pretty much explains it to me. I'll check out the Swarvoski 8x30 CL and compare it to the Razor unless I can find a FL 8x32 used before then. Thanks for taking the time to write all that.
 

cjmassey

Member
Based on comments from forum members, I was going to purchase to try either a Meopta 8x32 B1.1 ($755 sportoptics w/disc) or a Cabela's Instinct® Euro HD 8x32 ($899) to add to my evaluation. What would be the pros and cons (besides price) between the two as far as warrranty service or any other things. Which would you lean toward and why? Thanks.

Clay
 

jremmons

Wildlife Biologist
I too feel the Razor HD is superior, optically, to the Conquest HD (I've owned both and currently have the Conquest HD as my daily 'beater' binocular).
I also found the Meostar/Euro HD superior to the Conquest HD, optically. If they had an 8x42 HD model (although there are indications that the newest series of Meostars aren't much/any different optically, I've never personally been able to compare the two side by side) it would be my pick as an all-around binocular.

I really liked the 8x32 Cabela's Euro HD, but couldn't get quite enough Eye-relief for use with my eyeglasses. I had the same issue with the Kowa Genesis 8x33.

That being said, if eye-relief were not an issued I'd probably go with the Kowa Genesis as it had the best image to my eyes due to the lowest amount of Chromatic Aberration. Next would be the Euro HD/Meostar as they have an amazing warranty. Finally, the Conquest HD would be my last pick, as I felt it not to be quite as sharp as the other two; however, because it has the most eye-relief, it would be my pick if that was a concern.

Clear as mud?

Justin
 

gcole

Well-known member
Based on comments from forum members, I was going to purchase to try either a Meopta 8x32 B1.1 ($755 sportoptics w/disc) or a Cabela's Instinct® Euro HD 8x32 ($899) to add to my evaluation. What would be the pros and cons (besides price) between the two as far as warrranty service or any other things. Which would you lean toward and why? Thanks.

Clay

I doubt Cabelas brand of the Meopta’s 8x32 would provide the US 30 year warranty. Just for this reason I would stay away from Cabelas Euro. With the dealer direct purchase from Meopta resale would be to the next owner as if buying a new binocular.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Based on comments from forum members, I was going to purchase to try either a Meopta 8x32 B1.1 ($755 sportoptics w/disc) or a Cabela's Instinct® Euro HD 8x32 ($899) to add to my evaluation. What would be the pros and cons (besides price) between the two as far as warrranty service or any other things. Which would you lean toward and why? Thanks.

Clay
I have had both of those binoculars and performance wise they are pretty much the same. The trouble with the Meopta Meostar B.1 8x32's is the eye cups are on the small side and depending on your eye sockets they could go too far in creating blackouts because the eye relief won't mesh with your eyes. They did with me and other members. See the thread on the Meostar B.1 8x32 below. I have tried quite a few Meopta Meostar's and I feel the 8x32 is the weakest performer. The Meostar B.1 8x32 also has too much distortion compared to the CL 8x30 and much softer edges and a yellow hue which is visible most of the time. The Meostar 8x42 B.1 performs a lot better and the standout in the Meopta line is the Meostar HD 15x56 if you need a high power binocular. The Meopta Meostar B.1 8x32 is not going to perform anywhere near the Swarovski CL 8x30 or Zeiss FL 8x32 you were considering and IMO I don't think it it as good as the Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32. It is ranked 19th place on Allbino's and that is about where I would put it. Amazingly a $200.00 binocular the Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8x32 is ranked above it at 18th place.

https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?p=3980713#post3980713
https://www.allbinos.com/allbinos_ranking-binoculars_ranking-8x32.html
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/prod..._endeavor_ed_ii_8320_8x32_endeavor_ed_ii.html
 
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