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Looking for the Best Binos for the money (1 Viewer)

JamesnTN

Member
Hello all,
I’m new to bird watching and am seeking the best Binos for the money now days. I’d like to stick to something in the 8x42 range but will listen to you guys. Being into photography I know nothing of quality Binos so any and all advice is welcomed.
Thanks in advance
James
 

Sebzwo

Well-known member
In general I would look for yesterday's top level in very good condition. You often will get excellent craftsmanship, robustness, repairability and good performance at a fraction of the fancy current top end. Like some of those Trinovids up to older Victories, top Nikons and such. Many of the former glory quality porros.
The other way to go would be to pick the affordable upper mid level of today giving you a high performance sometimes from the same factory at just not the top end marketing image. Like current Conquests.
 
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DrewskiMT

Birder Hunter Observer
1. Its all about ergonomic fit to your hands and face. Think shoes... Try different models before you buy if at all possible. Do you know your interpupillary distance? 8x42 is a good place to start magnification and objective lens size wise. 8x32 can also work well (at the $400-$450 and up price point.) but can be too small to grip well depending on model.

How much do you want to spend?

Binoculars also exist at a lot of different price points. The sweet spots are $300ish, $500, $1000, $2700. Although great models/values are also found at $700 and $1200... so a lot of prices/choices.

2. $500 and up binos will aid bird ID and increase enjoyment significantly. That said, I have birded a lot and had fun with Nikon Monarch 5 ($280) but I would much prefer Monarch 7 ($500) or other $500 binos: Opticron's, Vanguard Endeavor 4, Vortex Viper HD.
If you want to spend more, the view and the build quality of the instruments will improve. At $1000, Nikon Monarch HG and Zeiss Conquest HD and Leica Trinovid, Maven Binos, are getting so good that you have to spend $2500 to get a significantly improved view.

Let us know, and we will help steer you towards some models for auditioning.
 

Maljunulo

Well-known member
To repeat above, how much are you willing to spend?

Every time you move down you accept more optical and mechanical compromises.

Choose carefully.
 

jcnguyen09

Well-known member
Also make sure the budget is ready before going out to try the upgrades since it's hard and close to impossible to down grade the optics after getting spoiled by said alpha or sub-alpha...just my 2cents!
 

JamesnTN

Member
My bad I would like to stay within 1200.00 and under. I know there are some great optics at 2000.00-3000.00 and I’d love to spend that but I can’t justify the cost at this time.
 

Blue72

Well-known member
That would be the Nikon 7x35 aculon for $60-70

the wide FOV is amazing and the binoculars are sharp in the sweet spot
 

qwerty5

Well-known member
United States
For $1000, I believe the best options would be Nikon Monarch HG, Zeiss Conquest HD, or Vortex Razor HD. Try them out yourself and then choose.
 

jcnguyen09

Well-known member
you might want to look at the this thread:

~$1000 Binoculars poll​

 

JamesnTN

Member
you might want to look at the this thread:

~$1000 Binoculars poll​


Thanks I just saw the review as you posted. I was quite surprised they didn’t list any of the Kowa in the poll. Although I did read where it was above the 1K price point. I have the 883 as a spotter and love it.
 

ibramr

Well-known member
Hello all,
I’m new to bird watching [………edited.] Being into photography I know nothing of quality Binos so any and all advice is welcomed......[....edited.]
James

James, I guess you know the answer. Go used Leica; yesteryear models will very likely meet your needs. Good luck.
 

jafritten

Well-known member
... I was quite surprised they didn’t list any of the Kowa in the poll. Although I did read where it was above the 1K price point. I have the 883 as a spotter and love it.
The Kowa Genesis 8x33 is great. Virtually no CA, great build quality, wide FOV, great microcontrast. The only downside is its rolling ball effect, if that matters.

Everybody will suggest a different model to you because what is good or "best" is quite subjective. So, try and compare.
 

JamesnTN

Member
I just got quoted a pair of Kowa genesis 8.5x44 for 1050.00
So before I pull the plug is there anything you guys actually feel is better?
 

qwerty5

Well-known member
United States
I just got quoted a pair of Kowa genesis 8.5x44 for 1050.00
So before I pull the plug is there anything you guys actually feel is better?
I don't think you'll regret it for $250 off regular street price. Don't go with a 8x33, since the wider objective of the 8.5x44 gives you better brightness and image quality. Just my 2 cents
 

DrewskiMT

Birder Hunter Observer
I just got quoted a pair of Kowa genesis 8.5x44 for 1050.00
So before I pull the plug is there anything you guys actually feel is better?
I am assuming you know how heavy those Kowa's are. According to the optic sages around here the Genesis are widely regarded as Alpha minus (Swaro SLC-esque) glass and that quote is a great price. But heavy. Then again, the Maven B2s and Meopta's are equally stout in terms of weight and price. If you are basing this purchase on pure optical performance at that price point, then yes, the Kowa's are the best. If lighter weight or longer eye relief are priorities the Monarch HG and Conquest HDs and those new Opticron Aurora's are contenders for your $$. I own MHGs and Conquests. I would go with Opticron's new flagship. But I am weight sensitive over about 28 ounces

Kowa 8.5x44 = 33oz
Conquest HD =28oz
Nikon MHG = 24/25oz
Opticron Aurora = 25oz

All weights from manufacturers specs. Not that weight should be the sole factor.
 
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AlphaFan

Well-known member
United States
What DrewshiMT said. Although optical quality is always a primary emphasis, IME any optic purchase is a compromise of features to some degree - optics, size, weight, ergonomics, etc. The entire package needs to be a good fit, especially if one intends to use extensively and often. At $1k there are numerous good options - many already mentioned. The best advise is to go to a shop that has several of your short-list brands available to sample in order to explore and discover personal preferences prior to buying. But, if you’re anything like the majority here, this won’t be your final binocular purchase.
 

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