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Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.

Looking to upgrade binoculars (1 Viewer)

CharleyBird

Well-known member
England
Don't be hasty to dismiss the Nikon E2 8x30. They are well liked by many for good reason and would be my choice with a 500 budget.
Mine have been out in light drizzle without problems, are easy to carry and so pleasant to use with the wide FOV. The 10 year UK warranty is probably not going to be needed.
Faults for me are minor, comes with an awful plastic case, not as small as equivalent roofs, don't quite lay flat against your chest.

Have a read:


 

William Lewis

Well-known member
United Kingdom
I've heard great things about the eii and the e criterion 10x35's I had we're certainly excellent. A cheaper option that gives up very little would be the opticron srga's. They can be had for under £200 are rubber armoured (splash proof but not submersible) and will give just a good if not better view than anything else you've tried. I had a pair for a good few years before trying the 10x42 trinovid hd's and to be honest the opticrons were in the same league in terms of view. The problem with porro is fashion...
 

JOC1

Member
United States
For your purposes, a good 32mm is fine. I like the 8x30 Nikon Monarch 7. It does have a rather short ER, but it provides a very nice view that is bright, wide, and sharp. The Traveller seems to be a very similar binocular, but according to B&H's website, has a lot more ER. If you wear eyeglasses, taht might be the one to get. Another 32mm to consider is the Leupold Pro Guide HD. I haven't tried that size, but I can say that the other PG HD's perform quite well.

If you are going to go with a 42mm bino, then the Viper is a good choice, especially if you can find it for around $300 which is what they were priced at the end of last year. If however you have to pay full price, then also consider the Meopta Meopro HD, Leupold Pro Guide HD, and Monarch 7. All are very good, with no one model that stands out above the rest. Also, the Athlon Midas G2 (2nd generation) comes very close in performance to these binos, but for a much reduced cost. Lastly, you can find the Zeiss Terra 8x42 in black/orange color at Midwayusa for $315 and free shipping. These usually compete in the same price level as the Pro Guide HD/Monarch 7/Meopro. If you don't mind the "safety orange" color, it would be a pretty good buy.
I have seen some reviews about the Athlon Midas G2 and one reviewer actually picked the G2 over the Viper. (!!!)

Link to that review:

Does anybody have experience between these two? Is this actually the case?
I would rather pay more money for a more established company such as Vortex who are more likely to back up that warranty for years to come.

BUT if the G2 has the same (or better) optics than the Viper, then that definitely changes things!
 

qwerty5

Well-known member
United States
also a quick question on ER to anyone who knows, if you don’t wear glasses and prefer to put the Bino right to the eyes, is it better to have short or long ER?
ER length doesn't matter, what matters is the eyecups extending to the right position to get the whole FOV.
I’ve heard great things about the Viper optics and of course the warranty. But I heard the negative is that it does give some eye strain.
The eye strain is probably because that sample was out of collimation, which would seem to be a result of quality control issues that are somewhat common in China made binoculars.
 

JOC1

Member
United States
Update:

Just got the Vortex Viper HD 8x42 a few days ago and they were the upgrade I were looking for!
The sharpness is a touch better than the explorer with better low light performance and no blackout issues. (FINALLY!)

I also noticed really good CA control.

The surprise for me though was the immersive view. When the eyecups were fully extended, I got the typical/average view. But when I lowered the eyecup position one notch, it makes me feel like I’m in the image! This takes it from an above-average view to a good one.

Another great bonus is the ease of use. My wife had issues with several of the x32 binoculars because of the eyecups. But these seem to fit her fine, which was something I was always looking for!

When it comes to the weight difference, you can feel it, but it’s mostly arbitrary IMO. Unless you are trying to use these one handed, the weight won’t really factor into the equation. The weight disappears in my hands when I’m engaged in an image. And I’ve also walked a good bit with these- no issues.

In comparison to the travellers and Verano, I remember them both being maybe a touch sharper, but the overall experience of the Viper wins it for me. As some reviewers put it, these do everything slightly above average - and I couldn’t agree more!

From the optics to the exterior - They do a bit of everything with almost no obvious compromises.

BUT - There was one gripe I had with these! (thankfully there was a simple fix)

The eye cup resistance in the intermediate positions were barely usable. They can collapse to a different position while viewing if you put a lot of pressure on them (which I do). But to fix that, I just put a small hair tie on the eyepiece barrel. It prevented the eyepiece from moving down to the other positions despite the pressure I put.
(Important note - this wasn’t an issue when the eyecups were fully extended, they locked very well and didn’t collapse with pressure.)

So Overall, I’m really happy with these and plan on keeping them.

Thank you all for your input and suggestions ! 👍


On a side note: I found a really helpful resource that compared a bunch of different binoculars. I Hope this will be helpful to anyone looking for direct comparisons 👍

 
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