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Meopta, Opticron, Kowa.... rival models to the "big three"? (1 Viewer)

ZDHart

Well-known member
Supporter
Are there some higher-end models from these three (or other) "lesser-known" binocular brands that can be considered close rivals to some of the top bins from L, Z, or S?

If you have some recommendations, I would greatly appreciate hearing about them!
 

kwikstaart

Well-known member
Indeed: I own a Swarovki El SV 8,5 x 44 and since a few days a Kowa genesis 8,5x44. The Kowa costs about half of the Swaro and much less than a NL Pure but on its own it's magnificent and compared to my EL I really can't find real differences when looking through them.
You can also think about the so called "sub-alpha's" from the topbrands: For example Leica trinovid HD, also very good. As long as you don't compare to th best they are perfect. For me it's has become more and more important to look at brands who do not advertise/associate with hunting. Then Opticron, Bynolyt and private brands sold by the birdconservation partys can be quite interesting.
 

Rg548

Member
United Kingdom
The most impressive, as far as value for money goes, in my humble opinion, was the Opticron DBA vhd +
I couldn't believe how good they were. Not quite Alpha, but very close, and for the money, just astonishing.
I had some money to play with so went Zeiss, and pocket Swaro, but those Opticrons were very very good.
 

Rg548

Member
United Kingdom
Also, don't discount reputable second hand dealers such as ACE optics. Their rating system for second hand seems to be very fair, mint is mint.
Exc + is almost like new. Take a look at their site.
I had a great pair of mint condition Zeiss binos from them, they are as new, and saved quite a few quid. They had a great range of second hand stuff.
Well worth a look!!
I personally wouldn't do Ebay second hand, as there is no warranty, and although potentially you might get an even better bargain, I personally don't think it's worth the risk, and would rather pay a few quid more and get the dealer backing. Your choice of course.
 

Rg548

Member
United Kingdom
Oh, and backing up the other member, Leica Trinovids, and also Zeiss Conquests are superb for the money, so close to Alpha bins in my view!
 

gcole

Well-known member
Also, don't discount reputable second hand dealers such as ACE optics. Their rating system for second hand seems to be very fair, mint is mint.
Exc + is almost like new. Take a look at their site.
I had a great pair of mint condition Zeiss binos from them, they are as new, and saved quite a few quid. They had a great range of second hand stuff.
Well worth a look!!
I personally wouldn't do Ebay second hand, as there is no warranty, and although potentially you might get an even better bargain, I personally don't think it's worth the risk, and would rather pay a few quid more and get the dealer backing. Your choice of course.
I totally agree. I have ordered from ACE from here in the states. Fast shipping and their used rating of each item I have purchased were spot on, no surprises.
 

gcole

Well-known member
The most impressive, as far as value for money goes, in my humble opinion, was the Opticron DBA vhd +
I couldn't believe how good they were. Not quite Alpha, but very close, and for the money, just astonishing.
I had some money to play with so went Zeiss, and pocket Swaro, but those Opticrons were very very good.
I own a pair of the Opticron DBA VHD + 8x42 binocular and agree that they are a very good binocular which in my opinion provide an Alpha like view.
 

edwincjones

Well-known member
When I compare my Kowa 6.5x32 BDII WD at $350 to my Zeiss 8x32 FL at $2100 now
the Kowa is good enough for me at 1/6 the price, the Zeiss is not 6X better

edj
 

ZDHart

Well-known member
Supporter
When I compare my Kowa 6.5x32 BDII WD at $350 to my Zeiss 8x32 FL at $2100 now
the Kowa is good enough for me at 1/6 the price, the Zeiss is not 6X better

edj
I'm sure that the alpha Zeiss FL is not 6x better than the BDII WD. But is it noticeably better?

While the point of diminishing returns (for increasing expenditure) does start setting in at around the $1000 price point, that doesn't mean that noticeable improvement stops at $1000 either.

It's nice to hear that the Kowas are so satisfying! $2100 bins are certainly quite an extravagance for a great many people who might enjoy using binoculars.
 

DrewskiMT

Birder Hunter Observer
When I compare my Kowa 6.5x32 BDII WD at $350 to my Zeiss 8x32 FL at $2100 now
the Kowa is good enough for me at 1/6 the price, the Zeiss is not 6X better

edj
edj, do you have any other 8x32s that you have compared your Kowa BD2's with? I haven't looked through the Kowa's, but have heard good things about them. Just curious how they stack up against things like the Monarch 7 and Opticron Traveler and Maven B3 and such. -Drew
 

ZDHart

Well-known member
Supporter
The reality is if you really use the glass, the Zeiss will last 6 times longer.
Due to the frequent/heavy use of the focusing mechanism, I presume?

Or, perhaps they are more rugged and can resist the knocks of bouncing around a lot?
 

dries1

Member
Actually that is why perhaps something like a Kowa BD II, Monarch 7, and other glass in the $400 range will have pitfalls in heavy/frequent use because the materials/craftmanship is on a much lower scale, eyecups, focus mechanism, diopter. The optics of modern budget glass is done quite well in certain cases, but the mechanical composition and design in many cases are subpar and frequently not consistent in build.
I have owned many a Nikon E 8X30 and Nikon SE models, these were mid range glass when they came out, all performed as they were designed to, no failures. All were made consistent in build. They could be serviced however.
I do not want to list names of midrange glass that I have inspected and found out how subpar they are made, but with companies today they replace your glass that just needed service. In a sense that is the new model, buy - use - replace. Hopefully from a company that will honor their warranty. They are made for a low cost for a reason.
I do understand many do not want to drop $1000 on a binocular, and that is fine, however one should not be surprised if after a few months they have issues, we all get what we pay for no matter what it is.
 

Brink

Well-known member
edj, do you have any other 8x32s that you have compared your Kowa BD2's with? I haven't looked through the Kowa's, but have heard good things about them. Just curious how they stack up against things like the Monarch 7 and Opticron Traveler and Maven B3 and such. -Drew
I have the Kowa 6.5x32s and sold my BDII 8x32s in favor of my MHGs. The Kowa are about equivalent to the M7. In 8x the Kowa are a bit brighter with a slightly wider FOV. Huge difference in ergonomics though. The contrast is superior in higher end binoculars like the MHG. The BDII is a very easy and relaxing view and I carry them regularly in the spring
 

DrewskiMT

Birder Hunter Observer
I am extremely impressed with my new Nikon MHGs in 8x42. They are even a bit nicer to look through than my Conquests in 8x32, mostly for the small but noticeably wider FOV in the HGs. That said, I do enjoy the hand feel of the shorter and lighter Conquest. I'd throw both of them into the ring as legitimate competitors to the Big Three and their Alpha's. Nikon's EDGs are alpha's also of course.
 
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ZDHart

Well-known member
Supporter
I do understand many do not want to drop $1000 on a binocular, and that is fine, however one should not be surprised if after a few months they have issues, we all get what we pay for no matter what it is.
A few months? Yeah... that would be crap quality, indeed, if it only lasts a few months before issues pop up.
 
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ZDHart

Well-known member
Supporter
I am extremely impressed with my new Nikon MHGs in 8x42. They are even a bit nicer to look through than my Conquests in 8x32, mostly notably a bit wider FOV. But I do enjoy the hand feel of the shorter and lighter Conquest. I'd throw them into the ring as legitimate competitors to the Big Three.
Drewski... totally with you on the Conquest HD line. They're near-alpha and under a grand! Great choice, if 2-3x the price for alpha doesn't light your fire!

As one reviewer said, (paraphrasing) "go ahead and buy the alpha bins, knowing full-well that the Conquest HD was all that you needed!" :LOL:
 
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