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New binos by mid June. (1 Viewer)

For heavy 'real' use, such as jungle etc....
My choice would be Zeiss Conquest 8x32.
The slightly smaller aperture still works fine in lower light, they are small, good field of view, but also fairly light weight.
The big advantage, is the bombproof build quality, along with stellar optics.
Superb all rounder to use and enjoy.
You really don't need anything else with a pair of these!
 
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I would always consider:
1. depreciation; e.g. A swaro / leica / zeiss (in that order) depreciates less than a nikon, vortex, leupold.
e.g. if you buy a Swaro CL 8x30 for 1200 dollar, you can probably sell it for around 900 euro in 2 years from now. Just saying that the risk buying isn't as great as the total price, you would have paid 150 dollar /year.
If you buy a 500 dollar vortex or leupold, chances are you won't sell it for more than half after 2 years so that would set you back 125 dollar/year. So the depreciation is almost as high and thus the true cost is not much different. The Swaro will depreciate more over the years, but there will always be some value e.g. you will always get 4-500 dollar for them even in 10 years. The vortex of leupold on the other hand can depreciate close to zero, especially when armour gets worn (with Swaro you would be able to give them fresh armor before selling, often at no cost).

2. frequency of use; The more you use them (e.g. on a daily basis), the more picky I would be with regards to the quality / ease of the view, handling, focuser,...
If you buy a very expensive binocular and you hardly use it, I feel it's a bit a waste of spending money. On the other hand, it probably won't look like it has been used so again here, depreciation will be low. But it would be a shame to go cheap and spend hours looking through inferior glass or noticing that the focus wheel has some play after a short time. The question is, and this is personal: do you really value the difference between e.g. a Nikon M7 and a Swarovision? Some people do, some people don't. Don't buy an expensive bin out of vanity (= the human disease).

3. life time; Maybe a bit open for discussion, but some binoculars last longer than others. I heard good things of Zeiss Conquest but can't really think of that many binoculars who e.g. don't last more than 5 years.
So if you buy a binocular with good reviews about build quality, and it lasts e.g. 15 years, compared to a binocular for half the price that lasts 7.5 years... You get the idea. It's all about true cost, the (difference in) quality you perceive and can appreciate...

Just some food for thought.

ps:
If I would have a 5-800 budget, I would either try to stretch it to a Zeiss Conquest (but probably not even a need to stretch it), Nikon MHG (but Monarch 7 already would do within your budget), or a Leica Trinovid. Also nothing wrong with Swaro CL 8x30 for example, but I would prefer a 8x42 configuration.

But on the other hand, if you have a good feeling with e.g. the Vortex: just go for it. There are a zillion people (and bird guides, especially in the Americas) who use a Vortex and I never hear them complaining they don't find a bird for their clients who are all equipped with Swarovski Pure and need a laser pointer or they wouldn't see the bird.
 
-For your daughter I would optimize the choice more for her long-term usage vs this one trip. Is her professor's 8x20 or 10x20 advice because she'll be carrying a lot of other gear? Might consider the whole "system weight/volume" she might be carrying during fieldwork if glassing is not her primary activity, an 8x30 or 32 or particularly the Zeiss 8x25 Victory Pockets (a slight stretch at US MSRP, but grey market options exist) save so much weight and volume don't give up that much in most conditions, and handle well compared to 8x20s. The VP 8x25 design is single hinge so handles more like bigger binoculars vs others in this class. At least personally I bring my Victory Pockets on a lot more trips (work and vacation both) traveling with just a carry-on, where I'd never take an 42s, and even if I had 42s I would still often not elect to carry them around all day.

-In the cases of short refurbished warranties, personally I would hesitate to trade a long warranty for fairly incremental upfront savings. If the focus wheel goes out of whack or the nitrogen purge leaks out in a few years it could be much more stressful to hope they cover it under goodwill or have to pay out of pocket (if they even give that option).
 
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Not clear whether you share your daughter's enthusiasm for the Vortex Diamondback HD 8x42 and Leupold BX-2 10x42? I think you're suggesting (although without the benefit of a side by side comparison) your daughter did not prefer the Nikon Monarch 5 10x42 (old style?) or even the Monarch M7 8x42 but maybe you did? Perhaps her preferences are weighted very heavily by ergonomics like here :
You've already shown some (potentially expensive 🤑) discernment by rejecting the Nikon Prostaff P3 10x42 and preferring the clarity of the Kowa BD II XD 8x42 over the Vortex Viper HD 10x42; though some of the latter could be down to the higher magnification on the Vortex model. I guess you've already been alerted to the perils of buying sight unseen by the strap lugs on the Kowa though I suppose there's a chance you could adapt your hold.

For me that's progress and justification for a little reward 🍷...
 
Jerry, Thank you for your suggestions. And that of @[email protected], I'll scrap the idea of the pocket Swarovski.
I really prefer the wider FOV with the 8×42 which would benefit my daughter's uses, too. She's a true naturalist and loves to look at bugs, reptiles, etc., so a good close focus would be great, too. I do fear I'm on that slippery slope "If you spend just a little bit more money, you can get...". And that I'm over-researching these. I'm seriously considering the recommended 8x42 Nikon Monarch HG. It's so much lighter (23.52 oz) vs. the Zeiss Conquest at 28 oz. Nikon's warranty provides a limited lifetime on the optics. 7 years on non-optic components. Original purchaser/authorized retailer & save your receipt. The refurbished warranty is only 90 days which makes me nervous. But is manufacturer refurbished any better than buying used on Facebook or Classifieds? Citibank canceled all their extended warranty programs. But, we'll have it forever, right? But then my practical brain kicks in. Half the stuff my family has is secondhand in one way or another! The Greentoe site looks promising, akin to Priceline's "name your price", but I'm not sure how much to offer for a new MHG. $670? Is there anything else, like the MHG, but closer to $600? How about the M7 8x42? MSRP $490.
The MHG won't break the bank, but is it necessary?
My husband would say that paying more for MHG wouldn't improve his life by $250-400!
Then again, this is my biggest dream vacation and it's already expensive!
@Binastro @VonMaunder @ArchStanton @greekgeek @normjackson @[email protected]
I guess I'm asking you all, the binocular experts, if I should go with the MHG or the M7 in 8x42. Thanks!
I think of you want the Monarch HG in 8x42 your best price for new with USA warranty will be about $830. $830 was a Greentoe counter offer from $740 offer a few weeks ago.

Closer to $700 from Japan without US warranty or $700 refurbished with 90 days warranty.
 
For heavy 'real' use, such as jungle etc....
My choice would be Zeiss Conquest 8x32.
The slightly smaller aperture still works fine in lower light, they are small, good field of view, but also fairly light weight.
The big advantage, is the bombproof build quality, along with stellar optics.
Superb all rounder to use and enjoy.
You really don't need anything else with a pair of these!
If you are going to areas where there is a lot of canopy in Africa, I would prefer a 8x42 over a 8x32 for the better performance of the bigger aperture in low light.

 
If her prof is suggesting a smaller bino then the HG 8x30 would be a great choice. I also have a pair of Maven B3s that I really like. Good compromise between a compact and mid size. Both weigh about 16oz. BTW I compared my B3s to CLs a little while ago. The salesman there preferred the B3s as well as me. So much so he said he was going to buy a pair. They are brighter and have a much wider field of view. Better with glare. Extremely close in all other areas but the wide fov made for a much more immersive and pleasant view. Standard disclaimer, everyone’s eyes and preferences are different. Best thing is to compare directly like you did with the others you were initially considering.
 
If lighting is a consideration then a B3 6x30 could be a good choice. Will be as bright as a 8x42 and since there won’t be long range viewing 6X will be fine. I actually think an 8x30 would be fine for brightness and more versatile after her trip.
 
It's our pleasure, as a long standing supporting vendor here, to discuss the different available options and special opportunities with you. Please give a call, 516-217-1000, when you have the time. Thanks
 
I would always consider:
1. depreciation; e.g. A swaro / leica / zeiss (in that order) depreciates less than a nikon, vortex, leupold.
e.g. if you buy a Swaro CL 8x30 for 1200 dollar, you can probably sell it for around 900 euro in 2 years from now. Just saying that the risk buying isn't as great as the total price, you would have paid 150 dollar /year.
If you buy a 500 dollar vortex or leupold, chances are you won't sell it for more than half after 2 years so that would set you back 125 dollar/year. So the depreciation is almost as high and thus the true cost is not much different. The Swaro will depreciate more over the years, but there will always be some value e.g. you will always get 4-500 dollar for them even in 10 years. The vortex of leupold on the other hand can depreciate close to zero, especially when armour gets worn (with Swaro you would be able to give them fresh armor before selling, often at no cost).

2. frequency of use; The more you use them (e.g. on a daily basis), the more picky I would be with regards to the quality / ease of the view, handling, focuser,...
If you buy a very expensive binocular and you hardly use it, I feel it's a bit a waste of spending money. On the other hand, it probably won't look like it has been used so again here, depreciation will be low. But it would be a shame to go cheap and spend hours looking through inferior glass or noticing that the focus wheel has some play after a short time. The question is, and this is personal: do you really value the difference between e.g. a Nikon M7 and a Swarovision? Some people do, some people don't. Don't buy an expensive bin out of vanity (= the human disease).

3. life time; Maybe a bit open for discussion, but some binoculars last longer than others. I heard good things of Zeiss Conquest but can't really think of that many binoculars who e.g. don't last more than 5 years.
So if you buy a binocular with good reviews about build quality, and it lasts e.g. 15 years, compared to a binocular for half the price that lasts 7.5 years... You get the idea. It's all about true cost, the (difference in) quality you perceive and can appreciate...

Just some food for thought.

ps:
If I would have a 5-800 budget, I would either try to stretch it to a Zeiss Conquest (but probably not even a need to stretch it), Nikon MHG (but Monarch 7 already would do within your budget), or a Leica Trinovid. Also nothing wrong with Swaro CL 8x30 for example, but I would prefer a 8x42 configuration.

But on the other hand, if you have a good feeling with e.g. the Vortex: just go for it. There are a zillion people (and bird guides, especially in the Americas) who use a Vortex and I never hear them complaining they don't find a bird for their clients who are all equipped with Swarovski Pure and need a laser pointer or they wouldn't see the bird.

Not clear whether you share your daughter's enthusiasm for the Vortex Diamondback HD 8x42 and Leupold BX-2 10x42? I think you're suggesting (although without the benefit of a side by side comparison) your daughter did not prefer the Nikon Monarch 5 10x42 (old style?) or even the Monarch M7 8x42 but maybe you did? Perhaps her preferences are weighted very heavily by ergonomics like here :
You've already shown some (potentially expensive 🤑) discernment by rejecting the Nikon Prostaff P3 10x42 and preferring the clarity of the Kowa BD II XD 8x42 over the Vortex Viper HD 10x42; though some of the latter could be down to the higher magnification on the Vortex model. I guess you've already been alerted to the perils of buying sight unseen by the strap lugs on the Kowa though I suppose there's a chance you could adapt your hold.

For me that's progress and justification for a little reward 🍷...
Hi Norm,
It's highly likely my daughter will go for one of the ones she tested in person at Bass Pro, despite the recent gift of $800. I don't know how much gear she'll need to carry in the field observing primates in the forest (including fast moving gibbons), but she wants to upgrade from the 8x10 or 10x20 recommended by her professor and wear a harness instead. That way she can double duty with bird, insects, etc.
1. Vortex Diamondback HD $239 8x42. 21.8 oz. 393' & 7.5° FOV. Close focus: 5'. 17mm eye relief. 5.25 exit pupil. Lifetime warranty.
2. Leupold BX-2 Alpine 10x42 $249.99 (no HD to try). 28 oz! FOV: 342' & 6.5°. 13.4' close focus. 15mm eye relief. 4.2 exit pupil. Lifetime warranty.
Plus, we'll get BassPro's 2 yr guarantee: trade in for another pair if dissatisfied or a gift card for the price paid. You pay any difference for the new pair.
I didn't dislike her BP choices.

She still preferred the above vs. the 8x42 M7 & 10x42 M5 we tried elsewhere in bright daylight.
As she won't be able to do a hands on, she'll probably go to BP. I'm beginning to frustrate her with my need to get her something I perceive might be better. You'd think after her last experience with cheap household binos taken on her prior research trip to Kenya (baboons, but she switched to reptiles and snakes in the field) that she'd want the best she could get. And, yes, ergonomics and the tactile component cannot be discounted. Granted, the bonus money came after our BP trip.

*I greatly appreciate all the advice and recommendations for better binos for her from everyone. And for me! I did research each one suggested and read all the links.

Our trips overlap, so we need two pairs.
It's the binos for my trip to Botswana's Okazango Delta & Zimbabwe with dawn, dusk & day safaris on land, boat and canoe. I'm the one who always likes to have hands on. Even more after I discovered the 8x42 Kowa BD2 ll had strap lugs in an awkward spot for me. The optics were great for this newbie. I was hoping to stay in that price range. I seem to have gone down the rabbit hole. Can I afford the MHG? Yes, but do I need them? I'm not anticipating selling so resale depreciation isn’t a concern. We'd probably keep them forever. I didn’t realize the new tech binos had a shorter lifespan.

My options are sight unseen unless I want to go all the way to NYC which isn’t practical. The store, Focus Camera, where I requested to try the warehouse stored Kowa BD2 II doesn’t have the MHG on their site. I'm not sure if they'd be willing to order it and I'd feel compelled to buy it there (full MSRP) if I liked it. They only have deliveries on Fridays and I don't know which is their "primary" shipping store. Should I use an online store with a good return policy and try two binoculars? If so, other than the MHG, what should I get? Store/Vendor recommendations?

My other big issue is the time crunch. I had no idea this search was going to be its own journey. I leave June 15th.
 
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With regards to:
"new tech binos having a shorter lifespan"

I don't know what you are specifically referring to, but rest be assured, modern day binoculars are pretty decent and will serve you at least a decade, that is, they will serve you until they fall apart. I have my current pair of Zeiss 7x42 T*FL for the last 16 years and while I am 100% convinced the NL Pure in every configuration is a better bino, the Zeiss is still good enough.

If you're going to keep them forever, and depreciation is not an issue, you should buy whatever you feel most comfortable with using in the field while within budget. If binoculars you consider offer lifetime warranty like Vortex / Leupold, and you like them (or your daughter does), there is no reason not to buy that one.

So bite the bullet, buy whatever you think is best and enjoy looking through them. From experience: the longer the process of chosing, the more doubt you will have after buying. The things I bought after a fairly short evaluation of options were often the ones I just started using and didn't look back. The things I bought after days and weeks reading reviews on the internet... You keep reading, even after you bought something. Not good :)
 
With regards to:
"new tech binos having a shorter lifespan"

I don't know what you are specifically referring to, but rest be assured, modern day binoculars are pretty decent and will serve you at least a decade, that is, they will serve you until they fall apart. I have my current pair of Zeiss 7x42 T*FL for the last 16 years and while I am 100% convinced the NL Pure in every configuration is a better bino, the Zeiss is still good enough.

If you're going to keep them forever, and depreciation is not an issue, you should buy whatever you feel most comfortable with using in the field while within budget. If binoculars you consider offer lifetime warranty like Vortex / Leupold, and you like them (or your daughter does), there is no reason not to buy that one.

So bite the bullet, buy whatever you think is best and enjoy looking through them. From experience: the longer the process of chosing, the more doubt you will have after buying. The things I bought after a fairly short evaluation of options were often the ones I just started using and didn't look back. The things I bought after days and weeks reading reviews on the internet... You keep reading, even after you bought something. Not good :)
Good advice. I'm worried about sight unseen due to the limited selection in my area.
 
It's hard to argue with the Diamondback's if your daughter's happy with them. I tried out a pair and was pretty impressed given the price. They are fairly compact for an 8x42. The Vortex warranty can't be beat.

If bino use is critical to her work she should consider taking 2 pairs of bins in case one is lost or damaged. I always take 2 pairs on bird tours, one in carry on and one in checked baggage.

I imagine the prof has already told her, but if not, Borneo forests are HUMID! South Fla in August barely compares to Borneo. And then there's the leeches.
 
Hi Norm,
It's highly likely my daughter will go for one of the ones she tested in person at Bass Pro, despite the recent gift of $800. I don't know how much gear she'll need to carry in the field observing primates in the forest (including fast moving gibbons), but she wants to upgrade from the 8x10 or 10x20 recommended by her professor and wear a harness instead. That way she can double duty with bird, insects, etc.
1. Vortex Diamondback HD $239 8x42. 21.8 oz. 393' & 7.5° FOV. Close focus: 5'. 17mm eye relief. 5.25 exit pupil. Lifetime warranty.
2. Leupold BX-2 Alpine 10x42 $249.99 (no HD to try). 28 oz! FOV: 342' & 6.5°. 13.4' close focus. 15mm eye relief. 4.2 exit pupil. Lifetime warranty.
Plus, we'll get BassPro's 2 yr guarantee: trade in for another pair if dissatisfied or a gift card for the price paid. You pay any difference for the new pair.
I didn't dislike her BP choices.

She still preferred the above vs. the 8x42 M7 & 10x42 M5 we tried elsewhere in bright daylight.
As she won't be able to do a hands on, she'll probably go to BP. I'm beginning to frustrate her with my need to get her something I perceive might be better. You'd think after her last experience with cheap household binos taken on her prior research trip to Kenya (baboons, but she switched to reptiles and snakes in the field) that she'd want the best she could get. And, yes, ergonomics and the tactile component cannot be discounted. Granted, the bonus money came after our BP trip.

*I greatly appreciate all the advice and recommendations for better binos for her from everyone. And for me! I did research each one suggested and read all the links.

Our trips overlap, so we need two pairs.
It's the binos for my trip to Botswana's Okazango Delta & Zimbabwe with dawn, dusk & day safaris on land, boat and canoe. I'm the one who always likes to have hands on. Even more after I discovered the 8x42 Kowa BD2 ll had strap lugs in an awkward spot for me. The optics were great for this newbie. I was hoping to stay in that price range. I seem to have gone down the rabbit hole. Can I afford the MHG? Yes, but do I need them? I'm not anticipating selling so resale depreciation isn’t a concern. We'd probably keep them forever. I didn’t realize the new tech binos had a shorter lifespan.

My options are sight unseen unless I want to go all the way to NYC which isn’t practical. The store, Focus Camera, where I requested to try the warehouse stored Kowa BD2 II doesn’t have the MHG on their site. I'm not sure if they'd be willing to order it and I'd feel compelled to buy it there (full MSRP) if I liked it. They only have deliveries on Fridays and I don't know which is their "primary" shipping store. Should I use an online store with a good return policy and try two binoculars? If so, other than the MHG, what should I get? Store/Vendor recommendations?

My other big issue is the time crunch. I had no idea this search was going to be its own journey. I leave June 15th.
You have done a pretty good survey for the location you are in. I think it is good you need separate binoculars, so you both have more "custom made" options. For both of you, don't go the 10x way. You are often in conditions where you can't focus those because everything moves. 6x is great for boats or swaying trees. And 8x would be the upper limit, unless you go for a model with anti-shake option. But those are out of your price range anyway.
As for front lens diameter, don't go below 25mm, better stay around 30-35 mm. 40 or 42 increases weight, but helps in dark tropical forests.

At any rate, you both have exciting trips coming up! And better spend a bit more than being sorry afterwards because you tried to be too "stingy".
All the best!
 
Hi Gabrielle, this kind of thing is actually a common question on this site. Most of here have developed our own preferences over time. If I was asked by a friend to recommend a binocular for their daughter with an $800 budget, as has already been recommended the Nikon Monarch HG and Zeiss Conquest HG would both quickly float to the top. Both are in my stable and I truly enjoy them. I wouldn’t worry about size/weight with the HG as even though 42mm it handles like a much lighter glass. In the Zeiss I’d recommend the 8x32 — Eurooptic (a well known full-service optics store in Pennsylvania) has one in “as new” condition for $749 (and the lifetime warranty is transferrable).

Another option if the desire is to spend a bit less is the Maven B3 8x30. I bought one as a Christmas gift for a close friend and his wife who set up a few very nice bird feeders but had ancient low-end Bushnell binoculars. Maven is in the USA and markets directly. They have a lifetime warranty and a demo program — they will send you a pair to demo and decide if you like them. If not, they will take them back - no issues.
 
Hi Gabrielle, this kind of thing is actually a common question on this site. Most of here have developed our own preferences over time. If I was asked by a friend to recommend a binocular for their daughter with an $800 budget, as has already been recommended the Nikon Monarch HG and Zeiss Conquest HG would both quickly float to the top. Both are in my stable and I truly enjoy them. I wouldn’t worry about size/weight with the HG as even though 42mm it handles like a much lighter glass. In the Zeiss I’d recommend the 8x32 — Eurooptic (a well known full-service optics store in Pennsylvania) has one in “as new” condition for $749 (and the lifetime warranty is transferrable).

Another option if the desire is to spend a bit less is the Maven B3 8x30. I bought one as a Christmas gift for a close friend and his wife who set up a few very nice bird feeders but had ancient low-end Bushnell binoculars. Maven is in the USA and markets directly. They have a lifetime warranty and a demo program — they will send you a pair to demo and decide if you like them. If not, they will take them back - no issues.
Thank you AlphaFan. Great info. And they have the 8x42 MHG, too! (at full MSRP). I'd be able to do a hands on. Hooray!

**Any other contenders I should consider? Or for my daughter? Thanks!
 
For $800+ budget you open things up quite a bit. It doesn't mean you shouldn't look at the $400 -$500 price point but look for better quality if my point. I would look seriously at either the Nikon MHG series, or even the Opticron Aurora Series. Both get excellent reviews.
 
**Any other contenders I should consider? Or for my daughter? Thanks!
If you are going to actually go to the Eurooptics store I’d suggest looking at the Nikon Monarch HG 8x42, Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 and maybe the Kowa Genesis 8x33 (currently on sale for $799). Any of these three will likely provide many years of enjoyment. Personally, I’d recommend staying at this level of optical performance as it is more likely to still satisfy for years to come. However, I really would go much beyond comparing 3x contenders otherwise it will get confusing.

Also, when comparing be sure to take them outside - focusing on distant objects and signs can give a general sense of resolution/crispness but also be sure to peer into shadowy areas as well. Although they will all be quality optics the view provided by each of these three binocular model will have its own character - here it is all about personal preference. Follow a few cars or flying birds (if around) to see if you get any blackouts or kidney-beaning. In addition, pay close attention to how they feel in you hands, the ergonomics and speed of the focus mechanism and how well they balance and physically fit you - it makes a difference.

My 2 cents.
 
She still preferred... I'm beginning to frustrate her with my need to get her something I perceive might be better.
I like how you're trying to get the best lasting satisfaction out of your choices but it's sometimes best to allow friends/family make their own choices.

In my own experiences looking through various Vortex models, it wasn't until I tried the Viper lineup that I finally bought one and became a proponent for the brand in general.
 
If you are going to actually go to the Eurooptics store I’d suggest looking at the Nikon Monarch HG 8x42, Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 and maybe the Kowa Genesis 8x33 (currently on sale for $799). Any of these three will likely provide many years of enjoyment. Personally, I’d recommend staying at this level of optical performance as it is more likely to still satisfy for years to come. However, I really would go much beyond comparing 3x contenders otherwise it will get confusing.

Also, when comparing be sure to take them outside - focusing on distant objects and signs can give a general sense of resolution/crispness but also be sure to peer into shadowy areas as well. Although they will all be quality optics the view provided by each of these three binocular model will have its own character - here it is all about personal preference. Follow a few cars or flying birds (if around) to see if you get any blackouts or kidney-beaning. In addition, pay close attention to how they feel in you hands, the ergonomics and speed of the focus mechanism and how well they balance and physically fit you - it makes a difference.

My 2 cents.
i AlphaFan, I wish I could visit in person, but they're 4 hours away from me. NYC is just over 2 hours away and they have a B&H, plus Adorama. Do you think it's worth driving there, plus the higher sales tax (8.875% vs. 6.625% in NJ)? Or drive up to test out only, then do my purchase online (will have to discount the sample variation): EuroOptics for demo Zeiss Conquest binos ($750) or bid on Greentoe for the MHG? Unless, I find a different brand for "The One". LOL.
 
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