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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Trying out binoculars when no stores nearby? (1 Viewer)

Agree with post # 12. A two hour drive to a store should be viewed as a day out, perhaps incorporating an enjoyable late lunch to peruse your mornings testing and thoughts. Given that there are nowadays few outlets that contain a good range of optics it should be a day we'll spent, although potentially making a dent in your plastic post dessert!
I always preach try before you buy.
Good luck.
Being "Up Nerth" don`t get many as far as Berkshire visit our optics weekends. But do get customers doing 1.5-2 hour round trips for the very reason you mention. So no need for me to repeat
I can understand you as I didn't want to abuse their policy and didn't want to 'use a new pair' , only to know that they have to now sell it as a used pair and discounted. I didn't find that to my liking, as a consumer. For, as a consumer....when I get place my money on a pair of new bins, I want MYSELF to be the first one to feel them out of the box. I don't want open box, or smudges etc....

This is what I did.....

***Granted,....you are away from a store but do this over time if needed. Visit the stores when you can. Make a special two hour trip on a day off, ...treat it as an adventure. Even then you won't really get an idea of the item by playing around with it within the store, under their fake lights etc. it still allows you to hold them in your hand.

***So... Look at USED items for sale in stores such as B and H and Adorama...or ask about in other larger retailers like Sports Optics etc. Everyone will have used items. If you order in the used binocular and don't like it, just send it back. It is already used, so you are not taking a brand new binocular and turning it into a used item. Easy to send back with their return policies and again, it is used to begin with.

***Some places like Geo GPO have loaner binoculars you can try and send back. They will be 'used' and in some cases heavily, but....they give you an idea of what to look for. I believe other manufactures have a similar policy if you go directly to them...contact customer service ... Like Zeiss, Swaro... Meopta, Nikon etc....

*** Borrow or look at others in the field as you go birding on an Audubon hike. I find that everyone is more than willing to at least have you take a look, feel etc... I have had people ask me to borrow mine just for a quick look. Not the best way as you don't get too much of a look but you might knock one off your list.

But yes, I would avoid at all costs getting in new ones and sending them back. Not fair to the potential buyer as I imagine some retailers put them back and sell them as new. No....I don't want that and I will not be part of that.

Dealers use to offer the possibility to try a binocular and send it back if it is does not meet your satisfaction. The requirement to send it back is that you have not used it but just tried it, so it is still in mint condition without any traces of useage.
I personally accept the difference in definition between tried and used, because it's in many cases the only way I can know if a binocular is the right for me.
Tried: not taken out in the field, not exposed to the elements, of course not installed the neck strap, etc.
It does not bother me if the binocular I choose to keep has been tried by other earlier as long as it's in mint condition, and I have the warranty.
And as has been mentioned earlier somewhere there can be difference between samples of the same model. So if I only tried a demonstration sample in a store I am not sure if an unopened and untried sample is as good as the one I tried.
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Have you also considered hunting stores? At least here in Germany there is one or more in almost every town even where I live and it's just about 4,000 inhabitants. But they often don't have a homepage or anything. I found the one in my town by simply looking in an online phone book. I drove there and had a nice chat with the guy about optics for over an hour! He had a ton of knowledge. And I went home with 2 or 3 catalogs to browse through.

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