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What are the best really "CHEAP" birding binoculars? (1 Viewer)

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[email protected]

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"Have you tried any "Cheap" Porros?"

The only Porro I have owned were reverse porros. They were Vortex Vanquish 8x26. I was impressed with them. They were amazingly sharp (and of course handy and compact.) The reason I moved up to Blue Sky's was for bigger oculars. I gave the tiny ocular binoculars to a tiny person. It all worked out.
How is your focuser on the Sightron Blue Sky? Mind got stiff when it was cold. Do they ever loosen up with use?
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
This answers the question. Is a "Cheap" Porro or roof better?

The top 3 in the link as scored and tabled by BBR were Roof Prisms....albeit twice the price.
At around $200 I wouldn't class them as " really cheap ".
 

etudiant

Registered User
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The old Nikon Action Extreme porros are optically very good, waterproof, with decent eye relief (much better than their Aculons) as well as reasonable FoV. They sell around $125 for the 7x35, about $165 for the 10x50. They are a poor man's Habicht imho.
 

[email protected]

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The old Nikon Action Extreme porros are optically very good, waterproof, with decent eye relief (much better than their Aculons) as well as reasonable FoV. They sell around $125 for the 7x35, about $165 for the 10x50. They are a poor man's Habicht imho.
True. Less bright and with softer edges though.
 

Thotmosis

Well-known member
Netherlands
For me the best "cheap" birding binocular would be the Swift Audubon HR/5 8,5x44. Well build Porro design. Bought it last year for around 125,- euro and has a wide field of 144 m. Still strong, build in 1996.
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
I think the problem with really very cheap optics is that one area where they save money is QC, so it's a bit of a lottery, as @dries1 pointed out earlier. It there was one advice I would have liked to received when searching for my first binos is that 2nd hand usually gives you the best value, but then, it must be from a trustworthy seller... and you more or less have to know your ground, which kind of defeats the purpose (since you are new to binos and don't know much about the differences). So, ideally you should ask a friend or someone more knowledgeable to guide you and help you navigate the 2nd hand ocean ;)
 
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[email protected]

Well-known member
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I think the problem with really very cheap optics is that one area where they save money is QC, so it's a bit of a lottery, as @dries1 pointed out earlier. It there was one advice I would have liked to received when searching for my first binos is that 2nd hand usually gives you the best value, but then, it must be from a trustworthy seller... and you more or less have to know your ground, which kind of defeats the purpose (since you are new to binos and don't know much about the differences). So, ideally you should ask a friend or someone more knowledgeable to guide you and help you navigate the 2nd hand ocean ;)
I agree, it is better to buy 2nd hand if you are looking for good quality and value. The Vortex Raptor 8.5x above may be good binoculars if you get a good pair, but if you read the feedback on Amazon.com you will see that there are a lot of complaints on inconsistent quality and that parallels my experience with cheap binoculars. I think you are better off getting a used Swift Audubon HR/5 8,5x44 as Thotmosis mentions above or a used Leica Trinovid than a new cheap binocular. I picked up a pair of Leica Trinovid BN 8x32's, and they are excellent optically and build quality wise and at $500 they could be considered cheap for the value you are getting. I think the best cheap binocular would a good quality used porro like even an older Nikon E that is in good condition.
 

JoeGBirder

formerly WoodpeckerMaster
United States
I agree, it is better to buy 2nd hand if you are looking for good quality and value. The Vortex Raptor 8.5x above may be good binoculars if you get a good pair, but if you read the feedback on Amazon.com you will see that there are a lot of complaints on inconsistent quality and that parallels my experience with cheap binoculars. I think you are better off getting a used Swift Audubon HR/5 8,5x44 as Thotmosis mentions above or a used Leica Trinovid than a new cheap binocular. I picked up a pair of Leica Trinovid BN 8x32's, and they are excellent optically and build quality wise and at $500 they could be considered cheap for the value you are getting. I think the best cheap binocular would a good quality used porro like even an older Nikon E that is in good condition.
got a pair of those as a gift, they were certainly a nice upgrade from my old ones. Only complaint that the neckstrap was a huge pain to attach.

-joe
 

KevinL

Well-known member
Binoculars under $100 usually aren't worth a thing. The vortex diamondback is in my opinion the best binocular under $200. That is if you can catch it on sale. I think these days it runs $225. Some of the porros are not bad under $200. Pentax, Leopold, nikon etc. Bushnell seems to be king of low end bins. They usually offer bins with decent performance but cheaply built.
 

JoeGBirder

formerly WoodpeckerMaster
United States
I'd say if you want to get good binoculars for under $100, your best bet are something from wingspan optics. idk if the price has raised, but my grandma has three of them. i asked how much they were, as they were so high quality, and she told me last time she checked they were only $75 per pair.
 

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