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What would be the best 12x binoculars? (1 Viewer)

Highway Dog

Well-known member
United States
I am interested in finding the best performing 12 power binoculars.

For finding a binoculars with ED Glass, I am limited to the Vortex Razor and Viper. I want them to work for twilight, so I am thinking of a minimum of 50 mm or as much as 60mm

Of course the European manufacturers do not say much about the glass properties. Steiner has an XP model that is 12x56, but I do not have confidence that it is as good as it could be. Meopta has a 12x that is good. Should I save up for one of the Big Three?

I am considering the Minox BL 13x56. I like the good wide view that it has.
When I called NY Cameraland, they tried to be helpful and pointed me to that 15x Minox BD model with ED glass. I realize that in the Big eyes level, that model has better features than the 13x model. I still want to hold out for a wider field of view.

For now, I have a Nikon 12x Action Extreme Porro. Does anybody have a good idea what roof binoculars that could be as good or better? I hope to have the exit pupil well illuminated as a Porro.

Docter (the successor to Zeiss Jena) still sells the Nobilem 12x50BGA porro. It is heavy, close to 3 pounds, but optically outstanding. They also offer a 15x60 which tips up at over 4 pounds, really designed for use in hunting blinds.
Consider the Nikon 12x50 SE, well regarded as one of the finest choices. Flat field
eyepieces gives a great view to the edges, nice bright porro, nice handling weight, 31 oz..
They are available at some of the internet retailers.
Read some reviews.

I checked and Adorama shows these in stock. Check it out. :t:
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About 6 months ago I brought a mint condition Leica 2005 BN 12x50 and have been extremely pleased with its optical and build performance. It cost me well under half of what the latest Ulravid HD's would cost.
I have the harder to find green 12x50 version which offers a 5.7 degree TFov which gives an impressive and panoramic 68 Afov.
The majority of the FOV is highly usable. There is mild pincuschioning. CA is minimal even without the latest HD glass. It weighs a sold 40 oz. but ergonomically it is easy to hand hold. ER is 20m. Leica serviced and recollimated it for a nominal fee in Germany.

The Leica Trinovids BN's came out in January 2001 and they were relatively short lived and were phased out in 2007.
The lighter Leica Ulravids which came out in 2003 slowly replaced the BN's.
The Ulravids were then replace by the current Ulravid HD series with the Fluoride [FL] glass in 2007.
The BN series Trinovids replaced the BA Trinovids which came out in 1990. The BN's had closer focus then the BA's as well as having ongoing improvements to the lens coatings.

I recently sold my Nikon Action AE 12x50 as really I never used it anymore. The difference between the two is clear and resounding. The Leica BN 12x50 gives that emotional 'wow' image.

If you could find good example of the earlier Leica BA / BN you will be buying a quality instrument at a reasonable price that will give you very rewarding images.



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Almost ditto what Chris said on a used Leica BA or BN for $900-$1000. I would differ a bit in the matter of CA though. I find the lower power Trinovids inoffensive CA wise, but at 12x I see it more. The wowness of the huge sharp view, and the awesome mechanics, however, are something else. 12x is too much power for birding for me, but I LOVE mine for seated stargazing--the super sharp star images can't be beat.
Thanks for the answers above!

Etudiant, NDHunter, thanks for the reminder about the Docters! I am specifically considering roof binoculars, maybe to my detriment. I do want to have alpha performace....

Chris Lewis, Thanks for the Leica information. This is the most interesting possibility. I am looking for that level of of well thought out product. I see that Cameraland has a 12x Lecia as one of their demo offerings.

Spyglass, Your questions. No, I do not use glasses when viewing. I picked my name as what I felt as I bicycled in the town. I do wish to go motorized some day. I am just afraid that I would not survive the learning period. (Some say that it lasts about 5 years)

Ronh, I am a little hesitant about the Leica BA or BN. I hope to have an excellent binocular. I thought the older Leica's are about as good as the modern mid priced binoculars.

Thanks again for such good advice!
Well Rob, if ya don't use specs, I would second what Jerry sed. I've had one for over 8 yrs and have yet to find another 12x that I'd consider an improvement. It's not waterproof and has folddown eyecups, but neither is a factor for me. It's the view.....if you've read many of the blogs here, you'll see the SE line has probably generated more ink, over the years, than any other series. And at less than half the price of the competition.
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