View Full Version : Help I need new binos

11-04-2012, 05:52 PM
Well after my elk hunt we spent a day in the unit we want to antelope hunt looking over bucks. Seen some dandies but learned real quick that I need to update glass to hunt out west. My buddy and I had 3 sets of Nikon binos with us, and a Leupold compact spotting scope. The binos all sucked. We could make out the antelope and which ones were bucks and does. But we just couldn't get a crisp clear picture of the animals. I have been researching binos and I'm still lost on what to get. What power binos do I need out west and whats some good mid range models? I can't spend $2K on binos yet but could do $400 or $500. So I am asking you experts what I need to look at. Thank you for any help

11-04-2012, 06:17 PM
There are a substantial amount of good binos in your price range. Are you brand loyal? Does warranty matter? Are you going to go with a tripod for the binos to be placed on? ( really helps) makes the difference in glassing for minutes or hours. As far as your power is concerned its a personal preference. Do you plan to add a spotting scope in the future? Or want maximum zoom out of the binos to eliminate a spotter? 10's are a great all around bino. 15's are great if you plan to only use binos and want to cover some serious ground.

Just a few things to help you make your mind up and being able to focus on a certain "class" of binos is much easier than looking at the entire industry.

11-04-2012, 06:22 PM

I'm not an expert and I can't afford $2000 either. However, I shopped around on the used market in some New York camera stores and found a pair of Leica 8-12 power for under $1000. I've had them for several years now and think they're great but heavier than you would want on a sheep hunt. I also have a set of 10x Zeiss that are lighter and are comparable in quality. Look through as many different brands as you can and go with the best ones that you can afford.

11-04-2012, 06:51 PM
BB should chime in here pretty soon to help you out with optics. My suggestions is Vortex Talons 10x42 HDs. For the money I dont think they can be beat.

Chippy Hacky
11-04-2012, 07:49 PM
I would go with vortex too. I have 3 family members who have them and a friend who has them. All have used them for 3 seasons or so. They are a third the price of mine and I hate to say that I think that they are better! Don't get anything less then 10x40 for out west, let your spotter do the rest of the work.

11-04-2012, 08:02 PM
I have Leupold 10x50 Olympics which can be had for your price range. I really like them.

Big Sky
11-04-2012, 08:12 PM
I have the Zen Ray ed3's and they are awesome. I am spotting more game then ever with them. The quality is great and I have not had a single problem with them.

In God We Trust
11-04-2012, 08:21 PM
I have the Leupold Olympics as well. I have had them for 2 years and love them. Great glass at a good price. The only knock on them is they are made in china. Hard to find a good pair of made in the USA binos for the 500.00 price range.

11-04-2012, 08:30 PM
what nikons were you using? the monarchs have been great for me.

11-04-2012, 09:01 PM
Check out the Cabelas Euro vision. I have had a pair for many years and finally decided a year ago to upgrade to some Swarovsky 10x42 EL.
Not the best choice I have ever made. The only difference I can see is the weight, Swaro's are lighter but not by a lot. I don't notice a difference in the optical quality.

Never in Doubt
11-05-2012, 02:46 PM
I have Leupolds that I paid about $140 for. I absolutely love them! Affordable, yet quality.

11-05-2012, 03:13 PM
I use the Cabela's XT, which have done me wonders for over 5 years. Definitely an upgrade from the walmart special simmons of yester year!!! I also have a Swarovski spotter as a back up for those extreme distance glassing.

6mm Remington
11-05-2012, 09:50 PM
I have a pair of Leica Ultravid 10x25 compacts and love them. They are roughly $699.00 but I feel are worth the price. Yes they do not have the light transmission of a 10x40, but these things are light and handy, and the images are crystal clear. I love them and they are always around my neck. I do know some guys who end up leaving their 10x40's of different makes in the truck sometimes because the just get too darn heavy after a while. An 8x30 or a 10x30 would be another excellent choice. I sure like the Leica's but the Zeiss Conquest is another great binocular. Look through many and see what "fits" you best!


Bitterroot Bulls
11-06-2012, 06:52 AM
My favorites in this price range are the Vortex Talons and Zen Ray ED3s. I do not think 10x bins are required for Western hunting. I have glassed long distances with 8x bins quite often, and found them more than adequate. I am not a big fan of compacts for serious extended glassing.

11-06-2012, 07:06 AM
My suggestion would be go to a Sportmans or Cabelas just before dark, take every pair in your price range outside and look through them and see what you like the best. Every ones eyes are different, and one pair of bins may look better to you than they do for me. Good luck on your search and let us know what you choose.

11-06-2012, 07:30 AM
Here is a website of reviews you can check out. http://www.bestbinocularsreviews.com/

Here is the cheapest and most reliable place to purchase I have found. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/

I go to my local sporting good store and check out the binos I'm interested in the check out the prices at bhphoto and a few other places. There can be quite a bit of price difference from store to store.

11-06-2012, 07:47 AM
I got the 10x Vortex Talons prior to this season and I like them. I stepped up from 8x Monarchs and I like the extra power personally. I do wish I would have spent the extra money and went with the Viper HD now though. The Talons seem kind of big and bulky to me, but that's a given I suppose since I've carried 8x Monarchs all my life. The Viper binos are a little smaller and lighter. Overall I'm happy with the Talons, but may end up selling them for the Vipers.

11-06-2012, 08:01 AM
I had a customer purchase the talons. When they arrived I of course had to look thru them and compare them to my vanguards. He showed up and opened the box. He says " hay! These arent what i ordered" I said "thats what came in the box. Dont know what to tell ya" He said "why would vortex ship you vanguard binos?" "I dunno manWierd huh?Ill make you a deal on those I guess". The talons are sweet and most definetly a competitor in any class. Besides the crystal clear glass. The body is pretty lightweight. And the binos as a whole look and feel like you can run them over with a truck. And they would be fine. He eventually got his talons...

11-06-2012, 08:29 AM
Thanks guys. I have never heard of Zen Ray before but will check them out. I do like the feel of a pair of vortex I tried at cabelas but can't remember what model it was. Thanks again for the places to look. I have a little while before next season to try stuff out and make up my mind.

11-06-2012, 09:45 AM
Check this site out. It is called "Sample List" the majority of the optics on here have been floor samples/demos, and you can save yourself a couple hundred bucks in alot of cases. Don't overlook some of the less known options like Minox and Pentax, I have looked through some of those and they are pretty nice.


300 shortmag
12-02-2012, 02:16 PM
I just received a pair of Vangard ED 10 x 42 HD from Binoculars USA for $319.00 using a $50.00 reboot good till end of the year.I am extremely satisfied with them. the Birding web site rates them better than Zen Ray ED3 and best in their class for the money and quality. I have ordered several binocs and sent them back but not these I am going to keep them. I tested them at late dusk and they are much better than my Nikon ATB 10x40. Just my observations hope this helps some of you. By now John PS. They have them in Mossy Oak Camo.

300 shortmag
12-02-2012, 04:09 PM
Sorry about this but I gave the wrong store. It is binoculars.com

12-02-2012, 07:49 PM

there's a chinese brand out there, can't remember the name, suppose to be up there with those other 2 brands for best value $$ but they're chinese...

Bitterroot Bulls
12-02-2012, 08:06 PM
Both Pentax and Vortex offer Chinese manufactured binoculars.

The Vanguard and Zen Ray ED2/3 are all versions of the same design. The Zen Ray ED3 is the most polished version, IMO.

12-02-2012, 08:51 PM
Both Pentax and Vortex offer Chinese manufactured binoculars.

The Vanguard and Zen Ray ED2/3 are all versions of the same design. The Zen Ray ED3 is the most polished version, IMO.

PM sent.
PM sent.

Bitterroot Bulls
12-02-2012, 09:14 PM
PM returned.

12-30-2012, 05:51 PM
Really looking at the vortex. Buuuut how are the Cabelas XT 12x50's? Anyone use them? They have a pair in the local bargin cave they didn't look too bad. But anything has to be an upgrade over the Nikon action binos I have been using. I did get a sweat chest rig for my new glass now I just need the new glass.

12-31-2012, 12:46 AM
I would give zen rays a look in that price range.

01-01-2013, 09:07 AM
I have a set of darn near brand new cabelas euro's 12x50 I am selling on another forum. They are Meopta Meostar's with a cabelas badge. If it is something you might be interested in PM me

01-01-2013, 11:24 AM
Just another option you might consider. If you are wanting to be able to field judge antelope maybe you should think about getting a spotter now and binos later. You could find a used Nikon ED50 in that range that would be better than your binos for really evaluating an animal. I have looked through the ED50 compared to the Leupold compacts and the Nikon is enough better to be in a whole different class. I used Zeiss Victory FL T 10x42's on my antelope hunt last fall and am real impressed with them on all counts. I still used my ED50 every time to evaluate an antelope outside 200yds. I won't argue one bit that great binos are the most important tool for hunting out west or pretty much anywhere else, but with your budget this might be a way to get a spotter you'd keep rather than binos you would want to upgrade eventually. Even if you get a bigger more expensive spotter someday I bet you'd keep the ED50 for your pack.