High powered binoculars recommendations

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Bwlonge
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High powered binoculars recommendations

Post by Bwlonge » Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:00 am

Im sitting out here on a hill on an early spring morning thinking high powered binoculars would be fun. I could imagine setting up a tripod and looking around.

Anyone do this? What do you reccomend?

jebmke
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Re: High powered binoculars recommendations

Post by jebmke » Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:03 am

Bwlonge wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:00 am
Im sitting out here on a hill on an early spring morning thinking high powered binoculars would be fun. I could imagine setting up a tripod and looking around.

Anyone do this? What do you reccomend?
I think it depends on what you are looking for -- and how much you are willing to spend.

We use a Leica spotting scope for birding at distances. It is not binocular.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

t885
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Re: High powered binoculars recommendations

Post by t885 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:20 pm

I've owned several models over the years sold them all and now only have a Swarovski EL 10x42.

https://www.eurooptic.com/34210-Swarovs ... 34210.aspx
There are two kinds of forecasters: those who don't know, and those who don't know they don't know

Smoke
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Re: High powered binoculars recommendations

Post by Smoke » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:28 pm

Day time , night time , stars gazing , low light (dusk/dawn) far away vs closer or both , ???

Lots to consider, especially "High Powered" before any recommendation can be made.

barnaclebob
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Re: High powered binoculars recommendations

Post by barnaclebob » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:30 pm

What do you mean by high power?

I use a mid range Vortex spotting scope (Viper HD?) to look at the Puget Sound and its great for that. The magnification is 20x to 60x but the higher magnification doesn't really improve what you can at distance see very much. Sometimes magnification can help when reading the names of ships at a far distance but the overall image quality degrades IMO. The objective lens is fixed so it gets dimmer as you zoom in due to fixed light collection and atmospheric distortion is also limiting across long distances.

Anything over 8x will probably need some kind of stabilization (electronic or tripod). 10x you might be ok with if you can lean on a wall or something like that.
Last edited by barnaclebob on Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:17 pm, edited 6 times in total.

GT99
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Re: High powered binoculars recommendations

Post by GT99 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:36 pm

I'm interested in answers here - we're going on an Alaskan cruise this summer and would like to get a good value pair of binoculars (not worth spending a lot since probably won't get used much outside the cruise).

smitcat
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Re: High powered binoculars recommendations

Post by smitcat » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:41 pm

Smoke wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:28 pm
Day time , night time , stars gazing , low light (dusk/dawn) far away vs closer or both , ???

Lots to consider, especially "High Powered" before any recommendation can be made.
Exactly what I was thinking ...plus image stabilization or not.

iamlucky13
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Location: Western Washington

Re: High powered binoculars recommendations

Post by iamlucky13 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:44 pm

My binoculars are 10x, and I agree, some sort of stabilization is important if going any higher magnification than that. A tripod is the norm, but there are some available these days with built-in electronic stabilization. I have not tried it in binoculars, but it does work fairly well in my telephoto camera lens.

Budget is important to state if you're looking for recommendations.

barnaclebob
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Re: High powered binoculars recommendations

Post by barnaclebob » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:47 pm

GT99 wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:36 pm
I'm interested in answers here - we're going on an Alaskan cruise this summer and would like to get a good value pair of binoculars (not worth spending a lot since probably won't get used much outside the cruise).
I've also got a cheapo pair of 10x binoculars that maybe cost $30. They work just fine except they seem to fog up easily and I need to lean against something for stabilization. Really for infrequent use I think the best value is anything with 8x magnification in the $100 to $150 range at Cabelas. I'd probably go with something like this for one step up from the real cheap stuff: https://www.cabelas.com/product/VORTEX- ... s?slotId=7

This would be a good option for compact: https://www.cabelas.com/product/hunting ... s?slotId=1
Last edited by barnaclebob on Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:11 pm, edited 6 times in total.

Smoke
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Re: High powered binoculars recommendations

Post by Smoke » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:51 pm

GT99 wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:36 pm
I'm interested in answers here - we're going on an Alaskan cruise this summer and would like to get a good value pair of binoculars (not worth spending a lot since probably won't get used much outside the cruise).
Considering my assumptions... lots of water glare, snow or ice, hand held, movement of ship, daytime, I would avoid a large aperture (too much light)
and avoid high power, (hand held)
I would say no more than 8 power, and around 35 for an Optical diameter.
More than 8 power yields too much image shaking without a tripod.
Too much bright light or reflective surfaces in view keeps Optical diameter smallish. 7x35 ish sounds good.

barnaclebob
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Re: High powered binoculars recommendations

Post by barnaclebob » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:02 pm

Smoke wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:51 pm
Considering my assumptions... lots of water glare, snow or ice, hand held, movement of ship, daytime, I would avoid a large aperture (too much light)
and avoid high power, (hand held)
I would say no more than 8 power, and around 35 for an Optical diameter.
More than 8 power yields too much image shaking without a tripod.
Too much bright light or reflective surfaces in view keeps Optical diameter smallish. 7x35 ish sounds good.
How does objective lens size scale with magnification? I only have trouble with brightness with my 20x80mm spotting scope when accidentally looking at direct glare off of water from the sun when its low in the sky. No issues with light glinting off of waves, bright white clouds etc.

80mm would capture 4x the light of 40mm so would the brightness be the same for 20x80mm as 5x40mm or as 10x40mm?
Last edited by barnaclebob on Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:06 pm, edited 3 times in total.

il0kin
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Re: High powered binoculars recommendations

Post by il0kin » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:03 pm

Vortex makes some really nice stuff.
I have a pair of 8x42 Bushnell H2O waterproof and fog proof binoculars that I use a lot during hunting season. They are inexpensive enough at $75 that if I drop them in a lake I won’t be angry. Good quality, take a beating, no problems. They’ve been in the dash of my truck for 5 years and still working well.

I purchased a pair of 10x42 Vortex Diamondbacks for when I am scouting wildlife from my truck and need more power. They’re very crisp.

You can spend as much as you want into the thousands on binoculars but the Western hunting community largely recommends Vortex optics, especially the Diamondback for a great intersection of value and quality. I believe the Diamondback is in the $175-225 range.

Smoke
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Re: High powered binoculars recommendations

Post by Smoke » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:17 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:02 pm
Smoke wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:51 pm
Considering my assumptions... lots of water glare, snow or ice, hand held, movement of ship, daytime, I would avoid a large aperture (too much light)
and avoid high power, (hand held)
I would say no more than 8 power, and around 35 for an Optical diameter.
More than 8 power yields too much image shaking without a tripod.
Too much bright light or reflective surfaces in view keeps Optical diameter smallish. 7x35 ish sounds good.
How does objective lens size scale with magnification? I only have trouble with brightness with my 20x80mm spotting scope when accidentally looking at direct glare off of water from the sun when its low in the sky. No issues with light glinting off of waves, bright white clouds etc.

80mm would capture 4x the light of 40mm so would the brightness be the same for 20x80mm as 5x40mm or as 10x40mm?
Just my opinion...I have brought multiple binocs to the beach for the past 15 yrs 7x35, 10x50 amd even my 30x80's What I bring now for years is a small pair of old meade travelviews 8x26. with ruby lenses. Much more enjoyable and portable. It's all in the eye of the beholder :wink:

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queso
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Re: High powered binoculars recommendations

Post by queso » Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:12 pm

il0kin wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:03 pm
Vortex makes some really nice stuff.
I have a pair of 8x42 Bushnell H2O waterproof and fog proof binoculars that I use a lot during hunting season. They are inexpensive enough at $75 that if I drop them in a lake I won’t be angry. Good quality, take a beating, no problems. They’ve been in the dash of my truck for 5 years and still working well.

I purchased a pair of 10x42 Vortex Diamondbacks for when I am scouting wildlife from my truck and need more power. They’re very crisp.

You can spend as much as you want into the thousands on binoculars but the Western hunting community largely recommends Vortex optics, especially the Diamondback for a great intersection of value and quality. I believe the Diamondback is in the $175-225 range.
I don't know if I'd necessarily call them high powered, but I have 8x42 Vortex Diamondbacks and have been really happy with them. Would have liked more power, but needed to be able to use them without stabilization.

jebmke
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Re: High powered binoculars recommendations

Post by jebmke » Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:50 pm

Like shoes, you have to try binoculars before you settle on which pair to keep. Ideally you can do this before buying. If buying online, make sure they can be returned.

Just because a pair says "8x42" doesn't mean it will work for you the same way another 8x42 model might. Different manufacturers have different design parameters (other than magnification and objective lens size). They may have different inter-pulillary distance or eye relief distance that makes one pair unusable and another quite serviceable. They will also have some performance specs like close-focus or speed of the focus ring that will make them more or less desirable.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.


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serbeer
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Re: High powered binoculars recommendations

Post by serbeer » Mon Apr 15, 2019 4:51 pm

I recently "splurged" on this well-reviewed pair:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B073Z ... UTF8&psc=1
that set me back the whole $24 after applying the coupon.

Looks well made and works fine for my VERY occasional use.

megabad
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Re: High powered binoculars recommendations

Post by megabad » Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:22 pm

Bwlonge wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:00 am
Im sitting out here on a hill on an early spring morning thinking high powered binoculars would be fun. I could imagine setting up a tripod and looking around.

Anyone do this? What do you reccomend?
Swarovski EL Range. You can get a tripod mount for it from third party. Mount to a high quality tripod. I used to think binoculars were binoculars. I was wrong. It is like the jump from analog TV from 1950s to 4k UHD. There is no comparison. Everything else (even Vortex/Leupold/Zeiss optics) look dark and dingy in comparison. Of course, these will set you back $3-4k, so not a budget buy.

jdb
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Re: High powered binoculars recommendations

Post by jdb » Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:55 pm

t885 wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:20 pm
I've owned several models over the years sold them all and now only have a Swarovski EL 10x42.

https://www.eurooptic.com/34210-Swarovs ... 34210.aspx
I have a Swarovski EL 8.5 x 42, highly recommend. Sometimes in life you get what you pay for. Good luck.

iamlucky13
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Location: Western Washington

Re: High powered binoculars recommendations

Post by iamlucky13 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:28 pm

There's literally over a 100:1 range of prices being suggested here.

Bogleheads.org consumer sub-forum at its finest. I shall continue to monitor this thread to see if the envelop grows even further before the OP indicates their intended budget.

GmanJeff
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Re: High powered binoculars recommendations

Post by GmanJeff » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:40 pm

I use 10 X 42 Zeiss Victory binoculars. Their clarity, color fidelity, and resolution are stunning; using them is a pleasure but they are not inexpensive.

Smoke
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Re: High powered binoculars recommendations

Post by Smoke » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:45 pm

iamlucky13 wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:28 pm
There's literally over a 100:1 range of prices being suggested here.

Bogleheads.org consumer sub-forum at its finest. I shall continue to monitor this thread to see if the envelop grows even further before the OP indicates their intended budget.
Yes quite subjective indeed.
I took the OP to mean what he said as having some fun on top of a hill casually.
Budget depends on the need or want, casual viewing vs counting the hairs on a fly at 50 yrds. :D

FreedomHawk
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Re: High powered binoculars recommendations

Post by FreedomHawk » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:25 pm

I recommend Maven Optics. Arguably same quality and warranty as Vortex but less expensive. I just bought a pair for hunting last fall. They're becoming very popular in hunting community.

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