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crazyfishinut

Binoculars?

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What are you going to use them for? That matters!

First off, I don't recommend getting compact binoculars. They might be lighter, but you'll get much more use out of a REAL pair.

There are 2 numbers that you'll see on all pairs of binoculars...like 7x25, 8x35, 12x50, etc. The first number is magnification. 7x25s make the object seem 7 times closer/larger than it really is. So, you might thing that the bigger the number the better....not true at all. If you just go out and get a pair of 16x50s, you'll probably not be happy with them. Higher magnification binoculars are generally heavier (require a larger objective lens diameter), they have a smaller field of view which means you can't get them on your bird or other subject as quickly or easily, and they not only magnify what you are looking at, but also magnify your hand shake when holding them. For these reasons, most people who use binoculars a lot--like birders--seem to prefer 7s or 8s. If you're skilled at finding your subject and don't mind the additional weight, you might be OK with 10s...which is what I prefer.

The second number is the object lens diameter. The larger the object lens, the more light you will get and the easier they are to use because you can get them on your subject faster. Of course, bigger lenses are heavier. The higher the magnification, the larger the objective lens should be. Don't ever buy something lopsided like 10x25s!

Some of the most popular all around sizes among people who use binoculars a lot are 7x35, 8x42, and 10x50. I don't know what you're doing with your pair, but the 8x42 (or 8x40) would probably serve you well.

After that, look for durability and take a look through a few pairs down the aisle at the store where you are at. Compare the quality of the image and how much light is getting in. You'll be able to see it.

Of course, you can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on binoculars and get a great pair, but unless you're a hardcore birder with money to burn you probably don't need to spend that much to get a good pair. I concur with the previous post that Nikons are great for the money. I own a pair of Nikon 10x50s that I got new for $105 and I love them. They're a little heavy, so the 8s might be a better option. Also, Nikon is awesome if you need a repair. I've sent my pair in twice because I damaged them and each time I was charged only $18 to cover the repair and shipping...and they worked like new.

Once you decide on a pair, keep the following in mind: never, ever drop them (use the case when you're not using them) and never leave them in direct sunlight for long enough to heat up and melt the adhesives inside!! Finally, if you're going to be walking with these, I highly recommend getting the shoulder straps like guides often use ($15-$20). Wearing binoculars around your neck will take a toll on you over time if you do it a lot. I got straps made by Crooked Horn Outfitters at Gander Mountain and they are pretty decent.

Good luck!

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Pentax DCF WP II's. Phase coated, nitrogen filled, roof prismed, and waterproof. Look on birding sites for guys that love binoc's, the pentax gets respect for the money. I've used mine on hunts where I glassed for 8 hour at a crack. I think they compare with the Leica's and the Swaro's. If I didn't believe it I'd have spent the money on the big boys.

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i have a pair of swarvoski el 10x42. while expensive, i believe you do pay for quality. depending on what you are doing with them, if you are glassing all day, watching birds, using them for sports, they are very dependable and have the light prism to make the view clear when it is getting dark. I love them but under stand the cost issue. you might check out vortex also they are pretty good too. good luck.

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Last year I hunted with three guys one day- I had my Bushnell Legends and there was also Swarovski's top of the line, Swarovski's second from the top, and a set of Nikon Monarchs. When the sun was up and it was bright, none of us could tell much difference between any of them. In lower light, three of the four of us liked the Monarchs and the Legends better than Swarovski's second in line. However, all of us liked Swarovski's top of the line best in low light. That being said, the small difference (which is only noticable for about 30 minutes per day) was not worth the extra $1600!!!

Nikon Monarchs get universally good reviews and are on sale right now. I believe there's a $50 mail in rebate on them. Monarchs and Legends are very good glasses for the money.

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I like my Leupold 10x50 binos. Best I've used so far. Work well in low light and perform well overall. No issues with damage yet so not sure how the customer service is.

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leupold, 10x42's, around 300 bucks. I also have a pair of nikon 10x50's but the leupolds are MUCH nicer, used them caribou hunting last year and worked great in the rain/fog/snow, and were just as clear as a pair of swarovski's I looked through in caribou camp.

Mike

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Thanks for all the feedback. I find it very interesting that before I posted this thread the two main pairs that I have been looking at were the Monarchs and Leupold Wind River Cascades. I will say that if money wasnt a factor I would buy a pair of Swarovski's. My dad has a pair and yes they are awesome! My question is with the Nikons and Leupolds there are several different models that differ in price substantially. I undestand the difference in lens but what gives with all the options. For example Nikon Monarchs and Nikon Monarchs ATB. I have found out that ATB means All Terrain Binoculars, but other than a fancier name is there a distinct difference within each type of bino?

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things like shockproof, waterproof, fogproof, etc. make sure you check into waterproof. at least make sure the nockers are waterproof!

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FYI- I know three people who had the "wind river" versions of Luepies and all three returned them because of problems with them. I don't know any more about them than that, but 0 for 3 was enough for me to not consirder them.

I can't help you on the ATB vs. regular Monarchs. The ones I've used were just Monarchs (not ATB).

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I'd say there is a pretty broad range of binocs that can really break the bank. I decided that I can't justify spending a ton on optics unless I was to go on a hunt out west. I do a lot of whitetail hunting in wooded areas. I bought the cheapest waterproof fogproof that I could find. Spent $50. Perfectly happpy with them. They are bushnel. Rubberized and can take a little impact.

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I think the ATB are rubber coated for more shockproof. Other than that I believe the glass is exactly the same as the standard Monarch. Nikon has a great guarantee. I have the Monarch and a smaller, cheaper pair and love them both.

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