Any recommendations for quality binoculars?

SCEMan

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My cabin on the cruise ship we're on has a pair of Meopta 8x42 Optika HD binoculars and they're very impressive. Much better than the Bausch & Lomb pair I bought about 20 years ago. Only issue is the weight, even with a magnesium frame they're pretty heavy.

What other binoculars have you been happy with?
 

mhbmd

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I saw the title of your thread and came here to recommend the Meoptas. Gifted a pair to my son-in-law three years ago and we have both been extremely impressed; Meopta uses exceptional glass. The only complaint I have with them is that the focus mechanism feels a bit loose.
I've had a pair of Nikons for over 20 years that are fantastic binoculars. Clear glass, precise and rapid focus, built like a tank. They were expensive back then so in a different price category than the Meopta Optika HD. I also can't attest to Nikon's current binocular quality.
Regarding weight, the Meopta Optika HD 8x42 weighs 24.7 oz. The Maven B1.2 8x42 weighs 26.8 oz. Most 8x42 binoculars will be close to those weights. This article has a good overview of mid-priced binoculars and you can dig down to find a pair that's lighter than average if weight is a priority: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/the-cornell-lab-review-affordable-full-size-8x42-binoculars/#
 

alpg88

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Zeiss terra, around 400 bucks. I have one, pretty happy with it. Of course their Victory series is a better option, gives you a sharper brighter picture, but it is like 8x the price.
 
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ma tumba

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I have been through a lot of binos an here are the best I know:
1. Canon 10x42L image stabilized (best thing)
2. Fujinon technostabi 14x40 (if you need higher magnification and/or want to observe from a vehicle)
3. Leica ultravid 8x20 for travel
4. One of those old 90deg AFOV porros (if you are a fan of ultrawides), I have 7x35 and 12x50 and they are real joy to play with
 

Kestrel

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I certainly concur on choosing the ~32mm objective lens midsize format;
Perhaps older optical tech justified full-size 40's, but with modern glass I see no compelling reason to go beyond the midsize 30/32mm's for general use;

There is an Optics thread here on CPF; I wrote a bit on my midsize choices here in post #5, if anybody had an interest:
 
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alpg88

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30mm or 42mm you wont see much, if any difference during the day, but once it gets darker, you will see advantage of larger lens. For open fields smaller lens is ok, but if you are in a dense forest, even during the day, larger lens will give you sharper, brighter picture.
Obviously I'm comparing lens size only, assuming everything else is equal, prisms, ar coating... Of course some brand with 30mm lens may be brighter than 42mm from another brand, but in general larger lens has more light gathering capability
 

mckeand13

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You didn't mention a budget so I say get yourself some Swarovski's.

If your pockets aren't that deep, check out Athlon. They have a number of different models all dependent on price. They are a great value and offer some really nice glass.

Another option is Vortex. Nice glass, and a great warranty (which most people wind up using).
 

orbital

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..Another option is Vortex. Nice glass, and a great warranty (which most people wind up using).
+

Vortex headquarters is at most 1.5hrs from me. Have a pair of older Razor's
still, I recommended the Hawke bins @ 8x32
 

fuyume

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My cabin on the cruise ship we're on has a pair of Meopta 8x42 Optika HD binoculars and they're very impressive. Much better than the Bausch & Lomb pair I bought about 20 years ago. Only issue is the weight, even with a magnesium frame they're pretty heavy.

What other binoculars have you been happy with?
If you want the best optics currently on the market, then you want the Fujinon FMTR-SX 7x50 marine binoculars. They are not cheap ($700 USD at B&H Photo today), not small, and not light (over 3 lbs), but they are the finest you can get. I have the long-discontinued Pentax PIF 7x50, which rival the Fujinons, but you can't get them, anymore, and they are even heavier, I think. If you want similar quality, but a much smaller size, the FMTR-SX used to also be made in a 6x30, but good luck finding any on the secondary market, they are as rare as hen's teeth, and jealously guarded.

Generally speaking, the best binoculars on the market are going to be the ones marketed specifically for marine use, and those will usually be 7x50, because the widest a human pupil can open is about 7 mm, and 50/7 = about 7.1 mm, so a 7x50 actually captures more light than anyone's eyes can see. When you look through a pair of 7x50s, the image will actually be brighter than that which you naked eye can see, so when you use them in dim light, it almost looks like looking through night vision goggles. Marine binoculars are also generally waterproof (for obvious reasons) and heavily armored (because boats have a tendency to move around a bit). This is also why they are so commonly used in the military.

Porro prism binoculars are much easier to make to a higher optical standard than roof prism types, but roof prisms are generally more compact. That's why roof prisms are popular, and why the best ones cost thousands of dollars, yet still can't quite match the quality of the best porro prism types.

6x30s are a good size for compactness and lightweight, and 6x is a good power for handholding. 7x50 marine binos are also generally great for binocular astronomy.

Other than that, most of the binos by the big names (Nikon, Fujinon, Pentax, Zeiss, Swarovski, Leica, Steiner) are going to be good.
 

IMA SOL MAN

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With all due respect to the opinions of our members here, you may want to post your question on an optics forum. I did a search for binocular forums and got quite a few results. Again, all respect to our members, but, would you ask the members of another type of forum for a flashlight recommendation? You likely would get a more informed recommendation here, since that is our specialty.
 

orbital

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+

Maybe some of us have been members of binocular forums and left,
because they were all snobs who feel the most expensive 'alpha' bins are were the one & only. They are not.

= I can have you blind test a pair of $200 binoculars (on clearance & purchased today)
that I'd put up against ANY binocular on the planet for perfect/stunning flat field view.
Not kidding about this.

snobby binocular forums wouldn't recognize this at all, trust me.

With all do respect
 

Lips

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you may want to post your question on an optics forum.
IMA you have to wait 18 years to make that recommendation!

= I can have you blind test a pair of $200 binoculars (on clearance & purchased today)
that I'd put up against ANY binocular on the planet for perfect/stunning flat field view.
Not kidding about this.
I'm interested!
 

SCEMan

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You didn't mention a budget so I say get yourself some Swarovski's.

If your pockets aren't that deep, check out Athlon. They have a number of different models all dependent on price. They are a great value and offer some really nice glass.

Another option is Vortex. Nice glass, and a great warranty (which most people wind up using).
Thanks, but I'd prefer to stay in the $350-400 range. I have optics on rifles that cost more than the rifles but I'm not going to spend that for occasional use binoculars…
 

bigburly912

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Thanks, but I'd prefer to stay in the $350-400 range. I have optics on rifles that cost more than the rifles but I'm not going to spend that for occasional use binoculars…
Your optics should cost more than your rifles if you are taking your shooting seriously. Unless you buy vortex which have absolutely been a game changer for me. I've no experience with their binoculars but man they have some clean glass. I was a Zeiss/Swarovski snob until they came along.
 
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