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File: zack_with_binoculars.jpg (166 KB, 1592x1272)
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Sup sc/out/s

Any feedback on cheap to moderately priced binoculars?

I've always thought about getting a pair cause nature, fuck yea! but never bothered since I'm pretty frugal. Now though, the gf wants to do a whale watching tour which is cool, but binocular rentals are not included and if we don't bring our own I know the gf is gonna want to rent a pair.

Rather than waste cash on a rental, I'd rather buy a pair and keep them. Amazon has a shit ton of options, but since their rating system is so fucking useless these days figured I'd ask here.
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Optics are technical yet highly subjective. Amazon reviews are a decent starting point but given the fact that most people there are buying one pair online, you need to remember that they don't have a clue what they are talking about. I would personally recommend going to a good sporting goods store and trying out about 20 pairs and seeing what 100, 500, 1000 and 2500 buy you. Then make a decision and buy it online. Binoculars come in all sorts of flavors and sizes. If you buy a pair that work well for whale watching, they might not really be suitable for your other hobbies. For example, field glasses tend to have a narrow field of view and work well for longer distances. However, they can be a hindrance when hunting due to that narrow field of view, bulk and dimmer image due to thicker glass. I often would rather bring a monocular or camera with a telephoto lens depending on the activity. If I was on land, I would use something with at least a 10x42 setup. If I was on a boat with a pair, I might stick to something 8 power due to movement on the water. Alternatively, if I were on land I personally would use a tripod and a larger optic like a 500-1000mm mirror lens on a camera. Cheap optics are really disappointing when you are on a vacation of a lifetime and you realize you cheated yourself out of enjoying the day because you wanted to save a few bucks. I do a lot of nature photography and have unfortunately learned this lesson. Only you can answer the question but do your research.
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What's cheap to moderately priced? In the optics world that could be up to about $1000 USD.

The first thing would be to define your budget, then take a look at some of the resources below. Like the anon above said, optics are highly subjective and what I like may not work for you, but some optics are better than others.

Personally I wouldn't consider anything lesser quality than the Vortex Diamondback HD series. You can do better for the money (about $200) but they're widely available and have a good warranty. I recommend the Athlon Ares 8x42, they're nicer than the Vortex Diamondbacks, but they are heavy for their size. They control chomatic abberation much better than the Diamondbacks. I have a pair and for $200 they are a steal.

Also consider the Cronus, it's the model up from the Ares. Currently on sale for a ridiculously low price. It's also heavy, but optically very good for its price:

More info:
Optika Exotica, despite frequently terrible wind noise, has good reviews because he shows you the view through the optics and often does side-by-side comparisons.

BestBinocularReviews will help you narrow down your choices. He doesn't have the most deeply technical info, but does have an excellent glossary and value-for-money guides which give you options at different price points.

Search birding forums for reviews. Seriously, there's no more picky segment of the binocular market than birders.

This guy has a good, if lengthy review of several 8x32 models (if you want a more compact bino)
I don’t know shit about binoculars, but make sure you don’t go too big on the magnification. It makes it impossible to keep them steady and makes it hard to find what you’re looking at/for
I should have specified, I wouldn't consider any roof prism binoculars under $200. If your budget is around $100 or less, consider a porro prism design like the Kowa YF II, you'll get much better quality optics for the money.

Looking for a jack off all trades on this as I'm looking to use it for the whale watching, but after that to use while hiking/backpacking. I realize this isn't ideal, but my use won't be enough to warrant separate binoculars for different activities


I was figuring $50-100 or maybe a little more. I realize that there are some out there at $2,500 and hey maybe one day I'll be there but at the moment my interest is more at the "Get something at a cheap entry point that will be good enough for the trip and use it elsewhere". If I got hooked to it and then decide to get a better one later on than I'll get something nice then.

Watching the vid now, thats a shit ton of options


Yea, looks like I shouldn't do anything above 10 in regard to that.
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For $100 you should definitely look at porro or reverse-porro design.
I liked the the Vortex Vanquish, but for me the eye cups were too small and the feeling of my eyelashes touching the inside of the eye cups bothered me. The image quality was very good for $80 binos though, and they are light and compact.
Also consider the midsize Kowa YF II, Opticron Savanna, Vortex Raptor, and Leupold Yosemite (discontinued). I believe they're all produced by the same factory, though there are differences. This would be a nice compromise between size, cost, and image quality.
Vortex diamondback
I'll be honest, I really enjoy my Nikon Prostaff 3s. For like, sub-$150, I think that's the best you can get.
used pair of Zeiss 8x30s
This is a very decent guide.

can someone recommend gyroscopically stabilized binoculars that look just like the ones from stalker shadow of chernobyl? - and no, i won't google it - you have to look it up for me
I got these Kowa 10x42 this spring for bird ID. They're not the cheapest out there, but after doing some research they seem to be pretty much discount-bin-tier as far as "real binoculars" go. Very happy with them, they replaced my Leica 8x32 that I'd been rocking for 15 years and despite being 1/3 of the price I almost like them better. I guess the optics field does get developments over the years.
>jack off all trades
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why would you use binoculars when you have a camera
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why would you use a camera when you have a microscope
I got these and I am very impressed. My old man is a camera store guy and he only uses nikon binos.. he said these punch above their weight very well. I would say so for sure. I have had a fantastic time so far with them, even the way the strap is engineered to fit the eye cup placement is nice. Good shit
OP I am the poster for the Nikons.
There is no point in spending 50 dollars on optics. It WILL be shit. For this kind of product you simply need to drop closer to 150. The Nikons are 200 and they are waterproof for your fucking whale watching.

The Japanese have us on glass and ass. We only have grass on them.

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