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HELP! Best bino for $300-400

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Category: Other Optics
Forum Name: Binoculars
Forum Description: Anything that requires two eyes to look through it
Printed Date: May/19/2019 at 14:45
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Topic: HELP! Best bino for $300-400
Posted By: tshuntin
Subject: HELP! Best bino for $300-400
Date Posted: August/06/2005 at 19:25

I am in dire need for some new binos.  I am on a budget though, have to save my for my SD pheasant hunts.


I really only want to spend $300 but, if it really worth it and willing to go up to about $400.  I am wanting 10 power in the 40-50 objective range.  Please help me make my choice.  I have heard people like and dislike all of the following and it is making it very hard to choice.


The ones I am considering at this point are:


Burris 10x50 signature

Leupold wind river Olympic's or pinnacles

Nikon Monarch atb

Pentax dcf hrII

Weaver G-Slam


Please help me choose and please tell me why you like or dislike certain ones.  Thanks, Travis

Posted By: dan2nd
Date Posted: August/06/2005 at 23:30

I would add the Browning 10x42. Its very sharp. I compared it to zeiss last year at a Cabelas store and found it as sharp. The features are very current. Locking right focus adjustment. Multi dents for each adjustable eyepiece. Sturdy feel and crystal clear optics.


I would also add Bushnell Legend 10x42. I owned the Legend 8x42 and found it very sharp and easy viewing. Gave to my brother in law and replaced it with Celestron Regal LX 8x42. Equally as sharp.


Posted By: sportsman
Date Posted: August/07/2005 at 20:53

The Pentax HR II will give you the best bang for your buck out of the ones you mentioned. The Leupold Olympics and Pinnacles are to expensive for what they offer, It surprised me that even the Nikon Monarchs were a bit brighter than the pinnacles when I compared them. The Nikon Monarchs are pretty light which is a good thing but I found the Pentax HR II to be a bit brighter and sharper even in low light. The Burris and the Weaver are pretty good,  but still the image quality of the Pentax

was slightly better.  You can find the Pentax HR II for around $250.00 or less, while the others you mentioned cost $300 to $500, they just didnt seem any better than the Pentax HR II  for the price. Another thing, if you want a pair of binoculars that give you about 94-97% image quality of the Euro's at half the price I will highly recommend the Pentax SP. If you look around you can find these for about $450.00. These binos are very bright, resolution is incredible, the image is sharp from edge to edge. When I compared them to some of the top euros I was suprised at how close they came. Unless you have alot of money to spend, I dont think its worth paying $800-1000 more to see a 5% difference (if you're on a budget). Just a note, this is my personal opinion and is not meant to offend any fans of the top euros, cause I admit they are super great bino's. But in TSHUNTIN'S situation were talking money wise.



Posted By: Buster1
Date Posted: August/07/2005 at 23:33
Sent you a PM......

Posted By: gremlin
Date Posted: August/09/2005 at 12:11

I dunno about you guys' personal experience of testing them in stores or what may have occurred, but of the five binoculars that tshuntin posted for consideration, my money's buying the Leuopold Pinnacles.  The first models that I saw were at birdwalks with my local Audubon society back in late 2002 and they seemed to have some issues with chromatic aberration and the ocular glass being too close to the top if the eye cups were twisted down (they'd hit your spectacles), but those problems were addressed in 2003 or 2004 and now the Pinnacles have a reputation among my group as "a poor man's Zeiss". 


I might not go that far, but of those that you've got listed, I'd have a hard time putting the Monarchs or the HRII's above the Pinnacles.  I've always gotten a good view from the smaller Burris Signatures, but I've never used the bigger glasses and while I love Weaver scopes, I can't say that I've ever seen a crystalline picture out their binocs.


The Pinnacles offer a sharp, crisp picture with great color.  If we're gonna limit it to the five you've got listed and not step up the Pentax from the HRII's to the SP's, then I gotta tell ya from this ol' birdwatchin' hunter's experience, your decision should be a pretty easy one.


Just my two cents.


Take the long way home...


Posted By: koshkin
Date Posted: August/09/2005 at 17:03

Gremlin, which Burris Signature bino are you familiar with?  I've been looking at an 8x32, on and off.  Are they better than Bushnell Legends in the same size? anything else you can compare them to?


As for 10x binos, I also think that Pinnacles are a little better than the other ones listed.  HRII I was never very impressed with (image is a little soft), although they are better than Monarchs. Bushnell Legends seemed very good for the money.


Another binocular I would add to the list is Sightron S3.  I have a 10x42 version and I am very pleased with their quality.  I had a chance to compare them to a number of binoculars, including the Pinnacles and Legendd and I prefer the S3.  In the sample that I looked at Pinnacle and S3 were equally bright with Pinnacle having a slightly better color endition and S3 having a slightly better resolution.  When I test binoculars I mostly stare at various targets some distance away in different light.  Where I live it is overcast and foggy pretty much every morning so I get a good range of lighting conditions.  Another thing that I do is stop somewhere on the beach on my way to work and look at distant (and some times not so distant) islands. It is interesting how glare from the water effects different binoculars.  If I leave work early enough to see the sunset over the Pacific I stop also to see if the flare is suppressed well.


Anyhow, the one conclusion I got out of all that is that for ultimate optical performance you are beter off buying a set of full size porros.  Yes they tend to be big and sometimes heavy, but a vast majority of quality porros for $200 and up will have optical performance rivaling much more expensive roofs.



Posted By: gremlin
Date Posted: August/09/2005 at 23:30
I've used the 8x32 Burris Signatures a couple times and found them to be very comparable to the Bushnell Legends--they're slightly smaller and they've got just a little bit of blue tinting to them.  I didn't mention the Legends because they weren't on tshuntin's list, but my opinion is that in the 8x32, the Signatures provided a very similar view to the Legends in a smaller package that hung better around my neck as I walked the woods.  I like them.

I second your opinion on the porros--a pair of new model Swift Audubons would be a better value than the choices listed with the exception of the Pinnacles.  I think given the size advantage and the quality of the 2004 and newer versions of the Leupolds make them a pretty good choice if tshuntin's willing to spend the money.

Posted By: koshkin
Date Posted: August/10/2005 at 11:37

Swift Audubons are quite awesome indeed, but even cheaper waterproof porros are very good: Nikon Action Extreme, Pentax PCF WP, Sightron S2, Bushnell Legend.  And I am sure others that I am forgetting.  I've also been looking for a way to test new Swift Ultralites (both porro and roof), but noone around here has them.  It would be interesting to see how Swift Ultralite roofs compare to Pinnacles, S3, etc. and porros to Pentax DCF WP and Nikon Action Extreme.


Gremlin, the Pinnacles I have seen were a year or two old, so I may have seen a pre-2004 version, but I am not sure.



Posted By: sportsman
Date Posted: August/10/2005 at 22:24


Leupold Pinnacles 10x42  ($400-500)  eye relief:16mm/ FOV: 267ft / Phase-coat Bak-4/ fully-multi        & amp; nbsp;         & amp; nbsp;    


Pentax DCF SP 10x42  ($450-550) w/Hybrid Aspherical Lens  eye relief:17mm/ FOV:315ft/ Phase-coat Bak-4/

fully-multi coated.


If you want to skip the $300 binoculars and spend a few bucks more, go with the Pentax SP 10x42. I know some people like the Leupold Pinnacles and Im sure their great. However, If you compare their features youll see its hard to beat the Pentax SP in this price range. The Pentax SP as you can see gives you a bit more eye relief, way more Fiel of view(315ft compare to 267ft) you loose about 50ft, nobody wants to see a narrow view. And last but not least the Pentax SP also features HYBRID ASPHERICAL LENS!! elements for edge to edge sharpness in any lighting condition. Not only that but you get scratch resistant coating on exposed lens elements. I've seen the Leupold Pinnacles and you will notice a slight fuzzyness at the edges, not cool when your paying this much. So you decide which will give you the best BANG for your buck. My point is TSHUNTING only wanted to spend $300.00, I recommended the Pentax HR II because he can find these for $250.00, compare to paying $400-500 for the Pinnacles. Even the HRII have a wider FOV @315ft and more eye relief than the Pinnacles. HRII are also phase-coated and fully multi coat, again very hard to beat for the price. And if the Pinnacles try to match up with the Pentax SP, again they will get put down as I mentioned above. These are just the facts, it doesnt take a wiz to figure this out. Imagine missing the Buck of a lifetime just because he was a few feet outside your narrow 267 FOV.



Posted By: Rusty
Date Posted: August/11/2005 at 08:34



Do you want a 8X or 10X?

Posted By: gremlin
Date Posted: August/11/2005 at 21:30

The Pentax DCF SP's weren't on tshuntin's short list.  Nobody's throwing rocks at the SP's.

Of those he listed, my experience would cause me to recommend the Pinnacles.  I even said in my post, "If we're gonna limit it to the five you've got listed and not step up the Pentax from the HRII's to the SP's, then...your decision should be a pretty easy one."

The SP's are a good binocular.  So are the Pinnacles.  The difference in 16mm and 17mm of eye relief is negligible--within the measurement's margin for error.  The appreciable difference in the raw specs is the field of view as you pointed out and the degree to which they're both waterproof.  Both of those are in the SP's favor.  As for the hybrid aspherical lenses, well... everybody's gotta market something.   I'd probably be more interested in the Penta-brite coatings. 

My experience in hunting and sporting goods stores has been that the SP's cost more than the Pinnacles.  So, again, "If we're gonna limit it to the five tshuntin's got listed and not step up the Pentax from the HRII's to the SP's, then the decision should be a pretty easy one--the Pinnacles."

Just my two cents.
Take the long way home...

Posted By: tshuntin
Date Posted: August/16/2005 at 22:38

Thanks everyody for the info.  Please keep it coming.  I am not totally limiting myself to those fiv.  Thsoe are just the ones that have been recommened to me.  Please keep the suggestions coming.  Thanks, Travis

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