Best Binocs for under $500

EOregonian

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Mar 23, 2019
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Looking to upgrade my binoculars this summer prior to hunting season as it has been 20 years and one one of the oculars is loose. I don't want to spend $1,000 or more and would like some good recommendations I do not hunt glued to a tripod but would like something that has good glass and eye relief for extended periods. Thanks.
 

farmerboy1381

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Jan 19, 2018
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Go to the store, try everything they have. Talk them into letting you try them outside. Go back later preferably under different lighting and do the same thing. I believe every bodies eyes are a little different. After reading online reviews I went to the store completely prepared to buy a vortex. After that first trip I thought Nikon had the best glass in the low-mid price point. With all the good I had heard about Vortex I was not prepared to accept one tryout. I went back to two different stores and looked through each several times till the bino guys were getting tired of me. To my eyes Nikon beat everything else under $800. I love Vortex warranty and I am sure they make great glass. I am just saying to my eyes Nikon was much better when glassing into shadowed areas without good lighting and the clarity was better even in good lighting. But then again I am a hardheaded person and know I will be happiest with gear I picked out, maybe I should rely on others experience more.
 

belshawelk

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Aug 27, 2015
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Oregon
Vanguard ED. A few posts about these. I bought a pair several years ago in a recommendation from a hunting mag listed as Best Buy. I bought another pair last year to keep in my truck. Great glass if you get the ED version. Under $500.
 

AggieCowboy

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Jul 16, 2018
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Vortex Viper would be in your price range. Check used Vortex options, you can save some money and still get the warranty.
 

Bluejeep

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Jan 31, 2018
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Billings, MT
I played with several pairs in the store. I was even able to convince a employee to let me take 2 pairs outside (albeit he accompanied me) around dusk. For my eyes, the Nikon monarch 7s we're just better then the leupolds he kept pushing me towards.

I then bought them online and saved about $90 :)
 

JohnCushman

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Nov 27, 2009
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South East Colorado
Look at the Theron Questas. I have the Wapitis and am amazed at the glass for the price point. The Questas are even better. Predator Optics is run by a hunttalker (schmalts) and you won't get any better deals or service.
 

utahminer

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Dec 4, 2014
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Colorado
A couple of recommendations:
1) Give the guys at Cameralandny a call and ask their opinion. They sponsor a number of forums and are very willing to walk you through some options you may not have already considered. They also play with a lot more variety than the vast majority of this thread and also have a very good clearance section.

2) Don't forget to look at used binos. I was able to pick up a set of $1,000 Leupolds for $500. The wonderful thing about the lifetime warranties is that the manufacturers don't care if you bought them new, found them in the field to picked them up off the classifieds. I have never been concerned about buying used Leupolds or Vortex for that reason.

Finally, I agree with what is said above about optics being a personal choice dependent on your eyes. I have an uncle that will swear up and down that his old Swaros are a much better glass than mine. I can see a slight difference but not a $2,000 difference. I have also borrowed mine to some pretty hardcore birders while their Swaros were in the shop and they almost didn't give mine back because they were so impressed.
 
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klampson

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May 5, 2019
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105
For the price I really like Vortex Viper HD 10x42s. I beat the crap out of them during hunting season. I send them into Vortex each January to be professional cleaned free of charge. They usually put on new eye piece cups, and purge the argon gas as well (more precautionary since I've never had any issues with fogging). It's amazing how nice they look when I get them back.
 

riv3rbanks

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Oct 30, 2017
Messages
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Deep in the Heart of Texas
Go to the store, try everything they have. Talk them into letting you try them outside. Go back later preferably under different lighting and do the same thing. I believe every bodies eyes are a little different. After reading online reviews I went to the store completely prepared to buy a vortex. After that first trip I thought Nikon had the best glass in the low-mid price point. With all the good I had heard about Vortex I was not prepared to accept one tryout. I went back to two different stores and looked through each several times till the bino guys were getting tired of me. To my eyes Nikon beat everything else under $800. I love Vortex warranty and I am sure they make great glass. I am just saying to my eyes Nikon was much better when glassing into shadowed areas without good lighting and the clarity was better even in good lighting. But then again I am a hardheaded person and know I will be happiest with gear I picked out, maybe I should rely on others experience more.
Do this. Everyone has different eyes. My eyes told me the best bang for my buck was with the Vortex Vipers. This will also give you an opportunity to see how lower end models compare to higher end models and may convince you to hold off until you can spend a little more.
 

kylemcintyre67

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Sep 11, 2018
Messages
214
Location
El Paso, TX
I have the vortex diamondback 10x50, they are great. The only slight annoyance putting on and taking off the tripod mount. Got the binos, a harness, and the tripod mount on amazon for right around 300 total.
 

Pondera

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Feb 3, 2017
Messages
115
Location
North Central Montana
Definitely some nice choices in the sub $500 category. Like everyone says try them out first. I run Vortex Diamondback because I buy into their marketing, fit and finish, price point and availability.
 

Ben Lamb

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Aug 6, 2010
Messages
10,499
Location
Helena
Call Schmalts at Predator Optics and talk to him about the Questas. Damned good glass for the cash and customer service to be applauded.
 

nwihunter

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Feb 8, 2015
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Location
Valparaiso, IN
I don’t have much experience with different brands of binos, but like the Vortex Vipers. I found them new for $400 on eBay.
 

BrentD

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Feb 3, 2018
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In the middle
You might check out used binos. The glass doesn't wear out from looking through it, so they can be really good deals.
 

Zach

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Oct 1, 2010
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Gods Country, Colorado
For the price I really like Vortex Viper HD 10x42s. I beat the crap out of them during hunting season. I send them into Vortex each January to be professional cleaned free of charge. They usually put on new eye piece cups, and purge the argon gas as well (more precautionary since I've never had any issues with fogging). It's amazing how nice they look when I get them back.
Same thing I bought. I like the fact the warranty stays with the glasses not the original purchaser.
 

bowhuntmontana

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Feb 17, 2011
Messages
871
Location
Utah, after 30+yrs in MT
Try to look through as many as you can. I'd take a hard look at the c-series from Maven. They have a trial program so you can send them back if you find they aren't for you. I was shopping for new glass over the past year and the Mavens ended up being my choice by a good margin in that price range.
 

gutshootem

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Nov 19, 2014
Messages
149
I strongly recommend upping it to 6-700. You can find near alpha binoculars used in that price range.
This right here.
When you can grab a used set of razors for about the same price as vipers, it's a no brainer. I personally went with a set of meopta meostars when looking in the same price range.
 
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