Better binos vs spotting scope

seigeto

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I live, and predominantly hunt, in the east. As such I have a high quality pair of 8x42s that I use, on a tripod, and like the setup a lot for my eastern escapades. I'm starting my first forays into western hunting this year with a Wyoming deer tag, and a leftover antelope doe tag. I've read the forum a lot about spotters and binos, etc. and I think I've settled on forgoing the spotter in favour of a second pair of stronger binos, which I can make good use of in the east as well. Wondering if y'all think that's a good idea, and if so would you go up to 10x, 12x or 15x binos?
 

npaden

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So many things to consider. First, what do you consider a high quality pair of 8x42s? If they are top end euro glass I would say you could probably get away with them out west. Right now the rage is the 12x Swaros on tripods though.

Low end spotters are not worth much in my opinion and even high end spotters aren't used all that often. To me the difference between binos and spotters is whether it matters if that elk or deer a mile or two away is big enough to go after or not.

If your high quality pair of 8x42s is vortex or bushnell or something like that, you might want to just step up to a 10x42 in the top end euro glass.
 

rideold

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I've been using 8x42 Nikon Monarch 5 binos for 4 or 5 years now for hunting, birding, etc (I live in Colorado). They are good enough. I wen't antelope hunting for the first time last year and was sorely under-magnified. I don't have great eyesight but it's not terrible either. I'm looking to step up to 10x50's because I need/want a little more magnification but I want to be able to hand hold them as well as tripod mount them. I don't want to go with 10x42's because I want to keep the exit pupil close to what the 8x42's are. I've been finding that there are time that I miss things with the 8x42's that the 10x50's would have probably allowed me to see. I do both spot and stalk as well as still hunting. It's when I'm looking into the edges and shadows that I am finding the 8x42's lacking. Maybe a high end glass would be fine in 8x but the rarefied euro glass is out of my price range. I'm not particularly interested in using my binos for scoring antlers etc. I just want to be able to pick out animals and count tines while elk hunting since the area I go has a 4 tine restriction. So, the long winded answer is that I agree with you that a stronger pair of binos is a good way to go. Don't know if that helps you make your decision or not.
 

wytex

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I would go with 10x42's and we use our spotter all the time, especially deer and antelope hunting.
Not sure a spotter would benefit you out east, out here they are very useful.
You might check a pawn shop when you get out here to hunt.
Better binos would probably benefit you the most unless you plan on annual trips out west. A Leupold Gold ring spotter would do just fine and they are not $2,000+ at the right store. We have an older Leupold and a Swaro, both get used.
Schmalts might have something to help you out.
 

seigeto

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So many things to consider. First, what do you consider a high quality pair of 8x42s? If they are top end euro glass I would say you could probably get away with them out west. Right now the rage is the 12x Swaros on tripods though.

Low end spotters are not worth much in my opinion and even high end spotters aren't used all that often. To me the difference between binos and spotters is whether it matters if that elk or deer a mile or two away is big enough to go after or not.

If your high quality pair of 8x42s is vortex or bushnell or something like that, you might want to just step up to a 10x42 in the top end euro glass.
My binos are a pair of 1980s hand-me-down swaros.
 

seigeto

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I would go with 10x42's and we use our spotter all the time, especially deer and antelope hunting.
Not sure a spotter would benefit you out east, out here they are very useful.
You might check a pawn shop when you get out here to hunt.
Better binos would probably benefit you the most unless you plan on annual trips out west. A Leupold Gold ring spotter would do just fine and they are not $2,000+ at the right store. We have an older Leupold and a Swaro, both get used.
Schmalts might have something to help you out.
I think it's most likely it'll be a bi-annual trip out west atm.

I'm looking at the new Swaros - hoping to check them out in person in the coming weeks. I have ~$3k to spend on them as I've been saving up for ages.
 

hank4elk

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I'm with NHY. I mainly use my 10x50's these days,but have 10x42's & 8x30's. All good quality glass. & I will use my tripod w/binos.
Still tempted to get some 10x42 Swaros if I had my druthers for everyday.
My spotter usually stays in truck.....
 

NoWiser

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I've been using 8x42 Nikon Monarch 5 binos for 4 or 5 years now for hunting, birding, etc (I live in Colorado). They are good enough. I wen't antelope hunting for the first time last year and was sorely under-magnified. I don't have great eyesight but it's not terrible either. I'm looking to step up to 10x50's because I need/want a little more magnification but I want to be able to hand hold them as well as tripod mount them. I don't want to go with 10x42's because I want to keep the exit pupil close to what the 8x42's are. I've been finding that there are time that I miss things with the 8x42's that the 10x50's would have probably allowed me to see. I do both spot and stalk as well as still hunting. It's when I'm looking into the edges and shadows that I am finding the 8x42's lacking. Maybe a high end glass would be fine in 8x but the rarefied euro glass is out of my price range. I'm not particularly interested in using my binos for scoring antlers etc. I just want to be able to pick out animals and count tines while elk hunting since the area I go has a 4 tine restriction. So, the long winded answer is that I agree with you that a stronger pair of binos is a good way to go. Don't know if that helps you make your decision or not.

I have the exact same Nikon binos in 8x. You aren't lacking magnification, you are lacking quality glass. You will gain much more by stepping up in quality than magnification. After my first trip out west my thinking was the same as yours - I was lacking power. I bought a pair of Zeiss Conquest HD 10x. I almost immediately regretted going to the higher power due to amplified shaking and less depth of field. I recently sold them and switched to 8x Swaros. My Nikon's are now my 2 year old daughter's binoculars and the difference between those and the Swaros is hard to even put into words. It's incredible how much more detail you can see with the good glass.

For the OP, I think you should keep your 8X if you like them. Some 12X or 15X Swaros would serve you very well on that tripod of yours. If you are worried about counting inches a spotter is probably the way to go. If you aren't, I think you'd be happier with the binos.
 

rideold

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I have the exact same Nikon binos in 8x. You aren't lacking magnification, you are lacking quality glass. You will gain much more by stepping up in quality than magnification. After my first trip out west my thinking was the same as yours - I was lacking power. I bought a pair of Zeiss Conquest HD 10x. I almost immediately regretted going to the higher power due to amplified shaking and less depth of field. I recently sold them and switched to 8x Swaros. My Nikon's are now my 2 year old daughter's binoculars and the difference between those and the Swaros is hard to even put into words. It's incredible how much more detail you can see with the good glass.

For the OP, I think you should keep your 8X if you like them. Some 12X or 15X Swaros would serve you very well on that tripod of yours. If you are worried about counting inches a spotter is probably the way to go. If you aren't, I think you'd be happier with the binos.
I always hear folks say how much better the Swaros and the like are but your's is the first I've heard a direct comparison to what I'm used to using. Maybe someday I'll get a pair. Too rich for my wallet right now but it does give me pause on getting the 10x50 Leupold BX-4 Pro Guides I was looking at getting for somewhere in the $600 range.
 

npaden

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One tip I would give is that you can generally save somewhere around 20 to 25% off by shopping around and either buying used or demos.

Some folks just seem to like to trade around for the latest and greatest and are upgrading to the BX Swaros or need to sell something to finance a new project and you can find some pretty good deals on used binos if you shop.

I bought my Swaro HD 65 spotting scope for $1,650 used in like new condition last year and I just picked up a pair of Leica Geovid 2200 Rangefinding binoculars in 10 x 42 that were very close to brand new condition for $1,500 last month.
 

cahunter805

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Also Swarovski warranty is transferable and always top notch. If you buy used just have the seller contact Swarovski and they can clear the registration so you can call and register in your name.
 

Addicting

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I have a older pair of Leupold BX4s 10x42. I found myself using them more than my spotter. If I had that kinda money to spend I would buy the same or a Santiam 10x50 from Schmaltz and save the rest for a GR spotter latter after you get some experience out west. That will ensure you are buying the right optic for your style of hunting. You may find that you would never use a spotter.
 

ScottP

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My current setup for western big game is 8x on the chest, 15x for the tripod, and a spotter. I'm thinking about swapping the 15x for 12s, only because I carry them on backpacking trips and looking to cut the weight. I hunt from early archery high country to the late december cow seasons and it's a versatile setup.
 

pre6422hornet

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I am similar to ScottP. 8x42 Meopro HD's on my chest and Vortex 15x60's in the pack with a tripod (when I know I am going to be glassing alot). I personally prefer binos to a spotter, but that is just me. Two falls ago we were in the Weminuche Wilderness and used those 15's to glass bucks 1000 yards (1082 to be exact) away bedded in the timber. Impressed the heck out of me.
 

Muskeez

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Totally different but I borrowed a pair of 12x50 Vortex razors from a friend last year for my WY m. deer hunt. Absolutely loved them and am shopping for my own pair now. I didn't find the shaking to be a problem. A lot of the time I either sat with my elbows on knees, or layed them on top of glass of side window of my truck.
 

ScottP

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For the OP, since you have a mixed hunt (deer + antelope) you might consider what you think you'll do most going forward. I started from the exact base you are, I got a pair of 8x Swaro as a wedding gift (nice, eh?) as my first pair of optics when I moved west.

This is my opinion:
Antelope: your 8x and a spotter
Mule deer: your 8x + 12 or 15x on a tripod

IMO, antelope are fairly easy to find with 8x in the sage, especially if they're up. Spotter to eval cause they'll be way off and I'm not great at judging pronghorn. Deer, if you aren't needing to scrutinize antlers, you'll find way more deer at distance with the big binos. I noticed that on a deer hunt with a friend where i had 15s and he had 10s, both on the tripod. At 15x you can see if its small, medium, large, or x-large.
 

fowl punishment

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I think it's most likely it'll be a bi-annual trip out west atm.

I'm looking at the new Swaros - hoping to check them out in person in the coming weeks. I have ~$3k to spend on them as I've been saving up for ages.
Personally, if I had that much to spend I would get a pair of Maven B2 or meopta meostar binos and the meopta meopro spotter. You can buy both for your budget, you will give up a little to the Swarovski, but not much. I love Swarovski and have a few optics from them, but I have a hard time justifying it anymore.
 
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