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The Optics Game - Part 2

CiK

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All,
I really appreciate the comments and advice in my first post about the importance of optics. I hope nobody minds, but I have a follow up question about binoculars.

As mentioned in my first post, I have always just used my range finder in the past to "glass" the areas I hunt (seldom past 150yds). After reading all the comments in my first post about what I am missing out on, I borrowed a friends pair of binoculars for one of my late evening sits in a tree stand. His binoculars are Bushnell H20 8x42's. From everything I have gathered in researching binoculars, 8x42's are the best choice for low light situations (which is where I find myself hunting the most).

I did notice during twilight, the image clarity degraded quite a bit at 150yd to a point that I am not sure I could have made the differences between a doe and a buck. Will quality optics really improve upon that? Or will I experience the same with a $1000 pair of binoculars? I am having a hard time convincing myself that there will be a difference. I have an untrained eye, so I am open to being trained.

Thanks again!
 

JLS

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8x42s are not necessarily the best for low light situations. They are certainly versatile, and have their advantages and disadvantages. Although I prefer 10x binos, I certainly wouldn't feel like I couldn't function with 8x.

All that said, you are likely experiencing issues due to the quality of glass and lens coatings. Better quality glass has fewer impurities and imperfections in it, and better quality lens coatings will all but eliminate any remaining distortion from good quality glass.

The best way for you to experience this would be to go down to your local sporting good store and get several sets of binos, ranging in price and quality. Take them outside right at dusk and look at objects. You'll notice right away what is a tangible difference and what isn't.

$1000 binos don't allow you to see in the dark, but I haven't regretted buying a pair one single day that I've used them.

As an aside, I just looked up Bushnell H20 binos. I think the problems you were experiencing will be quite easily remedied with better glass.
 

JohnCushman

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I am an East coast transplant. I always used 8x back East because you were never looking very far. Coming our west when I retired from the Army was a whole new ballgame. I totally recommend 10x binos for glassing wide open spaces that you can see a lot further out. I also, once again, recommend Predator Optics. Look at the Theron optics. I got the Wapiti LT 10x42 binos and they will stand up to any set of $1000 glass for 1/3 of the price. I am very happy with them, even at low light. With the difference between 8x and 10x looking across a canyon, you just might know if that patch of brown you've been watching for a half hour is a bush or an elk taking a nap on the side of a hill...just my opinion :D
 
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Mthuntr

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The Bushnell H20 don't have the glass/coating quality of $1000 optics so that is what you were noticing. Do I think you need to spend $1K on binos?...no but spending more than 100 bucks is strongly advised.

Talk to Schmalts about binos...I feel that the Theron line is amongst the best deals that can be had. I got a couple pairs of the Theron Wapiti LT 10x42 for my parents to put in their cars and I compared them to my Zeiss Terra 10x42 and they were easily as good or better for about 1/2 the price. I've not looked through the new Theron Questa but I'm sure they don't disappoint.
 

VAspeedgoat

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JLS is dead on. What you experienced would be remedied with better glass. A $1000 dollar pair will likely look like night vision compared to what you had. You will never regret buying good glass.

I am a 8x40 guy but tons of people on here like 10x40. I think there was a thread on that not long ago. I think its a bit like arguing over a .270 or a .280.

Check out predator optics. I just upgraded to a pair of theron questa and they would likely rival any $1000 binos for half the price.
 
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Bulldog0156

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I've never met a soul who regretted buying good glass. It's a lot of money but totally worth every penny to me. Bushnell is cheap and isn't going to hold a candle to any of the high end european glass.
 

Muskeez

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I was in almost the same boat as you as a midwesterner;

http://onyourownadventures.com/hunttalk/showthread.php?t=265498

http://onyourownadventures.com/hunttalk/showthread.php?t=265615

After our mule deer hunt I can say that I love the Theron Questa and that yes, there is a difference between those and my Bushnell H2O. I thought the H2O were pretty decent until I compared them side by side at low light and tried to see objects in the shadows. That sold me.

ps. I switched from the 10x that I thought I wanted to 8x42.
 
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schmalts

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The biggest difference you will see with good coatings, proper blackened lens edges and internal baffles is when glassing into a low sun, The difference you will see in low light gathering is minimal on most binos. It is there but the actual tested results are so minimal it is hard to justify the huge costs once again. But again, glassing into the direction of a low setting or rising sun and looking into the shadows will be one of the best tests. Then the whole edge to edge clarity is another thing I look at. What good is a large FOV if the outer edge is not in focus?
Look at different models as was suggested already and check reviews. The birding forums are a great optics resource as optics to those guys are like rifles and scopes to us hunters BUT if you do plan to make a post on a birding forum be careful because most birders hate us hunters....
There are a lot of over-priced optics out there being pushed by marketing machines and there are also some great products for a good price. Weeding them all out is not easy. If you can afford the top Euro or Japanese glass you can't go wrong but not everyone is willing to spend that extra money for the small step up in optical image quality. And then you need to make sure that you are not just buying a name because MANY big Alpha brand names are now pushing some models of medium end Asian optics at a higher price just because of the name they put on it. So that kills the whole "you get what you pay for" comments because unless you are in the optics biz you probably don't have a clue who is making what for whom. It's actually entertaining to be at the SHOT show and see the Euro glass guys with their ID badge stuffed into his shirt to hide his company name while sitting down doing biz with the same Asian optics factories that I meet with. They get very uneasy when you know who they are. It's also funny to see the same binos from the same factory get different rubber trim and a different logo and that logo makes one a POS and the other the best in the world because it costs more to the customer. I can PM anyone an example of two such models and one sells for half of what the other does.
Then it is entertaining to read the armchair Optics reviewers spew garbage that is so far from the truth that they look like fools (not talking about anyone here, i look at many forums). One of the comments that makes me laugh is "Chinese optics coatings fade and never look as good a year later" Funny, because damn near all the optical elements of most big rifle scope brands are sourced from China these days. Has your rifle scope image quality taken a big dive this year? LOL. Anyone who has met me knows I will talk about trade secrets that I won't talk about on public forums for many reasons.
Off my soap box now...
 
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