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Optics Quality optics are a must-have for any serious hunter. Discuss them here.

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Old 11-03-2015, 03:55 PM   #1
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Default Best Low Level Light Binos At Dusk

We've seen a few topics lately about this but they are geared towards low price (under $100) or some other limitation. this topic is intended to identify what really works well in low light, defined as that first half hour of legal shooting time AFTER sunset (legal in CA anyway).

There are a few dozen regulars who post here and share their invaluable information and personal experiences--you know who you are. For that select group of experts here at HNI, please consider contributing your experience and expertise in answering the following bino questions on binos you've personally used:

1. Rank the top 5 or 10 low light binoculars from best to worst.

2. Have you found any significant difference in low light gathering ability between 30mm, 40-42mm, 50 and 56mm objective lenses?

3. Have you noticed any lesser low light gathering ability in different magnification levels?

4. What do you think are the "best in class" binos for low light at the following price points?
--Under $100
--Under $250
--Under$500
--Under $1,000
--Over$1000

5. Are there any brands you highly recommend or any that you don't?

6. Anything else that's important to know, i.e. lens coatings, etc.?
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Old 11-03-2015, 05:34 PM   #2
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1. my first choice would be swarovski.
2-3 -4 leica or ziess or stiener

2. I will only buy 10x50 or 8x 42 anything less will not work well for my needs.and anything bigger I find to bulky to carry. can only guess what others look for so I will not comment further.
3. the way it was explained to me it is the second # you look to for the light gathering. so if you want better light in low light conditions, you would choose the 10x50 over the 8x 42. in bright conditions you would notice very little difference in the two.

4.under $100? it is my belief , none exist. jmho.

$250 to $500 look to leopold(it has been my experience that their customer service is excellent). vortex, and even nikon would also be worth checking out in this price range.
keep in mind the more you spend the happier you will most likely be.


under 1000?zeiss has some good options.

over 1000?once you get up in this range swarovski , for me, is hands down first choice. I have had a pair for 25ish years with no problems , save replacing eyecups twice , wich swarovski did for no charge. customer service is exceptional and I personally will never buy any other brand again.


keep in mind that my experiances with the other brands were 25 plus years ago. but I used to replace my binos every year or two , till I went swarovski. so , they may cost you now, but they are durable. for me they have been worth every penny. this is nothing but my opinion of binos I have tried, so take it with a grain of salt and ask others, also.
5. obviously as already stated first choice swarovski, hands down. would recomend leoupold, zeiss, leica and vortex. I OWNED A PAIR OF EACH AND LIKED THEM ALL O.K.

I would never recomend bushnell or tasco. it is my opinion that you would be as well off to simply drive down the interstate , roll down your window and toss out your money. but hey , that's just me

6.there is much to consider about lens coatings but to be honest, I am not terribly knowledgable when it comes to such things , so I will not comment but would be interested to read the thoughts of others.
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Old 11-04-2015, 02:08 AM   #3
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First of all, I highly recommend Leica Geovid 10x42 Laser Rangefinder if you have the budget. It's the one I am using currently now (and I am pretty satisfied at it's performance).

Before this, I owned several pairs of binoculars that are well above $100, mostly below $500 though. Frankly, they do a good job in terms of optical performance and user experience. (If you are to get a binocular, try to check out the optical performance by looking at lens coating (ideally, should be fully-multi coated to maximize the amount of light reaching the lens), types of lens and prism used, condition of binocular (should be waterproof and fogproof) and also the design. There are many aspects to consider and if by any chance you are interested in learning more, you should definitely check out this buying guide by Epic Wilderness.

Anyway, I decided to try something better instead. Initially, I was kind of reluctant to go for Leica Geovid because it's extremely expensive (at $3150 when I bought it at that time). Besides, most of my friends told me that it's not wise to invest in binoculars that are above $1000 because there isn't any big differences as compared to the ones I had at that time.

However, I really liked the in-built rangefinder as it's pretty cool and convenient. I am glad I give it a try because it's definitely a winner for me. The quality of Leica Geovid's product is the best in my opinion, although some may argue that Swarovski's range is better in terms of optical performance.

And yeah, kidoggy, I really agree with you that there are some really low quality models within the range. However, some of it's higher range model can be really economical for beginners. Of course, if you already know what you are looking for, I would say go for other brands since Bushnell is better suited for newbies.

P.S: This is just my two cents coins. Please correct me if I am wrong

Last edited by Josh Alber; 11-04-2015 at 02:11 AM.
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Old 11-19-2015, 02:38 PM   #4
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Vortex.

Viper HD's are awesome.
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Old 11-21-2015, 10:37 AM   #5
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I own a lot of binocs over thenyears and currently have about 6 pair of varying prices but to fill in re the low cost binocs and the reference to none being great, i will tell you the leupold yosemite bx1 8x30 or 6x30 porros are terrific. Bought a pair for my daughter and absolutely love them, light way, clear and bright plus compact. Not the best all around necessarily but really nice and only about 80$
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Old 11-22-2015, 04:14 PM   #6
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I'm far from an expert, but I can honestly say my Optolyth 9x63 BGA are one of the best I've used. I don't know if they are worth $1200 or not. I bought mine way back when, on a promotional deal, for half that. Comparing the price of Swarovski or Zeis, they aren't a bad deal. Big, heavy and kind of clunky looking, but they sure enough get the job done.

I have a pair of Nikon variables 50mm that are good, clear image. The down side is the UV coating is a little too good. I use them as my loaners (I never loan out my good Binos) and for sporting events. Not my first choice for low light.
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Old 12-09-2015, 06:35 AM   #7
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For the low light I like my night googles from here. I'm using PVS7-CGT.
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Old 12-12-2015, 11:33 AM   #8
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Vortex 8x40 Vipers here. They punch way above their weight class.
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