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Leupold Gonden Ring Optics Tested against Swarovski

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Leupold Gonden Ring Optics Tested against Swarovski

Old 11-17-2005, 12:57 PM
  #1  
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Default Leupold Gonden Ring Optics Tested against Swarovski


After using the Leupold Golden Ring 8 x 42 binoculars for a few months in every condition imaginable, I honestly cannot find a single fault with them. They are far beyond any optics that I've ever taken into the field. While not inexpensive at $950.00, they represent an extraordinary value over European optics retailing in the neighborhood of $2000.00. Leupold states that they created the Golden Ring line to surpass standards set by the ultra-premium optics makers at a price that was far more appealing. To test this I put their glass up against a pair of Swarovski EL 8.5x42 binoculars. The results were so positive I felt I had to share them with as many people as possible. My testing was simple but, in my opinion, very conclusive in determining what makes optics stand out from one another. It involved my hunting treestand, an old broken down cottage, sunlight andtwo $20.00 billsI affixed to a tree.
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I was in my favorite stand well before sunrise. About 80 yards behind me in some very thick cover stands the remains of what once was a cottage, now reduced through the ages to two walls, a floor and half of a fallen roof. I couldn't see the structure with my naked eye butI could make them out vaguely with both sets of binoculars. Using them in this manner really proves the importance of quality glass when hunting. It enables you to get a visual confirmation on game in areas you wouldn't normally see yet and you can alter your strategy accordingly regarding setup and the routes traveled.
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As some time progressed I was switching glass periodically.I was surprised to find that with the Leupold I could now make out the individual planks of wood. I picked up the Swarovski and could not. In fact, I needed about 3-4 more minutes of time to elapse and sunlight to arrive before they would let me view them.
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I will say one thing about any pair of high end optics. Looking through them when you're used to a low or medium priced set is so different it'salmost impossibleto describe. Anyone who says that their low to mid priced set of optics is on par with the higher end stuff is either trying to fool themselves, fool you or has never used them to compare. Becoming accustomed to optics such as these and then going back to standard glass will leave you thinking the world has been reduced to two dimensions and your lenses need cleaning.
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My next test was with the $20.00 bills. I usedtwo of the newer ones with the multicolored printing so I could get an idea of color transmission and separation as well as the fine detail of the gravure printing used for US currency. The front of the bill has blue ink for aneagle and some printing, green on it's outer portions and red and blue threads throughout the center. The rear has the same green for the outer portions but also in that area are many tiny "20" symbols in a mustard like color. I figured this test would go a long way in determining how the binoculars performed due to all of the subtle differences. What I didn't figure on was the steadiness that would be needed to complete this part of the test. My day of whitetail hunting was over almost as soon as it got it's start and I climbed down from my stand and continued the test.
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The front of the currency showed no favorite to either glass. All of the fine lines and subtle color shifts I was able to discern at the same distances withone pair was equaled by the other. The rear was a different story. While the fine detail of the print gave no answer to the winner of this test, the small "20" markings in yellow on the green background produced a clear cut winner. I was able to see them approx. 5 yards further out with the Leupold than I was able to with the Swarovski. The Leupold Golden Ring binoculars were superior in my testing in low light detail and in color separation over the Swarovski optics. Not only did they outperform them, but they didso at a savings of $750.00.
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Here is a link to the website for more information and technical specs:
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http://www.leupold.com/products/new_products4.htm
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vince71969 is offline  
Old 11-22-2005, 06:33 AM
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Default RE: Leupold Gonden Ring Optics Tested against Swarovski

Thanks Vince for the test. You were able to do what most of us would find very difficult to do. It would be tough, at least for me, 1. to find someone who uses Swarvos and 2. them letting me borrow them for a day to compare them to my Leups. I've always sworn by Leupold for all my optics, Understanding they may not be the "best" in the world, they are certainly among the best, and have for years served me VERY well. Again, thanks for your testing and report.
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Old 11-23-2005, 05:56 AM
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Default RE: Leupold Gonden Ring Optics Tested against Swarovski

Outstanding test and info. I am in the market for new binos since my "middle of the road" pair just broke on me. I was trying to justify $1700 for a new pair under the assumption they would last the rest of my life. I think you have convinced me to save some money and buy the Leupold's.
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Old 11-24-2005, 07:56 AM
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Default RE: Leupold Gonden Ring Optics Tested against Swarovski

Good test. I tried the gold rings in the store against Leica, swaro, zeiss, Nikon LX, Meopta and Steiner. In the store, it seemed the leupolds were rather dark. But you can't tell what a piece of glass is capable of or wht it's limitations are unless you take them out into the field. But with my budget, I use a pair of optolyth alpin 10x50. Good german glass but I have no illusions about these mid price bino's being on par with premium glass.
I hope you do some more tests
okcmco
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Old 11-24-2005, 08:48 AM
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Default RE: Leupold Gonden Ring Optics Tested against Swarovski

After reading your report,I am hoping to locate someone that I know thathas a pair,so I can compare them to my ziess 10x40s.I don't need another pair,but I am curious.
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Old 11-25-2005, 05:41 PM
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Default RE: Leupold Gonden Ring Optics Tested against Swarovski


ORIGINAL: stubblejumper

After reading your report,I am hoping to locate someone that I know that has a pair,so I can compare them to my ziess 10x40s.I don't need another pair,but I am curious.
Oh..Oh!!! Stubblejumper on a mission...
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Old 11-25-2005, 09:47 PM
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Default RE: Leupold Gonden Ring Optics Tested against Swarovski

I will not be buying a pair but I certainly am curious to see just how good they really are to my eyes.
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Old 11-26-2005, 03:04 AM
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Default RE: Leupold Gonden Ring Optics Tested against Swarovski

Both myself and my 2 friends own Swarorski 8x30 SLC bino's which we purchased back in the early to mid 90's.we payed250.00, 375.00 and the last price was 500.00 which I payed for in 95. I think these go for about $950.00 today. My friends lucked out and found a photography store and a bird watchers store that were going out of business and picked up the old style SLC for those lower prices. I wasn't so lucky and paid $500.00 for mine but mine is the newer looking version. These things are fantastic plus they only weigh 19 ounces. I also owned a swarovski 3-9 36mm american series scope which cost me about 550.00I sent it back cause I did not think the scope was that great. i wound up going with a leupold varx 111 3.5-10 40 mm which cost me around 300.00 in 1995.
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