Contributors to this thread:
Rangefinder Bino's vs Regular Bino's
I decided to pull the trigger on a pair of topend binoculars this year and right now am leaning towards the Leica Geovid hd-b rangefinder binos. I really like the idea of having one unit rather then having binoculars and rangefinder. I'm not a big fan of chest rigs and having both Bino's and rangefinder swinging around the last couple years has really bugged me.
Question is, am I giving anything up from a glass perspective by going with a ranging unit? Although the dual purpose would be nice, principle reason for the purchase is once in a lifetime glass. If I don't go with a ranging unit I would probably pick up the Swarovski el's or slc's.
Use will be 20-30 days a year out west, mainly spot and stalk although I love elk hunting too, and 30 to 40 days in a midwest tree stand. Lots of Turkey and shed hunting in between.
Bought Leica Geovids in 8x42 out here in AZ about 10 years ago. Don't really go anywhere outdoors without them. Like you, I also hunt the midwest timber in the fall, since I never draw here in AZ, lol. I bought them for the same reason as you. If i'm running light, I have my Leicas and my bow,and i'm good to go. Yes, the Leicas (mine from 10 years ago) are a bit heavier, but I love them. They are on my chest on stalks, in the tree stand, or get an outdoorsman's adapter to put on a tripod. I would cast a vote for the 8x42s, versus the standard 10x though. The 8x is brighter, better for midwest timber and close range steadiness. Some 8x binos and some 15x is a pretty good combo, in my opinion. Note, Swaro has their EL Ranges too, but between Leica and Swaro you cant go wrong. Overall though, I had the same thought process, and haven't regretted it. It's not like you're buying tasco rangefinding binos!
I tried the rangefinder bino's last year for a while and did not like them at all! Getting them up to range something was cumbersome and MUCH slower than having a rangefinder on my side/belt. If I was a guide, I would use them in a heartbeat and prefer the all in one scenario, but as a hunter two separate pieces is the way to go........for me.
I have the older Geovids as well, but mine are 10x42. You won't lose any quality in the glass with the combos. The big issue I have with the Geovids is the button to range is on the left side and I'm right handed so I can't hold my bow in my left hand and use the rangefinder at the same time. I'm not sure if the new ones have the same button placement. I use a bino harness with a regular rangefinder in is zippered pocket for hunting out west. For treestand hunting I just take the Geovids under my left arm. I range s few things before hand so I have a good idea before anything shows up.
Food for thought is if you’re able to range with the binos with one hand with your bow in your other hand and if this is important to you. It is to me and is the main reason I have two separate units.
I'd agree with Robear and Tilzbow. The older Leica BRFs have the button on the left, which is hard to reach holding with my release hand. The new Leicas and Swaro BRFs have buttons on the right side I think.
The Swarovski EL 10x42 ranging binoculars have the button on the right. Go with the best you won’t regret it.
The warranty on rangefinder-equipped binoculars is not the same as on the binoculars. I'm in the binos plus rangefinder school. Swarovski or Kahles binos, my rangefinder is a Leica. I've never thought I was limited by this, and now that rangefinder tech is getting much better at lower cost, I'm liking my decision even more. I also rifle hunt. At bowhunting distances, I would probably not be as concerned.
I like and carry both the Leica 10x42 with RF and my Luepy 1200 (much to the chagrin of Kota:))....back up plan! When a lithium battery dies, there is no time to change batteries.
Invariably, I use the small Luepy to do all ranging when in close proximity to an animal....MUCH less movement.
Thanks for all the input.
The buttons on the Geovid are on the right side so I'm not worried about that. I know that they will be much bulkier than a dedicated RF but I feel like I'd rather have that vs 2 pieces.
The main thing driving my choice to go with a combo unit is that on final stalks I want binoculars for being able to pick up the animal once I'm getting close but obviously want the RF for ranging. I've tried leaving the binos and going just RF but don't feel its adequate as a glassing tool.
Again, main question is if I will be giving up any optical quality going with the combo (doesn't sound like it). If the optics are the same then I don't see a downside. If I decide I need a dedicated RF I can always go back to carrying both.
Leica for sure if ranging on snow matters. For most whitetail hunting i do use a leupold rangefinder though.10 binocs are a bit cumbersome.
I like the idea of a backup plan Mark. However, unless the Luepy rangefinder is on your chest, I would say reaching down to your belt, to your eye, and back to your belt seems like more movement to me...again, if you keep it on the belt.
The Leica Geo's are great glass.
I ran those for about 8 years and ended up selling them for what I paid as I realized I liked having a separate RF better.
Predeter, I don't believe you are giving up anything in glass quality, just by going with the rangefinders. Top of the line glass is top of the line glass.
Ever since I started hunting with Mark, I quit carrying a rangefinder. :) If I go off on my own, I just use his back up to the back up.
Seriously, I like the all in one unit. I change the batteries before hunting season and am good to go. Now, if I'm rifle hunting and want all the ballistic solutions, I carry my Swaro SLC's with a Gunwerks Rangefinder. If I'm bowhunting and don't need optics on my person (in the pack), I carry the Sig 2000 handheld unit.
For myself, it really depends on what I'm hunting and where I'm hunting. My overall preference is the rangefinder in the binos of any one of the "Big three"...By the way, the best ranging unit in a bino by far for me was the Zeiss unit. Optically, they are not up to par with the Swaro and Leica, but the ranging unit flat out works. My Swaros didn't work real great in colder temps. The Leicas have been good but don't range stuff like the Zeiss. And NO you aren't giving up much of anything in glass going to a single unit.
I had the original geovids in 10x42 and upgraded a few years back to the HD-B 10x42. Mainly because of them switching the button to the right side. They are very good optics. I'm not sure you could tell the difference between the HD Swaro's and the HD-B Leica. I've owned them all, including Zeiss. I now carry the HD-B's on every hunt. I never carry a separate range finder. FYI, when I decided it was time to get a 15x56, I got the Geovids also. I'm a fan.
Alright, sounds like I can buy the Geovids with confidence. Thanks!
Money well spent. Good luck!