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Good morning guys. I'm looking to pick up a quality pair of used compact 8x42 binoculars. These will be used exclusively for backpacking hunts for elk. I have narrowed it down to Leica ultravid BR, or Zeiss Victory HT. I realize these are not the newest models but I'm not looking to spend 2,500 on something I will be using for 3 weeks a year. Any thoughts or opinions would be great, thanks.
For elk, I would go with 10X42 at a minimum, but that's just me... I would go with Leica any day of the week!! JMHO You can get a pair of the Leica 10x42 Range finding binos type b for about 1700 or so!. I would look on EBAY for a really good used pair and go from there.
Here is a pair I found in 10 seconds...
Appreciate your reply. Question, what is the advantage of 10 versus 8? Thanks for your help.
x2 for 10x42. You won't regret it.
I use Swaro 10X32 with swarovision, my Son uses 10X42 with swarovision, we've swapped them back & forth on several occasions early morn, midday & last light. We couldn't tell hardly any difference at all in which one gathered more light for best viewing at any time. The 10X32 are lighter & more compact, they're my choice! You can find a pair that are only a couple years old for around 1500.00
What’s wrong with some $350 - $500 Bushnells or Nikons? Been using Bushnells for 20 years with no complaints and never spend over $500.
10x42= more magnification but let’s less light in. 8x42 is good for first and last light.
I use 10x42 for the extra magnification.
I disagree. I've been using 8.5x's for deer, elk, and sheep for years now and would never go back. I spot as much, if not more, game than any of the guides with 10x's I've hunted with. They're easier to use as they're less subject to shaking. I don't need a tripod for long glassing sessions. I get better FOV and they're better at close range such as sizing up elk that are working in to a call or treestand hunting. I wonder how many guys who claim their 10x's are the best have ever used 8x's.
Thank you all so much guys, some great insight that I will strongly consider.
You never said what your budget was?
I have both 8 and 10X and use the 8s 90% of the time.
I prefer 10s. Nikon Monarch 5 about $300. Step up a little Cabelas Euro HD $1000. Both good choices depending on what your budget is. I have the non HD Euro in 10x42 and have been happy with them.
I have 8 X 30 SLC Swaro's, 10 X 42 EL's, and 10 X 42 SLC's. My first pair was the 8 X 30. When I got the 10 X 42 EL, my wife used the 8 X 30. But when we got the other 10 X 42 SLC for her sheep and goat hunts, she never went back to the 8 power for anything. We almost never use them.
I spent a lot of money over the years buying binoculars, upgrading regularly. I should have just started with the best. They last a lifetime. If you consider that Swaro's are less than a $70 per year investment over 40 years, they're pretty cheap.
I would prefer to keep the cost under 1,700.00 Rk, if possible, but I want quality as well.
I use 10x32 swaro ELs for 95% of my hunting, from tree stand whitetails to mountain hunting. And I have done so for many years.
I had 8X and switched to 10x. I regretted my decision and recently switched back to 8X. I mostly rifle hunt, too. No question for archery elk I’d go with 8X and I think your idea of going with a more compact pair is a wise one, as well. I’ve heard good things about the Swaro CLs but have not tried them.
I have 10x42 SLC swaros. I was lucky about4 years ago, they were on sale at cabelas and then got 10% coupon. But they are by far the best binos I've ever used. I sent them in a few months back and had them completed refurbished with new glass and everything for like $160, got back pretty much new binos. Not a bad deal if you ask me.
The Leica Geovid 10 x 42 rangefinders have been on sale periodically on camofire for $1775. They are the best. You can get the older model Geovid R's for $1500. They are very good and worth the money. You can get the 10 x 42 Trinovid's, non range finding, for under $1000. I've owned them all and I prefer Leica, although there is very little difference in the quality of the big 3. You mention that you want compact 8 x 42's. 42's are not compact. If you really want lighter binos go with the 10 x 32's. Don't get 8 power. You always want 10 power. In Leica, the 32's are about 4 ounces lighter and $100 to $150 cheaper. I would stick with the 10 x 42's and get a Kuiu bino harness. They will last a lifetime and no one ever says "I wish I hadn't spent so much on binoculars."
You might “always” want 10X but there are plenty of people, myself included, who much prefer 8X.
Guys, thank you very much for all the outstanding input. I will research everything more this week then make my decision, thanks again.
Coming from a guy who started with a $300 pair, than a $600 pair, finally bought Swaro s 10x42 and I shoulda just done it the first go around! Woulda saved $900 and had the best glass you can buy during those years I had cheaper stuff. I use mine binos almost every day though. Always in my truck. Good luck with whatever you decide but as has been said on bowsite many times over and over....buy the best glass you can afford!
I did the same as SBH, bought several lower grade glass, then bought swaro.
10x42 Swaro and be done with it.
I’m sure it’s personal preference but for me out west 10x42 has worked the best after trying many Bono’s. Most elk hunting with a bow does not involve much distant scanning for the game. It’s mostly a game within close quarters in broken forests based on sound and wind. However, even when glassing bulls in heavy cover the 10s give me the better details I want to see including a sharper understanding of the bull’s body language, behavior and awareness level. Also many times you are glassing across very large meadows into darker timber where light gathering favors a 42mm objective lens. Just my opinion but the 10x42 is my choice. I’ve been abusing my Leica Trinovids for many yrs. They are built tough. Leica refurbished them completely a couple yrs ago except for the lenses. All for no cost to me. My Swarovski Bino’s are equally superb but they are 15x56 and never used for my archery elk hunting.
I’ve used leicas for years, 10-42 and now 12-50. If I was buying again I’d buy meopta. It’s been the only glass I’ve looked thru that was better, that wasn’t Swaro. Caveat, I use glass 6 months out of the year. For only 3 weeks; used leicas or decent vortex/Nikon would probably fit the bill.
I’ve used my buddy’s 8.5 swaro slc’s Right next to my 10x42 swaro EL’s. I prefer the 10s. It’s a bigger difference than it sounds.
I love my 10x42s, but REALLY want a pair of those swaro 12x50s . . .
I have 10x42 Kahles made in Austria. Excellent binos that cost substantially less than the famous German brands.
I’ve have a pair of Swaro 8.5x 40 EL for 10 years or better and hunt elk a lot . My bro has the Swaro 10x40 EL.. IMO it doesn’t matter 8 x or 10x get a good quality tripod and that makes a world of difference when glassing elk.
I have the zeiss 10x42 HD . They are great
Super quick ebay search. Swarovski SLC 10x42 $300 under your budget.
I bought a pair of new Swarovski EL 10x42 at Cabelas several years ago. With the sale and a 10% off coupon I paid 1,800 for them. I have dealt with some camera shops that can offer great prices on Swaro as well.
I bought my 8x42 SLCs from a camera shop in NY and got an excellent deal. The first time I looked through them I immediately didn’t regret my decision.
To me it’s always been about finding the right balance of features. Find myself doing a lot of glassing and need something ergonomic, razor sharp detail, bright and rugged, with a wide field of view. I’ve had quite a few - years ago my go-tos were a pair of Leica Trinivids (10x42 and 8x32) the 10s had a great image but were like a boulder, and the 8s were a dream to handle and were great for stalking the woods but I just couldn’t squeeze enough out of the image at longer ranges. Then Cabelas bought all of the remaining inventory of Zeiss 10x40 Classics and ran a big sale. Once I handled them I never looked back - they were razor sharp, much better ergonomics, and a dream to handle. Used them 15-20 years and was surprised how many guides used them as well. About 2 years ago I checked out just about every high-quality glass on the market to see if I wanted to upgrade. After whittling down the list it came down to the Leica Noctivid and Zeiss Victory SF — both are spectacular. All else being equal I bought the Zeiss with its massive FOV.
Since everyone’s eyes are just a bit different I’d suggest actually handling the binoculars prior to buying. I was gong to buy the Swarovski ELs sight-unseen based on reviews and reputation. Glad I compared because the Noctivid and Victory SFs were more to my liking. You could find a demo pair of Noctivids close to your price. Also, in my recent search I found Maven binos very impressive, especially for the price (and they have a 9x). In choosing, also look for the best components, like Abbe-Koenig or Schmidt-Pechan prisms and ED glass. Your eyes will thank you.
Found that buying what I really want is always less expensive more satisfying in the long run.
Everyone loves their 8x or 10x. All I can say is, I tried some 12x a few hunts ago, and I wouldn't recommend for hardly any purpose. 8x32 in a high quality optic is tough to beat. You'll hardly sacrifice any light transmission over the 42mm and the weight savings can be substantial, both while toting around and glassing. I'd be checking Craigslist or eBay and expect to spend $1200-1800. If you hunt slightly more open spaces than dense timber, then the 10x mag might just save you a long hike if you don't carry a spotter. My next setup will be 8x32 swaro EL, and a high quality mid range spotter. Good luck
I would be inclined to go for the smallest, lightest, quality pair that I could find - something you are more likely to keep handy to use. I can honestly say that in 30 years of bow-hunting for elk, that I haven't once thought that I wished I had better binoculars. In fact, I rarely ever use them, as usually the first time that I get to see the elk is when it's within 50 yards. If I was looking to find mule deer up high in the mountains then good binoculars would come into play more.
When you look thru 8x32,10x32,8x42 and 10x42 you will certainly notice a difference. What the difference looks like to you is all that matters. My favorite binoculars have been 10x42, for me they were a good compromise for image quality and weight. If I do buy another pair it will likely be an 8x42 to drop a few ounces.
An 8x42 & 10x42 will basically weigh the same.
After going through all of the above, I guess I’m the odd one. I use the big glass extensively for elk hunting.
I use my 10x42 ELs for every kind of hunting and would highly recommend them for any mountain hunting. I also use my Swaro 15x56’s and 65mm HD spotting scope a lot for elk hunting.
Not sure how many useless (elk less) miles my optics have saved my feet but it has to be a lot. I have never felt like having less glass would have been any advantage. I have been upset not to have the spotting scope with me for elk on a number of occasions.
I do not go up the hill after mule deer without my Swarovski 10’s, spotting scope and Manfrotto tripod.
Keep thinking that I need to get a set of those cute little EL 8x32’s for whitetails but just can’t justify them with the other glass I have.
My two hunting binoculars are Swaro SV 10x42EL and Leica Ultravid 8x32 (pre-HD). Over the course of the year use is split about 50 - 50. In open country and for sheep and caribou with horn/antler restrictions the 10s are always my choice. For tighter cover the smaller framed 8s weigh 12 ounces less and are my choice. I like having a choice, just like shoes, coats, gloves, etc one pair won’t do it all well. That said, living and hunting where I do, I’d have the 10x42s if restricted to a single pair. Good luck!
Kurt hit on what I was going to say. 10 X 42 will work well for any type of hunt - from open terrain to closer quarters. 8 X may be better from a tree stand, but will be a handicap above treeline. My preference, especially if cost is an issue, would be to first get top-of-the-line glass in 10X which will do everything for any hunt. Then, if you want/need to specialize, get more or less magnification, or a spotting scope, depending on your needs. I once thought smaller and lighter was a consideration. But there is not enough difference in that regard between 8 X 32 and 10 X 42 to enter into your choice. Even my 5' tall, 100# wife came to that conclusion after using, and having a choice to choose on any given day, between Swaro's in each size. Get a good harness, and the 10 X are no extra burden to carry or use.
I’ve used 10x42’s for more years than I can remember, and 99.9% of my hunting is done in fairly dense timber. There’s only one spot I glass that’s beyond a hundred yds or so... most glassing is half that, or closer. In all those years, not once have I wished I had less magnification.
As others have stated, the extra weight/bulk is minuscule.
I believe you will short change yourself with any compact Binos unless you plan to attend a ball game or musical. A possible better solution is a full size pair of 15 or 16 power glass from Pentax. Good quality but not “best” and are only $400-800 new. A used pair might be a bargain and allow you to see much better.
Fatbass, I think you should take a good look at Meopta's MeoStar B1 line among your other choices... new this year they have locking diopter rings.
FWIW the Meopta MeoStar 8x42 and 10x42 are 1/10th of an oz. difference in weight.
If you have a Cabelas nearby take a look through Cabelas Euro series - which is a rebranded/ armored MeoStar
fatbass: it looks like you've killed some nice bulls and you live in AZ.
I'll give some general info so that you and other guys can see more of the big picture.
If you're hunting in really thick dark timber there is limited use for binoculars. In timbered areas you might choose a 8x30 or 8x32 because they are lightweight and you're only using them to check on something that you've seen with your naked eyes. By the end of the day you maybe spent 15 minutes looking through them.
But, if you're hunting really open terrain you'd want 12x50 or 15x56 binoculars mounted on a tripod because you'll be using them for hours at a time. This is an extremely effective way to find animals in the open terrain for much of AZ. These bigger binoculars are larger, weigh more, and cost more. They would be cumbersome if you tried to use them or carry them in dark timber. They would also be difficult to hold steady without a tripod. Once on a tripod, however, you will see things that you never thought you could see. Quality optics ($$$$) will be clearer toward the edges of your view - this is why it is important to spend $$$ if you'll be using them on a tripod.
However, if you're hunting a variety of terrain (dense, open, and anything in between) and you want just one pair of quality binoculars you're probably going to be happiest with 10x42. This is the most useful combination if you're going to have only one pair. A high quality 10x42 is also great on a tripod.
While certain guys like certain pairs for certain things, as you can see by and large 10x42's are the workhorse for western hunting applications. So you need to ask yourself - does your hunting you are looking at doing in those 3 weeks based on location and topography fall within the average, or is your situation more of a specialized situation better suited to maybe 8's or 12's or 15's?
I have a pair of 10x42 Swaro's I keep meaning to sell after buying 10x42 Cabelas Euro's. Just never get around to it.
Fatbass, I have a set of Zeiss Victory's in 8X32 and 10X42. I live East of the Mississippi and the only time I ever use the 10X42 is when I head to the Rockies and am glassing at more distant objects. I really think it just depends on the type of hunting you will be doing and the terrain. I would not hesitate to take my "little" 8X32's out West if I didn't have the other option. Great glass.
+1 on the Zeiss 8X32 Victory HD in the ball park of $900-$1200 dollars and you would be well armed. The 8X30 CL for under $900 dollars would be a good fit too. The 8X32 Leica HD are also fine glass but will cost just a bit more. Can't go wrong with these. Don't let the smaller objective size lens fool you, these are all quality glass and you not be giving up much. To get even lower in price look at the 8X42 or 8X32 Zeiss Conquest HD. Don't know about durability of these but they have good glass for the price point they are offered at.
Greatest bang for your buck. I justify the expense of binoculars by telling myself, I will use them while hunting with any weapon, plus while scouting year round. Next to boots, and your weapon of choice, this may be you most important purchase.
LaGriz touched on a good point. You will, should be, using them as much, or more, for scouting as hunting. Even back east, there will often be times when you'll be glassing across open areas into the opposite edge of cover from a distance in low light. I would pick 10 X 42 for the best all around glass.