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Looking for a new pair of backcountry hunting binoculars. Debating whether I should go with higher quality glass / lower magnification (Vortex Viper 12x50 or 10x50, if 12's are out of stock) or with lower quality glass / higher magnification (Vortex Vulture 15x56). They are both right around my price range. Will be used for glassing, but I also have a spotting scope for the hunt as well.
Thanks and God Bless
Do you plan to use them off a tripod?
What species are you hunting?
Yeah, using a tripod. Gonna be mainly for elk.
check prices at camera land of new york
Years ago I bought a pair of 10x42 SLC Swaro’s and I’ve never regretted that decision. I’ve used them out west for elk and here in the Midwest for Whitetails. The 10x42 seem to strike the perfect balance for me.
What kind of elk country do you plan to hunt?
IMHO, If it's more "open" than timbered … a higher magnification would probably be better suited for spot and stalk from longer distances.
If the country you are hunting has more trees and some parks … then a lower magnification with good glass quality would be good. A set of 15X or even 12X are going to be a lot of weight around your neck or hanging on your chest (may interfere when you draw your bow).
I'd go with the 10x50's if they're going to be your primary pair. 15's are not fun to carry around too much! Don't know what type of country you hunt but 10's are generally more than enough for elk.
In the magnifications vs quality my choice is always quality. Oftentimes, what you are able to decipher is the same, even though one has higher magnification, and that is under ideal conditions. Then, when conditions are not ideal (low light etc) only one of those two is even usable. For those reasons, I believe quality wins out. Wider range of usable time/conditions, and often no downside in picking out details. Also increased FOV, and often more of the lens is usable due to less chromatic abberation.
For example: You are glassing a bull elk and examining him 650 yards away. Using the 10x50's your FOV is roughly 205 yards. For sake of argument that 200 yards you are looking at is very clear. On the flipside, the higher magnification lower quality 15x have a field of view of about 145 yards, and due to lower quality the fringes of the glass are not really that clear. So let's say the outside 10% of the lens isn't very clear, so you're usable lens is now 80% cutting your usable FOV down to 118 yards. And due to lower quality, your ABILITY TO DECIPHER detail is roughly the same as the better 10x. So in reality, under IDEAL situation you've got about the same abillity to decipher detail, as the lower magnification binos, only you've only got about 120 yards FOV vs 200 yards. Never mind the non-ideal conditions, eye strain etc.
Now obviously I've jumped to a few conclusions and the example isn't perfect, but I do believe the principle remains.