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Thread: Vortex, Zeiss, Leupold binoculars?

  1. #1
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    Vortex, Zeiss, Leupold binoculars?

    Hunting early season mulies this week I tried my buddy's Zeiss Conquest. Yikes, that little tryout may end up costing me $1500.
    I had a set of B&L 8x42 and a vintage Bushnell 7x35 set along too, but they seemed like the lenses had been coated with vaseline compared to the Zeiss.
    If I was going to spend $1000 or more on some new binos, what has been working for you? Zeiss? Vortex? Leupold? Something else?
    In this article, https://opticsaddict.com/hunting-binoculars/ I loved the Vortex Optics Diamondback Roof Prism Binoculars.
    A goat hunter appeared with a set of Leica binos with built-in rangefinder, but they cost $3500!!!
    Last edited by wyn; 09-19-19 at 10:21.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by wyn View Post
    Hunting early season mulies this week I tried my buddy's Zeiss Conquest. Yikes, that little tryout may end up costing me $1500.
    I had a set of B&L 8x42 and a vintage Bushnell 7x35 set along too, but they seemed like the lenses had been coated with vaseline compared to the Zeiss.
    If I was going to spend $1000 or more on some new binos, what has been working for you? Zeiss? Vortex? Leupold? Something else?
    A goat hunter appeared with a set of Leica binos with built in rangefinder, but they cost $3500!!!
    It's pretty much an example of getting what you pay for.

  3. #3
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    If you can swing it, Swarovski. Meopta, Maven, and Tract offer excellent bang for the buck.

    Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk

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    Kahles and Minox both offer very good glass at far less than Zeiss, with nearly comparable optical quality.
    I run Leica, Minox and Kahles Binos.

    Vortex and Leupold are in no way in the same league as Zeiss.

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    Binoculars are one item that price really does equal performance. You really cannot believe the image quality of ultra expensive binoculars. I bought my wife a pair of Bausch and Lomb Elite 8x42 binoculars 30+ years ago at a cost of then $1000 (now equivalent to 2500+). Even today they are incredible to look through. I can only imagine that today the top of the line Zeiss, Leica, etc., are incredible. Now, can you get good glass for less? Yes, but don't expect too much if you are paying less than $1500+. IF I were buying today, and wanted a pair of binoculars for the rest of my life, I would spend all that I possibly could. You won't be disappointed.

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    I would start my search with Swarovski SLC’s and go up from there (Swaro EL’s, Leica, Zeiss Victory). I’ve been using the Leupold Gold Ring HD’s for the last decade and, while nice, they’re not in the same league as the big European companies and far better than current Leupold offerings. Eventually, I will be replacing them with LRF Leicas. Binos are definitely a “you get what you pay for” situation.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaijin View Post
    Kahles and Minox both offer very good glass at far less than Zeiss, with nearly comparable optical quality.
    I run Leica, Minox and Kahles Binos.

    Vortex and Leupold are in no way in the same league as Zeiss.
    Which Binos in your view offer the best glass and bang-for-the-buck in the $800-$1200 range? I've always had kind of mid-range binos, for example my current are a Vortex Viper HD that my wife got me as a gift, they have been excellent for my needs and by far the nicest I've ever had. But I'm sure there's a step up from there to something at the next price point, I think she paid around $500-ish for mine.
    Have you had a chance to compare the higher end Vortex models that retail > $1000, against those Minox or Kahles that you mentioned? Just wondering if Vortex has upped their game with their high-end models. I assume it's all Japanese glass, just like their scopes, and the price difference is mostly in glass quality.

  8. #8
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    I went thru CDNN for the Kahles and Minox several years ago- sort of before they were fairly widely known for clarity/quality, they were pretty cheap then.
    IMO the Kahles have a very slight advantage in wdge clarity over the Minox- both are 8X32's- which are my preference for lugging around when "still hunting".
    I think the Kahles are no longer produced but the Minox HG 8X33 are still available from a few venders online.

    I use the 10x Leica's spotting from a vehicle, but they're a bit heavy to carry.

  9. #9
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    I have been using both the Zeiss Conquest HD and Vortex Razor HD 10x42 binos for a couple years now, both in the ~$1K range. In day to day usage the biggest standouts are the Zeiss eye relief adjustment is more clicky and the Vortex body feels more robust and has locking diopter adjustment. Hence I keep the Zeiss upstairs by the deck for general use by whomever and the Vortex banging around my truck for me.

    Optically, they are very very close. If I had to choose head to head I would give a very slight edge in contrast to the Zeiss, but not enough to overcome any ergonomic or feature differences you may prefer.

    I did rip an eyecup out of the Vortex and their customer service was as quick and efficient as everyone says!

    I am lucky to have a high end birding optic store nearby and tried most of the high end binos in the same price range and saw similar optical performance which the very knowledgeable owners also acknowledged as general fact. They also note that the $1K price point is where you see the highest performance gain over all the lower price levels, and as you move into the $2K and $3K+ ranges there are obviously gains but much smaller ones than say $500 to $1K.

    I would say to just try them all in that price range and choose the ones that feel better ergonomically to you with any features you may prefer.

    Dennis.



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  10. #10
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    Love my Docter/Noblex 8x42 BGAs, paid $1k for them and they rock. Heavy but durable, clear and almost three dimensional view, not fussy to focus at all. You have to focus one eye at a time unfortunately. Perhaps not the best hunting optic since they are just a couple oz. heavier than the rest. Heard about them from Rex Tibor.

    Went to the store and looked through Leupold bx4, bx5, Cabelas/Meopta binoculars, all good for under $1k. Much lighter to tote around.

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