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  #1  
Old 11-26-2018, 5:13 AM
wilderness medic wilderness medic is offline
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Default $500 vs $2000 glass

When it comes to optics like spotting scopes and binoculars just how much better quality are you getting when you drop a couple Gs into something like Swarovskis instead of $500 into your typical Vortex and other similar price range? Are you getting 4x the durability and clarity, or like other expensive products are you paying 4x as much for slightly better?

I understand paying a bunch for a high quality scope where turret reliability and other factors come into play, but what about straight power glass?

Last edited by wilderness medic; 11-26-2018 at 5:20 AM..
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Old 11-26-2018, 5:22 AM
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No, its not “4x better glass”

Few things offer. 1:1 inncrease as price increases. They are better, but the returns diminish as price goes up.

The problem is, in a spotting scope, if its not “good enough”, it wont work for your needs. Only you can decide if its good enough for what you need, and that is hard when you cant test them side by side to do what you want to use it for.
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Old 11-26-2018, 5:25 AM
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Swarovskis are significantly better.
But do you need Swarovskis?
I have Steiner binos, which I'd say are 80% as good as Swarovskis but were far less than 1/2 the price.
All glass has different characteristics when it coms to color, contrast, light transmission, definition/resolution.
If you are the occasional hunter, Vortex or more-affordable Leupolds may be enough.
If you're going to be a very active user and staring through them for hours and hours, you should buy the best you can afford.
I spent my first hunting trip using cheap binos and suffered for it — headaches, eye strain, etc.
In the grand scheme, paying $1K rather than $500 for something you may use for 20-30 years is pretty minimal...
Buy once, cry once.
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  #4  
Old 11-26-2018, 6:10 AM
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Two years ago while on a hunting trip we did a little informal spotting scope test with an old Bushnell, my Vortex Viper 16-48, and a Zeiss 15-60. Our test subject was 4 mountain goats that were several miles away.

The Bushnell was fuzzy, but it was also pretty old and in need of an overhaul. Otherwise we could make out the horns just about equally well on all three scopes.

I agree with Full Clip but in my case, I doubt I'll be hunting ten years from now (age) so the Vortex glass made economic sense and its proven to be the right choice for me.

One other thing to keep in mind. Optics take a beating in the field no matter how careful you are. Make sure whatever you buy has a a reputation for durability and no questions asked warranty that will repair your glass (other than cosmetic faults) even if the damage is your fault.
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Old 11-26-2018, 6:50 AM
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Thanks. Sounds like there’s no reason for me to drop $2000 on that. Maybe $1000 and still have way more quality than I need, at most.

I used some cheap $40 ones last hunting trip. The quality seemed plenty for me but there were obvious consequences like getting filled with fog
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Old 11-26-2018, 7:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilderness medic View Post
Thanks. Sounds like there’s no reason for me to drop $2000 on that. Maybe $1000 and still have way more quality than I need, at most.

I used some cheap $40 ones last hunting trip. The quality seemed plenty for me but there were obvious consequences like getting filled with fog
I read lots of reviews before buying hunting and shooting gear and I tend to gravitate toward products that provide good value for money. NO product is immune from a few bad reviews and those are generally the ones I start with but it helps me understand what I might be getting myself into.

Manufacturers and their distributors will gladly take as much of your money as you're willing to spend. IMHO many high end products are priced to create snob appeal. I could care less about that sort of thing, just like I could care less if the folks who are in love with high end products look down their noses at my often recycled (as in used) stuff.
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Old 11-26-2018, 7:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackEllis View Post
Two years ago while on a hunting trip we did a little informal spotting scope test with an old Bushnell, my Vortex Viper 16-48, and a Zeiss 15-60. Our test subject was 4 mountain goats that were several miles away.

The Bushnell was fuzzy, but it was also pretty old and in need of an overhaul. Otherwise we could make out the horns just about equally well on all three scopes.

I agree with Full Clip but in my case, I doubt I'll be hunting ten years from now (age) so the Vortex glass made economic sense and its proven to be the right choice for me.

One other thing to keep in mind. Optics take a beating in the field no matter how careful you are. Make sure whatever you buy has a a reputation for durability and no questions asked warranty that will repair your glass (other than cosmetic faults) even if the damage is your fault.


I don’t disagree with your post, but the results might be different if you were doing the testing at low light. Alpha glass really makes a difference at low light in my experience. Relative value will always be a personal decision someone has to make.


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  #8  
Old 11-26-2018, 8:44 AM
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Don't buy based on price or "better glass". That's dumb.

Figure out which features you NEED, and figure out which features you WANT, and then look for a scope which has those features in a price range you are willing to pay.

Buying a $5,000 FFP scope would be really dumb, if what you need and want for your application is a SFP scope.
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Old 11-26-2018, 8:51 AM
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Spend your money on the binos, most of your time will be using them. Look at not only the clarity but also other factors such as ergonomics, weight, power, adjustments, how they handle weather conditions, changing light, CA (chromatic aberration). Everyone's eyes are different, what is appealing to you may look not so good to someone else viewing through the same binos, another thing, get away from the store lighting and test outside.

Rifle scopes, while hunting, you only spend a short period of time looking through them, other things come into play as well such as turrets, reticle, weight, tracking, how they handle abuse and weather, etc.

Spotters are a completely different animal, now if one did his spotter testing using Kowa (not Zeiss)....

Totally agree, aplha glass really shine outdoors in low light conditions. They also hold their value better.

Remember, go cheap and you'll probably spend more in the long run buying something you should have got in the first place.
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  #10  
Old 11-26-2018, 10:15 PM
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It can very difficult indeed to say that the cost difference between one scope and another is due to glass. A number of quantitative and qualitative factors that tend to loosely cluster together affect price. Others would be infinitely more qualified to discuss those factors, but your general question could apply to so many other products I'd like to comment. Whether it be optics, fishing gear, cars, ammo, computers, an education - the question is, "How much better is the best?" There are a few things to think about.

1) As others have commented, the law of diminishing returns is always in play. What's the difference between a $750 car and a $7,500 car? Okay, so what about the difference between a $350,000 car and a $750,000 car? At some point, the costs start rising astronomically while the quantitative metrics start to flatline. The question is, where is that line? Which brings us to...

2) What do you need? Mission dictates kit. YouTuber nutnfancy would ask you to consider POU - philosophy of use for your firearm. Are you punching paper at 100 yards? Fighting mirage while taking on insurgents at 1,000 yards? Recalling our discussion about cars, one may do a 4.5 sec 0-60 vs. its competitor reaching 60mph in 3.1. The question isn't which one is better. The question is if you're the kind of driver who needs to shave 1.4 seconds off your time. Or maybe it doesn't matter, which brings us to...

3) CGF. Yes, the cool guy factor. Some of us are just gear whores. We don't need to know the difference between Gen 2+ and Gen 3 NVGs and it doesn't matter. Why? Because metrics don't matter when you're gearsexual.

4) Part of the increase in price is that the shame of regret lasts longer than the joy of the good deal. Under the heading "buy once cry once," you have to determine what good enough is. Terry Pratchett talks about how buying a $10 pair of boots is more expensive than a $50 pair - if the $10 ones last a year and the $50 pair lasts 10 years.

5) This brings us squarely back to quantitative vs qualitative variables. How hard are you going to run a scope vs what abuse it's designed to take, FFP vs. SFP, illuminated reticle, tube size... it's endless.

So, my response may not help in this specific instance. But hopefully it will help organize your thoughts so you can begin answering it yourself.
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Old 11-26-2018, 10:27 PM
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If its Bino's your after I would seriously take MAVEN's into consideration.
I have been using $2500 Swaro's for three years but last year a fellow hunter let me try his $1000 Mavens. I was floored.
Side by side they were really close.
For the price they are a amazing deal, so much Im thinking about Ebaying my Swaro's and spending the money on another gun.
There are situations where you get a good deal, but its rare now days.
Even more so the amount of people who will compare Steiners to Swaro's makes you really wonder if they know what they are even looking at when it comes to high end glass.
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Old 11-26-2018, 10:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zio707 View Post
Spend your money on the binos, most of your time will be using them. Look at not only the clarity but also other factors such as ergonomics, weight, power, adjustments, how they handle weather conditions, changing light, CA (chromatic aberration). Everyone's eyes are different, what is appealing to you may look not so good to someone else viewing through the same binos, another thing, get away from the store lighting and test outside.

Rifle scopes, while hunting, you only spend a short period of time looking through them, other things come into play as well such as turrets, reticle, weight, tracking, how they handle abuse and weather, etc.

Spotters are a completely different animal, now if one did his spotter testing using Kowa (not Zeiss)....

Totally agree, aplha glass really shine outdoors in low light conditions. They also hold their value better.

Remember, go cheap and you'll probably spend more in the long run buying something you should have got in the first place.
Well said.
Ive spent 6-8 hours on a hillside glassing with bino's only to look through my riflescope for 3 minutes before I pulled the trigger before.
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Old 11-26-2018, 11:29 PM
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Having owned a lot of different glass and spotting scopes. Yes, there is a difference .
Buy once, cry once. Get the Swarovski BTX and let the others with their Vortex suffer.

The light gathering is by far more superior. I will attach some pics of elk that I spotted 20 minutes before sunlight, they were about a mile out. My guide couldn't see crap and didn't believe me. His poor Vortex glass was nice, but no match for the higher end glass of the Swarovski.

Yes, you get what you pay for.



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Old 11-27-2018, 12:05 AM
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http://www.6mmbr.com/spotterreview.html
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Old 11-27-2018, 7:46 AM
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As the others have wisely stated, don't just purchase based on price or glass (optical quality). First, set your budget. Then, shop for the features that will best serve your needs. Finally, glass quality needs to be at least good enough for you to clearly identify your target and be able to put a good point of aim on the target. If you want to pay more to get better glass quality that is certainly your prerogative, but it isn't an absolute must.
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Old 11-27-2018, 7:56 AM
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While hunting I have used a pair of Pentax binoculars for a long time.

I had a chance to use another hunters 10x Swarovski glasses

When looking with mine I could see the animal just fine
With the high end glasses, you could see the individual blades of grass

The clarity is fantastic.

I have a Nikon monarch scope and you can read the target makers 8 point font at 100 yards.


A fighting rifle is a specific rifle. Optics need both clarity and durability.

Profit is based upon Volume and how many are sold a month aka Turn

Low volume scopes will always cost more as they just don’t sell that many....

The good news, the scopes will last forever.


Also if you ever shoot box drills
If you actively run your turrets when changing distance and wind-
Well the basic scope gears were not made for this amount of use and the box drill will show you when the gears are wearing
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Old 11-27-2018, 6:22 PM
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I have had terrible experience with Nikon Scopes. So bad I sold every single one of them and would never go back. And I use Nikon for all my camera stuff. That was a low light conditions Nikon sucks

My wife thinks I only have 3 guns
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Old 11-29-2018, 12:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waveslayer View Post
I have had terrible experience with Nikon Scopes. So bad I sold every single one of them and would never go back. And I use Nikon for all my camera stuff. That was a low light conditions Nikon sucks

My wife thinks I only have 3 guns
Maybe it’s just our eyes but in low light Nikon scopes suck, at least to me.
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Old 11-29-2018, 12:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pratchett
Part of the increase in price is that the shame of regret lasts longer than the joy of the good deal. Under the heading "buy once cry once," you have to determine what good enough is. Terry Pratchett talks about how buying a $10 pair of boots is more expensive than a $50 pair - if the $10 ones last a year and the $50 pair lasts 10 years.
Some people just don’t get it. I wore a suit five days a week for 30 years. Every five years I bought two new pairs of dress shoes and paid around $400.00 apiece for them. My wife’s friends husbands bought a couple of pairs a year and paid about $150.00 per pair. My wife couldn’t grasp the concept that I was paying $160.00 a year for shoes as opposed to $300.00 a year and was wearing shoes that were much more comfortable.
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Old 11-29-2018, 6:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Horrendo Revolver View Post
Maybe it’s just our eyes but in low light Nikon scopes suck, at least to me.
You have good eyes! They are terrible, seriously . For low light Swarovski shines

My wife thinks I only have 3 guns
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Old 11-29-2018, 7:18 AM
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You have good eyes! They are terrible, seriously . For low light Swarovski shines

My wife thinks I only have 3 guns
out of curiosity, were they the Monarch line? or the prostaff, etc lower lines?
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Old 11-29-2018, 7:53 AM
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Originally Posted by freonr22 View Post
out of curiosity, were they the Monarch line? or the prostaff, etc lower lines?
Both! I had a buddy who bought the Monarch... well after one hunt he threw it in the safe and bought a Swarovski. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink...

I'm curious on their new "Tactical" Black line... not interested when you have so many other proven options out there to be Tacticool.

Nikon suck at low light. No matter the model from my experience .

So yes, why buy a 70K Raptor when you can buy a Honda Ridgeline... there is always a difference

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Old 11-30-2018, 9:22 PM
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In the 1990s the two best binoculars were Zeiss and Leica. Swarovsky doesn't come close. I think Leica was a little better, but Zeiss had a larger (56mm) objective lens, so I bought a Zeiss. Zeiss's warranty is transferable and lasts indefinitely. You can buy a used Zeiss and it will still be covered (but not against abuse like a Vortex).

http://www.oregonphotos.com/Astro-bi...eviews-BJ.html

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fro...&LH_Complete=1


I do not know about binoculars made today.


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Old 11-30-2018, 9:39 PM
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Wranglerstar did review on the cheapest scope on Amazon I thought it did quite well for 36 dollars.
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Old 11-30-2018, 10:23 PM
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I have had Zeiss Victory binoculars and a Leica spotting scope. Have Swarovski top spotting scope and top Vortex binoculars now. I wish I hadn’t spent $1100 on vortex and just bought Swarovski EL. Zeiss Victory’s were amazing(fool to sell) and the Leica scope was better then my top Swarovski now.
If you use optics for hunting-what is the price difference between success and failure. It cost astronomical amounts of money to go hunting when you figure in the real costs.
Get the best glass you can’t afford, then you will never regret not being able to see success because of your optics.
I have not been able to shoot because I had good glass, if I had great glass “Swarovski EL” I would of seen success.
Just my opinion.
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Old 12-02-2018, 10:36 AM
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It is 4x better glass. But 90% of people can’t tell because they don’t know how to adjust the diopter, they don’t look through the optic long enough, their eyes are bad, or a combination thereof. Eye strain- cheap optics make your eyes hurt if you look through them long enough. Durability- cheap optics will fall apart if you use them long enough. The coatings will fail sooner due to the sun rays eating away at the glass. The controls will break. The armor will come off. Cheap optics are like cheap shoes.
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Old 12-02-2018, 5:44 PM
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watch this low light test, sometimes you don't get what you pay for and sometimes you do get a good deal. My optics purchasing guidelines are if I can get 95% performance of Alpha glass for 1/2 the price I will buy second shelf optics. But you gotta find the deals-- in this video you can clearly see the $600 zeiss is to be avoided if possible while the meopta has the same performance of the Swaro for much less. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLX8r_BH0cA here is another one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQUykptFD0c and more https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1zaj5H48f4 the Cabelas Euro Instinct line is the same or in some model of optic better than the Meopta comparable because they are made for Cabela's by Meopta Meostar. Buy a minimum $1k + or - range optic. Read the reviews on the Cabela's Euro Instinct line, my 8x32s are supposed to arrive tomorrow. That being said, I have used the Zeiss Conquest line on various optics and been very happy, especially with the binos and rifle scopes. My Zeiss 3x15x50 scope set at 3x has taken hogs in near dark at 100-150 yards the eye could not see, a lesser scope would not have performed. I would avoid the Zeiss terra line.
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Old 12-02-2018, 6:04 PM
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Originally Posted by wilderness medic View Post
Thanks. Sounds like there’s no reason for me to drop $2000 on that. Maybe $1000 and still have way more quality than I need, at most.

I used some cheap $40 ones last hunting trip. The quality seemed plenty for me but there were obvious consequences like getting filled with fog
stay in that range try and get ED Fluoride glass, you will be fine, lesser optics fail at longer distances and in lower light, they do limit your hunting ability. I am too poor to buy cheap stuff, buy once cry once.
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Old 12-02-2018, 6:07 PM
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Originally Posted by JackEllis View Post
I read lots of reviews before buying hunting and shooting gear and I tend to gravitate toward products that provide good value for money. NO product is immune from a few bad reviews and those are generally the ones I start with but it helps me understand what I might be getting myself into.

Manufacturers and their distributors will gladly take as much of your money as you're willing to spend. IMHO many high end products are priced to create snob appeal. I could care less about that sort of thing, just like I could care less if the folks who are in love with high end products look down their noses at my often recycled (as in used) stuff.
you can get some super deals on used optics, I use to by SLR lenses this way, when a new and improved lens came out there was dozens of perfectly good and very high quality optics available.
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Old 12-02-2018, 6:10 PM
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For any precision shooting I would not go less than $900. You get what you pay for in optics until you pass $2500.
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  #31  
Old 12-02-2018, 6:44 PM
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As the others have wisely stated, don't just purchase based on price or glass (optical quality). First, set your budget. Then, shop for the features that will best serve your needs. Finally, glass quality needs to be at least good enough for you to clearly identify your target and be able to put a good point of aim on the target. If you want to pay more to get better glass quality that is certainly your prerogative, but it isn't an absolute must.
I disagree, define the mission then try and find the best deal on the tool that will work.
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  #32  
Old 12-02-2018, 7:19 PM
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watch this low light test, sometimes you don't get what you pay for and sometimes you do get a good deal. My optics purchasing guidelines are if I can get 95% performance of Alpha glass for 1/2 the price I will buy second shelf optics. But you gotta find the deals-- in this video you can clearly see the $600 zeiss is to be avoided if possible while the meopta has the same performance of the Swaro for much less. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLX8r_BH0cA here is another one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQUykptFD0c and more https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1zaj5H48f4 the Cabelas Euro Instinct line is the same or in some model of optic better than the Meopta comparable because they are made for Cabela's by Meopta Meostar. Buy a minimum $1k + or - range optic. Read the reviews on the Cabela's Euro Instinct line, my 8x32s are supposed to arrive tomorrow. That being said, I have used the Zeiss Conquest line on various optics and been very happy, especially with the binos and rifle scopes. My Zeiss 3x15x50 scope set at 3x has taken hogs in near dark at 100-150 yards the eye could not see, a lesser scope would not have performed. I would avoid the Zeiss terra line.


I own Swaro’s, but I can’t argue with any of this. Meopta and Cabelas Euro are good to great glass. Maybe not the best but damn good for a good price.


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  #33  
Old 12-03-2018, 7:27 AM
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I disagree, define the mission then try and find the best deal on the tool that will work.
It's silly to look at $2000 optics if you only are capable of a $500 budget. Have to have a realistic budget. People ask me opinions on scopes all the time and inevitably, their budgets tend to be lower than the optics I would recommend based on what they tell me they wish to do with rifle that scope would go on. always suggest saving a bit longer and getting the better scope, but a majority of time, they spend less and try to live with the alternative. Nowadays, I just ask their price range, from lowest to highest they're willing to pay, before I make any recommendations.
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  #34  
Old 12-12-2018, 10:29 AM
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My wife thinks I only have 3 guns[/QUOTE]

LOL. Every time I open my safe she asks when did I get that one.

I agree on the binos. Get the best you can afford. If I can discern a horn from a branch then I'm good to go. If a rifle scope holds zero that's all I'm interested in.
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  #35  
Old 12-14-2018, 9:20 PM
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I completely agree and am the same way. Good VALUE for money is a MUST when I purchase things, regardless of what they are (fishing, guns, backpacking, camping). I don't care how great something is, if it's not a good value for me, I won't buy it.

Kinda like my girlfriend and going out to eat. She LOVES the super expensive and trendy foo-foo places that offer up more gourment and cutting edge food with all the "organic/non GMO/GF" (blah blah blah) ingredients. I'll agree that most of the time the flavor is spectacular, BUT the portions SUCK and the prices are even SUCKIER. I tell her there is ZERO VALUE in these meals because we aren't getting much for our hard earned dollars. Instead, we sit around with a bunch of liberal hipster types wearing snug-fitting pegged pants and tight shirts (the guys at least), and leave hungry.

So yeah, get the scope that offers you solid value.
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  #36  
Old 12-14-2018, 11:43 PM
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It is 4x better glass. But 90% of people can’t tell because they don’t know how to adjust the diopter, they don’t look through the optic long enough, their eyes are bad, or a combination thereof. Eye strain- cheap optics make your eyes hurt if you look through them long enough. Durability- cheap optics will fall apart if you use them long enough. The coatings will fail sooner due to the sun rays eating away at the glass. The controls will break. The armor will come off. Cheap optics are like cheap shoes.
No, it is not 4x better. It is not 4x clearer, 4x better in low light, 4x more durable, etc.

It IS better, and most people cannot appreciate the difference, particularly if they buy cheaper and dont look through the better glass.

But its not a 1:1 payoff, almost nothing is.

Diminshing returns is real. A
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  #37  
Old 12-15-2018, 9:06 AM
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I too am a value shopper. I can pretty much afford anything I want when it comes to optics (as long as my wife doesn't find out - kidding........sort of).

But if I can choose between:

A) 75% of the performance for 10% of the price

B) 85% of the performance for 25% of the price

C) 95% of the performance for 50% of the price

D) 100% of the performance for 100% of the price

I'll usually choose in the B or C range.

If I were going to war where my life depended on my equipment, I would choose D.

If I were just starting out in life and didn't have 2 nickles to rub together, I'd choose A.
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  #38  
Old 01-05-2019, 1:46 AM
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I've been hunting a lot of years and have never had a problem locating animals during the legal shoot times, so all this talk of having the best low light "binos" scopes etc... is a bit foreign to me. Have used a Zeiss Conquest on my rifle in the past, but now use Leupold VX-1 and VX-2's exclusively. I started out with a pair of older Leica binos and now use Steiner 12X50s and a pair of Zeiss 8X32's for vehicle use. Cost shouldn't influence your decision anymore than an appropriate caliber for the game you seek.

Hunting partners of the past 15+ years have a wide array of Swaros and Nightforce optics. I have borrowed and used them all over the years and couldn't see where they would be better than what I'm already using.

I have recently discussed hunting optics and all of the hype associated with them, with my eye doctor. My doctor told me what I expected, that the human eye, especially for folks of my age, can not utilize much of the "theoretical" advantages the more expensive glass offers and even if we could, we wouldn't be able to discern the minuscule differences / advantages. My doctor is a bit younger than I, and hunts all over the world. He could easily afford any glass he desired.

My experience has been that good binos start around $300 right now and good hunting scopes around $200. Leupold, Steiner and Vortex are pretty much all a hunter needs. Long Range bench guys require the really expensive stuff.
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  #39  
Old 01-17-2019, 11:38 AM
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Value shopping is great, but not when optics are concerned.

I took a buddy hunting last year, he has $900 Steiner’s, I have Swarovski SLC. Both 10x42 and on tripods. The main difference was when he spotted a deer and asked “is it a buck? I can’t tell” I could answer “yes, it’s a 4x3 with 3” eyegards”. That is the true difference, and what I paid for
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  #40  
Old 01-18-2019, 6:02 AM
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OP if we’re talking binoculars, try Meostar. I’m an optics nerd and I am thoroughly impressed by my Meopta Meostar 10x42. Most who actually compared it to the Swaro in birding forums call it 95% or more of what the Swaro is for half the price.
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