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Thread: Quick Question on Binoculars - Leupold, Swarovski, etc

  1. #1
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    Default Quick Question on Binoculars - Leupold, Swarovski, etc

    I hate to bore folks with this kind of post, but thought I might could get some quick answers.

    I had a pair of Leupold binoculars (not the gold rings, but one of the models down) that I bought around 2002 for around $300. My truck got broke into back into March and they got stolen, so I have to get some new ones.

    I can afford a little better binocular now, but don't care to buy a $2000 pair of Leicas with the built in range finders.

    I feel a whole lot of loyalty to Leupold. The Lens cups on the ones I had would jam and break while twisting. Happened to me twice. Both times, I sent them in to get fixed and they just sent a brand new pair of binoculars both times.

    So my question is, is the quality of Leupold Gold rings (either the fixed or switch powers) close to what you get with Swarovskis or am I better off spending a little more. I don't have any friends that have either and you can't tell looking through them in a store.

    Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.
    Robert


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Quick Question on Binoculars - Leupold, Swarovski, etc

    Chambero:

    I can't exactly answer your question, but I can come close. I had two of the Leupold rangefinding binoculars (the old version and the new version). I was not at all satisfied with either of them, with regards to optical quality. Last year, I bought the Leica Geovids when Camerland closed them out cheap. The optical quality is many, many times better. I was simply stunned by the difference.

    Hope that helps,
    Scott

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Quick Question on Binoculars - Leupold, Swarovski, etc

    I did a little looking around on the 'net, and the best buy for the money seems to be the Nikon Monarch line-up.

    That is, if you weren't planning on spending a whole lot more than you did for your last pair.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Quick Question on Binoculars - Leupold, Swarovski, etc

    I'd say to he** with brand loyalty, buy the best binocular for the money and in mid range binos,I concur, Nikon Monarchs.
    "A Patriot Must Always Be Ready To Defend His Freedom Against His Government"- Edward Abbey

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Quick Question on Binoculars - Leupold, Swarovski, etc

    My oldest son has a pair of high-end Leupold Gold Ring 10x42 binoculars (around $700 at Cabelas) and while sitting side by side and glassing we have often compared them with my Leica 10x42 binoculars (now around $2000).

    Actually the Gold Ring Leupolds seem surprisingly good to me. I find them wonderfully bright and clear. However, no $700 binoculars I've ever picked up are the equal of the much more expensive full-size Leica or the Swarovski binoculars. And it is unrealistic to expect that any ever will be.

    Still, in the $500 to $800 price range, I find the Leupold Gold Ring binoculars to be quite exceptional, better than most in that range and they are indeed backed by that famous no-hassle Leupold warranty and service. Should you ever damage your binoculars, such as in a fall, that means a lot.

    In optics, maybe more than almost any other piece of outdoor gear, you do get what you pay for.
    "Don't let the things you can't do, stop you from doing the things you can do."

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Quick Question on Binoculars - Leupold, Swarovski, etc

    FWIW, I think you'd be pleased with the Kahles binos, at a substantially lower price than Swarovski. My 10x42 pair is just excellent.

    One fellow indicated to me that he found the 10x42 for $600, which is $220 less than I paid for mine. And I have no complaints about the value I got for $820. There are new ones on ebay at good prices.

    You'll get other opinions.
    Last edited by Kmassaro; 05-25-2010 at 02:33 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Quick Question on Binoculars - Leupold, Swarovski, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by Kmassaro View Post
    FWIW, I think you'd be pleased with the Kahles binos, at a substantially lower price than Swarovski. My 10x42 pair is just excellent.

    One fellow indicated to me that he found the 10x42 for $600, which is $220 less than I paid for mine. And I have no complaints about the value I got for $820. There are new ones on ebay at good prices.

    You'll get other opinions.
    After my last pair of Swaros got stolen I "happened" on a Kahles sale at SW. Picked mine up for around $650 about 2 years ago and ergonomically, they are not quite on a par with my old Swaros but optically and construction wise they are excellent. I also recommend them in the $700-$800 range.
    "A Patriot Must Always Be Ready To Defend His Freedom Against His Government"- Edward Abbey

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Quick Question on Binoculars - Leupold, Swarovski, etc

    Leupold: Good glass for the money.

    Leica, Swarovski, Kahles, Meopta or Zeiss? Whole different ball game...
    With Kahles as possibly the best glass for the money in this category...

    I use Swaro 8.5x42 EL's that were on special a while back.
    Best bino's I have ever used.

    JMHO, best of luck with your choice.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Quick Question on Binoculars - Leupold, Swarovski, etc

    "or am I better off spending a little more"?

    Yes....but the questions really are: How much better off? How much more?

    That is the crux of the issue. For some folks, almost any amount is doable and they're just not satisfied thinking they couldn't own one of the Big 3.

    I would look at this from the other side of the mirror. What is your maximum budget? Write it down. Go look at binocs in that price category and get very familiar with their performance. THEN start looking at somewhat less expensive glass, and compare them to the pricier pairs. Be critical, and don't forget to factor in the price drop. You might see a decline in performance and ergonomics...maybe it's very, very minor to you. Maybe you'll swing the other way and say "Hey, those BMWs are really worth the money"!

    I've critically compared as many top-end binocs as I can. I opted away from Swaro and Leica because of several factors. I won't go into all of them here, but they were substantial. I found the latest Zeiss Victory models (Lotu Tec) were my perfect match on many levels.

    That said.... If I was sitting on a mountain with no (or bad) binoculars, I'd be one unhappy hunter. If someone magically handed me a brand-new pair of Leupold Gold Rings or Kahles, I'd probably be overjoyed and absolutely thrilled with them...what I could now see...and what a good glass they really are. Maybe that scenario puts it in a little different perspective.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Quick Question on Binoculars - Leupold, Swarovski, etc

    Thanks for the info guys.

    I'm basically willing to spend up to $1,000 on a pair. I didn't realize till I just started looking a week or two ago that the Swarovski, Zeiss, and Leica binocular had jumped up to the $2,000 level. I'm just not interested in paying that much. There are other toys I'd rather have for that extra money for me and my boys.

    I've never looked at Kahles so I'll make sure to do that before buying.
    Robert


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