Wednesday, October 26, 2011
From Ivan in CO:
The Eagle Optics Ranger 8x32 Binocular is simply the best binocular for the money for almost any situation. I use a pair of Swarovski EL 8x32 Binoculars for the most serious birding. They are spectacular, but I would never want to put them at risk. The Ranger 8x32s, at less than 1/5th the cost, come everywhere with me. Of course I can tell the difference, but the Rangers are so good I virtually never miss the Swarovskis! They live in the car. They get thrown in my pack. They get lent to friends. Two pair came sailing all summer. One stays on deck at all times and goes ashore in the dinghy. The other pair stays below out of the salt spray as a backup. I've always said that if I lose one of the Rangers I will be very glad it was not the Swarovskis. This summer it happened. One of the Rangers went over the side. They sink! But they are affordable enough to replace.
There are always differing opinions about binocular dimensions. 8x32 is a perfect dimension for the vast majority of situations. You think you need a larger objective lens? You want a larger exit pupil? You think you need higher magnification? Knock your self out. Spend more money. Suffer more weight and shallower depth of field. Here are some interesting considerations: If you are over 50 your eye pupils will not dilate to over the 4 mm exit pupil provided by 8x32. You are just throwing money and light away with a larger exit pupil. If you are over 50 you probably can't hold 10x glasses steady enough to utilize the increased magnification in most situations. I love the wide field of view and the depth of field of the Eagle Optics Ranger 8x32 binocular, not to mention the spectacular close focus. When all is said and done, they are sharp, crisp, clear, light, convenient, rugged, and, replaceable if necessary. Of course, Eagle Optics will repair/replace them if all you do is destroy them. But even if you drop them into the ocean it is likely that they can be replaced.
Monday, October 24, 2011
From PC in Vancouver:
These binoculars has great FOV and optics are excellent. Eye relief is great for people who wear glasses. Some people may find the eye relief to be too much.
They are a bit heavy but it's manageable. Quality control may be suspect as mine came with a squeaky focus knob (I didn't purchase this from EO).
There are certain warnings that I have:
I noticed that focus range is too short at times. I would focus to the end but it still wasn't sharp. It appears you need decent vision or good glasses with these binoculars. I tried seeing something short or long range without my glasses and it just wouldn't focus within the focus range. This is the only binocular that I own that has this problem. Be careful about this.
Steiner accessories will be expensive for Canadians as most of the accessories need to be purchased from Steiner Parts Direct. Pricey shipping to Canada -- currently $29.00 Priority Mail.
It would have been nice if Steiner had objective lens covers that stay attached to the binoculars. The wing part of the eyecup is a bit annoying. I keep them pulled down. The Rainguard is neoprene -- I would have preferred the regular rubber eyecups.
These binoculars use a Clic-Loc system. The neck strap has the Clic-Loc connector that clicks in the binoculars. This would be OK if you find the neck strap acceptable. Since the binocular is a bit heavy I would prefer to use a binocular harness. The problem here is now you are limited to buying the Steiner harness that has the Click-Loc system or you need to buy the separate connectors for $15 so that you can use a 3rd party harness.
This binocular has great optics but because of the other issues I would not buy this binocular again.
Monday, October 17, 2011
From Wagner in MA:
I purchased this scope for its small size and reasonably good specs for the price. I wanted a scope that I could take on trips and not worry about leaving in the car or the hotel room.
Given the size and price, I didn't expect the performance of the Swarovski scope I use when birding locally. But it performs well in most situations and is very compact and light to carry. I'm a casual birder and don't take vacations just for birding, so this scope is perfect for bringing along to get a closer look than afforded by binoculars when the opportunity to do some birding presents itself.
Good Inexpensive Scope for Traveling!
Friday, October 14, 2011
From Eitan in CA:
THE GOOD: The optics, build quality, and ergonomics are simply first rate. Plus of course the Vortex warranty.
- Optically they are simply stunning, extremely clear, bright and neutral (no warm/cool color bias like some bins) and tack sharp. Other than perhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifhaps edge performance, they are essentially "alpha" quality optically. The Porter's review of mid-sized bins at birdwatching.com is spot on, although those were the 8x32... the Vipers are simply world class optically. Plus close focus is ridiculous at 3ft!
- I love the build and ergonomics: great grip and tension on the focus knob, super precise... excellent eyecups... very comfortable rubber armor (not slick and plasticky like some budget bins). They feel like a high quality, rugged piece of gear. And unlike many "compact" binoculars they are actually quite small and light, and feel great in the hand.
- I compared these extensively to a pair of the vaunted 7x36 Zen-Ray ED2 and the Vipers were essentially equal optically (each with their pluses and minuses). The Zens have a wider FOV and obviously slightly greater magnification, and are a hair brighter, but they exhibit a slightly warm color bias, have worse edge performance, and are inferior in build and ergonomics IMHO (Vipers have better armor, eyecups, diopter adjustment and focus knob).
THE BAD: Unfortunately, one minor issue is going to cause me to return these gems: the eye relief is actually TOO much!
I do NOT wear glasses, and had to fight blackouts with these Viper 6x32's and their 20mm+ of eye relief, even with eyecups fully extended. If the eyecups had one more clickstop of extension they would probably have worked fine for me, but as it is the blackouts an unfortunate deal killer.
Secondarily, I found the 6x magnification a wee bit too small for the all-around birding I do, and that combined with the eye relief issue makes me think I would LOVE the Viper 8x32, which have shorter eye relief to go with the greater magnification.
One final niggle: the inter-pupilary distance (IPD) is insufficiently small for people with narrowly spaced eyes. My wife has a small face and she could not use the Vipers because the barrels cannot get close enough together for her to form a complete image (as opposed to seeing two circles).
In all other respects beyond these last minor issues, the Vipers are SUPERB. So they are clearly 5 stars, just be aware of the above.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
From Tim in WI:
The optical quality on this binocular is breathtaking. I used them on a moose hunt in Alaska. I was truly in awe at the views given by this binocular.
BUT... and it is a big BUT... The left lens fogged completely on day 3 of a 12 day hunt. I was EXTREMELY disappointed. I had just bought the binocular and bought them specifically for this hunting trip. The lens was so foggy that it was completely opaque. Luckily, I am very right-eye dominant. So I just used the binocular as a hand-held spotting scope. The right lens was still clear and I was still able to glass the hillsides for moose. Even with one eye, I was amazed at the optical quality.
As soon as I got back from Alaska, I mailed the binocular to Eagle Optics. Within a week, they sent me a new binocular, and even included the neck strap and carrying case (now I have two sets of those). So as expected, Eagle Optics lived up to their warranty and provided excellent customer service.
To summarize, the optics are amazing. I don’t expect any problems with the replacement pair but know that Eagle Optics will stand behind them if it does.
I have to rate them "good". I would purchase them again (I also found them on sale and definitely would buy them again at that price)
Monday, October 10, 2011
From Chris in OR:
I recently bought the Pentax DCF ED 8x43 and was so impressed with the views that I bought the DCF ED 10x50 to complete our collection. We use these for astronomy, as well as terrestrial and Bird watching.
I have owned a pair of 8x40 Zeiss and have looked through Swaro's and my wife and I both think that these Pentax ED bino's are completely equal to the super high end bino's. The amazing thing is that they have a no questions asked, no fault warranty and are half the price of the bino's offered by the big 3.
Astronomy use will really show the faults in a good binocular really quick. Star images are pinpoint and there is no false color when viewing bright objects. I can see faint deep sky objects with these bino's that cannot be seen with other larger objective bino's that I currently own. These are the best bino's we have ever owned.
Friday, October 7, 2011
From Ken in TX:
I decided to stick to porro instead of roof binoculars a while back. Just so much better value and performance dollar for dollar.
I had first purchased the Leupold 6x30 Yosemite's after struggling to decide between them and the Eagle Kingbird. I know others have the same dilemma so I will make a few points on each for their sakes. The two compare well and while the Yosemite's have much to offer, and may be the best buy in a pack-and-tote type of binocular, I am finding the Eagle Kingbird's do have that slight, particular, edge I was looking for. These seem just a tick better in low light when needing help scoring deer.
Most thinking they need a 10x would do well to see what a larger field of view does for you. 6x has a lot more reach than many might assume. My ideal would be a similar 7x35 but so far none can match this pair of binoculars.
These feel a little bigger in the hand than the Leupold due to a more angular design. Nothing to dissuade- only to notice. All adjustments were solid. The Yosemites were the least finicky binoculars I ever owned. They never needed those minor focal adjustments - in contrast to my much more expensive 8x42 Pinnacles (Leupold Roof prisms). The Kingbirds appear easily as bright as the larger Pinnacles. Color and clarity on both it and the Yosemite are crisp with the Yosemite's being perhaps a bit "warmer". Depth: I might also give the edge ever so slightly to the Yosemite's but I will need more testing. Field of view is listed as wider on the Yosemite's but for some reason seemed larger through the Kingbird. It sort of pops out with these. The eye cups on the Kingbird will likely be easier for people with glasses and they also has a bit wider range of IPD.
I chose the Kingbird over the Vortex Raptor because I was not sure how well I would like the green color of the Raptors. I also like the idea of sporting the name "Eagle Optics" as they have always been first rate. I go straight here for all my binocular needs.
I give these binoculars a very solid "A" rating and my strong recommendation. Oh, the Yosemites...they now reside in the hands of my B-I-L who absolutely drooled over them.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
From Jeff in AZ:
I own a Viper scope and already am familiar with the quality of Vortex optics but needed to increase the magnification in my bino's. I have used Swarovski 8x30's for the past 20 years since winning them in a contest. They are awesome but I cannot afford something like that anymore. I needed something powerful but not huge for deer hunting here in the southwest.
While at a hunters clinic the Vortex sales rep had a number of the high end optics and the Vortex side-by-side. Not only are my Diamondback Bino's as clear and crisp as my older Swarovski's but I was able to get them for around $300 vs. $800 or more. I have the tripod mount on them for glassing and am thoroughly impressed. I looked at the Viper Bino's and decided someday I will need to replace my Swarovski's.
Monday, October 3, 2011
From Glenn in CA:
These binoculars replace a venerable pair of heavy porro-prism Minolta 10x42s that had served me well but were starting to show their age.
I'd been wanting a set of ED glass binoculars but could not see myself paying $500+ for that feature. I believe in the law of diminishing returns that you will get relatively less value the more and more you continue to spend on items like binoculars. So when I heard of this model was on sale and had all the good reviews that they'd gotten on this site, I was very interested.
So I'd already been impressed with a pair of Atlas 8x42 Radian binoculars which I found, much to my amazement, better in optical clarity than Vortexes that cost double. How would their more expensive cousins compare?
The Intrepid EDs are green, clad with a smooth rubber armor, no ridges or anything fancy texture-wise. The only very thoughtful design touch was a pair of thumb indentations that feel very nice when holding them. Also the open bridge design actually allows you to hold this one-handed, if you had to, but more-so allows your fingers to grip the barrels in a nice, comfortable, fashion.
The focus knob is probably my only gripe about these, there is some play (probably 1/8th inch) between when you start focusing and when the mechanism actually catches. Once it does however, the focusing speed is very reasonable and I had no problems focusing near (love the near-focus: 6.5 Feet!) and far without feeling frantic about the slowness of the refocusing.
And the optics on these are so clear! To be able to get additional 25% magnification over the 8x models and still experience all the fine detail, without light loss, is exactly what I was looking for, and these did not disappoint.
As an avid birder, however, I was concerned that the 10X power would be too much (causing shakes) but this is not a problem with these. I think if they were too light or too heavy this would have been problematic but I have so far found this not to be an issue.
There are some minor negative points though that I will note: The objective lens covers (the larger far side lenses) are too loose and will come off when simply pulled from the rather cheap, black, non-logo-ed case. The twist-up/down multi-position eye-cups are comfortable enough for eye-glass wearers like me but do have some play in the mid position and less in the fully up position.
There is no manual really, just a generic single sheet of folded paper, with the requisite Italian, French, Spanish, German and Dutch taking up most of the space. There is also an attempt to provide a lens cloth, but it looks like a cheap piece of felt.
The provided neck strap is wide and comfortable but the weight of these binoculars will cause them to really swing when you are walking; a harness strap will redistribute the weight and make them more stable to use than what was provided.
That said, these are excellent binoculars for the money and if you do the research, these will have few peers that can match them for features, design and that wonderful Eagle Optics Platinum Protection warranty.