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The Binocular Advisor

by Michael and Diane Porter

Michael PorterDiane PorterAnswers to questions from real people with real questions about how to choose a binocular.

Situation: I'd really like to get a Swarovision, a Leica Ultravid HD, or a Zeiss Victory FL, but they just cost too much money. Are there any binoculars that are close to that kind of quality, but at a lower price?

Diane's Advice: Yes. There are several terrific binoculars — some of them for under $1000 — and some of them far under $1000! These are all wonderful binoculars. Every one of them is better than anything you could have bought 20 years ago. And they're quite close to the quality of the highest priced binoculars.

Vortex Viper HD
Vortex Viper HDThe Viper HDs provide beautifully bright, clear, high-contrast, images. Our favorite model is the 8x42, which costs $589.

And the warranty service is as good as it gets (and way better than most). If the binocular ever fails or suffers accidental damage, Vortex promises to repair or replace it for free. No warranty card required. No matter how long you've owned them, whether you're the original owner, or whose fault the damage is. We love to work with this company, because we know our customers will be well taken care of in years to come.

Vanguard Endeavor ED

Vanguard EndeavorVanguard's top-of-the-line Endeavor 8x42 ED binoculars impressed us with their open-bridge design and their intelligently ergonomic engineering. They blew our minds when we tested them for resolution. They are superbly sharp.

This is outstanding quality in a very reasonably priced binocular. The 8x42 model costs only $349.99.

Read our review of the Vanguard Endeavor ED.

Leica Compact Ultravid
Leica Compact UltravidThe best ultra compact binoculars we've ever seen! Just a joy to look through, with impeccable optical quality.

The whole binocular is put together with the famous Leica attention to detail. It folds up into a tiny, neat packet that will literally fit in almost any pocket. It comes in 8x20 and 10x25. You can save a few bucks by getting a "BCR" version (with rubber armoring). Also available in "BCL" versions by leather armoring and a high-quality leather case. Priced from $669 to $849.

Copyright 2011 by Michael and Diane Porter.


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