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The Binocular Advisor

Optics Myth 6:

A really good pair of binoculars is outside my price range.
Vortex Viper Nikon Monarch Celestron Noble Eagle Optics Ranger SRT

REALITY - There's some good stuff now in mid-priced binoculars .

Although the top end of binocular prices has gone stratospheric, mid-priced binoculars have been rapidly closing the quality gap.

When coating technology was new, a few manufacturers guarded secret techniques and formulas.

A few years ago, only the highest-priced binoculars were waterproof.

It was a rare binocular that focused close enough to be useful at a feeder.

Eyecups had to be folded down, a process that took several seconds and often required both hands.

And a person who wore glasses could hardly find a binocular with enough eye relief to reveal the whole image.

Now the secrets of coatings are out, and a wide range of optics, including relatively inexpensive instruments, offer fully multi-coated lenses. The marketplace is full of waterproof, nitrogen-filled binoculars of good optical quality at moderate prices, like the Vortex Viper, the Nikon Monarch, the Celestron Noble, and the Eagle Optics Ranger SRT.

Many of this new generation of binoculars work well for people who wear glasses, have the ability to focus closer than ten feet, and offer twist-out, click-stop eyecups. And, thanks to new materials used in construction, they weigh noticeably less than binoculars of ten or fifteen years ago.

While it's still generally true that the more you pay, the better optics you will get, the quality curve is not the same at both ends of the price scale. There's much more difference in optical quality between a $120 and a $400 binocular than there is between a $400 and a $1000-and-up binocular.

Copyright 2006 Michael and Diane Porter


Sharp-shinned Hawk

Optics Myths and Misconceptions