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· Registered
696 Posts
I think they are very important have 2 sets in my kit. Good to be able to see if the approching group is armed or not...
Isn't that what a rifle optics are for? :D

Seriously, if you are hunting, or just taking in the scenery, it's always good to have a quality pair of binoculars.
In my case, you spend MUCH more time with 'Field Glasses' looking at the terrain and looking for game than you spend looking through a rifle scope,
But a rifle scope is a CHEAP way to get sealed and fog free optics.

I wouldn't use a 'Cheap Scope' on a rifle, cheap optics never hold zero and won't withstand recoil, but they do give you a telescopic view of what's out there, and even the cheap ones are sealed up from moisture entering them, were cheap binoculars ARE NOT...

Seriously, the little 'Belt Case Type' sets are cheap and effective, and I would also have a larger pair,
But it's well worth the money to buy a good quality 'SEALED' or 'Gas Filled' set.

I've broken more than one of those 'Plastic' sets, so I'm kind of shy of buying anymore.
They fog up, get moisture inside, break WAY too easy, and generally fail when you need them.

· Registered
696 Posts
To tell you the truth, Binoculars are what the 'Survival' and 'Militia' guys should spend some real money...

Same with serious hunters and animal watchers...

Seriously clear optics with sharp enough focus to pick out cammo patterns from background for the 'Man Hunters',

Clear & Sharp enough to pick out game from their natural environment, where, might I add, unless you are hunting striped skunks, most animals blend in REALLY GOOD!

Militia/End of the world types should consider using spotting scopes instead of binoculars.
Spotting scopes can easily run up to 80 or 100 times magnification, and in the Marines we almost always used the spotting scope over binoculars when operational.

Game hunters and animal watchers might want lighter weight since they aren't going to be lying prone with a rest under a big old spotting scope!

With stereo vision, it's easier to make an estimate of range without a range finder.
For a guy that is going to spend most of his day with 'Field Glasses' to his face, weight and clarity are paramount!

Some Facts;

When the specifications say '8x30' or '10x50', what they are referring to is the...
Second number, Front (Objective) Lens Diameter.

The larger the first number, the farther you will be able to see, but the less 'Field Of Vision' you will have,
Meaning you can zoom right in on one thing, but it will be hard to see anything BUT that object.

The larger the second number, the larger the front lenses that collect more light.
Larger lenses will make the image seem 'Brighter' in low light or overcast days.

I prefer STRIGHT THROUGH vision.
You get a little less magnification with stright through, but you get a MUCH clearer image!
I'm a hunter and 'Watcher', so I get a wider field of view with lower magnification and 'Straight Through' versions.

Roof Prism bounces the image around inside to the binocular body to get a longer focal length and higher magnification.

Every prism (mirror) the image goes through degrades it slightly more...

So although you are getting more 'Zoom' magnification, the image is 'Fuzzier' and slightly more 'Washed Out' in color and definition.

You also get a much narrower field of view. (so you are kind of 'pinpointed' on something and can't see the heard of deer just to the left or right!)

I carry Leupold myself.
Price vs. Clarity and ability to focus precisely, along with lens coatings that REALLY make things 'Pop',
They make a seriously light weight and compact package out of them!
Lifetime warranty from a company that will be in business next week/month/year is always a plus too!

Leupold || Binoculars


A friend of mine swapped binoculars just to see with the others was like once, and he had Burris.
Burris is an AMERICAN company that is much under rated, and they make fine products!
His were a little 'Low End' Burris, and were almost as good as my 'Middle of the road' Leupold binoculars were!

If I had to get a second set of Binoculars, it would be a Burris set! They are just that good!

Burris Optics

I have a set of Leica binoculars that were over $1,500 retail...
(I can't afford that, I won them at a Ducks Unlimited dinner.)
They worked really good for me, and did everything you would expect a top end set of binoculars to do... But at $1,500+ I sure would have to have a BURNING NEED to have them! (like in the military and my life depended on them!)
And at well over $1,500 they aren't any better than my 'Middle of the road' Leupold binoculars are.

Leica Binoculars - Leica Binoculars Review

Carl Ziess makes a fine set of Binoculars, we were issued Ziess in the military and they were FANTASTIC.
I'd have to say Carl Ziess is the top of the heap in binoculars (and about all optics) but they are just SUPER STUPID EXPENSIVE...

Welcome to Carl Zeiss Optical, Inc.

I would skip on the Bushnell, Tasco, Weaver, ect. brands.
Most of them are made in Korea or China, and they just aren't much for usefulness to me.

· ke4sky
190 Posts
Galilean Binoculars

Most early binoculars used Galilean optics; that is they used a convex objective and a concave eyepiece lens. Galilean designs were widely used up to the end of the 19th century when they gave way to porro prism types. This type of construction is still used in very cheap models and in opera glasses or theater glasses. See Binoculars - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

· Registered
696 Posts
What do you call the type that people used in the 1800's on ships (the retractable ones)?
That's a simple TELESCOPE. As in 'Telescoping Housing'.
A single side 'Scope' is called a "Monocular",
Dual housings are use for stereo vision, and are called 'Binocular'.

The the 'Proper' name for what the old time ship's navigators used is a 'Telescoping Monocular'.

Now we don't slide them in and out, we have long fixed tubes for focal length,
We use a series of mirrors and prisms to bounce the image round inside of a short housing to effect a longer focal length.

· Registered
11 Posts
Jeephammer has given a great explanation of binocular optics...I would offer my choices as far as brands I really like my Steiner for a good powerful set that does not break the bank, For the less expensive stuff Bushnell isn't bad. The difference in clarity in low light is what is most notceable, the next thing to consider (after clarity) is how well they are sealed. The technolgy on lense coatings and sealing, armor on them has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. The old bricks I used in the military are not even as good as the current 35$ Bushnells of today. There are some great buys on sets with integrated range finders available also....helpful if you are not used to shooting at varied distances...for those who only can shoot at a range this could be a valuable additional feature.

· Function over Form
532 Posts
Pay attention also to the "exit pupil" measurement. It's a reference to the amount of light exiting to your eye. Usually it's the objective diameter divided by the magnification. 8x24 binocs have a 3mm exit pupil.

5mm exit pupil is near the max usable for most people. Anything less will limit your eyes in lower light situations. 3mm is fine for daylight, but not when any shadows or overcast conditions are involved.

I am absolutely in love with my Fujinon 7x50 marine binocs. Individual eye focus is preferable for me compared to moving focus. They ride next to the front seat in my patrol car every day. 7mm+ exit pupil. I keep looking for another deal on a backup pair.

I also have a two pairs of Pentax 20x60s. They work fine for 100y target spotting and longer range identification. The non-waterproof version are worse for the wear, not wearing near as well as the Fujinons.

· fan of analysis
86 Posts
A little story about binocs. My buddy has a pair of old Bushnells from the 70's. They are 7xsomething. I was given a pair of Bushnell Buckhorn binocs (10x42) new a couple years ago when I took up hunting.

We were sitting in the truck glassing the area we were about to hunt. Lo and behold I saw movement under a tree so pointed the binocs that way and clearly saw a rack and a deer head attached to a bedded buck :D My buddy kept looking and looking and just couldn't see it. Finally I gave him my binoculars and it was clear as day to him. No, I didn't bag the deer. :D Maybe next year.

I'm a big fan of quality old stuff, sure, but one of the areas where new stuff handily performs better is optics. Coatings have gotten MUCH better in the last 30 years. And heck my binocs aren't even high end (only $120 or so), but they let in a lot of light. I gather that the higher end stuff will let in more light and will have crisper images.

Now, this idea of determining if some mad max group of people coming at your post-apocalyptic kompound is armed or not... don't know about that.

But I can tell you good binocs are a HUGE asset for hunting. Do you need 'em for survival? Depends on what type of surviving you're doing. The kind I'm interested in is making it a few days in the woods until I get found, making it through likely natural disasters for my area. Honestly I don't see binocs being the biggest asset there...

· YourAdministrator, eh?
8,782 Posts
I have a few pairs of binoculars - some so big that I never want to take them with me, and some so small I sometimes forget that I even have them. Now - with that being said, I like my medium-sized Bushnell binoculars. They are small enough that you don't get tired of having them in the pack, but, large enough to see what you wanna see.

Bushnell Outdoor Products - PermaFocus

These aren't for everyone, but, functional enough that anyone could use them.

· Registered
1,559 Posts
Quality binoculars are a must have. Wider field of view than a scope. Great for seeing what's coming up next.

You should avoid pointing a scoped rifle at anything for spotting purposes. An accidental discharge could kill someone in the approaching group. Also if the opposing group is watching you and they see you point your weapon they may open fire on you.

· Registered
2 Posts
Binos are one of those pieces of equipment you don't need until you need it and then it's sometimes worth its weight in gold, er, ammo.

When I lived in Alaska I always carried a small Pentax 7X35 set of binos that fit in the palm of my hand but a few years ago I picked up a pair of surplus Russian 7 power binos made in 1952 for $40 that work great with my old eyes, especially at twilight.

If the need arises in the future where you'll have to scope out the behavior of 4- or 2legged predators from afar, you'll be glad you had the forethought to purchase a decent pair.

· Registered
10 Posts
In addition to the uses already mentioned, binocs are also quite useful for size up and determining things like haz mat dangers.

Following an accident, being able to read DOT placards from a distance can be very valuable.


· Registered
78 Posts
I think they're very important. How else can I see what the neighbors are doing?
Okay, I also use them to identify large birds who may be checking out my chickens.

· Registered
220 Posts
I really like my little Steiner 8x22 Predator binoculars. They are very rugged and compact. Here is my review:

Binoculars Review: Steiner Safari 8x22 Binoculars - Associated Content

I also have a pair of Tasco Essentials 8x21 binocular and they were great for awhile. However, after over a year of fairly rough treatment (hot car glove box, front pocket wear, etc.), I'm finding that they optics are now just slightly out of alignment. They are usable, but annoying. Here is my initially glowing review:

Product Review: Tasco Essentials 8x21 Binoculars - Associated Content

I think these compact binoculars are very worthwhile because they are useful without adding much weight and space to your gear.

· Registered
1 Posts
A good bang for buck set of binoculars is the Nikon Monarch Extreme series. Nikon builds some top notch cameras so theyre not new comers to quality glass. just be sure to get the extreme line, i belivee they have better coating than the standard monarchs.

· Registered
20 Posts
I think you're fine with those unless you are doing hunting or running away from something. Depends on what you think you'll run into in an emergency I guess.
My dad had a HUGE pair of Russian military binocs years ago that had amazing magnification but they were so big we never took them anywhere. Luckily technology has improved.
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