Field Test: 2009 Hunting Binoculars

As with most things in life, the adage “you get what you pay for” certainly applies to binoculars — but there are definite deals to be had on quality optics for reasonable prices.
Field Test: 2009 Hunting Binoculars

Meade 8x42 Glacier

Meade Glacier BinocularPrice: $270

Weight: 23.3 oz

Power (mm): 42mm

Size (inches): 6 in

Website: Meade Binoculars

Feature We Love: The multi-coated BAK 4 lenses and phase-coated roof prisms combine to offer bright and crisp high-contrast images that can add an extra hour of visibility at dawn and dusk.

Nikon Monarch DCF

Nikon Monarch DCFPrice: $330 for 8X.

Weight: 20.1 oz

Power (mm): 36mm

Size (inches): 4.9 in

Website: Nikon Hunting Optics

Feature We Love: The rubber eyecups feature a comfortable turn-and-slide design that allows for easy eye positioning that will come in handy after extended periods of glassing. The rubber armoring provides a firm, comfortable grip.

Burris Fullfield 10X42

Burris Fullfield BInocularPrice: $342.

Weight: 23 oz

Power (mm): 42mm

Size (inches): 4.9 in

Website: Burris Optics

Feature We Love: The BaK4 prisms in this binocular create a truer round, meaning more edge-to-edge sharpness and better light transmission. This model looks great in the Realtree All-Purpose Green camouflage and is backed by a lifetime warranty.

Leupold Cascade 10x42

Leupold Cascade BinocularPrice: $380

Weight: 23.1 oz

Power (mm): 42mm

Size (inches): 5.5 in

Website: Leupold

Feature We Love: The in-line design keeps this model trim and lightweight. Rugged and waterproof, the easy-to-grip ergonomic handles make the Cascade perfect for wet conditions.

Alpen Outdoor 10x42mm Apex

Alpen Outdoor BinocularPrice: $447

Weight: 22 oz

Power (mm): 42mm

Size (inches): 5.75 in

Website: Alpen Outdoor

Feature We Love: The PXA phase coating on the Apex produces superior resolution and color accuracy, while the HR metallic prism coating adds an enhanced degree of light transmission and brightness.

Bushnell Elite E2

Bushnell Elite E2 BinocularPrice: $500 for 8X42

Weight: 25.7 oz

Power (mm): 42mm

Size (inches): 7.5 in

Website: Bushnell

Feature We Love: Bushnell’s XTR technology utilizes 60 layers of coatings per prism to conserve and harness available light for optimal clarity, delivering 99.7 percent light transmission per lens. This technology is a big help in low-light situations.

Steiner Merlin

Steiner Merlin BinocularsPrice: $900 for 10X42

Weight: 26 oz

Power (mm): 42mm

Size (inches): 6.4 in

Website: Steiner Binoculars

Feature We Love: The “Fast-Focus” system for the Merlin line is both smooth and precise. With two full turns of the focus wheel, the Merlin can shift from close focus to infinite distance allowing the user to quickly focus on potential targets regardless of their location or movement.

Cabela’s Euro

Cabelas Euro BinocularPrice: $899

Weight: 35 oz

Power (mm): 42mm, 50mm

Size (inches): 6.7 in

Website: Cabela''s

Feature We Love: The Euro (available in 10X and 12X models) has been designed with half-pentagonal and Schmidt roof prisms that maintain color definition and optimum light transmission. The aircraft-grade aluminum housing is ergonomic and features an oversized focus wheel for fast adjustments.

Zeiss Conquest

Zeiss Conquest BinocularPrice: $966.

Weight: 18 oz

Power (mm): 30mm

Size (inches): 5.6 in

Website: Zeiss

Feature We Love: This compact line of binoculars offers a lot of power in a frame that is easy to carry around, especially in its Cordura belt-loop pouch or on its wide Neoprene carrying strap. The Lotutec moisture management glass coating is a nice touch, too.

Swarovski EL 10x42mm

Swarovski Optik ELPrice: $2,000

Weight: 27.5 oz

Power (mm): 42mm

Size (inches): 6.2 in

Website: Swarovski Optik

Feature We Love: Swarovski has eliminated the bridge on the EL so that it can be held by one hand in a wrap-around grip. The slender, contoured tubes offer stability that allows the viewer to quickly adjust the focus, while still leaving a second hand free. This binocular offers power in a streamlined frame.


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