I've decided to write you to ask for advice since I've been thinking about buying some new binoculars for a while but I can't make up my mind.
The first thing to consider is that I live in Southern Mexico, so for me it would not be such a good idea to return my binoculars in case I don't like them; shipping would be quite expensive. I also have no way to try and compare different models and having to decide only based on reviews online is really difficult.
The binoculars I currenly own are a pair of old Stokes Talon 10x42. I am pretty sure that all the binoculars I'm considering for purchase would be much better than these, but I'm unsure if I should wait till I have more money and buy the best of the bunch or just go with the cheapest even if they are not perfect.
Two of the models I'm considering have discounts at the present moment, and those are the ones that made me consider buying now instead of waiting.
So the options I'm considering are:
1) Vanguard Endeavor ED 8x42
2) Eagle Optics Ranger ED 8x42
3) Zeiss Terra ED 8x42
4) Vortex Viper HD 8x42
VORTEX VIPERS: I've been wanting to own a pair of Vipers for a while and according to what I've read I'm sure that they would be the perfect choice and I would have no complaints with them. The only problem is that for now I just can't afford them, so I would have to wait. Maybe that would be a wise choice though.
TERRA ED: these seem to be nicely built and I like the idea of the smooth, fast focusing knob, plus the Zeiss namebrand itself. I'm not too sure about the optics, since according to the reviews, the other three models I'm considerng are better in terms of brightness and sharpness.
RANGER ED: some people consider that there isn't much difference while viewing through a pair of these and through the Vipers and that sounds really attractive to me, since image quality is what I'm after.
Two things worry me though: they are heavier than the others and the focus wheel is slower and some people consider it too stiff. I absolutely hate the stiffness of the focusing wheel in my Stokes, I frequently can't focus a bird fast enough before it disappears and I simply can't focus at all with gloves on, so that's a big issue for me.
ENDEAVOR ED: I honestly have to say that these binoculars are the ones that attract me the most. Many reviewers say that their brightness and sharpness are very similar to the Vipers, at less than half the price!
Plus they seem to have great ergonomics and the focus knob is supposed to be really fast.
But the web is full of people complaining about chromatic aberration that ruins the experience of looking through these binoculars.
This is the only reason I'm not jumping on the occasion of buying them for 249$.
I worry that the CA will frustrate me and I will regret having bought them instead of waiting and buying the Vipers later on.
I would like to receive some professional advice from your team, because I'm going around in circles and I can't make a decision.
Thank you so much in advance for your time
Thanks for your interest in Eagle Optics. First off, I wanted to let you know that unfortunately, we are not able to ship to Mexico. If you are still interested in ordering from us, you could have us ship the product to a friend in the United States who could then ship it to you. Sorry for the inconvenience.
As for the binoculars, they are indeed 4 fairly comparable pieces, and all of great quality. I took a look through each side by side for you to try and get a feel for important differences. I’m also listing some of the specs that I’m sure you’ve found online, just because I find them to help when looking between each, and often the field of view and weight are both important considerations.
The Vortex Viper is the sharpest and brightest of the bunch, and have the least chromatic aberration, which you would expect with its price. It has good edge to edge sharpness, but I did find the focus wheel to be a bit stiff. The field of view at 1000 yards is 347 feet across, and it weighs 24.2 ounces, which is the lightest of the four.
Personally, I find the Zeiss Terra to not be particularly outstanding compared to the other three, as you briefly mentioned. Zeiss does make a great product, but the Terra has some chromatic aberration, and not great edge sharpness. The focus wheel is the least stiff of the four, but I’m not sure if that’s a big enough benefit for you to choose it over the others. The field of view is 375 feet, and weighs 25.4 ounces.
The Eagle Optics Ranger ED is really optically great at its current price; it has the best edge to edge sharpness of the four, and a true color hue. But I do think the size is something to consider, with it being an inch longer than some of the others, and weighing 27.4 ounces. Additionally, the focus knob is the stiffest of the four, which may be frustrating to some when paired with its size, similar to what you were describing with the fumbling of gloves and focusing. It does have a 425 feet field of view which is pretty great, but the focus knob issues and the weight makes me think that it might not be your best option.
The Vanguard Endeavor ED is a great piece that is at a fantastic price for its quality. However, it does have some slight downfalls compared to the other three. Like you said, I did find it to have the most chromatic aberration of the bunch, which, while slight, could affect your overall resolution. It also didn’t have the edge to edge sharpness of the Ranger or Viper and with some comparisons I could see that the color hue is a bit greener than true. It does have a nice and smooth focus wheel, with a 367 feet field of view, and a weight of 25.75 ounces. While it does have those disadvantages, it will still be a good step up from your Stokes Talon, and at a great price.
I suppose this information hasn't added to your confusion! I’d like to emphasize that these are all quite minute details, and overall, each will have a good image quality, especially considering that each has ED or HD glass. When it comes down to it, I would suggest either buying the Endeavor at its sale price, or waiting a little bit longer to spring for the Vortex Viper.
Hope this helps, please let me know if you have any further questions or would like to place an order to a friend or contact in the U.S.