I need a compact pair of binoculars for the field, and not interested in spending much over $100. I have a nice pair of nikons for glassing, but need one for when on the move. Just something for game ID. Any recommendations would be helpful.
I've looked for years for a good inexpensive set of compact binoculars that would perform as well as my 8x20 Zeiss Victory compact binoculars, and the Brunton Echos have been the best I've found so far. Still not as good as the Zeiss, but they're less than 1/4 the price and easily 90%+ of the optical quality of the Zeiss. They are lightweight and have a HUGE field of view as well, which is always a nice bonus! These are not perfect - they get slightly soft at the outer extremes of the field, and the diopter adjust is not locking (but it is VERY stiff and mine have never knocked out of adjustment)... but for the price they simply can't be beat!
By the way, I've been interested in high-end optics for over 10 years, I own over 15 pair of $400-$1500 a pair binoculars and a dozen or so "cheapies"... so I do have quite a bit of experience evaluating binoculars and using them in the field. I've spent more time than I care to think about checking out new optics in local camera and sporting goods stores, this is almost as big an obsession with me as some forum members here are about their rifles (although I have a fair number of those too! )
Check out the Leupold Mesa compact. They are available in 10x23 and 8x23. I have the latter. Very bright and clear. Aspheric lenses so they are pretty clear on the edges too. Rubber armored. Inverted porro prism design makes them compact and light. This reads like a commercial, but I like mine and they were $99.
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