bino magnification: 8 versus 10

myronman3

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I recently picked up an older pair of swaro ELs 10x. I also recently picked up a pair of the swarovision 10x. The difference between the two isnt huge; focus knob, diopter lock, strap attachments, and less focusing with the swarovison is the only difference i can tell so far. Both these are amazing, i guess at 46+ years my eyes need help and these are just the ticket. But, 10x, holding steady isnt effortless.

Have any of you gone with 8 power over 10? Had ten and switched to 8? Or visa versa? I have a 8 power leupold and seem to be steadier with those. I’m thinking on selling the older pair, and trying to find 8x el’s or slc. But you just dont see many 8x listed....so either they dont sell a lot of them, or folks buy them and are completely happy and wont let go of them. I live east of the ‘sippi, so i dont feel i’d be losing anything with lower magnification.
 

45.308

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I used 8x through the 70s into the 90s. Wider field of view for better opportunity to see some movement. Plenty of magnification. Its what I learned. Binos use is to glass for an animal, then bring out the high x spotter to identify.

But somewhere, the switch to 10x happened. My 17 years selling gear, why even bring in 8x binos, they will collect dust and since I needed to turn 30% of my product in 30 days to pay the bills, bring in 10x only. I cant remember the last time someone asked to see 8x binos. Had requests for 12x and even 15x every hunting season.

To me its all personal preference. And no, you want lose anything with 8x if you so choose.

good luck
 
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Kane0519

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I use x8 and have no regrets. Mind you, I’m in the eastern half of the continent, so I don’t have the wide open spaces of the west.
X8 is easier to use with the wider FOV.
 

pmclaine

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I use 8X for my sitting at the beach viewing various things viewing.

Mostly the water, Im not the guy sitting on the beach chair that has to have a newspaper in his lap.

Even out to horizon I can hold my 8X steady enough to watch humpbacks feed while down the Cape.

The only downside is I keep thinking to myself, "Man if I only had more magnification"

Damned if you do, damned if you dont.
 

HogsLife

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i prefer my 10x out here in the west. Wide open spaces it’s nice to have the little bit extra magnification when you need it. If I was back east maybe it’s be a different story.
 

sinister

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I used 10X to spot aircraft and high altitude parachutists (from the ground) doing HAHO jumps. Never could get them steady.

I've used Swarovski 8X ELs for over 20 years now, both out west for antelope in the desert, mule deer in the mountains, and in the greener, closer-in ranges back east, and am very happy with them.
 

pmclaine

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'Nuther consideration is size of the overall package.

My binos of choice are Steiner 8x30R's.

I dont think you will find anyone stating they are the best in optical quality.

The "sports focus" system often leaves you "wanting" for clarity when your subject seems to fall in a zone your eyes and the focus cant resolve.

Still though because they were bought for work their bomb proof build and, to me, perfect ergonomics makes it a great fit.

"Sports Focus" is fast though. Good for if you are scanning an "area", not always so good when you want to settle your view on a point.
 
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Kane0519

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Obviously, glass quality & objective size play a big role in this as well, so I’m assuming those things are equal.

Come to think of it, my last set of binos were x10 (granted, cheap ones) and I hated using them.
 

DetroitRearView

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Living/hunting in the Rockies I tripod EL 12x50 and BTX. No shake and I locate, evaluate many animals that I would otherwise be unaware of their presence.
 

rth1800

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I started with B&L 7x35’s in the late 60’s. Loved them.
Saved and bought an 8x30 Zeiss in ‘79 for 750.00 when I was earning 3.50 per hour!

Used them on every continent except Antarctica until about 2000. I guided a hunter with 10x Leica binocular. I looked through his and immediately realized it was time to move on. I also made up my mind to never use a binocular over 3 years. I use them daily, year round and want to take advantage of any improvement that comes along.

From 2000- 2008 I used a series of Leica’s from 10-15 power. Large and small.
Settled on 10 power at all times. Day, night, woods, prairie, mountain.

I shifted to Swaro’s about 2008. I now use the EL Range 10x. I call Swaro every year to see if any improvements have been made. I get new ones every 3 years.

Recently Swaro advises no improvement has been made but I trade and sell my used ones anyway.

Long to short is I have tried 25+ binoculars for daily use. Often in the past I ordered 4-6 binoculars at a time. The dealer would ship them to me and tell me to pay for the ones I wanted and return the remainder. I tested them side by side routinely.

Swaro 10X range and never look back for me. I’m on my 4-5Th one now. Never any issues beyond caps.

I keep a 12x50 Leica for birdwatching from my patio. I have an 10x30 Leica I carry in a coat pocket on long hikes shed hunting etc. I keep my Zeiss 8x30 for sentimental reasons.
Combined they get less than 5% of my binocular use time. I could easily do without all but the Swaro’s.

If Swaro made a 15x EL with LRF I would have the first set out the door. From what I am told they are not in the works.
 
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Niles Coyote

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I wear eye glasses and as much time as I spend on glass I am not going to remove them to get a full field of view.

That said, I use 6.5x and 8x the most, I'd have more 10x bino's if manufactures would start making them with 19-23mm eye relief... but very few do, so I don't. I'm rather stoked about the 15x Bushnell forge that has 21mm and am anxiously awaiting their delivery, prior to learning about the forge I had been saving up for a pair of 12x Swarovski's. I will say this about Swarovski, if you ever need to use their customer service, you will be quite happy with the experience.
 

rth1800

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My present binoculars. I could easily get by with only the EL Range 10X Swaro. EE1FFFD2-30F5-4971-89BC-8CD3392730A8.jpeg
 

Niles Coyote

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I have the 8x EL range and if I were not wanting binoculars for spotting at matches I'd almost say the same. My older pair of 6.5 vortex fury's are awesome in the deep thick Michigan woods chasing whitetail.
 
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XTREM HTR16

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I’ve found 10x works for me in open spaces.
Leica Geovid HDB 10x42 for western hunting.
Leica 8x32 Ultravid or my old Vortex Viper 6x32’s if hunting white tails in IN or KY
Leica 2000 rangefinder in pack at all times.
 

afv338

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i recently moved up to swaro el 10s 2 years ago best investment i made in hunting glass. they are the max i would use hand held, i am going to send them to outdoor sportsman and have a tripod mount put on them. if i lost or broke them today i would buy new ones tomorrow.
 

wade2big

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I have a pair of 12xx50 and they are too much magnification most of the time. Great for looking at things but not so much looking for things. I also have a pair of 6x42 which I think are excellent for looking for things but not so much looking at them.

8-10x seems like the sweet spot.
 

Jmcmath

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I personally prefer 8x for general use. I also live in the east and I find them way better than 10x for the normal distances here and can simply hold them steadier than 10s.
 
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gunsnjeeps

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I have a pair of 7x50. Forget the brand, Bushnell maybe. When compared to a 10x50 or a 7x35 they are noticibly brighter. I always wondered why we used 7x50 for lookouts before that thinking magnification was more important.
 

DetroitRearView

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Part of the answer is how you define big country...try to find the bedded Elk’s antler or the single butt patch with a handheld 8x bino @ 2 miles.
C297075F-3A13-470A-A1D4-A0E8997183D1.jpeg
 

JayseM_SportOptics

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8 power is certainly great if you have trouble holding them steady and that extra FOV is great if you're using them in denser environments. That being said, I own a pair of the 10x42 ELs and love them. I don't have an issue using them here in South Louisiana but still, that FOV and exit pupil of the 8x42 is nothing to shake a stick at.
 

Davo308

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I wear glasses so my limiting factor is eye relief.

10x generally doesn't work for me.

I like the 8.5x42, 8.5x45 range.
 

JayseM_SportOptics

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For me, it really just comes down to where I'm using it. For dense environments, 8 power all day. For longer sight lines, can't beat 10 power. I know that's really simplifying the differences in the two, but honestly that's the main factor I take into consideration when getting my pack together.
 
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Rover31

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Vortex nation podcast just put out an hour long chat about binos. Was well worth my time to listen to!
 

pmclaine

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Man this thread has me thinking I want a set of 10X to compliment my 8X.
 

DetroitRearView

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I think the best combo is 8’s /12’s...and don’t forget the tripod like Doug pointed out above.

Also great glass on a tripod will trump magnification every time.

Better off to afford one excellent binocular regardless of magnification and a good tripod like outdoorsmans or similar than an 8 and an additional 10 or 12x w/o a good tripod.
 

broncoaz

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I moved from some cheap 7 power to 10 power about 8 years ago. I’m not spending the big dollars on binoculars (yet), so I have Vortex Diamondback 10x42 for general use. I went to the store to buy a $500 set from Leupold, but was impressed enough with the Vortex while comparing that they were a great buy at $230. I liked the first set enough that I grabbed a second set on clearance for half price and put them on the boat. I like the 10x for use on land, I don’t have an issue holding them steady for general purposes but I don’t hunt so I’m not generally trying to glass large areas for hours. On the water 10x is a bit much, the boat moves too much to keep them steady. I May check out some 12x as well as there is lots of open area in AZ.
 

ToddM

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A lot of times hunting etc. you can find a rest to help stead binoculars, in which case the 10x are probably ideal. However if you are hiking, out of breath and have to hand hold them most people can't hold 10x steady.

Honestly, for many, I think the trend in 10-12x binos is like the trend of guys that want a 300 win mag for whitetail deer or an 80lb compound bow. It's more so it must be better.

We did some experiments a couple years ago shooting field archery with guys using 8-12x binos of high end quality, EL's, Leica's etc. and most handheld were able to resolve holes in targets and line cutters better with 8x than 10/12x. The opposite was true once they could use a rest (top of a bow limb, tree etc.). In addition everyone noticed a slight difference in better low light performance between 8/10x and significant between 8x and 12x.

So it just depends on how much emphasis you put on true handheld use, and also your terrain, 7-8x is great if you are in dense woodlands etc. where you are not spotting things at long distances. if you are looking 2 miles away for something and have a rest, more power is better.

It's the same for stabilized binoculars like the Canon IS's, glass is nowhere near as good as top binos, but I used to let guys borrow mine for 3D/field archery and everyone was always amazed how much detail resolution the stabilization allows, but they have their own issues for hunting.