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Thread: Binoculars - A Pleasant Surpise

  1. #1

    Binoculars - A Pleasant Surpise

    Having read the many threads about which binos to buy, and having experienced Swarovski, Leica and Zeiss first hand and been suitably impressed by both the optical quality and the price tag, I decided that I would have to wait until my much overdue lottery win.

    I then did some more research at the budget end of the market, perusing numerous birding forums for guidance.

    The bins that recurred the most in positive terms were the humble Hawke Frontier ED range. Now, years ago, I had a Hawke Sidewinder scope on an air rifle that was expensive and not that brilliant, so the idea of Hawke optics did not immediately appeal to me.

    Nonetheless, all the reviews suggested my prejudice was I'll founded, and so I placed an order for the 8 by 43 variety. They arrived the next day, and I must say that I am very pleasantly surprised by the image and build quality for a product that cost 275 all in.

    Yes, they are not top notch European glass, but in low light in woodland they allow me to see "through" the undergrowth looking for a twitching ear or antler tip in a way that the naked eye simply cannot do. The image is sharp and clear with excellent colour definition and the focus quick and precise. The field of view is wide and close focus comes in at two metres.

    If the big three are out of your reach at the moment, do consider the humble Hawke. I think you might just be surprised.


    P.S. I have just noticed I spelt SURPRISE wrong! Oops...

  2. #2
    Personally I would never buy something like that without looking through them. I looked through a lot of pairs and in my budget at the time (sounds similar to yours) I had the choice of Steiner @ ~250 or Minox at 175. Optically the Minox had it so bought them.

    There was a second hand pair on here For Sale: Minox Bf 8x42 Br binoculars

    Section 161 of the Highways Act 1980 (England & Wales) makes it an offence to discharge a firearm within 50 ft of the centre of a highway with vehicular rights without lawful authority or excuse, if as a result a user of the highway is injured, interrupted or endangered.

  3. #3
    The problem with cheaper binos is the eye cups fail. if you were gleks you will be fine, but if you are opening and using the eye cups a lot, they generally mess up.

    I know of a few minox users who have had this issues remedied under warranty a few times and it keeps reoccurring. Hawke and Bushnell are the same if not worse ( I had both)

    I hope yours last well, let us know in 12 months.

  4. #4
    Had a look through these the other night/ Hawke Frontiers 8x43 and also 10x43 and to be honest I could not tell the difference between them and the Swarovski ones when side by side sight wise, now I know people will say buy cheap by twice and all that but these have to be considered if on a budget as they were fantastic... 300 or 2000 new does the same thing at the end of the day!!

  5. #5
    Heard good things about the Hawke binos.
    I use Opticron, and genuinely could not justify the extra 1200 on the Swaros. If you are making the cash back in stalking then fair do`s, they are a professional tool, but for me, nope.

  6. #6
    Buy the best you can afford, I know plenty will tell you that only the big three will do, but not everyone can afford nor justify that expence.

    Even as a pro. I find it hard to justify, for a budget glass Opticron gets my vote.

  7. #7
    I was at an open event last week where some really top end binos were compaired to the hawke range, and all of us, including some who had 1000 plus binos rated the hawkes, and were unable to tell the difference in various light levels. They have a lifetime warranty and use top end japanese glass. These makers are really catching up on the european stuff now. I already have my binos, but if i lose them i would snap up one of these. Hopefully they will soon have one with a range finder?

  8. #8
    I have a pair of "cheap" Swaro SLCs that are very hard to beat optically (I say cheap because I bought them used for less than 50% of the RRP) but for under 200 new you can't beat Minox, I have a pair I keep in the car and if I ever left my Swaros at home I would not feel particularly handicapped.

  9. #9
    SD Regular johngryphon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Victoria Australia Sambar country.
    Dom this site review backs you up some what.

  10. #10
    I use Vanguard Endevour binoculars. I rate these very highly.

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