Binoculars 7-12 (7) Pentax UCF X 8x25mm 10 ounces / P / $100 For close ranges, a good compact glass is plenty. Compact porro-prisms tend to be tougher than full-size models because they can use a full-length hinge, and this one does. (8) Cabela’s Alaskan Guide 10x42mm 25 ounces / R / $550
The catalog company did a ton of testing before coming out with their own line of optics, and the testing paid off. The Alaskan Guides are lightweight and of very good quality.
(9) Nikon Premier LX 8x32mm 25 ounces / R / $700
Nikon’s Premier LX series matches any other in both optical quality and ruggedness. This particular model is the finest 8×32 available, beating its rivals in price as well.
(10) Swarovski EL 8.5x42mm 28 ounces / R / $1,400
The EL is Swarovski’s top model, relatively lightweight and with supersharp optics. You’ll see as much detail through this 8.5X as through most 10X binoculars-they’re that good.
(11) Pentax DCF SP 8x43mm 25 ounces / R / $599
This new line replaces Pentax’s excellent DCF WP series. The new SPs are just a blink better, combining super optics, lighter weight, and click-stop eyepieces.
(12) Bausch & Lomb Legacy 10x50mm 28 ounces / P / $125
These provide pretty darn good optics for the price. If you hunt hard they probably won’t last forever, but in the meantime you can save for a Bausch & Lomb Elite.