Join Date: Apr 2006
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One of the big differences between cheap and expensive glass is quality control and acceptance. So while you may find that every pair of $1500 Leica glasses is exactly the same, you will find that in the cheaper glasses one pair may look pretty good while the next looks pretty fuzzy.
This is one purchase you can't do mail order. Go to a chandlery (or to B&H Photo in NYC if you can) and actually pick up some different binocs and compare the view through them. If you find a cheap pair that is "good enough" for you, buy THAT EXACT PAIR and not another copy of the same thing.
Then there's the warranty. In the 80's I bought a pair of Tasco binocs and a top VHF for the same price that a Fujinon or Steiner would have cost me alone. Or half that. The particular pair I picked up were dead on, Tasco was not a top brand.
And when one internal lens just shattered one winter, they repaired it free, lifetime warranty, and it seemed just as good when it came back. Ten years later...I almost lost them on a similar repair, as Tasco was in bankruptcy but still telling folks to send in binocs for repairs! Which were not getting done. Don't ask, I managed to get them back and repaired BUT the cost was no longer free and the quality not the same. Today someone else owns the Tasco brand but I'll neer touch their products again.
Barska? I don't know, I'd heard they were some east european bargain firm selling mainly to hunting suppliers "for a price". I'd suggest going for a stronger brand name (see the bridwatching sites to get some ideas) and good waterproof warranty, and if that means saving up a little longer...That's OK, no one ever cursed that his glasses were TOO GOOD.