Recently decided to upgrade my binocs. I do a fair amount of research, and found several lower priced binocs out there that compare favorably with the more expensive stuff. Not being a heavy user, occasional evenings looking at the moon and a few nature outings here and there or on vacation a good pair is a must. So where to start? First I decided to set my price limit. Decided to stay under $300. That narrowed the field somewhat. I use Canon for my photography, so stabilization got my attention. Canon makes several pairs and I ended up getting a 8x30 pair. Quite pleased with them, then I also received my Armasight 8x30C for around $***. Wow was I blown away. The auto focus is fantastic and instant focus really helps when watching wild life. I had the choice to return either pair, and decided to keep the Armasight. I also looked at Steiner just because of their reputation. Tested a 10x50. Also autofocus. Nice. A little too heavy for me and pricy. Why then 4 stars? Well, the compass requires batteries, and nowhere did the owners manual say what type, size or why they did not include one in the deal? I did send an email but have yet to find out what battery to get. Just a little annoying.
5/5 legs 5/5 head* I'm primarily using this for video with a little bit of photography on the side. Normal APS-C dslr for photo, but very full video rig (~12lbs/5.5kg). Considering one of the primary uses for this is tripod is heavy hunting scopes, tripod handles my video setup like a champ. Entire tripod is fairly heavy (definitely not carbon fiber), but I much prefer solid and stable over convenience. *Very minor stick when you start but once you're moving fluid smooth. The initial stick is annoying but most of what I need to shoot with a tripod is either locked off or has starts edited out [you can't get around stick short of a true viscous fluid head (Vinten, Sachtler, etc) which are roughly a $mortgage payment$].
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