However, the Travelites represent the low end of the market, the Leicas the high. So, look to the middle ground, my friend. Bausch & Lomb makes a nifty little range of compact binoculars called the Discoverer Series, with very good optics and excellent construction. You're looking at about $300 for the 7x42 model; $340 for the 10x42s. Steiner, meanwhile, makes binoculars that compete well with the Leicas of the world in terms of optical quality, but at a price that won't cause a nosebleed. The 10x30 Steiner Predator, for instance, goes for $400.
In any event, seeing is believing. Find a store that carries a good range of binoculars and look through five or six pairs across the range of prices. Get a salesperson who can talk you through the pros and cons of the different models. A lot will depend on what feels right to you: binoculars that fit comfortably in your hand and across your eyes, that have controls in the right places, and that seem to offer a good balance between economy and performance.
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Filed To: Binoculars and Telescopes