Depends on what your intended purpose is for them. Brand wise, I have had very good luck with older Nikons and Steiners. For a neat small pair of hunting glasses w/great clarity, a pr. of Leica 8x30's are hard to beat, but they are pricey. Minnox also is a really clear glass for a fair price.
It depends on how you're going to use them as almost anything will work if you just glance thru them now and then --- like at a ball game or concert. However if you are going to use them for long periods of time stay with the top-end glass. I prefer Swarovski but I've had the ones I use all the time for a long time.
Three other things to consider --- (1) are you going to be carrying them a lot? If so you want to get something that isn't so heavy you'll either leave them at home or in the car, (2) do you wear glasses? If you do make sure the eye-relief with the eye-shield down is OK for you, and (3) once you get above 8X unless you have some experience it may be hard for you to hold them steady.
Remember, good glass will last a life-time don't go cheap and hope to get lucky. My "go-to" glass is a ltwt pair of Swarovski 8x30's that are worth more than twice what I paid for them 15 years ago on the current used market
I bought a pair of 7 X 35 Nikons maybe ten years ago or so, they've been good ones. One thing I always look for with binoculars is a long enuf' eye relief so I can use 'em with my glasses on without losing too much field of view.
I have a pair of Alpen Apex 8x42 #493 they are very good binoculars. Great value for the money. I don't know if it is a fair comparison, but I can still see clearly well into the twilight after my Leupold VX-III 3.5-10x40 has given up the ghost.
For glass on a budget Nikon Monarch's are very good. Also check out Vortex Optics. I recently bought a pair of 8x42 Diamondbacks for bow hunting (cost was around $ 200.00). Vortex carries the BEST warranty out there. I also like the fact they are based out of Wis. which is relatively near where I live. Vortex carries a lower grade all the way up to ED glass. If you want more info pm me. Regards, Randy Price
I'll second Nikon as being about the best value for the money. I used to work at Gander Mountain a few evenings a week, and we were always comparing binoculars by trying to read signs all the way across the store. Nikon consistently came up the winner for sharpness and brightness at a given price point. ....Rick
I have a pair of 7x42 Swarovski SLC, my son has a pair of 8x42 Pentax DCF WP. The Pentax cost less than half the Swarovski's and honestly neither he nor I nor our friends can see one bit of difference.
For many years I have used a popular brand of binocular. This past December I broke down and bought an excellent pair that beats my current pair by a mile. They are very clear and gather light extremely well. They are Zen-Ray binoculars. They aren't cheap and they produce a clear, crisp and distortion free image. Mine are 7 X 36. Google Zen-Ray for more information. Shipment is very fast. GBR
If you really want to know about binoculars check out the reviews of a "BIRDING " magazine . Bird watchers are highly critical of their optics . They want to see minute details . Many of their applications pertain to hunting as well ( weight -size- clarity- light conditions ).
Vortex is an awesome company with great binos at all price points and their warranty is second to none. And i own Zeiss Fl and Swarovski El's as well. They are awesome binos for the money. PM me if you need some more info on them or prices.
I have a 9x35 Bausch & Lomb Zephyr I bought about thirty years ago, and a Leupold 10x40 I bought about five years ago. I carry the Leupold now and use the B&L for backup. Why? Slightly better optics, waterproof, and easy to use with glasses.
There is no such thing as "Best Value" binoculars. When buying glass for whatever use (hunting, astronomy, general use) you must buy the best, and the best means coatings, the most important aspect of quality glass...
This old saying cannot be stressed more when buying optics -- Buy cheap, buy twice...
I own five set of binoculars, and have owned them for decades. They have never failed and are used hard but with respect and maintained well. I would recommend any of these manufacturers for getting optics that will truly last a lifetime. Not in order of preference:
My favorite is the 7X42 close focus Leica's because they have been with me since 1980 when I paid $485.00 for them. A friend at the time thought I was crazy and bought some Bushnell's for around $60.00. I still have those Leica's and I believe he's still buying cheap binoculars to replace the broken, fogged, etc junkers. Last count, he's over ten (10) pair. Let's see at $60/pair he's well past my initial Leica's and he still is looking through junk glass and poor coatings. Buy quality, buy once.....good luck