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Why its OK to Be Outmoded

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November 17, 2006

Why its OK to Be Outmoded

By David E. Petzal and Phil Bourjaily

I might as well admit it. I use a Swarovski spotting scope that is one generation outmoded. It is not the latest Swarovski, because although the folks up there in Cranston, RI, were nice enough to loan me one, they wanted it back.

When the shooters at my range see that I am using outmoded equipment, they are so embarrassed that many will not meet my eye, and some simply shrug sadly and turn away.

But I am not ashamed, because I know better. The truth is that when you spend the money for a Swarovski scope, or any other hyper-expensive, top of the line optical instrument, it will never really be outmoded. The things are so good that they will make you happy for the rest of your natural life. Unless, of course, you are a pretentious equipment freak.

Years ago at the SHOT Show, I got in an argument with a German engineer who worked for L***a, about why their binoculars weigh so much. Because, he pointed out, they build them strong enough to last for a long, long time.

But, I pointed out, binoculars are improving so rapidly that they’re outmoded in half a decade. Why go to all the trouble?

Because if we did not, he said, filled with Teutonic fervor, they would not be L****s.

I rest my case.

Comments (18)

Top Rated
All Comments
from Walter wrote 7 years 19 weeks ago

Shiny, expensive new guns. Not interested; seen to easily. 3x9 or 3.5x10 variable scopes in northern whitetail woods. Not interested; most of the time my scope is set at 1.5 power, either that or I don't get that quick shot... quick and accurate I add.The manufacturers are in business to lure us into spending our money on gadgets, toys, thrill items, and on and on.Bottom line: if it works and you like it, don't fix it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve Bodio wrote 7 years 21 weeks ago

Most of my guns are old and every one, from Model 99's to Mausers to double guns, is an old design. Most didn't cost that much.I have two pairs of binoculars, expensive-- Zeiss (10 years old, old design) and Swarovski (about the same age, a present).The thing about expensive optics-- they ARE very good, but more important, they are made to last forever. Not only are they strong-- the Germans makers repair them for free, forever, That makes them a real bargain. I use my binocs for hunting, birding, and falconry, and rarely leave home without them.I don't intend to replace them or trade up. I won't HAVE to.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Archerwvu wrote 7 years 21 weeks ago

Hmmmmmm. Although my '05 Z-71 crew cab is "all that" and then some, I still love to drive my '78 Trans Am. The car is a joy to drive and brings back a million memories. And then there's my good ol' Buck 110 Folding Hunter, it has opened many an animal over the last 30 years and I've no reason to replace it lest I begin hunting Elk or Moose.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from russ wrote 7 years 21 weeks ago

outmoded ? What about 1911s,03a3s wever K4s ,pre-64 model 70s, browning A-5s,man I dont consider a rifle really fit to carry untill it's fired about 500 rounds and killed a few critters . any of you modern men out there tired of carrying that old wetherby, just let me know

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 7 years 21 weeks ago

New York has a good info web site about camo:http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/sportsed/safety.html"Let's be careful out there."

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 7 years 21 weeks ago

SteveC is on the mark with his comment. All this junk being sold is snob-appeal (or perhaps clown-appeal) and little more.I see these guys wearing the latest camo from head to toe and I think "There's a guy willing to die to make a fashion statement."The only animals in the woods fooled by camo are other humans and birds. Deer don't give a crap about blaze orange. To them it looks like leaf-green. So that part about "Be sure of your target and beyond" means that some hunter looking at a deer is pretty sure that there's no one down-range where he's looking.It's always amusing to see a gillie-suit camoed guy reading from his GPS ('cause he doesn't have a map and probably couldn't read it if he did) while sitting on his camo'ed ATV. That's a $10,000 clown.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Shickele wrote 7 years 21 weeks ago

I would take an older Remington without the bolt lock, over a brand new Remington with any day of the week.Yes, I'm outmoded, and proud of it.Mike

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 7 years 22 weeks ago

On the record comment; Please buy NEW AND IMPROVED, since I promote products for the sake of sales...off the record comment; I very seldom replace an item unless I get an absolute cannot pass the deal up chance to buy it!YES-this is a hypocritical view,so be it; it works for me!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim wrote 7 years 22 weeks ago

If any of you guys run into anyone who has upgraded from a $400 pair of binocs and no longer needs the old ones - please have him send them my way. Same with any other outdated gear he may have.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from O Garcia wrote 7 years 22 weeks ago

Outmoded is relative, as is price. Binoculars hardly get obsoleted, IMO. What makes a particular design look old could be just fashion or hunter/user preference. Like porro prisms going out of style because roof prisms are now more affordable, and being more compact, are suddenly the "only" choice. Back in the day when roof prisms were so expensive as to be out of reach by most hunters, the porro prism was OK. But either design is fine as long as it's well made.And that may be it. Well made. A $400 Leupold/Bushnell/Burris maybe 1/4 the cost of a $1,600 Leica, but it's still a Leupold/Bushnell/Burris. Meaning it's a well made binocular from a company that established its name as a maker of binoculars.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from concerned_soldier wrote 7 years 22 weeks ago

Agree 100%,Why then do hunter's keep rifles and shotguns that belong to their fathers and grandfathers!Outmoded is some instances does not mean outdated!Look at the 1911!!Riddle me that one batman!V/R

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from PawPaw wrote 7 years 22 weeks ago

New is great, but lately when I am in the deer woods, I find myself carrying a Win 94 with a Williams peep sight. I like durable equipment that stands the test of time.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from craig curtis wrote 7 years 22 weeks ago

yes the euoropeans sure know how to make some clear glass . i used to think i was really missing out when i had to settle for a bushnell . but alas ive still got that 150 $ scope and just double lunged a fine michigan buck with it .i may try the cheap zeiss this year but my son gets my bushnell and we will see wich sucombs to wear and tear first? expensive glass is great for those who drive bmws, and or mercedes, i just thank god theirs companys out their that understand that i need a good value at a good price . they may not gather light or be as clear as spring water .but the pompus idiot that spends thousands on a freakin scope doesnt care !as long as it was the most exspensive that the germans had to offer.its kind of like these new gold plated toilets for those of you who can afford them well its money well spent!!!!!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from KJ wrote 7 years 22 weeks ago

I like the attitude of the Leica engineer - good is good, and that never goes out of style. Sort of like me. I just get sexier with the years.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JA Demko wrote 7 years 22 weeks ago

Whassamatta, Dave? Feeling old? Find that first gray hair "down there?" Think of it this way: You aren't outmoded, you are now a vintage collector's item.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jstreet wrote 7 years 22 weeks ago

Last year a buddy of mine purchased some $1700.00 dollar binoculars. I was impressed with the fit, finish and clarity for sure. I looked through his 400.00 binoculars and asked him if he saw enough difference in the two to justify the $1300.00 difference. I couldn't tell much difference and apparently he couldn't either. He sent them back and kept using his old ones. High dollar optics are nice and extremely durable but most folks can't tell the difference and don't use them enough to justify the cost. Besides, I'm old and outmoded and the deer don't seem to mind.jim

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from SteveC wrote 7 years 22 weeks ago

I can appreciate the attraction and snob appeal of expensive toys when you’re standing in someone’s den. But expensive toys somehow seems in conflict with the spirit of hunting or fishing in the field to me. Somewhere in there comes along the point of diminishing returns (financially and emotionally) and for me it’s sooner than later.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gflyz wrote 7 years 22 weeks ago

A lot of my equiptment is outmoded - and the deer don't know/care/notice. Other hunters do. The key is knowing how to use and take care of your equpment.Keeping up with the Jones' doesn't help me fill my freezer year after year. It just drains my bank account.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Walter wrote 7 years 19 weeks ago

Shiny, expensive new guns. Not interested; seen to easily. 3x9 or 3.5x10 variable scopes in northern whitetail woods. Not interested; most of the time my scope is set at 1.5 power, either that or I don't get that quick shot... quick and accurate I add.The manufacturers are in business to lure us into spending our money on gadgets, toys, thrill items, and on and on.Bottom line: if it works and you like it, don't fix it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve Bodio wrote 7 years 21 weeks ago

Most of my guns are old and every one, from Model 99's to Mausers to double guns, is an old design. Most didn't cost that much.I have two pairs of binoculars, expensive-- Zeiss (10 years old, old design) and Swarovski (about the same age, a present).The thing about expensive optics-- they ARE very good, but more important, they are made to last forever. Not only are they strong-- the Germans makers repair them for free, forever, That makes them a real bargain. I use my binocs for hunting, birding, and falconry, and rarely leave home without them.I don't intend to replace them or trade up. I won't HAVE to.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Archerwvu wrote 7 years 21 weeks ago

Hmmmmmm. Although my '05 Z-71 crew cab is "all that" and then some, I still love to drive my '78 Trans Am. The car is a joy to drive and brings back a million memories. And then there's my good ol' Buck 110 Folding Hunter, it has opened many an animal over the last 30 years and I've no reason to replace it lest I begin hunting Elk or Moose.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from russ wrote 7 years 21 weeks ago

outmoded ? What about 1911s,03a3s wever K4s ,pre-64 model 70s, browning A-5s,man I dont consider a rifle really fit to carry untill it's fired about 500 rounds and killed a few critters . any of you modern men out there tired of carrying that old wetherby, just let me know

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 7 years 21 weeks ago

New York has a good info web site about camo:http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/sportsed/safety.html"Let's be careful out there."

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 7 years 21 weeks ago

SteveC is on the mark with his comment. All this junk being sold is snob-appeal (or perhaps clown-appeal) and little more.I see these guys wearing the latest camo from head to toe and I think "There's a guy willing to die to make a fashion statement."The only animals in the woods fooled by camo are other humans and birds. Deer don't give a crap about blaze orange. To them it looks like leaf-green. So that part about "Be sure of your target and beyond" means that some hunter looking at a deer is pretty sure that there's no one down-range where he's looking.It's always amusing to see a gillie-suit camoed guy reading from his GPS ('cause he doesn't have a map and probably couldn't read it if he did) while sitting on his camo'ed ATV. That's a $10,000 clown.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Shickele wrote 7 years 21 weeks ago

I would take an older Remington without the bolt lock, over a brand new Remington with any day of the week.Yes, I'm outmoded, and proud of it.Mike

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 7 years 22 weeks ago

On the record comment; Please buy NEW AND IMPROVED, since I promote products for the sake of sales...off the record comment; I very seldom replace an item unless I get an absolute cannot pass the deal up chance to buy it!YES-this is a hypocritical view,so be it; it works for me!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim wrote 7 years 22 weeks ago

If any of you guys run into anyone who has upgraded from a $400 pair of binocs and no longer needs the old ones - please have him send them my way. Same with any other outdated gear he may have.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from O Garcia wrote 7 years 22 weeks ago

Outmoded is relative, as is price. Binoculars hardly get obsoleted, IMO. What makes a particular design look old could be just fashion or hunter/user preference. Like porro prisms going out of style because roof prisms are now more affordable, and being more compact, are suddenly the "only" choice. Back in the day when roof prisms were so expensive as to be out of reach by most hunters, the porro prism was OK. But either design is fine as long as it's well made.And that may be it. Well made. A $400 Leupold/Bushnell/Burris maybe 1/4 the cost of a $1,600 Leica, but it's still a Leupold/Bushnell/Burris. Meaning it's a well made binocular from a company that established its name as a maker of binoculars.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from concerned_soldier wrote 7 years 22 weeks ago

Agree 100%,Why then do hunter's keep rifles and shotguns that belong to their fathers and grandfathers!Outmoded is some instances does not mean outdated!Look at the 1911!!Riddle me that one batman!V/R

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from PawPaw wrote 7 years 22 weeks ago

New is great, but lately when I am in the deer woods, I find myself carrying a Win 94 with a Williams peep sight. I like durable equipment that stands the test of time.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from craig curtis wrote 7 years 22 weeks ago

yes the euoropeans sure know how to make some clear glass . i used to think i was really missing out when i had to settle for a bushnell . but alas ive still got that 150 $ scope and just double lunged a fine michigan buck with it .i may try the cheap zeiss this year but my son gets my bushnell and we will see wich sucombs to wear and tear first? expensive glass is great for those who drive bmws, and or mercedes, i just thank god theirs companys out their that understand that i need a good value at a good price . they may not gather light or be as clear as spring water .but the pompus idiot that spends thousands on a freakin scope doesnt care !as long as it was the most exspensive that the germans had to offer.its kind of like these new gold plated toilets for those of you who can afford them well its money well spent!!!!!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from KJ wrote 7 years 22 weeks ago

I like the attitude of the Leica engineer - good is good, and that never goes out of style. Sort of like me. I just get sexier with the years.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JA Demko wrote 7 years 22 weeks ago

Whassamatta, Dave? Feeling old? Find that first gray hair "down there?" Think of it this way: You aren't outmoded, you are now a vintage collector's item.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jstreet wrote 7 years 22 weeks ago

Last year a buddy of mine purchased some $1700.00 dollar binoculars. I was impressed with the fit, finish and clarity for sure. I looked through his 400.00 binoculars and asked him if he saw enough difference in the two to justify the $1300.00 difference. I couldn't tell much difference and apparently he couldn't either. He sent them back and kept using his old ones. High dollar optics are nice and extremely durable but most folks can't tell the difference and don't use them enough to justify the cost. Besides, I'm old and outmoded and the deer don't seem to mind.jim

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from SteveC wrote 7 years 22 weeks ago

I can appreciate the attraction and snob appeal of expensive toys when you’re standing in someone’s den. But expensive toys somehow seems in conflict with the spirit of hunting or fishing in the field to me. Somewhere in there comes along the point of diminishing returns (financially and emotionally) and for me it’s sooner than later.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gflyz wrote 7 years 22 weeks ago

A lot of my equiptment is outmoded - and the deer don't know/care/notice. Other hunters do. The key is knowing how to use and take care of your equpment.Keeping up with the Jones' doesn't help me fill my freezer year after year. It just drains my bank account.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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