Optics

Field & Stream Online Editors

1. Leupold Wind River Katmai 6x32
Just 4 inches long, this binocular is easy to carry-perfect for bowhunters or the deep woods. The resolution is bright, clear, and excellent for a 6-power binocular. It's simple to focus, and the diopter adjustments are made with a firm click. $369; 503-526-1400; www.leupold.com

**2. Alpen Apex Model 493 8x42 **
The optical quality of the 493 can compete with that of much more expensive models. It also has twist-up eyecups and feels good in your hand. $429; 909-987-8370; www.alpenoutdoor.com

3. Zeiss Conquest B T*15x45
The focus wheel is so slick that it's almost hard to control, but that's about the end of this binocular's limitations. The optics are very bright and the resolution is excellent. Light for its size, it's comfortable to carry. $659; 800-441-3005; www.zeiss.com

**4. Pentax DCF HR II 8x42 **A polycarbonate body makes this binocular very lightweight. Resolution is good, it's waterproof to 1 meter, and it has solid twist-up eyecups. It's a lot of binocular for the money. $332; 800-877-0155; www.pentax.com

[NEXT "Click Here for SCOPES"] **1. Meopta Meostar R1 4¿¿¿16x44 **
European optics maker Meopta packs a lot of features in this new line that will appeal to American hunters: an adjustable objective lens, windage and elevation adjustment that you control with your fingers, and a fast-focus eyepiece. Optical quality is very sharp and bright. Typical of European scopes, it's got a 30mm tube. $700; 626-286-0555; www.meopta.cz

**2. Western Powders ramshot VARTAC 4¿¿¿16x50 **
Designed for accuracy nuts, this new scope has windage and elevation adjustments in 1/8-minute intervals. The mil-dot reticle is helpful for judging range. Resolution is very impressive, and the tube is 30mm. $895; 800-497-1007; www.westernpowders.com

** 3. Zeiss Diavari V 6¿¿¿24x56**
The brilliant, tack-sharp image is typical of Zeiss and the best feature of the 30mm Diavari. It also has a rear-plane mil-dot reticle, an adjustable objective on the turret, capless finger-adjustable dials with very crisp .5 cm clicks, and a European fast-focus eyepiece. $1,500; 800-441-3005; www.zeiss.com

** 4. Weaver Grand Slam 4.5¿¿¿14x40 **
This scope is a bargain with solid optics, an adjustable objective, and bar-type finger-adjustable windage and elevation knobs. The fast-focus adjustment ring will bring that buck into view quickly. $369; 800-285-0689; www.weaveroptics.com

5. Leupold VX-III 4.5¿¿¿14x40
Hunters were sorry to see Leupold discontinue the popular Vari-X III line, but they'll love the improved replacement-the VX. It's a very bright, lightweight scope with finger-adjustable windage and elevation dials. It features a rear-plane Duplex reticle and a lock-ring eyepiece. $629; 503-526-1400; www.leupold.com

Return to Buyer's Guide 2004