Best Binocular of 2013: Zeiss Terra ED 10X42mm

$444 (www.zeiss.com/sports) "What this country needs is a good five-cent cigar." That was a popular saying of a century ago. Today, what's needed is a top-quality European binocular for under $1,500. And look at that--Zeiss has produced a superb binocular for less than $450. Examined by me and tester Leroy Van Buggenum, the new Terra ED 10x42 is exceptionally lightweight (even with -extra-​low-dispersion Schott glass elements, it weighs just 24 ounces) and extremely bright and clear. Fully rubber armored, fogproof, and waterproof, the Terra, also available in 8x42, incorporates a clean and simple design with tight, solid hinges, twist-out eyecups, and center and diopter focus rings.

The Terra displays all the qualities, treasured by big-game hunters, of much more expensive Zeiss binoculars; this is not a cheap second-channel product. Although the manufacturing was done in Asia, the engineering is pure Carl Z. Van Buggenum passed the verdict for both of us in four words: "The price is fabulous!" Be prepared for sticker shock in -reverse. --Tom McIntyre