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I went whitetail hunting in Texas with my wife and kids several years back. We hunted at Crooked River Ranch (now Texas Best Outfitters) north of Abilene and had a great hunt. My wife has an ability to step into any environment, look around and identify the most expensive gear and, decide she wants it. Our guide had a pair of Leica Binoculars which she immediately decides she needs. So, the next Christmas I bought her a pair of Leica Ultravid HD Plus binoculars in 8x42. Leica makes good stuff. These binos are all around great and the clarity and light gathering capability make them an excellent choice for hunting. This year, after borrowing the Leicas when I could, I decided that I needed a good pair of binoculars but didn’t want to pay the Leica price (over $2000). I found the Meopta Binoculars here. I paid a little over $400 for a pair of Meopta Meopros.
I received them a month ago and started sitting on the porch, watching birds to see what they could do. I was impressed with their performance and so I did some research on them. I’d heard of Meopta when I worked in the gun industry and knew they made nice red dots and good rifle scopes. I found out that they’ve been in business since 1933 and make a variety of optics solutions and industrial equipment. Interesting to me was they led the way in digitizing cinemas by providing beam splitters and opto-electro-mechanical subsystems for high end 3D and digital cinemas. So, when you are watching an IMAX movie, it’s made possible with Meopta technology.
After several hours playing around with my Meopta binos, I was very happy with the clarity, ergonomics and low light performance. I decided to do a non-scientific comparison between them and my wife’s Leicas.
Here’s what I found:
The Leicas are slightly shorter than the Meoptas, however, the Meoptas weigh slightly less (3 oz) according to their websites. I spent a couple hours on my front porch comparing them. This wasn’t scientific, I was focusing at different distances under different light conditions. Both are easy to focus and both have good eye relief adjustments which I need. I picked an object- focused on it then looked across the entire field of view for clarity. I also pulled in other ‘scientific’ observers like my neighbor, my wife and a couple of friends. Here’s the deal - some thought the Leicas were slightly clearer. Some (including me) thought the Meoptas were clearer and performed better in low light. In the end, there wasn’t anything separating them but price- They both are very good but one costs north of $2000 and one cost a little over $400.
To be fair, my wife has hunted three seasons with her Leicas and the Meoptas are new and I don’t know how they will compare from a durability standpoint. However, based on abuse by a Texas guide, I think the Meoptas will stand up. This year we went back to Texas Best Outfitters for a duck, quail and goose hunt. By the way – best goose/duck/quail hunt ever. Anyway, I noticed that our quail guide had a set of Meopta binos - they did not look like they had been treated gently (he also guides for whitetail and catches pigs with dogs). I asked him about them and he said they are the best kept secret in Optics. Super clear and rugged – His pair were 10 years old and he’ll never buy anything else.