Shrp- I agree with you on this one. Here is my personal list of favorites. Steiner, Swaravski, Leica, Leupold, Bausch & Lamb, Zeiss, Nikon. I LOVE Leica bynos. You get what you pay for definately.
That said, I usually take a pair of $40 Bushnells into the blind. They get muddy and get replaced about every 3-4 years. I have an OLD pair of steiners that I use for deer hunting, they work great and are probably 15-20 years old.
shrpshtr wrote:i hate to but i have to strongly disagree with duckdog and anyone who says optics are the same at different price ranges. this just isn't true. lens quality plays a huge factor. you're not going to get the quality in a $40 pair, or even a $200 pair, that you get in the high-end stuff. it's just not going to happen. i have used Swarovski, Zeiss, Nikon, and many others. these by far exceed the performance of my $250 sporter II nikons. and the nikons i have are great binoculars. they use tighter tolerances in the lenses and better/more coatings to allow light to pass through. the glass they use for the lenses is even different. if your eyes cannot tell a difference and high-quality and low-quality lens then you need to have them checked. it's physically impossible for the low end to perform at the same level of the high-end stuff. they are altogether different equipment. that's not to say you can't get a good set for reasonbly cheap. i am just contending the quality is nowhere near the same. go to a good sporting goods store and see for yourself. they will let you look through any of them.