Meopta Meostar Binoculars
It is really hard to review a product that will be sticker shock to most people. That is the realm of high end optics in general, and especially binoculars. There are only a few makers of high end optics for which I personally would pay more than $500, and Meopta is one of them. In fact I bought two of these 10x42HD Meopta Meostar binos that you see here in the pictures (on EuroOptic for $689). So when the opportunity came up to review their newest 15×56 pair, I jumped at the chance, and I may actually buy these as well. The MeoStar 10x42s are HD and they were the only HDs in the line until the introduction of the new MeoStar 12x50HD and 15x56HD.
If like me, you have spent your life looking through Walmart quality binos, stop in at your local big box store or large gun dealer and check out some of the higher end glass that you may never realized existed. The difference will astound you, even in the store, and when you get them out in the field, a whole new world of High Def will be much clearer and closer than you could ever imagine. With cheap binos your eyes fight each other, and get tired quickly. When the glass is of a higher quality, with precision alignment and flawless materials, that feeling completely goes away. You want to strap them to your head and look through them forever.
The new 56mm in 15x is not even on the Meopta website yet as I write this, but I found them also on EuroOptic for $1,599. That’s a huge ouch for most people, but that gets back to the title of the article, would you spend more than $500 on binoculars?
My answer is yes because of where you usually use binoculars. In regular life, I don’t use binoculars at all. So that leaves special trips, either hiking, sightseeing, or hunting, and when I take trips I spend a decent amount of money on the trip. Once you see the difference in high quality binoculars, apply even a $1,599 pricetag to the cost of a lifetime of trips (because these binos are heirloom quality and will most likely last your entire life). When you think about them in those terms, it is a lot easier to convince yourself and possibly significant other that they are worth the investment.
Hunting trips are the extreme case scenario. Searching a ridge or treeline with Meostar binos, even the low powered ones, will greatly increase your chances of picking out game from the surroundings. That was my original reason for buying my Meostars, and I am only on hunts as a writer and don’t even shoot anything. There is a world of difference between quality binos and cheap binos.
So without trying to sound like a press release, why do I think Meopta are really the best buy in optics, and especially binos? Because you aren’t paying for the name. I mean who ever even heard of Meopta? We have done a number of articles on them already, but 99% of the people reading this column probably still won’t recognize the name. Yet Meopta has been making high end optics since before World War II. Located in what is now the Czech Republic, Meopta has been a manufacturer of several products from names you know and trust, including Zeiss. Meopta makes all of their own stuff with their own technology, so they are in a completely different world than the Japanese companies that get parts and components from China, Malaysia, and all over the world.
One of the more interesting technologies is called “MeoBright.” (Yes, I think it is silly that everything has to start with Meo, but hey, they are trying to build a brand.) It is a coating that allows 99.7% light transmission per lens surface. You will notice the difference at dusk when the woods are still popping in your eyepieces, even though your regular eyesight is starting to fail. They also grind an polish their prism system to what is called a 1 second of variance, so you can look through the binos for hours without any eye strain. All of the Meopta products are completely waterproof, fogproof, and have a lifetime warranty. You just don’t get this stuff with a $500 pair of Nikon binos.
Ultimately, binoculars of extremely high quality are a luxury that only some of us can afford, but rather than just post a quickie product review of these new 15x56HD monsters, I thought it worth a discussion on the merits of great binos, and of great optics in general. Even a few years ago the American market balked at paying more for a rifle optic than for the rifle itself, yet today it is commonplace. Maybe Americans will now finally stop patting themselves on the back for paying $300-$500 for a Japanese brand of binos probably made in China and take a glance through some Meopta Meostars this turkey season?