Now we are getting into a price range where you can have some modern roof prism binoculars with exceptionally good performance. These binoculars get very close to the “alpha” glass at much lower prices.
I will list these according to magnification:
Vortex Viper 6×32.
I like low magnification binoculars, they offer exceptionally steady and relaxed view in a small and light package. The Viper is the best 6x binocular on the market and you will be amazed how well you can see with these.
Zen-Ray ED2 7×36
These binoculars cost less than $400. They offer image quality that is almost as good as the four times more expensive “alpha” binos. Mechanically, they seem quite sound. What else do you need to know?
Hawke Frontier ED 8×43
These are made in the same factory as the Zen-Ray binoculars above. Same comments apply.
Swift Audubon 8.5×44 ED
These porros are designed for birders. They have to be seen to be believed. Spectacular center-field resolution and world class contrast.
Both Zen-Ray and Hawke are available in 10×43 configurations. 10x binoculars with 40-42 mm objectives are not my cup of tea, but if you are looking for one, these two are very good.