Big Dogs: After the first two difficult rounds of evaluations, and seeing names like Zeiss, Steiner, Fujinon, and Swarovski in the final grouping, we thought that deciding among the final participants would be nothing short of Mission: Impossible. It was hard to imagine that the optics could improve from what wed seen. Wrong on both counts. The level of optics increased, and deciding between them was by far the easiest of any price range. Leading the pack was Swarovski. These roof-prism binoculars combined all the features we liked: crystal-clear, easy-to-use optics (with or without eyeglasses), center focus, and solid, twist-out eyecups. The snap- and twist-out solid eyecups featured on five of the instruments in this category were big hits among the reviewers. They were easy to use and consistently held the most field of view when wearing glasses. Three of the top-rated binoculars in this group (those from Swarovski, Leica, and Bausch & Lomb) were 7x42s, while the fourth was a porro-prism Fujinon 7x50. All were solid instruments that seemed capable of long voyages aboard a boat, where theyd be expected to survive the usual rough-and-tumble use in a salt-sprayed environment. The heavy porro-prism instruments supplied by Zeiss, Steiner, and Fujinon, while optically impressive, seemed awkward to use, and all made use of rubber eyepieces. And while one of the reviewers aptly pointed out that the heavier instruments were built to last a lifetime, I wondered how much time theyd spend on deck. It was easy to picture the slightly smaller, fun-to-use roof-prism instruments being happily passed around while the heavy instruments sat in their cases below.