Our test team faced one of the coldest Optics Tests ever this past week when we gathered in Choteau, MT. (that’s me on the left, pictured with OL Senior Editor John Taranto). Temperatures the first morning were -31 F. That didn’t slow our intrepid team of testers, however.

Some great optics to look for this year.

Toddjohnoptics082 In spotting scopes, the new compact from Minox (MD50W 16-30×50) is super small yet very capable. An ideal choice for backpack hunters.

Brunton also had a very impressive offering in their ED 20-45×62. This scope was incredibly bright in our low-light test.

On the binocular front, a very low priced model from Alpen (Alpen Pro 10×42) is a great glass to give a young hunter and it’s priced low enough that you’re not going to be broken hearted if you lose it. In the mid-price range, there are a number of good models to choose from including Pentax’s compact DCF LV 9×28 and the Minox BD

And in the high-end glass, it was a shoot out between Nikon’s new EDG (pronounced “Edge”) in 10×42 and Leica’s lightweight Ultravid HD 10×42 –both with incredible offerings that made you feel like you could see forever.

The rifle scope field was also very full. I liked the new Nikon Monarch with ED glass in 8-32×50 as well as offerings from Sightron (Big Sky 1.25-5×20–a good scope for a high-power rifle, Zeiss Conquest in 3-9×40 with their Rapid-Z reticle and Bushnell’s Elite 6500 in 2.5-16×42, which features one of the widest power ranges in the industry.

We’ll have video clips up on our Web site shortly. And you can see who our editor’s choice and great by winners are in our June/July issue.