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Old Sunday 13th May 2012, 22:53   #1
james holdsworth
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Finally got my hands on an SV

After months of wondering what the SV was really all about, I finally laid eyes on a pair for awhile in a birding situation. What follows will be my mini-review, without much attention to ergonomics and concentrating on the view. The comparison is a straight up with my 10 x 42 FL, as the SV was the 10 x 42 as well.

Ist off, for Brock, the focus was butter smooth with just a touch more resistance in one direction. Focus was quick and precise from about 50 m to infinity but was dog slow from close-focus to the mid-range, requiring a lot of agonizing cranking, resulting in missed birds. I'm a bug guy too, so this was a big turn-off, others will find it less of a problem. Close focus, though, was the best I have seen, with a wonderfully tight view with no image separation...better than the FL in this respect.

The FL was brighter, not much but enough to notice, especially in darkly shaded foliage. I could see more detail with the FL in shadows and high-contrast situations. The FL seemed to enhance white or pale areas more so than the SV, giving birds a more luminous appearance.

I tested briefly for glare by looking at the sun as it peeked through some high branches. A surprise here as the SV showed some flare as well as pretty obvious veiling glare that was present in the FL but to a lesser degree.

Colour seemed very neutral in both, with the SV slightly warmer [maybe richer] than the FL.

In terms of resolution / apparent sharpness / contrast, it's a bit hard to say. On the face of it, the FL seemed clearly sharper, especially in the centre-field but I'm not sure how much of this might be down to diopter adjustment - or lack there-of. The SV was set near neutral, which is where I like it for most bins, but try as I might, I never did find the centrefield to be acceptably sharp. The FL, to me, has always seems startlingly sharp, almost painfully crisp in some situations. I never was able to find that feeling with the SV.

Two things that I was eager to sample was edge sharpness and rolling ball, if present. The edge sharpness was a big dissapointment.......not that they weren't sharp [they were] but, by trying to look to the edges, I got nothing but black-outs, no matter how hard I tried to position my eyes. You could see the edges clearly only when you canted the bins in odd and unnatural positions, so there seemed no real benefit from a birding perspective. True, the edges were sharper in the SV than the FL but only really appreciable on a test bench.

Rolling ball was present but appeared in a very different way than I expected. I expected to see edge distortion as I panned but, instead found the whole center part of the image seemed to bow inward and flatten towards the edge. That said, I found it unobtrusive and liken it to the reverse of what I see in my Zeiss 10 x 40 BT, which has a bit of that fishbowl effect due to high pincushion. Nothing I couldn't live with but still seemed a bit unsophisticated.

Another aspect of the view that confused me was that, clearly, the sharpest part of the field of view was a circular band outside of the traditional sweetspot. This band seemed very sharp, contrasting with the slightly soft centrefield. I can't really speculate as to what I was seeing, was it partly due to a diopter adjustment that didn't suit my eyes or a defective unit or just an optical effect for my eyes only?

I would have liked to have spent the day with them, to try to understand them better but it was a good 1st taste and I hope to try another soon to see if they have the same sort of view.

I would also like to hear from owners. I suspect that the sharpness issue is down to a poorly adjusted unit and not some sort of optical flaw.

Overall, a very nice piece of glass with some very unique attributes, some of which I think I would need some time to appreciate.

Last edited by james holdsworth : Sunday 13th May 2012 at 22:55.
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Old Sunday 13th May 2012, 23:17   #2
newfie ghost
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Compared to the FL, the SV focus is like a snail going up hill in one direction and down hill in another. So if your finger is used to the hair trigger FL, you have to move it so much farther to get the best view. This alone might account for some difference but the diopter if not adjusted correctly will also result in a less than perfect image. Setting to zero on one model might not be the same on another. For one swaro EL, I set it 2 over, the other on 0.

The wife uses a 10X42FL and wanted to switch to the 8x42FL. Went to the store to pick up the FL, left with a 8.5X42 SV. Best glass she's ever seen.

Last edited by newfie ghost : Sunday 13th May 2012 at 23:21.
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Old Tuesday 15th May 2012, 04:35   #3
ronh
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James,
Thanks for sharing your impressions. Mine are very similar, a step down in magnification. Both the FL and the SV are arguably the best birding binocular, but it definitely is an argument! Oh well, I usually grab the Neanderthal and stiff-focusing 10x50 BR, which beats both 8x-ers by dint of sheer magnification.
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Old Thursday 17th May 2012, 23:38   #4
Chhayanat
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After months of wondering what the SV was really all about, I finally laid eyes on a pair for awhile in a birding situation....the focus was butter smooth with just a touch more resistance in one direction. Focus was quick and precise from about 50 m to infinity but was dog slow from close-focus to the mid-range, requiring a lot of agonizing cranking, resulting in missed birds. ....

Yesterday, an American tourist in a church in Dublin kindly allowed me to handle his Swarovision 10x42. I just had a few minutes to look around the church. The SV felt lighter that the Nikon Premier/LXL/HGL 10x42. The focussing wheel was very smooth, slower than the Premier and more accurate in finding focus.

....The FL was brighter, not much but enough to notice, especially in darkly shaded foliage. I could see more detail with the FL in shadows and high-contrast situations...

The SV seemed quite bright in the dimly lit church. I do not think the Premier would have been as bright in a direct comparison. A fair amount of detail was visible with the SV, given the low light level.

Colour seemed very neutral in both, with the SV slightly warmer [maybe richer] than the FL.In terms of resolution / apparent sharpness / contrast, it's a bit hard to say. On the face of it, the FL seemed clearly sharper, especially in the centre-field but I'm not sure how much of this might be down to diopter adjustment...

There was no time to make a dioptre adjustment. The SV seemed quite colour neutral in the slight yellow cast of the church lighting. The Premier would have probably appeared less neutral with the cast but would not have been much inferior in contrast.There was no impression of extreme sharpness in the centrefield just as there is none in the Premier. Dioptre adjustment would have probably made a difference in favour of the SV

....Edge sharpness was a big dissapointment.......not that they weren't sharp [they were] but, by trying to look to the edges, I got nothing but black-outs...

I had the same impression of a wide, flat field as I do with the Premier. No blackouts with either glass. There was an impression of a very calm view with more depth of field that the Premier lacks and its fast focussing and less perceived depth of field prompts the user to use the focussing wheel more often to achieve satisfactory focus.

Rolling ball was present but appeared in a very different way than I expected. I expected to see edge distortion as I panned but, instead found the whole center part of the image seemed to bow inward and flatten towards the edge. That said, I found it unobtrusive and liken it to the reverse of what I see in my Zeiss 10 x 40 BT, which has a bit of that fishbowl effect due to high pincushion. Nothing I couldn't live with but still seemed a bit unsophisticated.

I have become used to rolling ball in the Premier and there was very little, if any, feeling of rolling ball in the SV for me. Viewing of distant landscapes might have made a different impression. The church interior ruled this out.
Chhayanat

Last edited by Chhayanat : Thursday 17th May 2012 at 23:42.
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Old Sunday 27th May 2012, 17:33   #5
Jerrythesnake
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Hi I have had two pairs of these and now use Nikon hgs, in my opinion the swarovisions had the most beautiful lenses but the focusing wheel and durability lets them down! The second pair I owned I used 1 time on a Heath and sand blew in to the focusing wheel ! They sort of ground into focus after that. Lovely optics the best I have seen yet but I wouldn't buy again. Again just my humble opinion, jerry
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Old Sunday 27th May 2012, 18:17   #6
barshnik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerrythesnake View Post
Hi I have had two pairs of these and now use Nikon hgs, in my opinion the swarovisions had the most beautiful lenses but the focusing wheel and durability lets them down! The second pair I owned I used 1 time on a Heath and sand blew in to the focusing wheel ! They sort of ground into focus after that. Lovely optics the best I have seen yet but I wouldn't buy again. Again just my humble opinion, jerry
I had to Wiki 'Heath', thanks for the lesson!

There is plenty of find sand blowing around in the desert here, so if it a common problem I'll know about it soon enough. I hope it isn't common. I agree with your impression of the optics - mine are the 10x32 SV's, but they have the picture of a bigger glass for sure.

John F
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Old Sunday 10th June 2012, 04:52   #7
heliar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerrythesnake View Post
Hi I have had two pairs of these and now use Nikon hgs, in my opinion the swarovisions had the most beautiful lenses but the focusing wheel and durability lets them down! The second pair I owned I used 1 time on a Heath and sand blew in to the focusing wheel ! They sort of ground into focus after that. Lovely optics the best I have seen yet but I wouldn't buy again. Again just my humble opinion, jerry

maybe the same would apply to Nikon EDG?
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Old Sunday 10th June 2012, 05:42   #8
brocknroller
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerrythesnake View Post
Hi I have had two pairs of these and now use Nikon hgs, in my opinion the swarovisions had the most beautiful lenses but the focusing wheel and durability lets them down! The second pair I owned I used 1 time on a Heath and sand blew in to the focusing wheel ! They sort of ground into focus after that. Lovely optics the best I have seen yet but I wouldn't buy again. Again just my humble opinion, jerry
Jerry the Snake,

I hope Dale Forbes is reading all these complaints about focuser problems with Swaros and reporting back to his superiors. The full sized ELs seem to be particularly vulnerable to problems.

The irony is when I first mentioned this, I got "piled on" by Swaro owners who had good samples or who weren't bothered by the sub par focusers on their bins.

Now they are going to have to eat crow, because Swaro focuser problems have become the "complaint du jour". For the past two weeks, it seems that every time I log on and start reading the forums, I come across another report of a bad Swaro focuser.

If I didn't give a crap about Swaros, I would be sympathetic with the owners, but I certainly would make an issue of pointing this out.

But I had my heart set on an 8x32 EL sometime in the future (hopefully, not too distant future).

And there does seem to be less problems with the baby ELs than with the full sized models although they are not completely "blameless".

But after reading all these reports, and two of them about bins being sent out for repairs but that were still not functioning properly upon return, and now about a focuser that was functioning fine but turned gritty after the bins were out for the first time and sand blew inside the focuser, has been disheartening.

Well, I've got a lot more quarters to put in my pig's feet jars before I can buy one, but Swaro will have to work out the Kinks with the focusers before "They Really Got Me".

Brock the Goatee

Last edited by brocknroller : Sunday 10th June 2012 at 05:47.
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