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Old Sunday 13th September 2015, 08:48   #1
CliveP
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Hawke Sapphire and Colour (coating/glass update?)

I recently tried the 8x25 Sapphire and now I have a recent pair of the 8x43 model (maybe not even the most recent as I see they have changed the badge letter font and mine are still the original italic style)

I've made comments all over the place about both as I can't be bothered sitting writing any detailed review and it takes me a at least a few uses to try and get the low down on these bins but in summary I just want to make a small comment on the the biggest point I have found with both.

Basically it's the colours they produce which has definitely been updated as my 3 year old 8x43 Sapphire was a little lacking in this department. It's simply my favourite colour profile of all bins I've ever had or currently have and I've owned several of the premium brands.

With the 8x43 it's particularly the colour and ultra sharpness in combination that is stand out. These really are an amazing top notch binocular to me and I would love a 30/32mm version if they ever make one.

So I say well very done to Hawke as for me this certainly has greatly renewed and reinforced my enjoyment of the brand (and still really very good support with any issues).

Would love to hear what others think. It may not be immediately obvious just picking them up a and doing a side by side in a shop but it certainly will be when trying on your local patch.

Folks in the past have said they see no difference to the Frontier and if that is the case and they have these newer coatings or whatever then they will be fantastic also although when I had a 9x36 Frontier I thought it was great for colour and clarity (although very soft off centre) but the Sapphire back then was a bit less good colour wise just not as warm or rich in colour. I still have an 8x25 Frontier and it is fine but these latest Sapphire are really good especially this 8x43. They are still not a warm tone, not particularly cool either. Noting extreme just amazing beauty in particular moments. Really stop in your tracks OMG.

I've said it is addictive and it is which can sort of spoil things for using my other bins which is always the danger. I've also described it as Ethereal Vision in the 8x43 because of the brightness also and I absolutely stand by all of that. In fact Hawke should actually use that term for these.

I'm just glad I have a pair. I was actually asked about them by a guy who owned some Swaro. He said a roof and explained a lot about them but I wasn't entirely listening to it all but in the end his verdict was these were better and he would love a pair and he actually ended the conversation about me making him jealous (or depressed) that I already had them.

So anybody been having a good go with any of these seemingly updated coating models and what are the thoughts?

I really would love a metal and leather 8x30/32 version. I found the 8x25 to fiddly to get eye position but the optics great and I think the same type of metal and leather body would be super in an 8x30/32. Come on Hawke. That could/would be the absolute binocular hit of the moment. I guess what I'm saying is I would love another pair of these updated Sapphire but something more compact when I don't need the larger 8x43 and am prepared to forgo some of the benefits of the larger bin. Maybe the 8x42 would do but it's perhaps to similar (don't know as haven't tried one) and I really didn't get on with the 10x42 I ordered some years back so I'm thinking 8 or 10 x30/32.

Why no 30/32 Sapphire? Surely this is a large omission but I haven't been able to try the current Frontier in these sizes and my current favourite in this size is my Nikon M7 10x30 (thinking of getting an 8x30 also) but I do think the colour profile of these recent Sapphire I have tried is better than the Nikon in my opinion of course. My Kowa SV 8x32 is great, but colour, while quite ok, is not a strong point lacking some vibrancy and distinction otherwise also a bin I enjoy greatly.

In summary or perhaps a note of caution. These Sapphire especially this 8x43, is/are a binocular you could buy and suddenly all your other binoculars don't seem just as good as before. Beware!

Last edited by CliveP : Sunday 13th September 2015 at 09:48.
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Old Sunday 13th September 2015, 19:08   #2
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Clive,

Which Sapphire Ed do you have, the dual hinge or cheaper top hinge? When the top hinge came out I asked what the difference was optically and was told 'nothing'. In fact the aberration profile of the two designs were quite different but I would have said at the time that the colour renditions were very close. I'm not aware of any changes to the models since then but maybe there are batch differences in the coatings or something.

David
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Old Monday 14th September 2015, 18:28   #3
CliveP
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Clive,

Which Sapphire Ed do you have, the dual hinge or cheaper top hinge? When the top hinge came out I asked what the difference was optically and was told 'nothing'. In fact the aberration profile of the two designs were quite different but I would have said at the time that the colour renditions were very close. I'm not aware of any changes to the models since then but maybe there are batch differences in the coatings or something.

David
When I say I have the 8x43 they only make the dual hinge in this configuration which is kind of basic understanding of their products.

If you read the Hawke site descriptions the dual hinge is described as the large view and 8x42 top hinge a medium view.

My new Sapphire have a pinkish lens tinge now. My old model did not have this so if it's not a new coating then it's quite a batch variation. Both newer samples I got had this and both seem much sharper than my already very sharp original. Brightness is something similar and CA is also very well controlled in both. The original model I had was still a great binocular but this latest one is surely into the excellent realm.

The focuser is faster now and the rubber and chassis metal is changed also so it seems they are continually making adjustments. When people realise how good these are I would say the price will increase possibly also, possibly a lot.

I still wish they would ditch the leather case and just provide a practical cordura one. Surely they could make a great cordura case for much less than what seems a very extravagant leather one which isn't really that practical being relatively heavy and bulky and a tight fit. I've currently got my 8x43 in the basic Kowa pouch I got with my SV!
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Old Monday 14th September 2015, 19:17   #4
typo
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Originally Posted by CliveP View Post
If you read the Hawke site descriptions the dual hinge is described as the large view and 8x42 top hinge a medium view.
Clive,

Both versions have the same 142m@1000m view. The dual hinge claims "exceptional full size optical performance" and the top hinge "exceptional mid-sized optical performance". I belive the "size" refers to the dual hinge being 166mm long and top hinge 137mm. There is a 28g difference in weight too.

The moustache distortion seems more pronounced in the dual hinge than top hinge, but I don't remember noticing any other difference. I didn't note the colour of the coatings I'm affraid. The colour rendition of the two version appeared to be the same as I said, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were batch differences. When I asked Richard Carr what was new in thir line-up at Birdfair, he mentioned the new versions in the Frontier and the Endurance ranges but not the Sapphire.

David

Last edited by typo : Monday 14th September 2015 at 22:00.
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Old Tuesday 15th September 2015, 20:14   #5
CliveP
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Clive,

Both versions have the same 142m@1000m view. The dual hinge claims "exceptional full size optical performance" and the top hinge "exceptional mid-sized optical performance". I belive the "size" refers to the dual hinge being 166mm long and top hinge 137mm. David

The dual hinge Sapphire is 8x43. The single is 8x42. It's pretty simple really .
Full length optical performance. Well that's a new take on it. hahahahaha

So compact length optical performance would mean equal to a full size bin following your logic?

Ok enough already. My checks ache

and I think this 8x43 is brilliant whatever.
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Old Wednesday 16th September 2015, 08:29   #6
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Originally Posted by CliveP View Post
The dual hinge Sapphire is 8x43. The single is 8x42. It's pretty simple really .
Full length optical performance. Well that's a new take on it. hahahahaha

So compact length optical performance would mean equal to a full size bin following your logic?

Ok enough already. My checks ache

and I think this 8x43 is brilliant whatever.
Absolutlely nothing to do with my logic. Just trying to sort out the sloppy copy writing and your misinterpretation. The dual hinge doesn't have a larger view.

Davd

Last edited by typo : Wednesday 16th September 2015 at 08:50.
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Old Thursday 1st October 2015, 08:47   #7
CliveP
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Absolutlely nothing to do with my logic. Just trying to sort out the sloppy copy writing and your misinterpretation. The dual hinge doesn't have a larger view.

Davd

I'm sure we are all very relieved that you have shown us the error of our ways

I am a very happy owner of the actual bin this thread is concerned with and would certainly be pleased for the 8x42 if it indeed has the same large view

Perhaps I will get to try one to see for myself at some stage but it isn't a priority. I certainly never found the 10x42 I bought a while back to be anywhere near as a appealing as the 8x43 in that the view was more distorted and did not have the expansiveness of the 8x43 nor as much sharpness, colour or contrast but I suspect the 10x43 would have been a lot better. I was comparing different magnifications but the smaller midsize 42mm really didn't seem to be in the same league as the larger 43mm as the Hawke site states one is mid size and the outer full size and that description reflects how I felt about the two in terms of view. I returned the 10x42.

One was a mid size bin performance and the other a full size impression. I certainly did find the 10x42 quite a bit more compact even though they basically have the same size objectives.

I really would be surprised if there were only a very marginal difference between the 8x size views as it would obviously raise the question as to the point of the larger open hinge bin. For style purpose only? The point of the 42 model is clear and that of course is it's mid size form.

Perhaps some-one else who has tried both could solve this dilemma and clarify what the actual difference/sameness is between the 8x42/43 or 10x42/43 in terms of view?

It is up to the individual user to decide and choose their own preference and potentially save some money in the process. I suspect that some will see little or no difference and others a lot. I personally went for the 8x43 over the 8x42 as I hoped for that little extra and was prepared to accept the extra size and I have not been disappointed unlike when I subsequently purchased the 10x42 midsize bin. I really found the 8x43 a lot better, not a little. The 8x43 I have kept and now own a later improved iteration while the 10x42 as I've said I returned but I expect it has also improved in the meantime but I still wouldn't expect it to impress me as much as this 8x43 although of course I hope I would be wrong but I'm so totally happy with this 8x43 that it really doesn't matter. If the smaller bin had identical view or so little a difference as to be inconsequential then I would certainly choose the midsize in future but I don't believe that would be my finding based on my experience with the two model sizes and not on what some-one told me as per Typo.

Of course in all cases always better to try for yourself. Typo has his opinion based on hearsay or whatever but I don't think it right to accuse Hawke of bad copy and myself of misinterpretation as I feel the Hawke wording is fine as it fully reflects my own actual experience as an owner of both sizes.

Last edited by CliveP : Thursday 1st October 2015 at 10:20.
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Old Tuesday 20th October 2015, 22:20   #8
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Originally Posted by CliveP View Post
I recently tried the 8x25 Sapphire and now I have a recent pair of the 8x43 model (maybe not even the most recent as I see they have changed the badge letter font and mine are still the original italic style)

I've made comments all over the place about both as I can't be bothered sitting writing any detailed review and it takes me a at least a few uses to try and get the low down on these bins but in summary I just want to make a small comment on the the biggest point I have found with both.

Basically it's the colours they produce which has definitely been updated as my 3 year old 8x43 Sapphire was a little lacking in this department. It's simply my favourite colour profile of all bins I've ever had or currently have and I've owned several of the premium brands.

With the 8x43 it's particularly the colour and ultra sharpness in combination that is stand out. These really are an amazing top notch binocular to me and I would love a 30/32mm version if they ever make one.

So I say well very done to Hawke as for me this certainly has greatly renewed and reinforced my enjoyment of the brand (and still really very good support with any issues).

Would love to hear what others think. It may not be immediately obvious just picking them up a and doing a side by side in a shop but it certainly will be when trying on your local patch.

Folks in the past have said they see no difference to the Frontier and if that is the case and they have these newer coatings or whatever then they will be fantastic also although when I had a 9x36 Frontier I thought it was great for colour and clarity (although very soft off centre) but the Sapphire back then was a bit less good colour wise just not as warm or rich in colour. I still have an 8x25 Frontier and it is fine but these latest Sapphire are really good especially this 8x43. They are still not a warm tone, not particularly cool either. Noting extreme just amazing beauty in particular moments. Really stop in your tracks OMG.

I've said it is addictive and it is which can sort of spoil things for using my other bins which is always the danger. I've also described it as Ethereal Vision in the 8x43 because of the brightness also and I absolutely stand by all of that. In fact Hawke should actually use that term for these.

I'm just glad I have a pair. I was actually asked about them by a guy who owned some Swaro. He said a roof and explained a lot about them but I wasn't entirely listening to it all but in the end his verdict was these were better and he would love a pair and he actually ended the conversation about me making him jealous (or depressed) that I already had them.

So anybody been having a good go with any of these seemingly updated coating models and what are the thoughts?

I really would love a metal and leather 8x30/32 version. I found the 8x25 to fiddly to get eye position but the optics great and I think the same type of metal and leather body would be super in an 8x30/32. Come on Hawke. That could/would be the absolute binocular hit of the moment. I guess what I'm saying is I would love another pair of these updated Sapphire but something more compact when I don't need the larger 8x43 and am prepared to forgo some of the benefits of the larger bin. Maybe the 8x42 would do but it's perhaps to similar (don't know as haven't tried one) and I really didn't get on with the 10x42 I ordered some years back so I'm thinking 8 or 10 x30/32.

Why no 30/32 Sapphire? Surely this is a large omission but I haven't been able to try the current Frontier in these sizes and my current favourite in this size is my Nikon M7 10x30 (thinking of getting an 8x30 also) but I do think the colour profile of these recent Sapphire I have tried is better than the Nikon in my opinion of course. My Kowa SV 8x32 is great, but colour, while quite ok, is not a strong point lacking some vibrancy and distinction otherwise also a bin I enjoy greatly.

In summary or perhaps a note of caution. These Sapphire especially this 8x43, is/are a binocular you could buy and suddenly all your other binoculars don't seem just as good as before. Beware!
I just today purchased a pair of the Hawke 8 x 43 Sapphire ED I will let you know how I get on with them.
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Old Wednesday 21st October 2015, 10:12   #9
CliveP
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Yes please do.

I was doing a bit of an autumn test from the back door with my Vistron 8x25, Kowa SV 8x32, Nikon M7 10x30 and Sapphire 8x43. Trying to decide which to take if I go out later today.

Damp overcast morning with leaves blowing from the trees occasionally and lots of green, red and yellow/gold in the trees.

Forget the Vistron in to low light compared with the others and the focuser is really bad for getting both sides to focus together and needs some patience and perserverance but I know I get on fine with it when I am out and about.

M7:Very pleasing. I really like this bin as my only 10x but notice the focus takes a bit more care to nail it as the focuser is very sensitive but it's fine once accustomed.

Kowa SV. Just spot on, fuss free, always delivers. Very close to the M7 but I wouldn't say better, on this occasion.

The Sapphire just blitzes them all when it comes to brightness, clarity and sharpness but I found that it only brings out it's best on a morning like this when I use it with the eyecups folded down all the way. Then I don't notice the edge softness as much or am bothered by this bright ring of light that appears to be coming from a reflection in the ocular edge and this is something that really should be sorted out by Hawke if it hasn't already but what I do then get is the wonderful huge view.

So what have I decided will accompany me today? Sorry Hawke it's the basic Kowa as they all seem to do autumn colour pretty much equally (the Sapphire is incredible in summer) and I have decided I prefer the more compact Kowa SV today. One of the others next time or hopefully will have the Bresser 8x28 back by then to try again.

I'd say if the Hawke didn't have this edge view reflection silver ring effect and was less distorted in the outer third then it would win hands down every time. Unfortunately it does have these issues and the Kowa, Nikon or even the Vistron do not but neither are any of them as bright and clear or as sharp or have as large a view as the Sapphire. So all a bit of swings and roundabouts I guess.

The Sapphire has amazing glass and coatings but there are a few niggles which mean probably 8 or 9 of out 10 overall instead of the 10 out of 10 they could be. This is a great score and I should be very pleased and I am but somehow I'm also a bit disappointed as they seem to have got the crucial bit perfect but then let it down by the other things. Still very glad I have a pair though but I do look forward to the niggles being sorted in future and them becoming pretty much perfect.

Also worth adding in that the focus on these Sapphire I have is easily 10 out of 10. I couldn't imagine it being any more accurate or capable of better fine tuning and with this binocular it's pretty essential to get all the sharpness that it can deliver which is a lot. I'm really pleased about that. At least amongst the best if not thee best I have ever encountered both the sharpness and the focuser for accuracy.

Hope yours are even better Mr Cheeky but just tell it like it is......

Last edited by CliveP : Wednesday 21st October 2015 at 11:07.
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Old Tuesday 10th November 2015, 07:59   #10
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Ok no other user views?

I've started using the Sapphire more during these dark days and they seem to be really really good. Really big light gathering ability from these and very high transmission.

This is definitely a superb low light performer. It even retains the good colouring in low light. I basically can just see clearly where it is not or barely possible with my 30/32 and smaller bins.

I'm getting even happier with this binocular now. Definitely an essential part of my arsenal.

Last edited by CliveP : Tuesday 10th November 2015 at 08:02.
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Old Wednesday 18th November 2015, 11:57   #11
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I have the original Sapphire 8x42 top hinge model which I have found to be amazing but they've had a tough time (my fault not the product) and need replacing (will keep them as a second pair for the car as optically they are still viable). I have owned top brand bins in the past, notably Leica & Zeiss and have found the Sapphire's to be equal to, if not superior in some ways to all of them. The light gathering and optical quality of the images given by these is superb.

I am about to embark on the newer 8x43 dual or open hinge version now and am looking to them even more now that I've read about your experiences CliveP.

Also for the record, I have found Hawke's after sales service to be second to none. There staff are really very helpful and willing to got he extra mile to make sure the customer is looked after and happy with their service. I for one certainly am and will continue to support them and their products while they produce such exceptional items and really great prices.
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Old Wednesday 18th November 2015, 13:48   #12
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I have the original Sapphire 8x42 top hinge model which I have found to be amazing but they've had a tough time (my fault not the product) and need replacing (will keep them as a second pair for the car as optically they are still viable). I have owned top brand bins in the past, notably Leica & Zeiss and have found the Sapphire's to be equal to, if not superior in some ways to all of them. The light gathering and optical quality of the images given by these is superb.

I am about to embark on the newer 8x43 dual or open hinge version now and am looking to them even more now that I've read about your experiences CliveP.

Also for the record, I have found Hawke's after sales service to be second to none. There staff are really very helpful and willing to got he extra mile to make sure the customer is looked after and happy with their service. I for one certainly am and will continue to support them and their products while they produce such exceptional items and really great prices.
That's great wardy11. Glad I gave a good impression of these 8x43 as they are pretty amazing but if there is anything even very slightly imperfect about them I have tried to be accurate about that as well but that may just be with the particular one I have. Impossible to say without a lot of other opinions. I only even noticed the small niggles I mentioned because I could see them as I normally mostly had been using my Kowa SV 8x32 which is a different sort of animal and great also I think but now I am using the Hawke more I hardly notice anything imperfect about them at all but I certainly do notice how great they are. I love it when I continue to like something more and more and appreciate that I'm very lucky to have something so good as these.

I'm sure you will be very pleased if you do get a pair and do let us know what you think once you get a chance then maybe folks will see that I'm not exaggerating or maybe I've haven't been exaggerating enough
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Old Monday 28th March 2016, 23:37   #13
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I to have purchased a pair of sapphires only a few weeks ago, I was blown away by the brightness and color my friend who has a pair of very expensive bins could not believe how good the sapphires are.

I lost one of my rubber lens caps the other day off my sapphires, Do Hawke supply replacements?
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Old Tuesday 29th March 2016, 08:29   #14
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I to have purchased a pair of sapphires only a few weeks ago, I was blown away by the brightness and color my friend who has a pair of very expensive bins could not believe how good the sapphires are.

I lost one of my rubber lens caps the other day off my sapphires, Do Hawke supply replacements?

Just contact Hawke. They are very helpful and I don't imagine there should be any problem. Their UK local service really is a bonus to buying their bins as they obviously put a lot of effort into it (from my own experience) which is great to know when you buy them if you ever need help. Definitely gives more confidence in the brand.

Glad you are enjoying the Sapphire also. I don't feel so alone anymore

Looking forward to getting out with mine again soon.
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Old Wednesday 30th March 2016, 19:46   #15
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Thanks Clive
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