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Old Sunday 12th November 2017, 11:08   #1
Synaps
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8x42 or....32...?

I searched for a nice 8x42 for a while, but am starting to think a 8x32 might be better for me as it is smaller, lighter and usually has a larger FoV. But my question is.... will I as a demanding birder notice the less light gathering capability, somewhat lesser depth of field, more finicky eye placement and other optical imperfections 32 might be prone to? I think I can live with the eye placement issue, but really like optical performance.
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Old Sunday 12th November 2017, 13:00   #2
Torview
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Hi Synaps, quick answer from me is yes, you`ll notice all those things, but its about priorities and compromises, if weight and portability is more important than performance then a good 32mm will do it all, but if you want a bit of optical performance to call on in poor conditions or at dawn and dusk, 42mm is a more complete performer, just my own opinion.
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Old Sunday 12th November 2017, 13:22   #3
Synaps
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Allright, cheers for that answer. I could live with a little less performance at dusk or dawn, but I really do not want to sacrifice significant performance when looking at birds in a shady tree. I suppose there is a large chance of loosing performance there too...? Hmmm... I probably need to try it out and judge for myself whether I can accept the difference....

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Old Sunday 12th November 2017, 16:12   #4
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Allright, cheers for that answer. I could live with a little less performance at dusk or dawn, but I really do not want to sacrifice significant performance when looking at birds in a shady tree. I suppose there is a large chance of loosing performance there too...? Hmmm... I probably need to try it out and judge for myself whether I can accept the difference....
Light grasp WILL be a factor and weight MIGHT be.

Eye placement, NOTICEABLE difference in depth of field, and the NOTICEABLE difference in other aberrations will have nothing to do with it.

Cheers,

Bill
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Old Sunday 12th November 2017, 16:34   #5
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I think either an 8x32 or 8x42 with a FOV of 420 feet or more( 8 degrees) is the ideal birding binocular. For most of your birding an 8x32 will work fine in the Netherlands and be lighter and smaller. If you are birding in the Jungle or under canopy such as in a Costa Rican rain forest for example you might want the 8x42. It is nice to have both an 8x32 and an 8x42. As WJC says it is all about light grasp. The 8x42 will have a little easier eye placement but there is not that much difference between an 8x32 and an 8x42 but usually an 8x42 is heavier and bigger.

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Old Sunday 12th November 2017, 17:06   #6
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"Costa Rican rain forest?"

Heck, in the right season, a major road can turn into a major river in 10- 15 minutes!

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Old Sunday 12th November 2017, 19:00   #7
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Hi Synaps, quick answer from me is yes, you`ll notice all those things, but its about priorities and compromises, if weight and portability is more important than performance then a good 32mm will do it all, but if you want a bit of optical performance to call on in poor conditions or at dawn and dusk, 42mm is a more complete performer, just my own opinion.
That's a perfect summary. Generally speaking, a larger exit pupil will *always* be nicer than a smaller one. So an 8x42 will be better than an 8x32, an 8x50 better than an 8x42, and an 8x56 better than an 8x50. And yes, all things being equal you'll notice the difference in the field, not just at dawn or dusk.

BUT the price you pay for larger exit pupils is the weight that's hanging round your neck. Same with very wide fields of view or a flat field, by the way. Only you can decide what you find more important - the raw optical quality of, say, an 8x42 or an 8x50, or the smaller size and weight of an 8x32.

I personally find size and weight *really* important nowadays, so especially for travelling I'd always go for the lighter binoculars. 8x30 or 8x32 will do just fine in most situations and environments, and they're really much easier to use all day, from dawn to dusk. Especially if you also carry a scope and/or some camera gear.

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Old Sunday 12th November 2017, 19:32   #8
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I agree w/Torview's summary. I've used among the best models available of both formats for many years and I consistently find 8x42 more enjoyable to use (esp. quicker and easier view, easier to hold steady). I only choose 8x32 when I either (a) I don't expect to see many birds, so I'm less motivated to carry bins at all, (b) small size is of high importance, such as for pack size for travel or in other situations in which I also juggle a camera and guidebook, or (c) when I need some other ability that is peculiar to the bin apart from its format, such as when I use my Zeiss 8x32 FL for butterflying+birding because of its 5 ft close focus and fast yet precise focus control.

Get a strap that works for you and the weight may become a non-issue.

--AP
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Old Sunday 12th November 2017, 21:23   #9
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Allright, cheers for that answer. I could live with a little less performance at dusk or dawn, but I really do not want to sacrifice significant performance when looking at birds in a shady tree. I suppose there is a large chance of loosing performance there too...? Hmmm... I probably need to try it out and judge for myself whether I can accept the difference....
Yes try them out. If performance in less than good lighting conditions is important then you should go for a 42 or bigger. If that optical pendulum around your neck becomes bothersome then a bino harness would spread the weight.

Last edited by Roadbike : Sunday 12th November 2017 at 21:25.
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Old Monday 13th November 2017, 14:03   #10
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Originally Posted by Synaps View Post
I searched for a nice 8x42 for a while, but am starting to think a 8x32 might be better for me as it is smaller, lighter and usually has a larger FoV. But my question is.... will I as a demanding birder notice the less light gathering capability, somewhat lesser depth of field, more finicky eye placement and other optical imperfections 32 might be prone to? I think I can live with the eye placement issue, but really like optical performance.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Torview View Post
Hi Synaps, quick answer from me is yes, you`ll notice all those things, but its about priorities and compromises, if weight and portability is more important than performance then a good 32mm will do it all, but if you want a bit of optical performance to call on in poor conditions or at dawn and dusk, 42mm is a more complete performer, just my own opinion.
I agree with Torview. I will add that if eye placement/eye relief concerns aren't one of your issues you are just not gonna see much difference in a quality 32mm and a 42mm as far as bird id goes....something like a Zeiss Conquest HD 8X32 or similar.....
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Old Monday 13th November 2017, 14:29   #11
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For birding in normal european conditions, especially shoresides, for me a good 8x32/33 ist perfect.
I use the glass mainly for searching and have the telescope anyway for longer watching.
I like a light and compact glass round the neck, esp when carrying teh telescope and tripod anyway.

If you are searching in the 1000 Euro class, you also can have a look at the Kowa 8x33 Prominar, which is my choice in terms of optics and haptics.
Optically it is close to my known benchmark, the Zeiss Victory 8x32 (both are nearly CA-free), and eyecups and grip suit me better han the Zeiss, but thats different for every person. For the handlng, I also like the Leica.

I use my 8x33 also for Ship Spotting (Rotterdam Europoort) and planespotting and for sports (American football, incl illuminated stadiums. There it works perfect and a 140m FOC is ideal for sports...
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Old Monday 13th November 2017, 14:30   #12
Synaps
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Thanks for all the advice. Seems to me that the odds of finding the perfect binocular have just doubled

Hermann (and others), I recognize what you are saying. As I use my bins more often, handling and portability really are becoming of more importance.

Chill6x6, I think you have a good point regarding quality. I looked through two 8x32 bins recently and really did not like them, whereas their 8x42 counterparts gave quite a nice view. These were 120-240 Euro bins though. Guess Budget 32 bins are out of the question!
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