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Old Sunday 18th June 2017, 15:33   #1
DanDavis
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I need some expertise please

Hello folks,

I'm looking for some help with my new binocular selection please.

I currently own a pair of Vanguard Endeavor II 10x42, but I have been wanting to upgrade for some time now. Fortunately, I'm in a position to be able to afford a high end pair but I'm struggling to decide.

I went to my local RSPB reserve to try a few different pairs and came away convinced the Swarovski el 8.5x42 sv were the ones for me, however, a few weeks have past and a few more reviews have been read.

I started to read reviews on the Swarovski el 10x50 sv and I liked what I saw, so my plan was to buy both pairs and try them out, side by side, and return the one I decided not to keep.

But now I have started to read about the Leica Noctivid, but I cannot afford to buy three pairs outright to return two after I have made my decision.

So I'm looking for opinions based on what I generally use my binoculars for, which is predominantly birding but I also like to use them once a year for close up viewing when I go to France. The birding I do is completely mixed, sometimes I'm in woodlands, sometimes I'm up the hills. Most of the time I will have my scope with me but when I'm on holiday, it's just my binoculars.

Can anyone offer any insight? I know it's down to individual perception but right now I'm feeling a tad confused.

Cheers,
Dan
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Old Sunday 18th June 2017, 16:18   #2
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It is all up to the individual 'eye'...... So the choice is yours but all great options. How heavy is the 10x50? Have you compared the SLC to the SV? When I was looking at Swaro's I preferred the SLC but again, as I say...it is up to your eye. Also, don't forget something overlooked by many specifications; the ergonomics of the bins. Do they fit in your hands (some bins like the Zeiss SF don't fit well in my hands while the HT does). How is the focus wheel (stiff or ?) Is the placement of the focus wheel conducive to your finger placement? Does the rubber armor feel good as you hold? Do you come away from the bins 'not wanting to put them down", they feel so good. Remember, that part of birding is the intangibles gleamed not just from the birding, the hike, the weather etc, but also the feel of the bins. My two cents.

To plug what I enjoy, look at the Zeiss HT 10 x42 or 8 x 42. Living in the far north like you do, the HT is the brightest of all bins and I am telling you from experience, there is nothing like the light transmission of the HT's...good luck and take your time and enjoy the process...jim
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Old Sunday 18th June 2017, 17:06   #3
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Hi,

first of all, welcome to BF.

I can't comment on the bins you are pondering as I don't know any - the only Swarovision I got to use was an 10x32 pair iirc - very nice, but so was the SE 10x42 I used that day.

If you are doing mixed birding and usually carry a scope, I would try an 8x32 - light and good field of view to find stuff and if the reach is not enough, put down the scope. At least that's what I do - the usual pair is my E2 8x30 unless I know I'm going to be near the water or watching raptors.

Joachim
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Old Sunday 18th June 2017, 18:14   #4
DanDavis
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It is all up to the individual 'eye'...... So the choice is yours but all great options. How heavy is the 10x50? Have you compared the SLC to the SV? When I was looking at Swaro's I preferred the SLC but again, as I say...it is up to your eye. Also, don't forget something overlooked by many specifications; the ergonomics of the bins. Do they fit in your hands (some bins like the Zeiss SF don't fit well in my hands while the HT does). How is the focus wheel (stiff or ?) Is the placement of the focus wheel conducive to your finger placement? Does the rubber armor feel good as you hold? Do you come away from the bins 'not wanting to put them down", they feel so good. Remember, that part of birding is the intangibles gleamed not just from the birding, the hike, the weather etc, but also the feel of the bins. My two cents.

To plug what I enjoy, look at the Zeiss HT 10 x42 or 8 x 42. Living in the far north like you do, the HT is the brightest of all bins and I am telling you from experience, there is nothing like the light transmission of the HT's...good luck and take your time and enjoy the process...jim
Thanks Jim,

Part of the problem is it's not very easy for me to test binoculars. The Swarovski el 8.5x42 sv fit in my hands well, but I haven't tried the SLC. If I'm honest though, I don't really like the look of them. I haven't looked through the Zeiss HT 10x42, but there is a Bird Fare coming up in August, I might just hold off until then and give them a shot.

Enjoying the process is difficult, I'm fed up with the bins I've got and desperate for a new pair. There's so many to choose from, in a way it would be better if there weren't as many options. However, I will hold off until I am certain I'm making the right choice.

Thanks again

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Hi,

first of all, welcome to BF.

I can't comment on the bins you are pondering as I don't know any - the only Swarovision I got to use was an 10x32 pair iirc - very nice, but so was the SE 10x42 I used that day.

If you are doing mixed birding and usually carry a scope, I would try an 8x32 - light and good field of view to find stuff and if the reach is not enough, put down the scope. At least that's what I do - the usual pair is my E2 8x30 unless I know I'm going to be near the water or watching raptors.

Joachim
Hi Joachi, and thanks for the welcome. I do usually carry a scope but not when I go on holiday. I feel the 8x32 won't cut it when I'm birding in the Cevennes or the Pyrenees.

It's a tough decision because I won't be buying another pair of binoculars any time soon.
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Old Sunday 18th June 2017, 21:25   #5
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"there is a BirdFair coming up in August I might just hold off until then"

that is my suggestion-see them, hold them, look through them, see which YOU like

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Old Monday 19th June 2017, 03:04   #6
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I went to my local RSPB reserve to try a few different pairs and came away convinced the Swarovski el 8.5x42 sv were the ones for me, however, a few weeks have past and a few more reviews have been read.

I started to read reviews on the Swarovski el 10x50 sv and I liked what I saw, so my plan was to buy both pairs and try them out, side by side, and return the one I decided not to keep.

But now I have started to read about the Leica Noctivid, but I cannot afford to buy three pairs outright to return two after I have made my decision.

Can anyone offer any insight?
Between the two Swarovskis -- we own both of the ones you mention. I love both of them, but use the 8.5x much more often. Both have some of the most technically excellent views that I have ever seen, but in the end there just isn't a huge amount of difference between 8.5x and 10x. This, plus the fact that the 8.5x is smaller, lighter in weight, and for me just a tiny bit more ergonomic makes the 8.5x a bit more favored overall. This doesn't mean that I don't like the 10x50. I like it a lot, and is my favorite of all the 10x42's and 10x50's that I have tried. I just like the 8.5x42 more. If for some horrible reason I had to give up one of these two, the decision would actually be quite easy.

Between the EL and the Nocitivid (NV) -- I have not been able to compare the two 10x42's as I do not have an EL in that configuration (have used a 10x NV - just couldn't do a comparison), but I have compared the 8x42 NV and the 8.5x42 EL. The first thing that strikes you about the NV is how handsome it is. Although I really like the appearance of the EL FP, I like the appearance of the NV even more. More than any other 42mm bino, really. However, after trying them side-by-side, I could not find anything about the NV that would make me choose it over the EL. Both were sharp and bright of course, but what surprised me is that the FOV's were actually pretty similar, but you get a slight amount of extra magnification with the EL. I did not think that the NV provided any greater overall performance over the EL, and in fact my eyes easily preferred the EL's view over the exactly one sample of the NV. This, along with the fact that the NV has slightly less ER and slightly more weight made me decline it's purchase. One thing I did like about the NV over the EL, besides it's appearance, is that the NV's focus wheel was smoother in operation, and required the same amount of turn pressure for each direction, unlike all the 42 and 50mm EL's that I have used. Sadly, neither the NV's or the EL's that I have used have a focus wheel that turns as nicely as a Nikon EDG.......
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Old Monday 19th June 2017, 04:35   #7
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If you have the money to buy an alpha and you want a good all around binocular I would really look at the Zeiss 8x42 SF for it's big FOV and smooth focus. I have had a ton of Swarovski's and have given up on them because of their lousy, sticky focusers and most of them have unequal turn tension. No matter what anybody says a Swarovski does not focus as smoothly as a Zeiss, Nikon or Canon and you are always thinking about it, whereas, with a Canon you don't even think about the focuser. It is seemless. I sent my 10x50 SV into Swarovski twice and both times after about six months it got sticky again. I think they just lubricate them. You should really look closely at the Maven 9x45 and Tract Toric HD 8x42 also. For a lot less money they offer 98% of the performance of the alpha's. I would take a Maven 9x45 over a 10x50 SV anyday especially with the cost savings. The Maven gives you a smooth focus and the optics are for all intentional purposes identical to the Swarovski. I actually prefer the Canon 10x42 IS-L for 10x. No more shaking. I have compared the Noctivid and like PhilR I really don't think it is quite in the same class as the Zeiss or Swarovski optically.

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Old Monday 19th June 2017, 06:52   #8
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Hi,

denco's advice to have a look at the SF 8x42 before committing to another alpha is indeed sound. The flattened tfov of 8.5 deg is a game changer in my opinion (I have to admit I'm a wide angle enthusiast).

For 10x42 having a look at the Canon 10x42 IS is also a good idea - sure it's heavy but at 10x stabilization will result into noticeably more detail seen.

Joachim
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Old Monday 19th June 2017, 13:35   #9
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Hi Dan..

Looks as if you have looked at some nice binoculars..

The prefect binoculars does not exist, each one has pros and cons even the elite.

I've got a few of the binoculars you are considering namely the Swarovski EL Swarovision Field Pro 8.5X42, 10X50(newly acquired), and a 12X50; Noctivid 10X42, and Zeiss Victory SF 8X42.

Since you seem to be looking for one binocular to do everything I'd probably go with the 8.5X42 SV, SF 8X42, or the Noctivid 8X42. I'd be happy with either of those for sure. Each one will have pros and cons but REALLY splitting hairs here.

Swarovski EL SV- IMO, the best made product. Best warranty service. Best edge to edge FOV. A word about the focus adjustment... not QUITE as nice as the other two BUT I have five EL SVs and an SLC HD and none have been returned for the focus adjustment. I too like the 8.5X42 SV and IF it came down to ONE binocular for me, this would be it.

Zeiss Victory SF- Really a fine binocular. Widest FOV in it's class and almost as good edge to edge FOV as the EL SV. Great focus adjustment. A little more bulky than the others. I've had mine over a year and like it more and more. If I were more comfortable with build quality of the SF and Zeiss service...I'd probably say the SF and SV were a tie.

Leica Noctivid- Mine is the 10X42. As Phil said...BEAUTIFUL binocular. I used mine yesterday. Great optics....but I see little difference between the others. Focus adjustment is probably the best. Not as flat of a FOV but some like that. I'm sure I'd be happy with the 8X42.

Don't over think it. No bad decision to be made here.

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#1 Zeiss HT 10X42, Noctivid 10X42, EL SV 10X42
#2 EL SV Fieldpro 8.5X42 and Zeiss SF 8X42
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Old Monday 19th June 2017, 14:33   #10
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Don't over think it. No bad decision to be made here.
Indeed.

How fortunate we are here, having the wonderful problem of having to decide between such excellent products........
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Old Monday 19th June 2017, 14:47   #11
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I know you want to push it and get something but wait until that Bird Fare in August.... You are going to be spending some hard earned dollars and the last thing you want to do is rush into this for you will have these alpha bins for a long time.

I like the Victory HT's...others the Victory SF, others the Swaro SV of SLC or , or the Nikon EDG or Leica....
But two things to look at ...optics for your eyes, and how they fit in your hands and feel. You can't do either of those unless you try them out. We; the lucky ones who have these fine Alphas', can debate this till the cows come home but the end result is that our argument only stands for us, not that of others. We can present the facts as outlined in the specifications, but cannot present the optics as they relate to your eyes, or the ergonomics of them all. Good luck. For now....just know you will have one of those real soon and will be convinced via the bird fare. That is, unless there are too many solid choices and they all fit well! jim
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Old Monday 19th June 2017, 15:41   #12
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Hi Dan, and welcome, I was late to the 8.5x42 SV party, but got there through a long line of other binoculars, I`v compared my FP model to everything currently on offer, I can`t find a bad word to write about it, its the least compromised most perfect view I`v found, that and the nearly unique 8.5x format with a genuinely wide fov make it unbeatable as a one quality bin for all round use.

Sometimes the first impression is the right one.
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Old Monday 19th June 2017, 20:31   #13
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You might want to take a look at the 10x42 SLC. My wife has the 10x50SV and I have a 10x42SLC and I like the SLC as much as the SV but for different reasons. I prefer the richer colors and the ever so slightly clearer view from the SLC. However the SV does have that gigantic view which is so easy to the eyes which I guess is from the larger exit pupil and extra light gathering. However I do not usually notice much of s difference in brightness between them. I believe I have read that the only difference between them is the field flattener lenses which may be what subtracts some of the color richness and clarity.
The only thing that I don't like about my SLC is that they are kind of slow to focus, which can be a drag come warbler season.
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Old Monday 19th June 2017, 21:23   #14
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Thank you everyone, I really appreciate the thoughtful replies. I do understand what I'm receiving are just personal opinions, and obviously my decision ultimately comes down to what works for me. However, some of the replies have been quite helpful/reassuring. I have already tried several binoculars, which lead me to favouring the 8.5x42 SV.

I could wait for the Bird Fare in August and maybe I still will, but it's a 645 mile round trip to try only one or two different binoculars. I think what I might try and do is find an online shop who do a 30 day money back (hopefully one exists), if you're not happy. This way I can buy two, compare, return the loser, then hopefully have time to try a third one.

If this isn't possible, and I haven't chucked my own bins off a cliff by August, I'll make the drive to Bird Fare. In the meantime, I'll keep on my mission to exhaust the internet of online reviews and peoples' opinions.

Thanks again for all your help and the welcomes.
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Old Tuesday 20th June 2017, 06:07   #15
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Dan,

I've never owned any of the models you mention but have tried them many times.

I guess the first question you need to ask yourself is whether a flat FOV is important to you; it isn't particularly high on my agenda but you might differ? To my eyes, each of the three brands has a particular colour and contrast signature. You can debate the merits of each, (and many here do ) and one or another may well have a marginal advantage or disadvantage in different light. What is important to you? You probably noted some arguement here about the Noctivid's marketing claims for 3D or 'plasticity'. Whether those terms are correct or not may well be debateable, but some, including myself, think it offers a clear visual advantage at times, but again, those may not be important to you?

Zeiss, Leica, Swarovski and a number of other companies all make excellent products which would be considered an improvement over your Vanguard on a number of points. How important those improvements match your priorities is another issue. Yes, I would swap my EDII for some, but definitely not all models they offer. Some niggles might be ergonomic. How well they work with my glasses, IPD, or maybe the particular grip or balance. Others are to do with the quality of view. A presteige badge doesn't guarantee perfection, but that's for you to judge. It's quite understandable to want 'the best', but at some point you need to ignore the reviews and advice and figure out what that is for yourself.

It looks like Viking Optical in Edinburgh might have the big three if that helps?

BirdFair is great, but can be overwhelming. I think I must have tried about 200 different binoculars the first time I went, but could scarcely remember a thing about any of them, and totally missed all the other delights the show has to offer.

Good luck,

David

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Old Tuesday 20th June 2017, 10:31   #16
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Hi Dan, and welcome, I was late to the 8.5x42 SV party, but got there through a long line of other binoculars, I`v compared my FP model to everything currently on offer, I can`t find a bad word to write about it, its the least compromised most perfect view I`v found, that and the nearly unique 8.5x format with a genuinely wide fov make it unbeatable as a one quality bin for all round use.

Sometimes the first impression is the right one.
I haven't had the pleasure of trying out the other alphas (the SF and Noctivid being the two I'd most like to see) but I have a fair amount of time with my brother's 8.5x42 ELSVFP. He is of the school that favours putting one's entire budget towards just one top-class binocular, and becoming as familiar with it as the proverbial one gun hunter. I still tend to favour owning 8x and 10x, partly because I enjoy the experience of using different binoculars, but I have to say the 8.5x magnification works remarkably well at both short and long (much of our birdwatching involves observing peregrines at distances of 1 to 1.5km and sometimes more) distances. Optical performance is outstanding - extremely sharp and bright. My brother reckons that the flat field makes for significantly less fatigue when having the binoculars to your eyes for hours. It is so effective I have often considered selling up all the binoculars I now have and putting everything towards one like it.

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Old Tuesday 20th June 2017, 15:01   #17
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Dan Davis, post 1, 4 and 14,
On the Website of House of Outdoor (Look under "Verrekijkers"and further "Verrekijkers testen en vergelijken") I have published test results of the Leica Noctivids compared with similar binoculars of Swarovski and Zeiss. It is in Dutch, but tables and graphs can be easily understood I think. Perhaps it can help you with your choice.
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Old Tuesday 20th June 2017, 20:56   #18
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Dan,

I've never owned any of the models you mention but have tried them many times.

I guess the first question you need to ask yourself is whether a flat FOV is important to you; it isn't particularly high on my agenda but you might differ? To my eyes, each of the three brands has a particular colour and contrast signature. You can debate the merits of each, (and many here do ) and one or another may well have a marginal advantage or disadvantage in different light. What is important to you? You probably noted some arguement here about the Noctivid's marketing claims for 3D or 'plasticity'. Whether those terms are correct or not may well be debateable, but some, including myself, think it offers a clear visual advantage at times, but again, those may not be important to you?

Zeiss, Leica, Swarovski and a number of other companies all make excellent products which would be considered an improvement over your Vanguard on a number of points. How important those improvements match your priorities is another issue. Yes, I would swap my EDII for some, but definitely not all models they offer. Some niggles might be ergonomic. How well they work with my glasses, IPD, or maybe the particular grip or balance. Others are to do with the quality of view. A presteige badge doesn't guarantee perfection, but that's for you to judge. It's quite understandable to want 'the best', but at some point you need to ignore the reviews and advice and figure out what that is for yourself.

It looks like Viking Optical in Edinburgh might have the big three if that helps?

BirdFair is great, but can be overwhelming. I think I must have tried about 200 different binoculars the first time I went, but could scarcely remember a thing about any of them, and totally missed all the other delights the show has to offer.

Good luck,

David
Thanks David, especially for the heads up on Viking Optical in Edinburgh. I was not aware of this shop, even though I lived in Edinburgh for seven years!
After reading your message this afternoon, I promptly called the shop and spoke with a really helpful chap. We have arranged for myself to pay a visit and try, side-by-side, the binoculars I'm interested in and a few others.

The chap also told me Viking Optical are one of Bird Fair's sponsors, and although a great place, trying different brands of binoculars side-by-side is not really possible, due to the different companies not always having their tents next to one another. He also basically reaffirmed what you said, saying Bird Fair has a lot to offer, so it's best not to have to stress about binoculars.

I might still go but I'll wait until they announce who will be talking first.

Anyway, thanks again for your help.

Quote:
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I haven't had the pleasure of trying out the other alphas (the SF and Noctivid being the two I'd most like to see) but I have a fair amount of time with my brother's 8.5x42 ELSVFP. He is of the school that favours putting one's entire budget towards just one top-class binocular, and becoming as familiar with it as the proverbial one gun hunter. I still tend to favour owning 8x and 10x, partly because I enjoy the experience of using different binoculars, but I have to say the 8.5x magnification works remarkably well at both short and long (much of our birdwatching involves observing peregrines at distances of 1 to 1.5km and sometimes more) distances. Optical performance is outstanding - extremely sharp and bright. My brother reckons that the flat field makes for significantly less fatigue when having the binoculars to your eyes for hours. It is so effective I have often considered selling up all the binoculars I now have and putting everything towards one like it.
I'm like your brother in that regard, as I'm putting my entire budget into one binocular, so it needs to be an excellent all-rounder.

I'm currently leaning towards the 8.5x42 SV, due to it being my preferred choice from the ones I've already tried.


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Dan Davis, post 1, 4 and 14,
On the Website of House of Outdoor (Look under "Verrekijkers"and further "Verrekijkers testen en vergelijken") I have published test results of the Leica Noctivids compared with similar binoculars of Swarovski and Zeiss. It is in Dutch, but tables and graphs can be easily understood I think. Perhaps it can help you with your choice.
Gijs van Ginkel
Thank you, I'll have a look now.

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Old Tuesday 20th June 2017, 22:31   #19
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If you like the Swarovski 8.5x42 I think the only binocular you might like better is the Zeiss 8x42 SF. The Zeiss will have a much smoother focus, a much bigger FOV and it will feel way lighter due to the forward weight distribution. If you do buy the Swarovski make sure you try the one you are buying to ensure that it has a smooth not sticky focus and it has equal tension in both directions.
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Old Wednesday 21st June 2017, 05:21   #20
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Dan,

Presumably because of their relationship with the RSPB Viking do have a bit of a strangle hold over the optics side of things at BirdFair. Together with InFocus they are the able to block competing retailer's presence at the show and have an 'interest' in sales from the manufacturers's stands as well I believe. It's still a great oportunity to try out optics with 17 companies represented last year I think. Of the major players Leica, Swarovski and Zeiss are clustered together (with Viking) at one end of the main Optics marquee and Kowa and Nikon at the other. Not exactly side by side comparison but with the same view over a corner of Rutland water and surrounding countryside. Meopta and Kite are close by but some of the others are rather scattered over the site.

I mentioned those 7 names in particular as I think they have models, together with a couple of others, that would make my long list if I was in the market for a big budget models. I'm not sure I could ever settle on just one though. Much as I love the view of the Noctivid 8x42, it can't compete with the Meopta Meostar HD 12x50 at distance, or suite me ergonomically as well as the Vortex Razor HD 10x50. (But if your heart is set on an Alpha, that's of little consequence. )

Viking in Edinburgh may well have the perfect binocular for you, but do take your time in deciding. Once your optical boxes are ticked, you might find things like weight, focus smoothness and balance might actually be more important. Keep an open mind. You might just decide that the Nikon Monarch HG is just what you've been looking for after all.

Good luck,

David
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Old Wednesday 21st June 2017, 08:18   #21
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Originally Posted by denco@comcast.n View Post
If you like the Swarovski 8.5x42 I think the only binocular you might like better is the Zeiss 8x42 SF. The Zeiss will have a much smoother focus, a much bigger FOV and it will feel way lighter due to the forward weight distribution. If you do buy the Swarovski make sure you try the one you are buying to ensure that it has a smooth not sticky focus and it has equal tension in both directions.
All the FPro models I`v tried have had well sorted focus, mine is perfectly smooth, whether its as smooth as others is irrelevant to me when I can`t fault its operation, no SV I`v tried has had equal tension in both directions, they are`nt built that way, I have no problem achieving perfect focus quickly every time.

No question the SF has a bigger fov, but do the maths and make the Z an 8.5x or the S an 8x and the difference is surprisingly small, if the SV was an 8x it would be 8.1 deg.
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Old Wednesday 21st June 2017, 13:10   #22
Troubador
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Originally Posted by DanDavis View Post

Hi Joachi, and thanks for the welcome. I do usually carry a scope but not when I go on holiday. I feel the 8x32 won't cut it when I'm birding in the Cevennes or the Pyrenees.

It's a tough decision because I won't be buying another pair of binoculars any time soon.
Hi Dan

I have just returned from 3 weeks nature observing down in the Languedoc in the south of France and as well as visiting the local causses and rivers and wetlands also went to the Pyrenees, Alps and Vercors. This was our 6th visit to the region.

I took an SF 8x42 and Conquest HD 8x32 but mostly used the Conquest. Why? Because we are interested in insects like butterflies and dragonflies as well as birds, lizards and snakes and fish and everything else that can appear suddenly at a short distance while in habitats where birds like Harriers and Bee-eaters and Rollers can also suddenly pop up but much further away. So for me these habitats demand a wide field of view and a fast acting focuser. The Conquest has these and excels at this job. The optical quality is excellent but if you want better and with a focuser that is very nearly as fast then go for Zeiss's FL 8x32.

The SF is definitely a step up in optical quality and I enjoyed it every evening from our veranda but it's focus speed is not up to the demands that I need in the south of France. Back in the Western Isles and Inner Islands of Scotland which are our second home, the SF excels with its wide field of view and precise focuser that make it easy to grab eagles and otters and everything else. If you really insist on a 42 for your French holidays then I will put a vote in for the SF 8x42 as its wide field of view is fantastic and gives you great opportunities to grab not only zooming dragonflies but circling eagles and alpine swifts and so on. Its wide FOV would make it a great spotter for your scope too.

Good luck

Lee

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Old Wednesday 21st June 2017, 16:59   #23
denco@comcast.n
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Here is a nice comparison of the Zeiss 8x42 SF and the Swarovision 8.5x42 and a good thread on them from Bird Forum. Both fine binoculars. Really a matter of personal taste. You can't go wrong with either. Just test the focus on the Swarovision. If you really like a smooth focus and glare control is important to you and you like a big FOV and you prefer a lighter feeling binocular get the Zeiss SF. The Zeiss 8x42 SF does have a noticeably larger AFOV than the Swarovision 8.5x42.

http://www.greatestbinoculars.com/al...orysf8x42.html

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=301412

Last edited by denco@comcast.n : Wednesday 21st June 2017 at 19:06.
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Old Wednesday 21st June 2017, 17:42   #24
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Originally Posted by edwincjones View Post
"there is a BirdFair coming up in August I might just hold off until then"

that is my suggestion-see them, hold them, look through them, see which YOU like

edj
Couldn't agree more. Keep your powder dry until BF in August. Make a weekend of it and try the lot and more. I bought my two top end bins at Rutland and got very good deals too.

Good luck!

Alan
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Old Wednesday 21st June 2017, 21:32   #25
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Dan,

Presumably because of their relationship with the RSPB Viking do have a bit of a strangle hold over the optics side of things at BirdFair. Together with InFocus they are the able to block competing retailer's presence at the show and have an 'interest' in sales from the manufacturers's stands as well I believe. It's still a great oportunity to try out optics with 17 companies represented last year I think. Of the major players Leica, Swarovski and Zeiss are clustered together (with Viking) at one end of the main Optics marquee and Kowa and Nikon at the other. Not exactly side by side comparison but with the same view over a corner of Rutland water and surrounding countryside. Meopta and Kite are close by but some of the others are rather scattered over the site.

I mentioned those 7 names in particular as I think they have models, together with a couple of others, that would make my long list if I was in the market for a big budget models. I'm not sure I could ever settle on just one though. Much as I love the view of the Noctivid 8x42, it can't compete with the Meopta Meostar HD 12x50 at distance, or suite me ergonomically as well as the Vortex Razor HD 10x50. (But if your heart is set on an Alpha, that's of little consequence. )

Viking in Edinburgh may well have the perfect binocular for you, but do take your time in deciding. Once your optical boxes are ticked, you might find things like weight, focus smoothness and balance might actually be more important. Keep an open mind. You might just decide that the Nikon Monarch HG is just what you've been looking for after all.

Good luck,

David
Hi David,

Having several binoculars doesn't really appeal to me, although if I keep reading this forum, I'll probably end up with more than I bargained for! I really want an excellent general purpose binocular, one that will work side by side with my scope, but also be fantastic just by itself.
I'm heading into Viking Optical on the first weekend of July. There's a few extra ones I want to try now but I won't be buying on my first visit. I'll go back after I've had time to absorb them all, then probably make my purchase.

Quote:
Originally Posted by denco@comcast.n View Post
Here is a nice comparison of the Zeiss 8x42 SF and the Swarovision 8.5x42 and a good thread on them from Bird Forum. Both fine binoculars. Really a matter of personal taste. You can't go wrong with either. Just test the focus on the Swarovision. If you really like a smooth focus and glare control is important to you and you like a big FOV and you prefer a lighter feeling binocular get the Zeiss SF. The Zeiss 8x42 SF does have a noticeably larger AFOV than the Swarovision 8.5x42.

http://www.greatestbinoculars.com/al...orysf8x42.html

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=301412
Thanks Denco, your posts have been helpful and given me food for thought. I certainly now know what to check for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alan kennedy View Post
Couldn't agree more. Keep your powder dry until BF in August. Make a weekend of it and try the lot and more. I bought my two top end bins at Rutland and got very good deals too.

Good luck!

Alan
Hi Alan, are the prices cheaper at the Bird Fair? It seems to me most retailers price match one another, so for example I haven't seen the 8.5x42 SV any cheaper than 1799.99

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Originally Posted by Troubador View Post
Hi Dan

I have just returned from 3 weeks nature observing down in the Languedoc in the south of France and as well as visiting the local causses and rivers and wetlands also went to the Pyrenees, Alps and Vercors. This was our 6th visit to the region.

I took an SF 8x42 and Conquest HD 8x32 but mostly used the Conquest. Why? Because we are interested in insects like butterflies and dragonflies as well as birds, lizards and snakes and fish and everything else that can appear suddenly at a short distance while in habitats where birds like Harriers and Bee-eaters and Rollers can also suddenly pop up but much further away. So for me these habitats demand a wide field of view and a fast acting focuser. The Conquest has these and excels at this job. The optical quality is excellent but if you want better and with a focuser that is very nearly as fast then go for Zeiss's FL 8x32.

The SF is definitely a step up in optical quality and I enjoyed it every evening from our veranda but it's focus speed is not up to the demands that I need in the south of France. Back in the Western Isles and Inner Islands of Scotland which are our second home, the SF excels with its wide field of view and precise focuser that make it easy to grab eagles and otters and everything else. If you really insist on a 42 for your French holidays then I will put a vote in for the SF 8x42 as its wide field of view is fantastic and gives you great opportunities to grab not only zooming dragonflies but circling eagles and alpine swifts and so on. Its wide FOV would make it a great spotter for your scope too.

Good luck

Lee
Hi Lee,

It sounds like we enjoy the same type of holiday, as I spend as much time looking for reptiles, amphibians and insects, as I do birds.
I don't think an 8x32 would work for me. I actually use my bins in low light fairly regularly, especially as I now have beavers living and breeding not too far from me.
I will be trying the SFs again, maybe the FOV will win me over, but until I can get to Viking Optical, I'll just need to keep reading reviews.
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