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Nikon M7s 8x30 vs Vortex Viper HD 8x32 Opinions Please

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Old Friday 22nd May 2020, 16:33   #1
stefangaschott
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Nikon M7s 8x30 vs Vortex Viper HD 8x32 Opinions Please

Hi there,

I've been sifting through opinions on inexpensive mid size roof prism binos particularly Nikon M7s 8x30, Vortex Viper HD 8x32, and maybe Maven B3 8x30 (but getting a bit pricey for me as a secondary pair of binos) I have an MIJ Viper 8x42 which I like and bring with me everywhere (especially now), but I'm looking into a smaller/lighter set for the times when I go out thinking I'm not going to be birding, but inevitably end up birding. I have found a lot of what folks on birforum have shared to be helpful, but would appreciate a more direct comparison between the Nikon and Vortex in particular (if such a comparison exists elsewhere on the forum please direct me there). Also, I decided to try out the Vortex Diamondback HD 8x32 but was disappointed with their performance due to my glasses. Without glasses and the eyecups extended they're pretty clear for the price (I'm not looking for miracles), but with glasses, I find the image looks small to me with a large portion of what I see being the black housing of the eyepiece (i hope I described that clearly enough). When I compare the Diamondbacks to my Vipers or Eagle Optics Rangers, the diameter of the ocular lens looks tiny! is this why the image through the binoculars looks small to me? I have never experienced this with any of the handful of binos I've used over the years. Any thoughts you could share with me on this would be great. Perhaps important to note: My vision is bad enough that birding without glasses is not an option for me. Thanks,

~Stefan
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Old Friday 22nd May 2020, 17:10   #2
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As far as I know the Vortex Viper HD 8x32 has been discontinued. It would be my choice if you can find one especially a MIJ sample . Of your other pick's I would go with the Nikon M7 8x30. I had the Maven B3 8x30 and I don't think it was any better than the M7 and the M7 is less expensive. You can compare the binoculars in Allbino's under 8x32's here.

https://www.allbinos.com/allbinos_ra...king-8x32.html
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Old Friday 22nd May 2020, 17:19   #3
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Thanks,

Yes sadly they don't make the Viper in any small configurations anymore, but I'm not in any rush to get them so if I decide that is the best option to fit my needs I can bide my time and wait for a used one to come along. And thank you for the allbinos link.

~Stefan
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Old Friday 22nd May 2020, 18:46   #4
giosblue
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I have the Nikon M7 8x30 and I really like them. I also have Vortex Razors. The Razors are better, but your not missing out on anything with the M7 8x30.
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Old Friday 22nd May 2020, 18:55   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stefangaschott View Post
Hi there,

Also, I decided to try out the Vortex Diamondback HD 8x32 but was disappointed with their performance due to my glasses. Without glasses and the eyecups extended they're pretty clear for the price (I'm not looking for miracles), but with glasses, I find the image looks small to me with a large portion of what I see being the black housing of the eyepiece (i hope I described that clearly enough).
~Stefan
I think you described insufficient eye relief, which is important figure with glasses.

I have Monarch 8x30 and it's very nice binocular, but it has eye relief of 15mm, which is too low for me to be used with glasses, but fortunately I use binos without my glasses on.
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Old Friday 22nd May 2020, 20:38   #6
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Indeed the M7 8x30 is right on the border for glasses wearers. I can use it, but have to press it into my glasses, and my glasses into my face, a bit firmly in order to see the whole field of view. Of course this depends on your face and glasses and prescription, but as I said, it seems to be borderline or unusable for many.

The M7 8x30 is one of four binoculars that are all more or less from the same optical formula and are presumed to all be made by the same OEM producer. Those four are - M7 8x30, Opticron Traveller BGA ED 8x32, Kite Lynx 8x30 (little availability in the US), and Maven B3 8x30. There are many opinions that the Maven and Kite are a bit better (better parts spec'd, presumably) than the other two, but there are also opinions that they are indistinguishable. I tried the Opticron and it does have a tiny bit more eye relief available than the Monarch, and is widely available in the US, so that might be a consideration if the price is comparable.

I've never seen the 8x32 Viper HD, can't comment there.

Another popular recent entry in roughly the same price/size range are the new Kowa BD II XD series. Lots of opinions to be found in the Kowa subforum.

The Sightron Blue Sky 8x32 is also frequently mentioned for its performance and value - I've never seen one in person, just mentioning it for its popularity here.

Good luck.
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Old Friday 22nd May 2020, 21:25   #7
stefangaschott
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Royfinn View Post
I think you described insufficient eye relief, which is important figure with glasses.

I have Monarch 8x30 and it's very nice binocular, but it has eye relief of 15mm, which is too low for me to be used with glasses, but fortunately I use binos without my glasses on.
Thanks for the input,

I wondered if that was the infamous eye relief issue for eyeglass wearers. I just checked the specs on my 8x42 which has a listed eye relief of 20mm. The funny thing is, I have to use those with the eye cups up one click! The 15-16 mm range of eye relief I see on many of the ~32mm models I'm researching doesn't seem like it should be that big of a difference. The aforementioned Diamondback 8x32s state 16mm eye relief. Does the diameter of the ocular lens have anything to do with this problem? It is noticeably smaller on the Diamondbacks than on any other binocular I've spent time looking through.

Maybe I should think about contact lenses...
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Old Friday 22nd May 2020, 21:47   #8
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Hi,

there is an old saying among optics nerds about eyepieces:

Wide apparent field of view, long eye relief, compact eyepiece - choose any two!

This can be proven with a simple exercise in geometry.

Apparent field of view means the ratio between image and black rim you see, the eye relief is the maximum distance between the eyelens and your eye and if it is too short, a user with glasses will not be able to see the whole field of view 15mm is borderline - might work for some users with glasses but not for most - 18mm like your Viper 8x42 is usually fine.

Unfortunately long eye relief compact bins are a bit rare - see above for reasons. And those that do exist either have a very narrow field of view or are on the chunkier side of their class.

All the examples mentioend above have a fairly short eye relief and fairly wide field and will probably not work too well with glasses. My recommendation would be the new Opticron Explorer WA ED-R 8x32, which has a medium field for a 8x32 and 18mm of eye relief. See the link below for a review. All other 8x32 models with good eye relief I know have either very narrow fields or are not availble new and/or expensive.

https://www.birdforum.net/showthread...08#post3980308

Joachim
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Old Friday 22nd May 2020, 22:50   #9
stefangaschott
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jring View Post
Hi,

there is an old saying among optics nerds about eyepieces:

Wide apparent field of view, long eye relief, compact eyepiece - choose any two!

This can be proven with a simple exercise in geometry.

Apparent field of view means the ratio between image and black rim you see, the eye relief is the maximum distance between the eyelens and your eye and if it is too short, a user with glasses will not be able to see the whole field of view 15mm is borderline - might work for some users with glasses but not for most - 18mm like your Viper 8x42 is usually fine.

Unfortunately long eye relief compact bins are a bit rare - see above for reasons. And those that do exist either have a very narrow field of view or are on the chunkier side of their class.

All the examples mentioend above have a fairly short eye relief and fairly wide field and will probably not work too well with glasses. My recommendation would be the new Opticron Explorer WA ED-R 8x32, which has a medium field for a 8x32 and 18mm of eye relief. See the link below for a review. All other 8x32 models with good eye relief I know have either very narrow fields or are not availble new and/or expensive.

https://www.birdforum.net/showthread...08#post3980308

Joachim
This is very helpful, thank you!
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Old Friday 22nd May 2020, 23:06   #10
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The previous MiJ Viper HD 8x32 is an absolute gem, if you can find it for $350ish used its a terrific value. Very bright, very sharp, much wider FOV than the 42mm Vipers. Compact and light, and no hassle buying used because of the Vortex warranty. It’s one of the bins I most regret selling as it really checks a lot of boxes for what a good, moderately priced 8x32 should be.

I also had the M7 8x30 for years and it’s excellent optically - bright and sharp with an even wider FoV. The Viper however beats it in terms of apparent sweet spot size, color fringing, and especially glare control. The M7 8x30 has a real issue with veiling glare crescents that obscure significant portions of the exit pupil and especially can be a real problem in difficult light. I also found it a bit finicky in terms of eye placement in general. These ergonomic and glare issues really ruined them for me, although YMMV.

On the plus side the M7 is smaller and lighter than the Viper. For me that was not a benefit as it is really on the border of being too small for me to use comfortably as an everyday device. It does have smooth focus knob typical of Nikon. And they are really quite good optically for the money (when bright crescents are not blocking the view).

For me though the Viper is the clear winner. Those MiJ Viper HDs are great glass and the 8x32 is one of the best of the series with its excellent FoV. The newer Vipers are dimmer than the MiJ models and while they have a wider FoV, as noted that’s less of an issue on the 8x32.

Unfortunately i can’t comment on use with glasses.

If you can squeeze a little more out of the piggy bank, you can find a used Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 or Meopta Meostar / Cabelas Euro HD for a few hundred more. I got a used Euro HD 8x32 for under $500 on eBay and it’s an absolutely fabulous little binocular. The Conquest is beloved by many and has good eye relief for an 8x32.

Last edited by eitanaltman : Friday 22nd May 2020 at 23:08.
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Old Saturday 23rd May 2020, 00:05   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eitanaltman View Post
The previous MiJ Viper HD 8x32 is an absolute gem, if you can find it for $350ish used its a terrific value. Very bright, very sharp, much wider FOV than the 42mm Vipers. Compact and light, and no hassle buying used because of the Vortex warranty. Itís one of the bins I most regret selling as it really checks a lot of boxes for what a good, moderately priced 8x32 should be.

I also had the M7 8x30 for years and itís excellent optically - bright and sharp with an even wider FoV. The Viper however beats it in terms of apparent sweet spot size, color fringing, and especially glare control. The M7 8x30 has a real issue with veiling glare crescents that obscure significant portions of the exit pupil and especially can be a real problem in difficult light. I also found it a bit finicky in terms of eye placement in general. These ergonomic and glare issues really ruined them for me, although YMMV.

On the plus side the M7 is smaller and lighter than the Viper. For me that was not a benefit as it is really on the border of being too small for me to use comfortably as an everyday device. It does have smooth focus knob typical of Nikon. And they are really quite good optically for the money (when bright crescents are not blocking the view).

For me though the Viper is the clear winner. Those MiJ Viper HDs are great glass and the 8x32 is one of the best of the series with its excellent FoV. The newer Vipers are dimmer than the MiJ models and while they have a wider FoV, as noted thatís less of an issue on the 8x32.

Unfortunately i canít comment on use with glasses.

If you can squeeze a little more out of the piggy bank, you can find a used Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 or Meopta Meostar / Cabelas Euro HD for a few hundred more. I got a used Euro HD 8x32 for under $500 on eBay and itís an absolutely fabulous little binocular. The Conquest is beloved by many and has good eye relief for an 8x32.
WOW! I actually agree with about everything you said!

Nothing wrong with the Monarch 7 8X30s. I've had some a couple+ years. I used them just this past week. Was actually bragging about them to myself. We got sand ALL over it. Take it to the beach and basically everywhere I wouldn't risk with more expensive optics. The view is actually pretty dang good. I like it. I use it with both RayBay eyeglass and Oakley rx sunglasses. Usually u can get it SOMEWHERE for less than $300 which is a pretty good deal!

I also like the Sightron Blue Sky 8X32. Good ER and and nice image. Usually $200 or less. The Terra ED 8X32 isn't a bad binocular when it can be found for around $200-$250. The Meopta Meostar B1 is a nice binocular for $800 ish as is my favorite in this price range, the Zeiss Conquest HD. ALL the above have adequate ER for me for use with eyeglasses.

Has that helped any? Anything specific and any of those and I'll be happy to answer as best I can.
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Old Sunday 24th May 2020, 12:14   #12
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Thank you for all the good suggestions. It's funny to me how I started out looking for a light secondary set of binos and now I find myself actually considering something like the Conquest which I suspect would simply replace my 8x42 Vipers!

Quote:
If you can squeeze a little more out of the piggy bank
My problem is that I can apply this hypothetical at each successive level of the price/quality scale and incrementally drift from budget to alpha.

I need to reel myself back in and refocus on my original intention: I'm looking for a second set of binos that is 1) optically decent, 2) smaller and lighter than my 42mms, and 3) doesn't cost a fortune. I recognize that this may be harder to pull of in the ~32mm class for an eyeglass wearer, but I'm not ready to throw in the towel yet.

I like the idea of the wide field of view that most of the above suggestions tout especially for teaching new birders. The model that I decide on would frequently end up in the hands of one of my students, which brings me to another point you mention:
Quote:
Was actually bragging about them to myself. We got sand ALL over it. Take it to the beach and basically everywhere I wouldn't risk with more expensive optics.
I never hesitate to hand off my Eagle Optics binos to my students because of the sturdy construction and very good warranty. Of the recommendations above, which ones stand out in this respect?

I plan to visit a local shop to look through some of the models recommended so far and see what works well with my glasses.

Thank you so much,

~Stefan
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Old Sunday 24th May 2020, 16:49   #13
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If you can find a pair of Viper HD 8x32 in your budget you will be blown away. They are really great and only marginally inferior to the $800-1000 glass like Conquest HD. Plus the Vortex warranty.

The Monarch 7 is also excellent and exceptionally small and light. The only real serious knock on them is the glare problem (which seems to bother some more than others).

If you prioritize budget I would also echo the Sightron SII 8x32 as being an exceptional value for the money. They aren’t the smallest 8x32 as they have long barrels, but they are very light and the slender barrels and open hinge design means they are easy for small hands to hold. And the open hinge and slender barrels also means they have a very narrow minimum IPD which is good for small faces. I have the Pentax 9x32 clone which IMO is even better, especially ergonomically with a smoother focus knob plus the soft Pentax green rubber armor vs the plasticky Sightron and its “Klingon ridges”. My tiny 8 year old daughter is able to use them comfortably. I got them on eBay for $150 and optically they are WAY above that.
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Old Monday 25th May 2020, 22:25   #14
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From my own research I needed to go to a 8x42 to get the best eye relief with the notable exception of the Swarovski 8x32 EL32 that provides 21mm eye relief.

For binos that I take nearly everywhere I use the Swarovski 10x25 CL pocket Mountain binos. Small enough that even in their case they fit easily in a jacket pocket.
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