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Nikon 8x32 SE review - vs. Habicht and Swarovision

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Old Saturday 8th March 2014, 09:29   #1
Tobias Mennle
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Nikon 8x32 SE review - vs. Habicht and Swarovision

After 9 months of using them side by side with a Habicht 8x30W and the SV8x32 I decided to publish my review honoring these fine and now discontinued bins.

http://www.tmfilmpro.com/alleseiten/...kon8x32se.html


In Germany SEs seem discontinued and prices for the 8x32 have gone up considerably.

In my opinion a good copy of the SE will remain a superb almost state of the art glass for years to come, because they are the sharpest, donīt have RG, and a transmission boost of 5% as with the latest Zeiss will not be really visible, as we discern brightness changes in a logarithmic, not in a linear fashion. The SEs are not very much behind the SV, in some fields they are even better, and for a fraction of the price.
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Old Saturday 8th March 2014, 12:08   #2
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Tobias:

Thanks for the review, I found it very well written and I enjoyed it.

Jerry
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Old Saturday 8th March 2014, 14:39   #3
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Originally Posted by Tobias Mennle View Post
After 9 months of using them side by side with a Habicht 8x30W and the SV8x32 I decided to publish my review honoring these fine and now discontinued bins.

http://www.tmfilmpro.com/alleseiten/...kon8x32se.html


In Germany SEs seem discontinued and prices for the 8x32 have gone up considerably.

In my opinion a good copy of the SE will remain a superb almost state of the art glass for years to come, because they are the sharpest, donīt have RG, and a transmission boost of 5% as with the latest Zeiss will not be really visible, as we discern brightness changes in a logarithmic, not in a linear fashion. The SEs are not very much behind the SV, in some fields they are even better, and for a fraction of the price.
I have had all three of the binoculars you reviewed and compared them directly. The Habicht 8x30 is short on ER and has small hard uncomfortable eyecups and a TIGHT focus wheel and everytime you use it you get grease spots on the eyepieces from your eyebrows. The Habicht is a very user UNFRIENDLY binocular. I compared the SE to my Swarovision and it took me about a half hour to deicide which one to keep. The SE went on Ebay. You say the SE has SHARPER edges than the Swarovision! That is ridiculous. There is no way the SE has sharper edges than the SV. I would say the ONLY area where the SE is better than the SV is glare control. Any other area and the SV is superior. Brightness, contrast and sharpness the SV beats the SE. The roof gives you a much better close up view of the bird than the porro's do also. It converges the image better. The SE was a good old porro but it beaten by the new alpha's and that is why it is fading away. It is not waterproof or dustproof either. Did you know that from the bellow action of the tubes going in and out when you focus it pulls dust into the optics. Any older SE will have dust INSIDE of it and you will notice it won't perform like a new SE.
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Old Saturday 8th March 2014, 14:59   #4
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A well constructed and insightful review from a new member and Dennis has to put them down because he feels differently.

Tobias spent 9 months comparing them not half an hour.

Look forward to more from you Tobias.

John.
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Old Saturday 8th March 2014, 15:07   #5
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A well constructed and insightful review from a new member and Dennis has to put them down because he feels differently.
So Dennis is still around, is he? Well, he puts everyone down who doesn't agree with him. Nothing new here.

Funnily he sometimes even puts himself down when posting stuff that contradicts things he wrote only a few months ago.

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Old Saturday 8th March 2014, 15:39   #6
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A well constructed and insightful review from a new member and Dennis has to put them down because he feels differently.

Tobias spent 9 months comparing them not half an hour.

Look forward to more from you Tobias.

John.
I am not putting the the SE down. I am expressing my opinion. I had the SE and SV together for over a year and used them birding. I meant it only took me a half hour of direct comparison to see which one I liked better. I am not the only one that feels the SV is a better binocular. But I am sorry when somebody says the SE has better edges than the SV that is just wrong. This guy says he likes the SE better and I like the SV. Just a difference of opinion. Both good binoculars but the SV has won in the marketplace so the majority have decided which one shall survive.
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Old Saturday 8th March 2014, 15:52   #7
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Superb review, Tobias. Iīve owned all three, and kept only the SE, for most of the reasons you mention. I found flare in the SV and Habicht in low-light back-lit
situations sufficiently annoying to put me off them, and the focusser of the Habicht was tough. Some people claim that the Habicht ER isnīt enough. It must be the shape of my eye-sockets, but I found that I needed to hold my eyes even further away from the eyecups edges to get a full FOV. Very odd.
Okay, the SEīs arenīt waterproof, and maybe one day dust will get in, but if that happens, Iīll simply send them to England for cleaning.
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Old Saturday 8th March 2014, 16:07   #8
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I have had all three of the binoculars you reviewed and compared them directly. The Habicht 8x30 is short on ER and has small hard uncomfortable eyecups and a TIGHT focus wheel and everytime you use it you get grease spots on the eyepieces from your eyebrows. The Habicht is a very user UNFRIENDLY binocular. I compared the SE to my Swarovision and it took me about a half hour to deicide which one to keep. The SE went on Ebay. You say the SE has SHARPER edges than the Swarovision! That is ridiculous. There is no way the SE has sharper edges than the SV. I would say the ONLY area where the SE is better than the SV is glare control. Any other area and the SV is superior. Brightness, contrast and sharpness the SV beats the SE. The roof gives you a much better close up view of the bird than the porro's do also. It converges the image better. The SE was a good old porro but it beaten by the new alpha's and that is why it is fading away. It is not waterproof or dustproof either. Did you know that from the bellow action of the tubes going in and out when you focus it pulls dust into the optics. Any older SE will have dust INSIDE of it and you will notice it won't perform like a new SE.
So your opinion, Dennis, is that Tobias's review is "ridiculous?"
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Old Saturday 8th March 2014, 16:14   #9
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Superb review, Tobias. Iīve owned all three, and kept only the SE, for most of the reasons you mention. I found flare in the SV and Habicht in low-light back-lit
situations sufficiently annoying to put me off them, and the focusser of the Habicht was tough. Some people claim that the Habicht ER isnīt enough. It must be the shape of my eye-sockets, but I found that I needed to hold my eyes even further away from the eyecups edges to get a full FOV. Very odd.
Okay, the SEīs arenīt waterproof, and maybe one day dust will get in, but if that happens, Iīll simply send them to England for cleaning.
We pretty much agree Sancho. The flare is worse in the SV but to me other things make up for it. The SE is a good binocular. It comes down to if you prefer the porro or the roof view. What I meant on the Habicht 8x30 is the eyecups are too short for the ER. So I was like you holding them back from my eyes. A PIA. The SE does have some of the best flare control I have seen but there are thing I prefer about the SV.
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Old Saturday 8th March 2014, 16:17   #10
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So your opinion, Dennis, is that Tobias's review is "ridiculous?"
NO. It is an excellent review. I just disagree that the SE has sharper edges than the SV. The SE does have SHARP edges but not quite as sharp as the SV. The SE DOES have better flare control than the SV and ,as far as, birding the SE is easier to use than the Habicht. On-axis the Habicht is sensational optically. I know where he is coming from. This is a VERY interesting review because IMO these three binoculars have probably the best optics of any binoculars ever made. The two best porro's and perhaps the best roof. VERY INTERESTING what his take was on these three. The Habicht is kind of a PIA to use but optically on-axis it is amazing. The first time I put one to my eyes I was amazed how CLEAR they are.

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Old Saturday 8th March 2014, 16:26   #11
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Superb review, Tobias. Iīve owned all three, and kept only the SE, for most of the reasons you mention. I found flare in the SV and Habicht in low-light back-lit
situations sufficiently annoying to put me off them, and the focusser of the Habicht was tough. Some people claim that the Habicht ER isnīt enough. It must be the shape of my eye-sockets, but I found that I needed to hold my eyes even further away from the eyecups edges to get a full FOV. Very odd.
Okay, the SEīs arenīt waterproof, and maybe one day dust will get in, but if that happens, Iīll simply send them to England for cleaning.
Sancho, I still haven't been able to duplicate the flare that you were seeing with the sv.
I will keep trying, Iwant to figure out where it comes from.
Bryce...
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Old Saturday 8th March 2014, 16:34   #12
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Superb review, Tobias. Iīve owned all three, and kept only the SE, for most of the reasons you mention. I found flare in the SV and Habicht in low-light back-lit
situations sufficiently annoying to put me off them, and the focusser of the Habicht was tough. Some people claim that the Habicht ER isnīt enough. It must be the shape of my eye-sockets, but I found that I needed to hold my eyes even further away from the eyecups edges to get a full FOV. Very odd.
Okay, the SEīs arenīt waterproof, and maybe one day dust will get in, but if that happens, Iīll simply send them to England for cleaning.
One question for you Sancho. Was the glare the deal breaker on the SV or did the fact that the SV cost 4x as much as the SE play a part in your decision to keep the SE? I agree that the SV is not 4x better then the SE so I was just wondering if the price was a factor in your decision.
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Old Saturday 8th March 2014, 18:59   #13
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I would not dare to generalize, but with my samples: Yes, the SE has "sharper edges". Not that I like that, in fact I make quite a bit of discussion in my review and hail Swarovski for their nicer sharpness. But yes, my sample of the SE makes me feel a bit ashamed of the SV, and my sample is from the Swarovski test pool.

Sample variation and variations in taste do exist...
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Old Saturday 8th March 2014, 19:23   #14
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Nice review.
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Old Saturday 8th March 2014, 19:53   #15
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Sancho, I still haven't been able to duplicate the flare that you were seeing with the sv.
I will keep trying, Iwant to figure out where it comes from.
Bryce...
I think maybe youīll have to come to an Irish atlantic island in lousy weather, with precipitation that varies from mist to drizzle to downpour. Maybe I was being overly nit-picky. In all other conditions the SV were superb.

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
One question for you Sancho. Was the glare the deal breaker on the SV or did the fact that the SV cost 4x as much as the SE play a part in your decision to keep the SE? I agree that the SV is not 4x better then the SE so I was just wondering if the price was a factor in your decision.
Unfortunately, Dennis, Iīm not that sensible. Cost has never been an issue in my optics-obsession, and what I save in driving a beat-up 12'year old Hyundai and wearing twenty-year old boots, I splash on glass. In 1st yr Economics in Uni when I was 19, we studied a person called "the informed consumer", who makes "rational choices". I donīt think many of us on this sub-forum are open to such calumny!

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Old Saturday 8th March 2014, 19:58   #16
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I think maybe youīll have to come to an Irish atlantic island in lousy weather, with precipitation that varies from mist to drizzle to downpour. Maybe I was being overly nit-picky. In all other conditions the SV were superb.



Unfortunately, Dennis, Iīm not that sensible. Cost has never been an issue in my optics-obsession, and what I save in driving a beat-up 12'year old Hyundai and wearing twenty-year old boots, I splash on glass. In 1st yar Economics in Uni when I was 19, we studied a person called "the informed consumer", who makes "rational choices". I donīt think many of us on this sub-forum are open to such calumny!

Sancho:

You have earned my respect. Having a fling and a roundabout,
and now back to your true love.

You have good taste sir.

Jerry
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Old Saturday 8th March 2014, 23:20   #17
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Originally Posted by Tobias Mennle View Post
After 9 months of using them side by side with a Habicht 8x30W and the SV8x32 I decided to publish my review honoring these fine and now discontinued bins.

http://www.tmfilmpro.com/alleseiten/...kon8x32se.html


In Germany SEs seem discontinued and prices for the 8x32 have gone up considerably.

In my opinion a good copy of the SE will remain a superb almost state of the art glass for years to come, because they are the sharpest, donīt have RG, and a transmission boost of 5% as with the latest Zeiss will not be really visible, as we discern brightness changes in a logarithmic, not in a linear fashion. The SEs are not very much behind the SV, in some fields they are even better, and for a fraction of the price.
Tobias,

Congratulations on writing terrific reviews that give the reader a real sense of experience with the products. Well done!

Ed
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Old Saturday 8th March 2014, 23:59   #18
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Yes. Excellent review. Nice pictures. I think you picked three of the best binoculars optically in the world to review. I especially liked your explanation of why the Habicht and Swarovision seemed to have a little something better about them.

" But the Swaros have the glow of even better glass - be it superior light transmission, be it a more balanced MTF performance, I donīt really know why. The Nikon lacks the vividness, the directness, the magic sparkle of the Habicht. I admit this will be a subtlety to most users, but it is my personal main quarrel with the Nikon."

I really think that is the Swaro glass and coatings which are really,really good. I have noticed that on their whole binocular line and it is one reason they are so expensive. Some other drawbacks of the SE just to consider.

Originally Posted by Kammerdiner View Post
The 8x32 SE is, for me, "long in the tooth" for the following reasons:

1) Rubber fold down eyecups. Heaven forbid you try to share an SE with someone who doesn't wear glasses (I do, my wife doesn't). The SE's got left behind many times for that reason alone. In addition I had to fold the cups down halfway to get the eye relief right, and twiddle with them a few times in the course of an afternoon. This leads to:

2) That finicky blackout-prone eyepiece. It seems half the users or more have an issue with it. I did, especially if I was in a hurry to get on a bird.

3) Not waterproof. The SE's got left behind at times for this reason too, although I was somewhat overprotective.

4) No hydrophobic, easy-to-clean coatings. Those coatings work.

5) Field of view. The 8x32 SV, for instance, has an extra 33 feet of it.

6) Price. $700-800 is too high for the SE. I paid $500 in, I believe, 2009 for a 550. Brand-new. What happened?

7) The 3D view was of little consequence to me and not a selling point.

8) Poor close focus because of widely spaced objectives.

I had the 8x32 SE for two years but I ended up selling it and I wouldn't really want another. The 8x32 SV solves every issue mentioned above--except price of course.

Just my experience,
Mark

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Old Sunday 9th March 2014, 01:26   #19
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NO. It is an excellent review. I just disagree that the SE has sharper edges than the SV. The SE does have SHARP edges but not quite as sharp as the SV. The SE DOES have better flare control than the SV and ,as far as, birding the SE is easier to use than the Habicht. On-axis the Habicht is sensational optically. I know where he is coming from. This is a VERY interesting review because IMO these three binoculars have probably the best optics of any binoculars ever made. The two best porro's and perhaps the best roof. VERY INTERESTING what his take was on these three. The Habicht is kind of a PIA to use but optically on-axis it is amazing. The first time I put one to my eyes I was amazed how CLEAR they are.
Please read carefully, this is what Tobias was writing:


Quote:
... In some respect, the Swarovision cannot compare either: Although it impresses with a much wider field of view, it also has a weird distortion and steep drop in resolution at about 90% of the image circle which the Nikon has not ...

The feature he describes here is the well known Absam ring.

Cheers,
Holger
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Old Sunday 9th March 2014, 08:31   #20
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3D for me and others is a big thing. I have 3 severe problems with the SV that IMO Swarovski should tackle in future models:

Glare/flare/ghosting. There is the tendency for a strong glare in the periphery which even the Habicht does not have. If I need to scan for animals on a backlit slope Iīll definitely be better with the SE.

The Rolling Globe. Maybe itīs not rolling globe, but this weird weird distortion which is the trade off for this kind of wide angle edge performance. It does make panning painful IMO. The SE is plain perfect.

A very rough and low friction focusing. Iīm sure the service could fix it though.

The SV seems to be very successful, and it is an impressive glass, but Iīd prefer a more "balanced" performance.

Anyway I feel the price for the SE was very adequate, but I grant the Habicht and will work more reliable for decades.
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Old Sunday 9th March 2014, 08:50   #21
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Year ago I had older 8x32 SE /but older one maybe 503xxx, I donīt remind exactly/ and I compared it to 8,5x42 EL SV /also older one 7948XXXX.../, and what I found difference was that SV has more white image, slightly brighter /in sunny day/, and clearer view with better contrast, also SE sometimes caused blackouts. Also edge sharpness of SV was better in last ~10% of FOV. Centre sharpness of SE was very high comparable to SV, but 0,5x difference provide better resolution when watching road signs at ~1km.
SE was also very good for stargazing despite its small lens diameter, it also controll CA very well and it was my favourite binocular which I used during walks with dog.
But later I sold it to friend for price which was very unfavorable for me /150€ - in Slovakia it is problematic to sell it, because there are not many birders, and hunters community buy only larger than x50 binoculars/ and I bought demo of Trino-BN 8x42 (300€), mainly due to its durability, and better low-light performance.

Now I sorrow for my old SE, because it was legend between binoculars, and with discontinue of its manufacture its value can rise, because on the market there are no small porroīs comparable to SE in terms of quality, if I do not count Habichts.

Best regards Kestrel

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Old Sunday 9th March 2014, 14:30   #22
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Year ago I had older 8x32 SE /but older one maybe 503xxx, ......
But later I sold it to friend for price which was very unfavorable for me /150€ - in Slovakia it is problematic to sell it, because there are not many birders, and hunters community buy only larger than x50 binoculars/ and I bought demo of Trino-BN 8x42 (300€), mainly due to its durability, and better low-light performance.

Now I sorrow for my old SE, because it was legend between binoculars, and with discontinue of its manufacture its value can rise, because on the market there are no small porroīs comparable to SE in terms of quality, if I do not count Habichts.

Best regards Kestrel

In 2000 I was offered the Nikon 8x32 SE for US$475/- at a New York retail store which generously let me choose from three samples. It was clearly sharper and brighter than the Pentax 8x42 WP ($325) which I bouht eventually. THe Nikon was clearly better but was it $150 better? I did not think so at the time but now I do.
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Old Sunday 9th March 2014, 15:23   #23
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Please read carefully, this is what Tobias was writing:





The feature he describes here is the well known Absam ring.

Cheers,
Holger
Hmm. That is what that is called. I have noticed it on my SV although it is very subtle.
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Old Sunday 9th March 2014, 15:25   #24
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Year ago I had older 8x32 SE /but older one maybe 503xxx, I donīt remind exactly/ and I compared it to 8,5x42 EL SV /also older one 7948XXXX.../, and what I found difference was that SV has more white image, slightly brighter /in sunny day/, and clearer view with better contrast, also SE sometimes caused blackouts. Also edge sharpness of SV was better in last ~10% of FOV. Centre sharpness of SE was very high comparable to SV, but 0,5x difference provide better resolution when watching road signs at ~1km.
SE was also very good for stargazing despite its small lens diameter, it also controll CA very well and it was my favourite binocular which I used during walks with dog.
But later I sold it to friend for price which was very unfavorable for me /150€ - in Slovakia it is problematic to sell it, because there are not many birders, and hunters community buy only larger than x50 binoculars/ and I bought demo of Trino-BN 8x42 (300€), mainly due to its durability, and better low-light performance.

Now I sorrow for my old SE, because it was legend between binoculars, and with discontinue of its manufacture its value can rise, because on the market there are no small porroīs comparable to SE in terms of quality, if I do not count Habichts.

Best regards Kestrel
I agree with everything you said. We are as they say on the same page.
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Old Sunday 9th March 2014, 15:33   #25
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Now I sorrow for my old SE, because it was legend between binoculars, and with discontinue of its manufacture its value can rise, because on the market there are no small porroīs comparable to SE in terms of quality, if I do not count Habichts.

Best regards Kestrel
You can still get an EII 8x30, Kestrel! I switch between my SE and my EII, and although there are differences, they are equally superb binoculars, and very similar. Some days I prefer the EII. There is a secret society of Birdforum members who know how to source a pair at a a great price from a dealer in Hong Kong. Itīs a bit like the Freemasons - you join by application, with the magic question "Can anyone PM me the email address of the guy in HK who can sell EIIīs?"

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