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Compare Nikon HG 42 vs Zeiss SF

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Old Tuesday 17th September 2019, 05:13   #1
tenex
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Compare Nikon HG 42 vs Zeiss SF

I've only tried the SF briefly, never seen the HG. There's a 3x price difference, but the HG matches the SF's large FOV and other specs, and is lighter and smaller, so the question arises. Has anyone spent enough time with both to compare them in use?

Edit: I just found Chuck's thread, which is quite detailed, and a couple of others. Assimilating different reports it seems that both HG and SF have about a 70-75% sweet spot, but the outer edges remain sharper on the SF than the HG. Is that about right?

Last edited by tenex : Tuesday 17th September 2019 at 05:50.
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Old Tuesday 17th September 2019, 06:07   #2
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That is what I heard Chuck say too and from memory that is about right. The SF has sharper edges than the HG which agrees with Allbino's tests. Allbino's says the HG handles glare better though than the SF. Pretty important.

https://www.allbinos.com/304-binocul..._SF_10x42.html
https://www.allbinos.com/314-binocul..._HG_10x42.html

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Old Tuesday 17th September 2019, 23:06   #3
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I have both, and the Zeiss SF does amaze in the wide, bright and comfortable view, the balanced handling,
and smooth focuser make it at the top of the heap.

As mentioned the 10x42 Monarch HG is also very good, I find it tops in the midrange offerings, and I have
tried them all.

You can compare specs. all you want, but there are differences in every optic, some of which need some
hands on.

So, to sum things up, both very good binoculars.

Jerry
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Old Wednesday 18th September 2019, 13:26   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenex View Post
I've only tried the SF briefly, never seen the HG. There's a 3x price difference, but the HG matches the SF's large FOV and other specs, and is lighter and smaller, so the question arises. Has anyone spent enough time with both to compare them in use?

Edit: I just found Chuck's thread, which is quite detailed, and a couple of others. Assimilating different reports it seems that both HG and SF have about a 70-75% sweet spot, but the outer edges remain sharper on the SF than the HG. Is that about right?
Best recollection.... Monarch HG about a 70% sweet spot. Of course the definition of "sweet spot" can vary user to user. SFs sweet spot would be much larger. Very much in the ballpark of a SV. FOV of the SF IS actually FLAT and almost all in focus.
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Old Wednesday 18th September 2019, 14:04   #5
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Agree the SF has a “sweet spot” of 95% of the field of view or more for me, at least with my accommodation and / or definition of “sharp.” The HG is notably less. But it probably doesn’t actually make it a worse binocular as you don’t ID birds outside of your centered vision, you just see the motion.

However the SF is clearly superior in most ways. I haven’t used the 42mm HGs enough to comment on glare but the SF can have some glare. Not horrendous, but some. The HG clearly wins on weight/form factor. My two most used bins are the 8x42 SF and 8x30 HG. There is no doubt the SF is the superior bin, but I am also in the camp that the HGs are class leaders in their price point.
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Old Wednesday 18th September 2019, 17:24   #6
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Yes, it seems "definitions of sharp" are going to be relevant. Some have suggested that even the sweet spot of the HG is not as sharp (in fine detail) as that of the SF. Any impressions of that?
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Old Wednesday 18th September 2019, 22:58   #7
David in NC
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I've wanted an SF since they came out based on what I read but I just got to LOOK THROUGH one last week. Dang. Now I REALLY want one. Love my Leica U-vid HD but the SF was noticeably more bright. The overall handling however was the bomb...not just "brightness".
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Old Thursday 19th September 2019, 00:09   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David in NC View Post
I've wanted an SF since they came out based on what I read but I just got to LOOK THROUGH one last week. Dang. Now I REALLY want one. Love my Leica U-vid HD but the SF was noticeably more bright. The overall handling however was the bomb...not just "brightness".

That's what happened to me. I got a memorable 'WOW' view the first time I looked through an 8x42 SF. One reason was that I had just looked through a 10x42 Vanguard EDII prior to it. The combination of a bright, substantially wider field, that was sharper way out towards the edge was almost shocking. it made the Vanguard feel 'fuzzy and vignetted' outside of the center. I had gone into the shop to try out 10x binoculars, but once I saw the view through the SF, I just stopped thinking about 10x for a long time. It was an utterly unfair apples and oranges comparison, but it certainly emphasized the positive qualities of the SF: Bright, sharp, and wide. The eye relief and handling were also excellent. The shop didn't have a 10x42 SF to compare with. I waited about a year, and finally found an 8x42 SF on sale. Great binocular!

On the other hand, the 8x42 MHG is no slouch, and is hard to beat at that price point. Eye relief for me is slightly better with the Zeiss. You could stop with the Nikon and not miss much, imho, but my name is Bill, and I'm a binoholic... ;-)
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Old Thursday 19th September 2019, 00:12   #9
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If Zeiss wanted to correct the glare problem in the SF, the objective would need to be more recessed with better baffling- there by making it even longer, it is already a long glass for an 8X42, light but long.

Andy W.
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Old Friday 20th September 2019, 03:32   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dries1 View Post
If Zeiss wanted to correct the glare problem in the SF, the objective would need to be more recessed with better baffling- there by making it even longer, it is already a long glass for an 8X42, light but long.

Andy W.
Andy. You are correct the Zeiss SF glare problem sounds like it is caused by insufficient baffling. According to Allbinos "If not for that strange slip-up with reflections beyond the eyepiece's diaphragm, most likely caused by a shiny ring inside tubes which aren’t baffled properly by apertures, you would get an instrument optically perfect, an ideal."
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