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Swarovski - odd business policy - near point

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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 03:53   #76
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I agree with the others about close focus. There is not a big call for it, but the mfrs. have a need to compete and this stat seems to require special effort, that may create other issues in the design.

If someone did a survey, there is a very small need for very close focus so you can look at your shoelaces.

There are less than 10 people on Birdforum that express any real need, that I recall.
In all things, there are wants and needs. A very close focus is not a need.
For those inclined, they should have an optic like those mentioned for that task.

Jerry
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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 06:06   #77
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Exactly Jerry,

with those 5-600 dollar saved on the cheapened EL, you should buy a close focus binocular and walk around with 2 binoculars around your neck.

So everyone imediately recognizes you as a 2020 buyer of the far-focusing EL...
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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 07:21   #78
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If someone did a survey, there is a very small need for very close focus so you can look at your shoelaces.
But ... Isn't looking at one's shoelaces what binoculars are all about?

Seriously, (very) close focusing may have detrimental effects on the performance of binoculars, just like eyepieces that are suitable for people who need glasses. For instance, close focusing makes the focusing mechanism more complex and more prone to develop problems, and it makes it more difficult to cut out unwanted reflections because there's less space for baffles.

BTW, I really wonder if the NL could have been shorter and lighter if it weren't for the close focusing.

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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 07:27   #79
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I am one of the people that make use of the close focusing capability of my pre NL, EL Field Pro. I find it useful within my work as an Ecologist when doing surveys. Going down the route of carrying more than one pair of binoculars is not a practical option. I appreciate that that not everyone uses their binoculars in the same way. IMHO the naturalist out there are likely to enjoy and use the close focusing capability.

As has been said this decision is more a financial one made by Swarovski so as not to be producing two products in roughly the same price band. To quote part of the small print on the EL data sheet “We reserve the right to make changes regarding design and delivery”.I think most people assume this to mean improvements being made in performance rather than a down grade in features or performance.

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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 08:16   #80
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I find it useful within my work as an Ecologist when doing surveys. Going down the route of carrying more than one pair of binoculars is not a practical option. I appreciate that that not everyone uses their binoculars in the same way. IMHO the naturalist out there are likely to enjoy and use the close focusing capability.

Neil
Well said Neil.

Sometimes there can be a hint on here that to enjoy the use of a close-focus capability is a kind of nerdy, specialist, esoteric kind of activity. Which seems odd to me when close focus can be used to examine not only the obvious insects such as butterflies and dragonflies but also subjects such as lizards and snakes, fish and newts, fungi and lichens, sea anemones and sea slugs, small mammals and frogs and flowers and much more too.

In the context of this breadth of subject matter and topics of interest, isn't it the case that having only an interest in birds is the narrowly-focused, specialist, esoteric activity? Nothing wrong with that and this is how I started out, and there is nothing wrong with binos being designed for this specialist activity. But it illustrates that binoculars with close focus are suitable for many more activities and far from being specialist instruments are general purpose instruments. I have seen binos being used to examine geological strata on loose cliffs just a metre or so above head height. Climbing would have been possible but only at the risk of boots damaging lower strata.

For me, a close focus capability of around 1.5m, or even up to 2.0m opens up so many avenues of interest, recent examples being: examining a Slow Worm (a legless lizard, looks like a snake) without scaring it away, examining bright orange lumps in the middle of a cascading brook that turned out to be a fungus called Bog Beacon, discovering a Sea Urchin on the west coast of Scotland that is more common in the Mediterranean. I could give many more examples.

If you have binos with a close-focus capability, use it. Give it a try, you've paid for it, why not get as much use and enjoyment out of your binos as possible?

Lee
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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 08:51   #81
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Well said Neil.

Sometimes there can be a hint on here that to enjoy the use of a close-focus capability is a kind of nerdy, specialist, esoteric kind of activity. Which seems odd to me when close focus can be used to examine not only the obvious insects such as butterflies and dragonflies but also subjects such as lizards and snakes, fish and newts, fungi and lichens, sea anemones and sea slugs, small mammals and frogs and flowers and much more too.

In the context of this breadth of subject matter and topics of interest, isn't it the case that having only an interest in birds is the narrowly-focused, specialist, esoteric activity? Nothing wrong with that and this is how I started out, and there is nothing wrong with binos being designed for this specialist activity. But it illustrates that binoculars with close focus are suitable for many more activities and far from being specialist instruments are general purpose instruments. I have seen binos being used to examine geological strata on loose cliffs just a metre or so above head height. Climbing would have been possible but only at the risk of boots damaging lower strata.

For me, a close focus capability of around 1.5m, or even up to 2.0m opens up so many avenues of interest, recent examples being: examining a Slow Worm (a legless lizard, looks like a snake) without scaring it away, examining bright orange lumps in the middle of a cascading brook that turned out to be a fungus called Bog Beacon, discovering a Sea Urchin on the west coast of Scotland that is more common in the Mediterranean. I could give many more examples.

If you have binos with a close-focus capability, use it. Give it a try, you've paid for it, why not get as much use and enjoyment out of your binos as possible?

Lee
Spot on Lee

I to started with bird watching being my main area of interest but if nature observation totally immersive and my equipment is chosen because this can take place both near and far from where you might be standing.

I use my binoculars for things as diverse as bird surveys , inspection of buildings and trees for features which could be use by bats and looking for tracks and signs on river banks to name but a few.

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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 08:59   #82
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But ... Isn't looking at one's shoelaces what binoculars are all about?

Seriously, (very) close focusing may have detrimental effects on the performance of binoculars, just like eyepieces that are suitable for people who need glasses. For instance, close focusing makes the focusing mechanism more complex and more prone to develop problems, and it makes it more difficult to cut out unwanted reflections because there's less space for baffles.

BTW, I really wonder if the NL could have been shorter and lighter if it weren't for the close focusing.

Hermann
Now that would have been an interesting market positioning proposition !

1) leave the EL SV exactly as they are ....
2) introduce the NL with the same Fov/ER equation, but with 'only' a 2m close focus and whatever attendant benefits that may confer - be they weight, complexity/price, glare handling, optical performance, etc.






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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 09:34   #83
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I seem remember reading some where in Swarovski’s EL field pro advertising, the EL being marketed as the “universal distance viewer “which it was before the changes. Ok the changes have happened I feel it’s a shame that they have.However, I do understand the financial and marketing reason why they have been made. I’m just glad I got my EL’s when I did given the price point of the NL. Second hand pre NL, EL field Pro Luke hold their price well.
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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 10:56   #84
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I suspect they didn't want the EL's 1.5m to overshadow the NL's less-than-class-leading 2m (the Victory SF is 1.5m as opposed to the HT's 1.9m). While not a naturalist, I've found the close-focus on the EL useful to watch insects on the ground, and no, I am not 2 meters tall.
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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 11:19   #85
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Originally Posted by Hermann View Post
But ... Isn't looking at one's shoelaces what binoculars are all about?

Seriously, (very) close focusing may have detrimental effects on the performance of binoculars, just like eyepieces that are suitable for people who need glasses. For instance, close focusing makes the focusing mechanism more complex and more prone to develop problems, and it makes it more difficult to cut out unwanted reflections because there's less space for baffles.
...

Hermann
Hello Hermann,

I have been reliably informed that close internal focussing adds to chromatic aberration, which could be avoided by having a "floating" element but that would really complicate things.

Stay safe,
Arthur
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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 14:57   #86
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Hello Hermann,

I have been reliably informed that close internal focussing adds to chromatic aberration, which could be avoided by having a "floating" element but that would really complicate things.

Stay safe,
Arthur
Most likely this goes to show you why we have 'one or the other'.... You have close focus, you lack something else etc. It all simply depends on the trade-offs you want for close focus. I for one, enjoy close focus and if I have some chromatic aberration, I have it. While others go completely nuts as their eyes look for chromatic aberration and can't stand it. So each to their own.
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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 20:35   #87
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Well said Neil.

Sometimes there can be a hint on here that to enjoy the use of a close-focus capability is a kind of nerdy, specialist, esoteric kind of activity. Which seems odd to me when close focus can be used to examine not only the obvious insects such as butterflies and dragonflies but also subjects such as lizards and snakes, fish and newts, fungi and lichens, sea anemones and sea slugs, small mammals and frogs and flowers and much more too.

In the context of this breadth of subject matter and topics of interest, isn't it the case that having only an interest in birds is the narrowly-focused, specialist, esoteric activity? Nothing wrong with that and this is how I started out, and there is nothing wrong with binos being designed for this specialist activity. But it illustrates that binoculars with close focus are suitable for many more activities and far from being specialist instruments are general purpose instruments. I have seen binos being used to examine geological strata on loose cliffs just a metre or so above head height. Climbing would have been possible but only at the risk of boots damaging lower strata.

For me, a close focus capability of around 1.5m, or even up to 2.0m opens up so many avenues of interest, recent examples being: examining a Slow Worm (a legless lizard, looks like a snake) without scaring it away, examining bright orange lumps in the middle of a cascading brook that turned out to be a fungus called Bog Beacon, discovering a Sea Urchin on the west coast of Scotland that is more common in the Mediterranean. I could give many more examples.

If you have binos with a close-focus capability, use it. Give it a try, you've paid for it, why not get as much use and enjoyment out of your binos as possible?

Lee
I like your post Lee.
I'd like to point out that, in this thread, the person who has poo poo'd the need for close focus the most is a hunter, not a birder or naturalist. We are remarkably tolerant of seemingly conflicting points of view here on BIRD FORUM and yet, at times, the hunting crowd can't acknowledge the majority's POV.
I understand that Swaro produces stuff that can be used for both nature study and hunting, but we are birders HERE and birders outnumber hunters generally, so by sheer majority our opinion should count more with Swaro.
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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 20:54   #88
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I was wondering why all those hunters don't actually care about close focus. I was somehow expecting that hunters also take an interest in nature in general and in small animals nearby that can't be shot dead, but maybe not?

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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 21:00   #89
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I was wondering why all those hunters don't actually care about close focus. I was somehow expecting that hunters also take an interest in nature in general and in small animals nearby that can't be shot dead, but maybe not?
Hunter's don't really care about close focus. If your 6 feet away from a Lion your probably too close.
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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 21:10   #90
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Hunter's don't really care about close focus. If your 6 feet away from a Lion your probably too close.
But only for the hunter.
And the lion rejoices on equal opportunities.
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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 21:10   #91
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I like your post Lee.
I'd like to point out that, in this thread, the person who has poo poo'd the need for close focus the most is a hunter, not a birder or naturalist. We are remarkably tolerant of seemingly conflicting points of view here on BIRD FORUM and yet, at times, the hunting crowd can't acknowledge the majority's POV.
I understand that Swaro produces stuff that can be used for both nature study and hunting, but we are birders HERE and birders outnumber hunters generally, so by sheer majority our opinion should count more with Swaro.
Kevin:

We all have our preferences, and that is a good thing. In the US, hunters
purchase more higher end alpha optics than birders do.
Did you know that ?

Jerry
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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 21:24   #92
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I like your post Lee.
I'd like to point out that, in this thread, the person who has poo poo'd the need for close focus the most is a hunter, not a birder or naturalist. We are remarkably tolerant of seemingly conflicting points of view here on BIRD FORUM and yet, at times, the hunting crowd can't acknowledge the majority's POV.
I understand that Swaro produces stuff that can be used for both nature study and hunting, but we are birders HERE and birders outnumber hunters generally, so by sheer majority our opinion should count more with Swaro.

Kevin, I am a birder too, BTW. You and the rest of the buying public do have a very important opinion, and you can broadcast it with your pocketbook. The pocketbook rules, opinions do not.
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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 21:31   #93
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Kevin, I am a birder too, BTW. You and the rest of the buying public do have a very important opinion, and you can broadcast it with your pocketbook. The pocketbook rules, opinions do not.
Agreed....but when the big bino makers are not really tailoring their bins to the 'close focus' crowd, we really have no choice in the manner.

I know when our audubon groups goes out for a walk, we are always pointing out plants insects, frogs....anything on the ground. So I think there is more a 'want' then what Swaro is acknowledging in this case for greater FOV with the NL.
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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 21:41   #94
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Right on Lee, Neil, Kevin and others!

Close focus is very important for most serious birders and nature observers that I know. Here in the SW USA there are many interesting creatures and plants on the ground that deserve a close look with binoculars while sitting on a rock under the shade of a Mesquite tree in the summer heat. Dragonflies and strange water creatures are prolific in the desert streams and springs that are often along the hikes that my partner and I tend to prefer and can be very close by during rest stops.

As someone that really prefers porro prism binoculars I have conceded to the real advantage of roof prism binoculars that offer comfortable and extremely close focus capability.

I find Swarovski’s decision to apply “product differentiation” to the EL vs. the new NL rather remarkable. It would be one thing if the EL were a new product line but to throttle back the close focus performance of an existing product to make the new product more appealing is somewhat stunning. I can assure you that the main challenge of designing a close focus binocular is the difficulty facing the optical design engineer to maintain optical performance and to keep the travel distance of the focusing lens group(s) at a practical minimum. They will have to work hard to achieve those 2 meter or less close focus limits and to keep all the other optical performance parameters within the desired design limits.

More stunning is the Swaro website description of the (latest) EL 8.5X42 W B:
Nature lovers appreciate the unique close-up setting of 3.3 m and the rapid, precise focusing mechanism.

LOL, it’s a “unique” feature now to have 3.3m close focus! Will be interesting when someone compares the old vs new EL. Will the focus be quicker and somehow better?

Last year I purchased the Nikon Monarch HG 8X30 (2.0m close focus) over the Swaro CL 8X30 (3.0m close focus) only because of the difference in close focus limit. I preferred the view through the CL 8X30 but for a compact, lightweight binocular to be used primarily for casual hiking, the close focus difference was most important and the deciding factor. It is now very clear that Swaro limits the close focus of the CL 8X30 to differentiate it from the EL 8X32 which is still listed at 1.9m close focus. (I suppose until they come out with an NL 8x32).

Swarovski clearly understands the user advantage of very close focus limits and uses that as a marketing device to promote their “alpha” binoculars. It probably works well for them. It would have worked on me as I would have purchased the EL 8X32 binocular instead of the Nikon HG 8X30 but several things about the view with the EL 8X32 are unacceptable to me in a +$2K glass. I do look forward to the new Zeiss SF 8X32 to possibly replace the Nikon HG 8X30 for a lightweight and close focus choice.

As I type this, one of our finch feeders is right outside my office window at just about 2m away. I can grab the 6.5X Pentax Papilio for it’s ultra close focus but I much prefer the view with the Nikon HG 8X30 or better still the Noctivid 8X42 which both provide excellent views of the delicate beauty of the Goldfinches and the impressive powerful beaks of the House Finches. I would be disappointed with a $2K birding binocular that would not allow that close focus view.

Having said all this I do admire and respect the engineering and design of the Swarovski line of binoculars and really look forward to seeing the new NL. I have one Swarovski binocular now and the new NL might just become my second one if the performance of the NL justifies the price, not just for the nice close focus ability (2.0m for the 8X and 10X).

Stephanie

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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 21:50   #95
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Kevin, I am a birder too, BTW. You and the rest of the buying public do have a very important opinion, and you can broadcast it with your pocketbook. The pocketbook rules, opinions do not.
Indeed, it seems Swarovski thinks that those caring for close focus are the ones with the big pockets.
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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 21:55   #96
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"The pocketbook rules, opinions do not."

I think this about sums up about everything.

Andy W.
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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 21:57   #97
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Kevin:

,,, In the US, hunters
purchase more higher end alpha optics than birders do.
Did you know that ?

Jerry
Hello Jerry,

The same was told to me by Doug at Cameraland, in NY. Doug also told me that hunters respect bird watchers opinion of optics.

Stay safe,
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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 22:07   #98
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Proof please.

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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 22:41   #99
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It is now very clear that Swaro limits the close focus of the CL 8X30 to differentiate it from the EL 8X32 which is still listed at 1.9m close focus. (I suppose until they come out with an NL 8x32).
I'm not certain, in this case, that it is fair to assume that the close focus is purposefully limited for market differentiation. It might well be the case but it might not. The CL is a very compact bin and there may have genuinely been other design constraints involved. As well, it is arguably in a bit different category being so much smaller than the EL. However it might well steal sales from the EL if it had a better close focus so who knows? It would definitely steal sales from the MHG if it had a better close focus.

However, whatever the reasons in each case, I agree with those who suggest that the EL is now less desirable bin, and that the limited close focus is one of the weakest points of the otherwise lovely CL. Both are fine bins but I wouldn't buy the new 42mm EL in today's market given the competition, and I didn't buy the CL given the competition. Nice bins but they don't tick enough boxes for me.
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Old Monday 6th July 2020, 22:43   #100
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Hello Ed,

Doug did not quote any source, so perhaps he was speaking from his own business experience. Of course, the biggest "game" in New York is the Norway rat. When Cameraland was located on Lexington Avenue, he may have had business from the suburbs and New Yorkers do travel to the woods for truly big game. Gijs certainly sells high priced optics to those who go on safari, even photo safaris.
On the hand, I did meet a "varmint" hunter who was not about to shell out anything resembling a high priced glass.

Perhaps Jerry has a better source for his statement.

Stay safe,
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