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8x32 SV vs 8x42 HT

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Old Saturday 16th February 2013, 18:13   #1
ticl2184
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Wink 8x32 SV vs 8x42 HT

As the HT's slowly arrive in the Uk I took the opportunity to see how my 8x32 Swarovisions (SV's) faired against the 8x HT's.

On this occasion I didn't have to travel 80 miles to get my hands on the HT's. This time I only had to jump on a ferry and travel a few miles to Winchester London Camera Exchange.

I spent a good 2hrs comparing the bino's on a bright late January day.
On this occasion all photos were taken with the camera set at ISO800, 1\250 second shutter speed and F8.0.
Before I am criticised for the accuracy of these images, it should be noted that these photos are not supposed be 100% accurate and withstand scientific scrutiny. They are however unaltered raw images.

BRIGHTNESS.

Strangely my first impressions were that the SV's were brighter than the HT's ? This didn't make much sense as the SV's obviously have a smaller aperture. However as I started to really focus on brightness, and not be fooled by colour, the Zeiss were obviously brighter. They seemed to penetrate areas of shade, almost like a image intensifier.
Judge for yourself. The 2nd larger image is the control, the 3rd the SV's and the 4th the HT's.


CA.

On my previous review I tried to find any CA in the HT's. This time I really tried to find CA in HT's.
Result, try as I might I couldn't find any, even at extreme edge of field. Remarkable. CA in the Swarovski was a lot more noticeable to my eyes.


INTERNAL REFLECTION FROM SIDE LITE SOURCE. Ie The Sun !

On my previous review I couldn't test for milky fogging because of the weather. On this occasion the Sun was low and bright, perfect for testing reflections.
The result was astonishing.
There was literally no internal reflections or milky fogging caused by the Sun that I could find. I almost had to get the Sun in the field of view before any reflections were seen.
In my opinion a 100% improvement over the old FL's and significantly better than the SV's.

INTERNAL REFLECTIONS FROM BRIGHT SOURCE. Ie The moon or streetlights.

The old FL's were very good in this department but incredibly the HT's were even better. Brilliant.
The SV's were much improved in this area over the old EL's but not as good as the Zeiss.


EDGE OF FIELD CLARITY

Just when you think everthings going Zeiss's way the Swarovski fought back. Edge of field clarity of the SV's was unbeatable. The Zeiss was good, not sure if it was better than the old FL though. Strangely edge of field clarity was almost sharp to the edge in the vertical* plane of the HT's, but definatly not in the horizontal.



FIELD OF VIEW

It is usually the case in top end binoculars that the 32mm models have a wider fov than the 42mm so I always thought the Swarovski would be better.
The HT states a fov of 136m with the SV being 141m.
In practice I have yet to see a binocular with a wider fov than the Swarovski SV, It is actually wider and sharper than the old EL.
However, The Zeiss was very, very good indeed. I tested the fov of both on some railings outside the church. Surprisingly the Zeiss was only slightly behind the SV. If the Swarovski genuinely has a fov of 141m,* I would say the Zeiss is nearer to 139m instead of 136.

QUALITY OF FIELD

In this area the Swarovski was the clear winner with bright, sharp, clear images across the field.
I felt that this was the weakest area for the Zeiss. If you have a look at picture 5 which is the SV and image 6 which is the HT you can see more bowing of Tower in image 6.
When viewing this image with the eye, this anomaly is quite significant and annoying. I think its the opposite of a pincushion effect. I'm sure Henry will be able to inform us as to the nature of this curvature.


DEPTH OF FIELD

Both very good, but the SV was slightly better I felt.


ROLLING GLOBE EFFECT

I am a rolling glober. To me the 8x32 SV displays more rolling globe than my 10x42 model. In the case of the Zeiss "rolling globe," is swapped for bending or bowing of the image. Both anamly's are equally annoying to my eyes. So there was no clear winner.


COLOUR

This was another category which I wanted to investigate further from my previous review.
On reflection I think the SV has a more natural rendition of colours. However the Zeiss colour rendition is a vast improvement over the old FL I thought. I think the Zeiss colour could be described as neutral but very bright. The SV could be described as more natural but darker.
Make your own mind up.

CONTRAST

The contrast of the Zeiss was again a significant improvement over the old FL. Instead of merging washed out shades, the Zeiss produced a more natural contrast effect. The SV however was the winner with a greater contrast range.


EYE RELIEF

The HT were good but the SV's were better, 20mm of eye relief produced a more relaxed range of positions the eye could be placed at.


BUILD QUALITY

As before I found the SV build quality everso slightly better than the HT. But only by the smallest amount.


DESIGN

Again the HT was a significant improvement over the old FL, but just the slightest amount behind the SV.


WEIGHT

Obviously the SV was a lot lighter, however I will again state that the HT is remarkably light for a 42mm binocular. Perhaps the lightest I've felt.


FEEL IN HANDS

Again the Zeiss felt great in the hands. But as before the SV's just felt that little bit more secure when holding with one hand.


PRICE

The HT and SV's are very closely matched in this area. However I believe the Zeiss will probably be better value for money when price eventually drops.


BALANCE

Again its a draw. Balance of both binoculars was awesome.


FOCUS

The HT's were as smooth as butter with no variation in focus quality.


AESTHETIC QUALITY

Pretty much a draw. I love the sleak black appearance of the Zeiss but also the compact sand colour of the SV's.


CONCUSIONS

As before its pretty much a draw between the SV and HT. The HT's are brighter have less CA and have pretty much zero internal reflection. The SV are light, feel better in the hand and have better image quality and edge of field resolution.
Colour and contrast of the SV are more natural but are darker than the HT. The HT's colour and contrast are a vast improvement over the FL's. FOV of both is excellent with the HT's probably having a understated fov.
I must say the one thing that annoyed me about the HT's was quality of field with obvious curvature of the field at the edge.

In conclusion, both awesome bino's which are probably meant for different markets.
But I don't think you could go wrong with either.

PS. Have to apologise to Zeiss Uk. Although my order was placed early last year it wasn't passed onto Zeiss until November.
Look forward to receiving my HT's on Tuesday.

Cheers Tim
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Old Saturday 16th February 2013, 18:22   #2
ticl2184
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More images.

The one with the cloud in it is the SV. These relate to quality of field section.

Tim
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Old Saturday 16th February 2013, 18:41   #3
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Hi Tim, Thanks for your thoughts on these excellent binoculars. I notice if you "blow up" both of your post #2 pictures on the left, the Swarovski one has a lot more detail in it. I know it is hard to take pictures this way, so probably just off a little on focus with the Zeiss HT.Forgot say about the obvious pin cushion in the Zeiss as well. BTW very nice job!

Tim I know it takes quite a bit of time setting up and esp. trying to take pictures through the binoculars etc.. It is really appreciated!!

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Old Saturday 16th February 2013, 18:55   #4
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Apologies for any grammatical mistakes in my review. I'll edit them out.

Cheers Tim
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Old Saturday 16th February 2013, 21:22   #5
james holdsworth
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Tim,

Do the HT's retain the central tack-sharpness of the FL? And, would you find the bowing of straight lines to be more pronounced than the FL?
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Old Saturday 16th February 2013, 21:42   #6
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Tim,

Thanks for that blow by blow comparison of the two current "Top of the Pops". What you said about the SV EL looking brighter due to the color balance makes sense, and I've seen the same thing in comparing other bins such as the EII and SE, where the SE should have looked brighter but didn't.

The SV EL's light "curve" is quite flat, while the HT is presumably like "an old widow with an 'ump on her back" (said Michael Caine to Maggie Smith in "California Suite"). No, we haven't seen the HT's light transmission graph yet, but dollars to donuts, it will surely have an even higher 'ump in the middle like the FL's graph to achieve that peak 95% light transmission.

I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head when you wrote: they were probably meant for different markets. Not just the winter "hats on" positioned focuser, but color balance. I will peruse Optics Talk and 24hrcampfire bin forums once the HTs hit the market en masse to see if they gain the traction within the hunting community that Zeiss was hoping for.

The pincushion in the HT looks greater than in my 8x30 EII, more like what I experienced through the ZR 7x36 ED2. Of course, when you take a photo through a camera, you are also getting whatever distortion is in the lens, but that doesn't seem to be much of an issue from looking at the SV EL's photos where straight lines are preserved throughout the image. Nice "static view" but I gather not as nice when the ball starts rolling for us "rolling globe trotters".

Theoretically, RB should be more noticeable in a bin with a larger AFOV, but in this case, both models - 8x32 and 10x42 are the same - 64* AFOV. So that ain't it. Lately, we've had some "rolling globe trotters" say they don't see RB in the 8x32 model, but you do, and more than the 10x42, so that trend just had an "anomalous" data point. Seems like the only way someone who knows he/she is "allergic" to RB is going to know if RB is an issue in the 8x32 SV EL is to try one, because we are all over the place now in terms of RBers who see it and who don't.

You are not the first to mention that the vertical edges are sharper than the horizontal with the HTs. I'd rather it be the other way around since fuzzy edges show up most noticeably at the lateral edges during panning, but for the static view, the vertical sharpness is preferably such as looking at birds on a tube feeder.

"Milky fogging" is a new term to me, but it's an apt term for "veiling glare" since it does "white out" the image. The HT sounds very good in the areas of controlling that and ghosting. ,

Being that I don't like extremes in too distortion - too low or too high - I just might "go wrong" with either one. Maybe the solution is to carry both of them, the SV EL for the static view and the HT for panning. With those two bins hanging around my neck, I'd be worth almost as much as my life insurance policy! Egads.

What makes you think that the HTs will come down in price? Were the FLs priced higher when they came out and the price dropped?

Brock

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Old Sunday 17th February 2013, 08:05   #7
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Great review Tim, job well done.

At only 20 units per day production I don't expect the price of HTs to soften any time soon though.

Let us know when you get your HT.

Lee
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Old Sunday 17th February 2013, 10:58   #8
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Thumbs up

Tim, thanks once again for taking the time to travel, test, logically categorise, photograph, and write up your findings - muchas gracias

Firstly, just to clarify, that "bowed in" look to the vertical lines on the HT is pincushion distortion. That's Zeiss's deliberate design choice in order to have less optical elements causing tr% light losses (no field flattening elements), still retain a decent FOV, and moreorless eliminate any "globe effects" while panning - although there is a balance between rolling "ball" and "bowl" which as even Blind Freddy knows by now, is down to the individual (though you could pretty much sit on the fence at Daytona panning NASCAR's at 200mph with that thing and not get RB!).

The only time I've ever been able to check out an SV was in the big smoke, and while all the straight lines on buildings were wonderful, it probably wasn't such a good indicator of the view out in 'crooked woods' - you may want (from the opposite viewpoint) to cut the HT a similar amount of slack - the pincushioning probably won't be as noticeable to you out in the woods.

Ignore Brock's speculation on transmission curve shapes - he's already been shown, and told 5 times that the 'leaked' half tr% curve shows an 'FL type' peak about the green, compared to the SV's lower, but 'Table Mountain' type flatter curve. I think there's still some revealin' to be done with the HT's final production unit shape of the curve - Just go with what your eyes tell you.

Finally, the dof verdict keeps on surprising - design wise you'd think the HT would be kickin' it - apparently not. Good job again - keep us posted ......


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Old Sunday 17th February 2013, 11:12   #9
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Originally Posted by Chosun Juan View Post
Tim, thanks once again for taking the time to travel, test, logically categorise, photograph, and write up your findings - muchas gracias

Firstly, just to clarify, that "bowed in" look to the vertical lines on the HT is pincushion distortion. That's Zeiss's deliberate design choice in order to have less optical elements causing tr% light losses (no field flattening elements), still retain a decent FOV, and moreorless eliminate any "globe effects" while panning - although there is a balance between rolling "ball" and "bowl" which as even Blind Freddy knows by now, is down to the individual (though you could pretty much sit on the fence at Daytona panning NASCAR's at 200mph with that thing and not get RB!).

The only time I've ever been able to check out an SV was in the big smoke, and while all the straight lines on buildings were wonderful, it probably wasn't such a good indicator of the view out in 'crooked woods' - you may want (from the opposite viewpoint) to cut the HT a similar amount of slack - the pincushioning probably won't be as noticeable to you out in the woods.

Ignore Brock's speculation on transmission curve shapes - he's already been shown, and told 5 times that the 'leaked' half tr% curve shows an 'FL type' peak about the green, compared to the SV's lower, but 'Table Mountain' type flatter curve. I think there's still some revealin' to be done with the HT's final production unit shape of the curve - Just go with what your eyes tell you.

Finally, the dof verdict keeps on surprising - design wise you'd think the HT would be kickin' it - apparently not. Good job again - keep us posted ......


Chosun
Be careful....
I live inside a mature forest with trees up to 120' and see loads of tree-induced distortion (while panning) in an Ultravid 7X42 and an older 6X32 that have fair amounts of pincushion. And, it's never gone away. My Swarovision on the other hand does not, I repeat does not, deliver anything but an enjoyable view within our forested environment. Yes, I pan early and often for early spring warblers!
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Old Sunday 17th February 2013, 11:28   #10
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Be careful....
I live inside a mature forest with trees up to 120' and see loads of tree-induced distortion (while panning) in an Ultravid 7X42 and an older 6X32 that have fair amounts of pincushion. And, it's never gone away. My Swarovision on the other hand does not, I repeat does not, deliver anything but an enjoyable view within our forested environment. Yes, I pan early and often for early spring warblers!
Yes - it seems woods are also an individual thing! As soon as I hit 'submit reply' I thought, well - of course something like a tall straight pine plantation will be a different kettle of fish. I should have specified that 'my' woods are 'crooked' - YWMV! - there's barely a straight line to be found, so pincushion 'looks' much less pronounced than when looking at the straight lines of buildings. Of course panning can introduce other effects as well (depending on those pesky "situational", and "behavioural factors"). I also find that panning in real close, that shallow dof can really bring on the head spins


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Old Sunday 17th February 2013, 12:47   #11
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Quote from CJ: Finally, the dof verdict keeps on surprising - design wise you'd think the HT would be kickin' it - apparently not. Good job again - keep us posted ......


But, but if they are both 8x can there be any significant difference in DOF at all??

Lee
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Old Sunday 17th February 2013, 15:24   #12
james holdsworth
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Pincushion should be a ''non-issue.''
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Old Sunday 17th February 2013, 15:43   #13
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Originally Posted by Troubador View Post
Quote from CJ: Finally, the dof verdict keeps on surprising - design wise you'd think the HT would be kickin' it - apparently not. Good job again - keep us posted ......


But, but if they are both 8x can there be any significant difference in DOF at all??

Lee
Objectively, no, but perceptually, yes. We had a thread on this subject not too long ago.

Field curvature at the edges creates the perception of better depth because you have the sharpest focus on two different planes. The central part of the image (when focused on the center) appears closer than the edges. However, if the field curvature is really steep or you can't accommodate at all, and you see is a donut of fuzz around the edges instead of a slightly blurry image, it won't make any difference.

Looking at Tim's photos of the Tower, check out the spires in the foreground. To me, the spires appear to have greater angular separation in the SV EL than in the HT.

<B>
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Old Sunday 17th February 2013, 16:11   #14
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Thanks for your reply's and appreciation.

To answer James about the centre image of the FL compared to the HT. Unfortunately I sold my FL's a while back plus there was no shop pair to test so I can't answer that one.
That's going to be my next review 10x42 FL vs 10x42 HT. I'm looking forward to getting some twilight images to see if the HT really does the job there marketed for.

Concerning DOF of the HT's it was about 6inches less than the SV's hardly anything.
Price wise. The HT's are already being sold by uttings outdoors for 1469 compared to the RRP of 1630. Top end bino's rarely maintain there recommended price for long as everyone competes to be the cheapest.

Cheers Tim
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Old Sunday 17th February 2013, 17:29   #15
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More images.

The one with the cloud in it is the SV. These relate to quality of field section.

Tim
Thanks for taking the time, we all appreciate your effort.

Obviously the the pics cannot show the intangibles you mentioned, like the quality of the view, or even as important for me, is how relaxed the view is - i.e. does it feel like your eyes are working to overcome the binos distortions and limitations.

But the one thing that really stands out for me is the huge difference in shadow detail between the two in the tower pics. The small spires in the shade atop the row of columns in the lower left hand part is a lot lighter and shows a lot more detail in the Zeiss pic. More than likely because of both the higher transmission and the larger objective. Still, keeping in mind the rave reviews of the brightness of the smaller 8x32 SV, the pics show a huge difference between these two for identical exposures.
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Old Sunday 17th February 2013, 23:31   #16
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Originally Posted by Troubador View Post
Quote from CJ: Finally, the dof verdict keeps on surprising - design wise you'd think the HT would be kickin' it - apparently not. Good job again - keep us posted ......


But, but if they are both 8x can there be any significant difference in DOF at all??

Lee
I suppose this is the big question. The mathematics says that a particular magnification, is a particular magnification, and thats all the dof depends on. However there are other things such as field curvature (provided that you have the focus accommodation to make benefit for glorious nation of binokularizistan), and the 'perceived dof' aided by the 3-D effect (the Swift Audubon porro 8.5x44 ED was a good example of this). Whether it's just been flukey coincidence that these type of things show up in 'physically long' bins (and porros) which allow a slower design (higher f number), or whether there's more to it is a story that I suppose will unfold.

What photographing through a single objective can't show us is the 'perceived dof' due to the objective spacing - hence my interest in Tim's comment. Others have reported that the slightly wider objective spacing of the ABK design correlates to an improvement in this area. The Swaro's do seem to be a deservedly high bar to beat in many areas.


Chosun
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Old Monday 18th February 2013, 00:52   #17
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Thanks for taking the time, we all appreciate your effort.

Obviously the the pics cannot show the intangibles you mentioned, like the quality of the view, or even as important for me, is how relaxed the view is - i.e. does it feel like your eyes are working to overcome the binos distortions and limitations.

But the one thing that really stands out for me is the huge difference in shadow detail between the two in the tower pics. The small spires in the shade atop the row of columns in the lower left hand part is a lot lighter and shows a lot more detail in the Zeiss pic. More than likely because of both the higher transmission and the larger objective. Still, keeping in mind the rave reviews of the brightness of the smaller 8x32 SV, the pics show a huge difference between these two for identical exposures.
Hi, Are you talking about post #2 pictures 1 and 2?
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Old Monday 18th February 2013, 03:04   #18
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Hi, Are you talking about post #2 pictures 1 and 2?
Yup. The differences between those two pics, especially the detail and color rendition in the shade, is really huge. Probably at least 15% to 20% if you were using Photoshop to lighten pic number 1 in order to achieve the same result as seen in number 2.
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Old Monday 18th February 2013, 08:53   #19
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Yup. The differences between those two pics, especially the detail and color rendition in the shade, is really huge. Probably at least 15% to 20% if you were using Photoshop to lighten pic number 1 in order to achieve the same result as seen in number 2.
Thanks for your reply. The Swarovski picture is higher on the pole, cutting off the bottom some. 32mm compared to 42 there should be some difference, but I don't see that much, even blown up equal. I am sure looking through these two the Zeiss would be the winner in low light, overcast days etc.
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Old Monday 18th February 2013, 08:58   #20
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Quote from Tim: Concerning DOF of the HT's it was about 6inches less than the SV's hardly anything.

Now Tim, be honest, it was only 4 inches really, wasn't it???


Lee
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Old Monday 18th February 2013, 10:02   #21
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It seems odd to compare a x32 with a x42 then start discussing minute differences, particularly brightness.

Stan
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Old Monday 18th February 2013, 11:30   #22
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In general I would tend to agree.

On the other hand I took the comparison to be more of a "best all around binocular" sort of post. Many would argue that the SV 8x32 is probably the best all around roof currently available. Then the HT was introduced and since it is only available in full-sized configurations at the moment then there was not an option to compare it with anything else.

Or it could just be that the comparison was also based on the ergonomic qualities of each bin. I haven't tried the HTs yet but reports have stated that they are exceptionally ergonomic. The SVs certainly are.

Just some thoughts that popped into my head after reading the post.
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Old Tuesday 19th February 2013, 11:37   #23
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It seems odd to compare a x32 with a x42 then start discussing minute differences, particularly brightness.

Stan
In complete agreement, the only true comparision, is to compare the 8 x 42 HT with the 8.5 x 42 Swarovision, which I did on 2 occasions before opting for the HT's (see main HT thread, if you can be bothered wading through all the dross). A friend has the 8 x 32 Swarovisions, and IMHO, in all but the best light conditions, there is just no comparision to either x 42 models.

Also if the image that I saw through my eye, was the same as those pictures posted on here and on other threads, then I wouldnt have bought either!
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Old Tuesday 19th February 2013, 11:56   #24
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On the other hand I took the comparison to be more of a "best all around binocular" sort of post.
I wish there were more of these.
Because outside the ivory tower of binomania this is, IMO, what the majority of potential binocular-buyers would search for:
One decent binocular to cover as many tasks as possible. No matter what price range, thats a very important feature of a semi-specialized tool like a binocular.
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Old Tuesday 19th February 2013, 12:40   #25
hinnark
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Join Date: May 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pileatus View Post
Be careful....
I live inside a mature forest with trees up to 120' and see loads of tree-induced distortion (while panning) in an Ultravid 7X42 and an older 6X32 that have fair amounts of pincushion. And, it's never gone away. My Swarovision on the other hand does not, I repeat does not, deliver anything but an enjoyable view within our forested environment. Yes, I pan early and often for early spring warblers!
I know exactly what you're talking about. Other situations of binoculars use in nature I find very distracting with a distored view are at shores or lakeshores when the horizon is a bending line with such devices. Even the ordinary view along a road or path the depth perception of perspective is distracted by pincushion distorsion just in the way it happens with the well known optical illusion called ponzo illusion. Due to the increasing magnification towards the edges of FOV that comes with that distorsion, the road seems to expand in the distance, while our experience of visual perception expects the normal perspective of convergence.

Steve

Last edited by hinnark : Tuesday 19th February 2013 at 12:56. Reason: addendum
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