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Nikon 8x32 SE vs. Nikon Venturer 8x32 LX - Please advise - Newbie

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Old Saturday 7th February 2004, 09:33   #1
mpedris
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Nikon 8x32 SE vs. Nikon Venturer 8x32 LX - Please advise - Newbie

Hello all.

I'm very new to this field of binoculars as well as to birding. Therefore, I need all the help I can get in choosing a good pair of binocs.

First of all I must say that IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO TEST BEFORE BUYING because of where I live.

Let me explain...

We (my wife and I) live in Sri Lanka (formerly CEYLON), a country (a 25,000 square-mile island) in the Indian Ocean approx. 26 miles South of India. Here, you do not get "high end" binoculars. The local sole agent for Nikon does not have anything more than the Action 12x50!!!

Therefore, this purchase is being made sight-unseen. We're basing our decision purely on the reviews and opinions of people such as yourselves. There is NO WAY we can actually try any of these out before buying it.

Our purchase will be made online and delivered to a relative living in the U.S., who will subsequently bring it to Sri Lanka. So, you see, ya'll will be our eyes and hands for testing this stuff.

Having said that, I'd appreciate a few more points clarified.

Based many comments about the weight of the Nikon Venturer LX 8x42, and on tests to see what carrying around a 34oz weight is like, we came to the conclusion that we're NOT going to feel comfortable carrying around a weight like that all day on the field.

So, we have limited our choice to the following:
1) Nikon Venturer LX 8x32 NOTE: NOT 8x42
2) Nikon Superior E 8x32

I must point out that we feel, being in this part of the world, it's best to stick to a brand like Nikon, which has some form of presence in this country. Zeiss, Leica, Swarovski, and others have no such representation.

Therefore, strictly between these two bins, which would you recommend for birding based primarily on optical quality?

My wife wears glasses. How do they perform with glass-wearers?

We are very careful with our equipment on the field. However, Sri Lanka is a humid, tropical country with an average daytime temperature of about 87 deg F. Humidity is about 85%-90%. Since the SE is not weatherproof, will I have a problem when storing the bins for a long period of time? What kind of care is necessary when storing?

Regards,
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Old Saturday 7th February 2004, 10:56   #2
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I would have thought that other manufacturers would have had offices in nearby India, and that in case of a warranty issue, it would not cost much to send them across the water to India.

My concern with the Nikon 8x32 SE in Srilanka would be mould growth inside due to the humidity. I am sure someone on this forum would know if this is an issue or not? (I am UK based so I might be mistaken.)

I wear glasses and use the Nikon 8x32 SE with no problems although the rubber eye tubes are rather tedious to fold. The exit pupil is a bit small so the view is not quite as comfortable as that through a larger 8x40 binocular. The Nikon 8x32 LX/HG is surprisingly bright, and has a wide flat field. It is slightly but noticeably less sharp - as are all 8x32 roof prism bins (I have not properly tested the Swaro 8x32 EL, so I'm guessing about that one).

Also, I see a quite a bit of chromatic aberration through the 8x32 HG, but not through the 8x32 SE. Some people say they do not notice it.

Last edited by Leif : Saturday 7th February 2004 at 14:29.
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Old Saturday 7th February 2004, 12:39   #3
Art Thorn
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I have owned both of the binoculars you are considering. I now own the 8x32 se and the 10x32 hg. I have not experienced any problem with weather but live in a forgiving climate (just cold right now). My wife birds with me and she always prefers the hg because she wears glasses and finds the screw type eyecups work better for her. As for optical quality, I will say that I really can't see any difference in normal use. If I do the beanbag thing at some target with equal fine lines at 30 meters, then maybe, just maybe, the se's are a slight bit better (actually the 10 power wins hands down in that contest, but the 8's were virtually identical). I don't see the chromatic aberration difference some others do, and I am not alone in that. If I were you, I would pick the hg, simply because you will see what you want to see, beautifully, you can switch between wearing glasses or not very easily, and you don't have to worry about the weather.
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Old Saturday 7th February 2004, 14:43   #4
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I tried both these models (for several hours and on several occasions) before settling on the HG's. Mainly for ease of handling and close/fast focus reasons. Both were excellent, IMHO, and will be up to the job optically but I agree with the others that Sri Lanka's climate would definitely make me choose the HG's.
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Old Saturday 7th February 2004, 14:57   #5
Art Thorn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-on
I tried both these models (for several hours and on several occasions) before settling on the HG's. Mainly for ease of handling and close/fast focus reasons. Both were excellent, IMHO, and will be up to the job optically but I agree with the others that Sri Lanka's climate would definitely make me choose the HG's.
Hello Nick-on. I am a Nikon fan when it comes to binoculars (but Canon with cameras and Televue with scopes). I was wondering if, in your trials, you spent considerable time comparing the Nikons to other high-end glasses? I haven't had that luxury, only having had chances to get short views through the others while out birding. Those short times, in real world birding conditions have convinced me to stick with Nikons, but I emphasize that they were short (maybe a minute or two). How about you?
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Old Saturday 7th February 2004, 15:18   #6
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If your going to get your binoculars from America Nikons are excellent value for money over there.Have not tried the SE Nikons but have tried the HGs in the dealers a while ago,optically very good,Nikon build quality is perhaps the best of all binoculars.I do think you will be very pleased with the HGs.
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Old Saturday 7th February 2004, 15:36   #7
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Thanks a lot, people, for the valuable feedback.

I understand what most of you say about weather-proofing and the Sri Lankan climate. I, too, am a bit concerned about this. But my point is, at this price point, I'd rather settle for the best optics and be a little extra careful about storage conditions, rather than to settle for a little less optical quality but complete weather-proofness.

What do ya'll say?
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Old Saturday 7th February 2004, 16:08   #8
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There is no doubt in my mind that the SE has noticeably better optics than the HG/LX. I believe that optically it is as good as if not better than any 8x40 roof prism binocular. (I used to own Nikon 8x32 HG/LX and Nikon 8x42 HG/LX and I currently own the Nikon 8x32 SE and the Swaro 8.5x42 EL.) The SE is IMO at least the optical equal of the Swaro 8.5x42: in a recent thread another forum user stated that he bought a pair of SEs and agreed that they are excellent and compare well with his Swaro 8.5x42 EL.

The build quality and ergonomics of all top end Nikon binoculars is excellent and probably as good as anything on the market today. (I suspect that European manufacturers are a little worried that the Japanese are gradually building a reputation at the top end of the market, which until not long ago was dominated by Leica, Zeiss, and Swarovski. Hopefully this is just healthy competition.)
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Old Saturday 7th February 2004, 19:00   #9
mpedris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leif
The SE is IMO at least the optical equal of the Swaro 8.5x42: in a recent thread another forum user stated that he bought a pair of SEs and agreed that they are excellent and compare well with his Swaro 8.5x42 EL.
If is at all possible, could you please post a link to this thread? Thanks.
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Old Saturday 7th February 2004, 20:35   #10
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Hi Manendra.

Here is the thread:

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=11556

There's also some user reviews of the Nikon 8x32 SEs here:

http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/entry.ph...d2cfde9f7aceee
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Old Saturday 7th February 2004, 21:03   #11
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Manendra - if your climate is regularly very humid, I would buy nitrogen sealed; however careful you are, you cannot easily stop water vapour entering the lens seals and prism area and, if you're unlucky, mould growth might follow. It would certainly be a good idea to invest in a good drying agent, such as silica gel, renewing it frequently by heating it in the oven for a while.

I would phone your local birding club (I'm sure there is one - or at least a nature club) and ask their advice as, it must be said, most bins have not historically been nitrogen purged and sealed, so they should have lots of experience with which to help you.

The Superior Es are supposed to be superb optically, but I would buy suggest 8x32HGs if you can afford them as they are famed to be amazing optically and are sealed against the elements.
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Old Saturday 7th February 2004, 21:38   #12
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Check out www.betterviewdesired.com he reviews and rates both.

Steve, the HGs are excellent
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Old Sunday 8th February 2004, 02:53   #13
mpedris
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Thanks for all the links and advice. I've already checked out BVD. Very good reviews.

I wonder if there is anybody here who has used the SE under humid conditions. Such a person would be the best source of information regarding this problem with weather.
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Old Sunday 8th February 2004, 14:00   #14
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Hi Manendra!

My experience is biased to LX/HG (10x32) but I think I have seen enough through SE to have an opinion... I completely agree with Art Thorn that if you have steady hands you can see more details with 10x32HG than with 8x32SE. On the other hand I do admit that at 8x the image may be slightly sharper and the view "easier" with SE than with HG. I find the ergonomics of HG better than any other: focusing, diopter correction, eyecups, design... (anything except the weight and maybe the ridiculous fake leather case).

I can see more chromatic aberration with HG (at least with my 10x) than SE - especially when there is no bird to be viewed. I have recently done some CA-testing with my HG (in Finland we have maybe ten bird species now...) and observed that the placement of eye is critical for a well corrected view (as someone has mentioned previously):
- If the bones of your face don't guide the eyetubes to the correct position, you may well see some CA.
- If you use HGs with glasses it is also very easy to misplace the bins.
You can learn to place the tubes properly or you may be able to do it instinctively but I think this may be a reason why some find more obvious chromatic aberration with HGs than others. If the bins are well centered and the eye distance correctly adjusted, the view is beautifully sharp, contrasty, colours natural and no disturbing purple fringing.

So which ones would I vote? If you use them a lot with your wife and she is not used to lift glasses up during viewing, I would choose HGs for their screw-in/out eyecups alone. HGs also offer some insurance over SEs due to being waterproof. But if you are choosing from 8x bins mainly on the basis of optical performance (no matter how small the difference), are not bothered by rolling the eyecups and don't fear the humidity, go for SEs.
- Of course you may eventually end up doing what Art Thorn has done (and I will soon): get them both

Good luck!

Ilkka
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Old Sunday 8th February 2004, 14:21   #15
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Ilkka: An interesting and informative response. I tend to agree with your comments on eye placement being critical, as I see something similar with my Swaros: incorrect eye placement does indeed increase the amount of CA.

Incidentally noticeable CA is only present - to my eyes - in high contrast situations: for example when viewing dark birds against a bright sky, or white swans on a sunny day. Otherwise it is as good as absent.

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Old Sunday 8th February 2004, 16:19   #16
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Ilkka has the right idea! Get both - still less money than one Swarovski.
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Old Sunday 8th February 2004, 16:57   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Thorn
Ilkka has the right idea! Get both - still less money than one Swarovski.
Not in the UK. Here Nikon are pricey i.e. comparable to Leica, Swarovski and Zeiss. I have the Nikon 8x32 SE and a full sized roof prism which I much prefer to a smaller one. At the end of the day it's a matter of personal taste is it not?

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Old Sunday 8th February 2004, 19:29   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leif
Not in the UK. Here Nikon are pricey i.e. comparable to Leica, Swarovski and Zeiss. I have the Nikon 8x32 SE and a full sized roof prism which I much prefer to a smaller one. At the end of the day it's a matter of personal taste is it not?
Absolutely right! I experimented with many models (bought and sold) before I settled on what I have. And MY favourites are the 10x42 Superior E's. But I'll use the other two and be very happy in either case. I just wish this winter would start to break a bit so I could go out and enjoy any of them. BTW, I'm surprised at the different pricing. Of course, you being in the EU probably results in the european makes being closer to the Nikons in price.
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Old Sunday 8th February 2004, 19:35   #19
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Don't know how HGs will hold up long term in such a humid place.....should be fine.......

I kept my Zeiss dialyts 7 x 42s in a relatively cool cupboard in Jakarta, Indonesia, sometimes in a bag with Silica Gel if it was particularly humid and suffered no problems.

You should be okay with the Nikons I hope
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Old Sunday 8th February 2004, 20:59   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Allwood
Don't know how HGs will hold up long term in such a humid place.....should be fine.......

I kept my Zeiss dialyts 7 x 42s in a relatively cool cupboard in Jakarta, Indonesia, sometimes in a bag with Silica Gel if it was particularly humid and suffered no problems.

You should be okay with the Nikons I hope
Was the Zeiss weather-proof? How long did you stay in Indonesia?
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Old Sunday 8th February 2004, 21:18   #21
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Was the Zeiss weather-proof? How long did you stay in Indonesia?
two years in Indo

they Zeiss aren't nitrogen-filled but are brilliantly engineered
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Old Monday 9th February 2004, 08:43   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Allwood
Don't know how HGs will hold up long term in such a humid place.....should be fine.......

I kept my Zeiss dialyts 7 x 42s in a relatively cool cupboard in Jakarta, Indonesia, sometimes in a bag with Silica Gel if it was particularly humid and suffered no problems.

You should be okay with the Nikons I hope
But the HGs are guaranteed for donkey's years as watertight, Tim.
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Old Thursday 3rd June 2004, 17:50   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpedris
Thanks a lot, people, for the valuable feedback.

I understand what most of you say about weather-proofing and the Sri Lankan climate. I, too, am a bit concerned about this. But my point is, at this price point, I'd rather settle for the best optics and be a little extra careful about storage conditions, rather than to settle for a little less optical quality but complete weather-proofness.

What do ya'll say?

Owners of Nikon SE told me that SE seal was good. It can take light rain, but definitively not submersion in water. Nikon must take into consideration while designed the SE that their binoculars are used in very wide climate around the world. I wouldn't worry about very humid weather. I own the 10x42 SE, it is fantastic, I wouldn't buy a bino just for waterproof only
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Old Thursday 3rd June 2004, 19:09   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dean tran
Owners of Nikon SE told me that SE seal was good. It can take light rain, but definitively not submersion in water. Nikon must take into consideration while designed the SE that their binoculars are used in very wide climate around the world. I wouldn't worry about very humid weather. I own the 10x42 SE, it is fantastic, I wouldn't buy a bino just for waterproof only
Dean-gotta agree with that-go for the optics and be a little careful when you're using them. After all, porros have been around for a lot longer than roofs, and, to quote the Marines, have been used in every clime and place. Rod (another 10x42 SE user, from Encinitas)
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Old Thursday 3rd June 2004, 21:08   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpedris
Thanks for all the links and advice. I've already checked out BVD. Very good reviews.

I wonder if there is anybody here who has used the SE under humid conditions. Such a person would be the best source of information regarding this problem with weather.
From 2001-2003, I birded with my 8x32 SE in the yeasty environment of Eugene, Oregon. They never fogged up in Eugene or at any other location since I bought them in 1998, regardless of hours of birding in the rain and high humidity, no fungus problems either. For me the issue of waterproofing is less important than the image quality (top priority for me) and the handling (second priority for me). It's really a matter of philosophy, if you are buying binoculars as a tool through which you can connect with the world of birds, you cannot do better than the SE's. Provided of course, that the handling works for you. When I decided to add a 10 x 42 to my stable of optics tools, I again opted for the non-waterproof Nikon SE. Also, the scope I bird with is a non-waterproof Televue Pronto with non-waterproof Televue Radian eyepiece.
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