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8.5x42 EL: Older slower focus or newer faster focus?

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Old Wednesday 9th January 2008, 11:25   #1
etc
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8.5x42 EL: Older slower focus or newer faster focus?

Trying to decide between the older 8.5x42 EL models with the slower focus, and the newer ones with the faster focus, and supposedly better anti-rain coatings?
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Old Wednesday 9th January 2008, 12:54   #2
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I vote for the newer, high ratio focus. Some have defended the precision of the older focus, and it is fine if you are mostly focusing between 30 feet and infinity, but it is ridiculously slow and cumbersome for focusing back and forth to nearer distances. I don't think you have to worry about not being able to focus precisely with the faster focus because it isn't all that fast (it is still as slow or slower than the Zeiss FL, Leica Ultravid), it isn't like the last Elite with the Bausch & Lomb label, or the Nikon 8x32 LXL.

The 8.5x42 EL is my favorite overall bino, so I regret that my early production unit has the slow focus. I haven't replaced or retrofitted mine only because I have other better suited binoculars to use when focusing speed is important (e.g. when watching sparrows at close range in grass/brush, wood warblers in forest, combo birding/butterflying).

--AP
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Old Wednesday 9th January 2008, 15:31   #3
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Originally Posted by etc View Post
Trying to decide between the older 8.5x42 EL models with the slower focus, and the newer ones with the faster focus, and supposedly better anti-rain coatings?

My advice is to get the newer model. I bought my 8.5 EL soon after it came out and was frustrated from the outset by the slow focus. A year or so ago I finally bit the bullet and sent the glass back to Swarovski to have the fast focus module retro-fitted--expensive but (IMO) worth every penny.
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Old Wednesday 9th January 2008, 16:26   #4
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I owned the slower focus and found it infuriating. Changed to the updated model later but neither are as good as an Ultravid 7x42 IMHO.

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Old Friday 11th January 2008, 14:37   #5
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I owned the old focus and hated it. Too much turning taking too much time. By the time I had refocused the bird might be elsewhere. I had my binoculars modified and have been happy ever since.
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Old Friday 11th January 2008, 17:46   #6
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The 'really fast' focusing bins can be awkward to get an exact focus with, such as the B & L Elites (which I still own), and some people have complained that they can't get on with what they call the too'ing and fro'ing due to the high gearing, although to be fair you do get used to it with use.
Having said that, the EL focus feels spot on (new focus, seems about 1.5 turns).
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Old Saturday 12th January 2008, 13:33   #7
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I sold my 'old' 8.5x42 ELs after a year of suffering, due to slow focusing - lead to me missing birds. Bought Nikon 8x32 HG, vastly better focusing.

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Old Saturday 26th January 2008, 04:45   #8
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I have the 'fine' focus 8.5x42s, and I have never had issues with it being too slow in birding use. I like the precise focusing it presents--I guess it is what you get used to! I used a Nikon 8x32 LXL at one time but actually found it too be too 'fast' on focus--was always over/undershooting the focus on an object. All 8.5s are built with the faster focus, I think since 2005, so finding one with fine focus will be difficult (A number of owners have had their 8.5s converted to the faster focus). There was an issue at one time on the forum about the newer redesigned focus allowing water into the focusing mechanism but that it did not affect the waterproofness of the binocular--this was never an issue with the 'fine' focus 8.5s.
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Old Saturday 26th January 2008, 17:27   #9
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FWIW, I have a Leica Trinovid BA with a focus that's too fast for me. It's difficult to catch just the right focus, usually at infinity, not so much closer distances, that I often look where the dot is on the focus wheel. It's very easy to scroll past it, IMO.

So I am seriously contemplating the slower-focusing EL 8x42.
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Old Saturday 26th January 2008, 22:52   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etc View Post
FWIW, I have a Leica Trinovid BA with a focus that's too fast for me. It's difficult to catch just the right focus, usually at infinity, not so much closer distances, that I often look where the dot is on the focus wheel. It's very easy to scroll past it, IMO.

So I am seriously contemplating the slower-focusing EL 8x42.
etc.: The fine focus 8.5s take almost 2.5 turns of the focus wheel to go from close focus to infinity. It is one complete turn to go from close focus to approx. 20 feet out, then another 1.5 turns to go from 20' to infinity. I have never had issues on focus speed 20' out to infinity, and I like the precision on the close focus to 20' with one complete turn--yes it is a tad 'slower' but the ease in moving the focus in so precisely negates that back/forth focusing. Being that the finer focus 8.5s are out of favor for most EL owners, you should be able to find a pair at a great price!
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Old Sunday 27th January 2008, 04:05   #11
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... so precisely negates that back/forth

That's what I have to do - move the focus wheel back and forth, which I don't like. You have to move it slow to get the right focus and not overshoot and then move back, which somewhat negates the advantages of a fast focus.

Also, I never focus closer than 20' anyway.

Last edited by etc : Sunday 27th January 2008 at 04:11.
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