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Zeiss Victory FL 8x32 vs Cabelas Euro HD 8x32

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Old Friday 15th November 2013, 06:03   #1
absolut_beethoven
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Zeiss Victory FL 8x32 vs Cabelas Euro HD 8x32

I couldn't resist getting this virtually brand new Zeiss Victory FL 8x32 at an excellent price from Amazon knowing that returns are easy. Plus I have until January 31st to decide whether to keep them or not.

Here's a short preview to whet your appetite for those who would like to know exactly how much more you get for twice the amount of money. The Euro HD is $800 and one can buy the Zeiss FL for around $1600 or less these days depending on your keeping track of eBay, Amazon Warehouse deals, Eagle Optics etc.

Physical differences aren't that great as the Zeiss sans straps caps etc weighs in on my wife's food scale at 556g and the Euro at 601g. They're comparable in size except for the Zeiss larger diameter barrels. Interestingly, although the Zeiss has much larger eye cups, the eyepiece ∅ measures approximately 19mm versus the Euro with its much smaller eye cups but has eyepieces 2mm larger at ∅ 21mm.

Full review to follow later but here are a few quick observations.

Both binos subtly change white to a slightly more ivory/cream color, with the nod going to the Zeiss. The Euro is marginally more cream colored. Easily seen by me, but trust me when I tell you that the differences are really small. See the pic of the 6000k LED lit whiteboard that I posted below - the Zeiss is on the left. As seen in this pic, for some reason when looking through the objectives the Euro appears to have a much larger exit pupil than any other bino I've seen. Obviously not possible as both have the same magnification and objectives. Hopefully one of our more knowledgeable members will let us know why.

On the star test, tiny medium bright stars appear as very sharp pin pricks through the Euros, so I was really surprised to see that even without using my Zeiss 3X booster I could easily see that the Zeiss made those pin pricks even smaller and sharper. On the weekend I'll use the booster on the USAF chart to see how much difference in resolution my eyes will see.

I've read so much about the Zeiss lack of CA so I was really curious to see if it would pass muster with me because I've always seen that distortion more easily than most people. From my short time with them so far I can tell you that it has virtually zero CA in the sweet spot, and only marginally more right at the edge. IMHO I would rate the CA at the edge as less than what most binos have in the center. Definitely the least CA of any bino that I've seen. Most impressive indeed!!

More to follow soon.
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Old Friday 15th November 2013, 14:26   #2
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I think you are referring to the field stop instead of the "exit pupil".

I look forward to reading the rest of your comments in comparing these models. I haven't seen the Euro HD 8x32 go head to head with the "big boys" yet but look forward to seeing the comments.
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Old Friday 15th November 2013, 17:41   #3
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I think you are referring to the field stop instead of the "exit pupil".
Thanks for the info because I had no idea what the correct term is for what I was seeing.

Hopefully I'll have it posted by the end of the weekend.
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Old Sunday 17th November 2013, 16:02   #4
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Zeiss vs Cabelas Part 2

Pin cushion distortion is pretty comparable on both in that it starts to be noticeable around 50% of the FOV. But even right at the edge where its at its worst Iíd rate it at slightly worse than medium versus slightly less than medium in the sweet spot, with the Zeiss curving the line about 3% to 5% less than the Cabelas right at the edge. The undisputed champ in this area has to the Nikon EDG 8x32 that I owned as it has the least amount of pin cushion of any bino that Iíve seen, and they managed that outstanding feat without adding any other strange distortions such as rolling ball, or that slightly out of focus ring that forum members have seen in the Kowa Genesis 8x33, a bino that Iíve yet to check out. The bottom line is that most people wonít notice it in field use, but some might find it annoying if all theyíre using these binos for is scouting out sights in the city.

Comparing the size of the sweet spot of these two samples that I have on hand, I was surprised to see that the Cabelas has a marginally larger area that remains in focus before blurring becomes noticeable. I only use one eye for this test because with both eyes open when the small print that Iím checking out is on the left with my right eye, then that same print will be smack in the middle of the sweet spot with my left eye and my brain tries to reconcile both images into one, so it becomes more difficult to determine exactly where the image starts blurring. The sweet spot on most good quality binos usually extends to about 70% to 80% of the FOV, unless they have field flattening correction lenses. As mentioned above, thereís not a big difference between these two and Iíd estimate that blurring starts around the 70% to 75% on the Zeiss, and about 80% on the Cabelas. Neither is sharp enough right at the edges to read that same small print, but even although itís still soft and out of focus, doubling the size of the font makes it readable. Both fulfill my criteria in that the view is still useful enough to notice anything moving into your FOV, unless youíre only checking out humming birds and bumble bees!

Brightness Ė yes, Iím sure that most of you want to know how well the new Cabelas compares with the undisputed brightness champ in the 8x32 arena, especially seeing as both companies boast that their transmission exceeds 90%. This test was very interesting, and at the same time very difficult for me because there was virtually no difference between them. For this test I joined two ads together from an old copy of Cornell Universityís Living Bird magazine, see posted pic below. I chose these two because of the bright red bird in the upper one, and the brilliant shades of violet in the lower one. I pinned them up on the far side of my fence and started the test a few minutes after sunset as this probably qualifies as the official start of twilight. Viewing the ads from about 100í away I couldnít see any difference between the two. The red was easily seen as bright red, and the violet could only be seen as a homogenized violet color even at this early stage when itís bright enough to read outside. Darkness sets in quite quickly once the sun dips below the horizon, so I kept on switching back and forth between the two until it was too dark to see any color at all but could still make out the shape of the red bird due to its lighter background. Because I couldnít really see any difference between them, I called my 15 year old son over about 2 minutes into this test to see if his younger eyes could pick up anything that my older eyes might have missed. At first he thought that the Cabelas was marginally brighter, but after switching back and forth a couple of times, he agreed with me that it was too close to call. I would have called this one a draw, except that as I switched back and forth, with the sky getting darker by the minute, I noticed at one point that I could still read the bold yellow print in the upper left corner of the lower ad with the Zeiss, but that all I could see with the Cabelas is that there was something yellow there. I couldnít make out any words at all. I was only able to switch back and forth a few times before it became too dark to see the print at all. Nevertheless, I was able to do 3 or 4 comparisons in that short space of time. Even although I knew exactly where the words were as I could see them clearly enough with the Zeiss to read them, I could only see that there was something yellow there with the Cabelas, I couldnít see let alone read any of those yellow words or letters. I honestly couldnít see any other difference in brightness or clarity between them in this test under the aforementioned conditions. Everybodyís eyes see colors differently, so others may come to a different conclusion. My conclusion is that the Zeiss is imperceptibly brighter, but most wonít notice it except on colors in the yellow range. I have to say that the Cabelas gave the Zeiss a good run for the money in all these tests, especially this one.

Field of view (FOV) is listed as 8į or 420í @ 1000 yards for the Zeiss, and 7.9į or 417í @ 1000 yards for the Cabelas. I didnít see it that way as it appeared to me that the Cabelas had a slightly wider FOV. Had I not known the specs, I would have reversed the specs Ė that is 7.9į for the Zeiss and 8į for the Cabelas. Either way, there wasnít a big difference between them, but the Cabelas will broaden your FOV by a couple feet compared to the former.

Yesterday was overcast virtually the whole day here in Dallas, so except for the twilight/brightness test mentioned above I didnít get a chance to compare them outdoors. Fortunately today is a bright cloudless day here. Perfect weather to compare their sharpness/resolution, contrast and glare control, so Iíll try and post part 3 later this evening together with a few pics of them side by side.
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Old Sunday 17th November 2013, 16:26   #5
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For comparing brightness, I find it much easier to compare ''whiteness'' of the image in poor light, or look at things like fence boards, concrete walls or other semi-reflective surfaces to see which seems to bounce more light back to my eye.

Another good test is to look at a dim horizon and try to see which seems brighter, all things considered. Now, maybe none of these are really registering ''brightness'' but they do indicate which bino. contributes to a more luminous [and to me] an aesthetically more pleasing image - both in full light and dull conditions.

I don't think colour is a great indicator - as my Terra shows brighter looking colours than my HT - but the Terra has a much warmer [brown / yellow] look than the completely neutral HT. I have always thought that more saturated colurs is more a by-product to lower transmission than higher - could be wrong though!
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Old Sunday 17th November 2013, 18:20   #6
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For comparing brightness, I find it much easier to compare ''whiteness'' of the image in poor light, or look at things like fence boards, concrete walls or other semi-reflective surfaces to see which seems to bounce more light back to my eye....
Thanks for your comments James. As mentioned above, I didn't see any difference at all between them as far as clarity, brightness and color are concerned under twilight conditions except for those large font yellow letters in the lower ad, and that includes the slightly smaller font white letters in the Kowa ad.

True, I didn't concentrate only on those white letters, but I did make an effort to scan each ad to see if any one thing was clearly more visible with one bino but not the other. I read somewhere that someone uses a black and white checkered soccer ball to see how far into twilight the white squares can be seen. I don't have one, but I'll see if I can do something similar and compare them once again but this time with all color removed from the equation. IMHO I think that the color test is more important to most people than a purely monochrome one. Everybody's priorities are different so let's hear what others have to say about this.
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Old Sunday 17th November 2013, 18:45   #7
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True, I didn't concentrate only on those white letters, but I did make an effort to scan each ad to see if any one thing was clearly more visible with one bino but not the other. I read somewhere that someone uses a black and white checkered soccer ball to see how far into twilight the white squares can be seen. I don't have one, but I'll see if I can do something similar and compare them once again but this time with all color removed from the equation. IMHO I think that the color test is more important to most people than a purely monochrome one. Everybody's priorities are different so let's hear what others have to say about this.
Many thanks for an interesting posting, I have the Zeiss 8x32FL but nothing in my own collection will quite match it in any respect, so it's very interesting to read other comparisons.

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Old Monday 18th November 2013, 15:50   #8
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Zeiss vs Cabelas Conclusion

Shortly after noon this afternoon I checked out some high voltage wires that run through my neighbors back yard and the much thinner steel cables that support them against the bright blue cloudless sky. Through the Zeiss there was only the very slightest hint of CA because the top edge had a very faint purple glow and the bottom edge had a very faint green glow. Trust me when I tell you that in the sweet spot the CA of the Zeiss is really minuscule. During the star and moon test I couldnít see any against the dark background of the night sky. CA through the Cabelas was more easily seen but thatís only in comparison to the tough competition I had on hand. Iíd classify CA through the Zeiss as virtually non-existent and very low on the Cabelas.

Most readers wonít be surprised to hear that the Cabelas has a richer, exceptionally vivid view which without a doubt falls into the Ďwowí category. Or as Dennis would say, has great pop. I suspect that this is the reason that my son initially thought that they were brighter than the Zeiss in the twilight test. Some readers have described the colors of the Zeiss as being a little washed out, but it definitely didnít appear that way to me. Sure it didnít have the vividness of the Cabelas, but it certainly wasnít lacking in color either. Of course some will disagree with me. As always, itís best to check them out for yourself instead of letting some pundit on the internet make decisions for you.

Glare and veiling glare was another test that wasnít easy to do due to light leakage of the Cabelas small eyecups. When fitted snugly deep into my eye sockets they did handle looking towards the late afternoon sun better than the Zeiss. However, until I got the depth and snugness correct it was really a matter of six of one and half a dozen of the other. The Zeiss eyecups fit me perfectly and seal out most extraneous light so the slight glare weakness is not due to them and Iíll leave it to others exactly where to lay the blame. Keep in mind that Iím talking about looking directly towards the sun, and only a few degrees below it in order to avoid damaging my eyes. This is not an easy test for any binocular. Personally I would suggest that Meopta modify their eyecups to a slightly larger diameter as I believe that is their only major weakness. The Zeiss eyecups measure 39mm ∅ versus the Cabelas at 34.5mm ∅. Interestingly, the thickness of the eyecup wall that actually rests up against the eye sockets is 4mm on both, but the smaller diameter of the latter makes it feel as if itís thinner and sharper.

For comparisons sake I have posted a pic of the oculars of the three binos I have on hand with the largest at the top, and the smallest at the bottom. The Pentax ocular is 21.5mm ∅, the Cabelas is 21mm ∅, and the Zeiss is 19mm ∅. All are reasonably accurate guestimates as I didnít want to risk scratching the lenses. In the other two posted pics one can see the fatter barrels of the Zeiss versus the Cabelas, 48mm ∅ vs 43.5mm ∅. While Iím on the subject of barrels I should mention that the Zeiss rubber has a slight rubber odor (almost like the rubber in car tires) that lingers on my hands after using them. The Cabelas has a much weaker and more benign odor. Both provide an excellent non-slippery feel to them with the former having a tiny more grippy feel to it.

Finally we get to the sharpness/resolution test. As always, I use a brightly lit USAF chart with both binos mounted on a reasonably sturdy tripod about 20í away. I donít wear eyeglasses when using binos so others may get different results. Unaided, I could clearly see both the horizontal and vertical bars of the 2nd row in the 1st column with both. Using the Zeiss 3X tripler I could see the last row #6 in the same column. The Zeiss was at a disadvantage when using the tripler both because I didnít have a proper tripod mount for it, so I just placed it on top of the Cabelas, and also because the tripler that I have doesnít have the correct sized attachment for it. The one that I have is too large, so I had to hold it by hand which didnít make for a very steady view at 24X magnification. It didnít have this disadvantage without the tripler as I could view the chart without my face actually touching the eyecups. The fact that stars appeared sharper and more like pin pricks in the star test, tells me that under the aforementioned circumstances I wasnít able to wring out the last iota of resolution that its capable of.

I have listed the strengths and weakness of each, and only you can tell which one will better suit your needs in the long term and if the cost is worth it to you.

Hopefully another brave soul will make the effort for our dear readers and do a similar test with the Zeiss Conquest HD versus the Cabelas Euro HD. As for me, I donít want to see another chart or do another test for at least a year or two
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Old Monday 18th November 2013, 17:41   #9
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Thanks a lot for your effort, AB!
Best of all, you have erased the last shade of doubt whether it was right to sell my 10x32 FL or not. The Euro HD is definitely a worthy contender to the FL and to the Conquest HD.
Best of all, the colours seem to have improved compared to the older version which is similar to the old Conquest. The older Meostar has very little CA but it is good to know that the HD is even better.

One thing I think you could have mentioned is the significantly better portability of the Meopta. I'm sure the volume differs significantly. The easiest way to determine this is to immerse them in a scaled vessel. They replaced my Bushnell Excursion 8x28 which is the smallest usable binocular for me, but the Meostar is a lot better optically, and still quite small.

Another effect of the thinner barrels is how much easier the binoculars could be held.
My IPD is 67 mm and the Zeiss's thick barrels don't allow the thumb/s to take more than one position. With the Meostar, it's easy to grip the focusing knob between the index finger and the thumb, which is a massive improvement of the handling properties.

//L
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Old Monday 18th November 2013, 20:39   #10
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Hello Absolut,

Thanks for the posting.

I recently bought a MeoPro 6.5x32, which has many good points. Strangely, it is labelled as "assembled in the USA." Is the Cabela glass labelled as made in the Czech Republic?

Happy bird watching,
Arthur Pinewoo
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Old Monday 18th November 2013, 21:46   #11
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Finally we get to the sharpness/resolution test. As always, I use a brightly lit USAF chart with both binos mounted on a reasonably sturdy tripod about 20í away. I donít wear eyeglasses when using binos so others may get different results. Unaided, I could clearly see both the horizontal and vertical bars of the 2nd row in the 1st column with both. Using the Zeiss 3X tripler I could see the last row #6 in the same column. The Zeiss was at a disadvantage when using the tripler both because I didnít have a proper tripod mount for it, so I just placed it on top of the Cabelas, and also because the tripler that I have doesnít have the correct sized attachment for it. The one that I have is too large, so I had to hold it by hand which didnít make for a very steady view at 24X magnification. It didnít have this disadvantage without the tripler as I could view the chart without my face actually touching the eyecups. The fact that stars appeared sharper and more like pin pricks in the star test, tells me that under the aforementioned circumstances I wasnít able to wring out the last iota of resolution that its capable of.
I'm confused by the resolution test results. Was it inconclusive due to the tripod mount issue? Or, were you able to tell which bin is sharper ?
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Old Monday 18th November 2013, 22:20   #12
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Hello Absolut,

Thanks for the posting.

I recently bought a MeoPro 6.5x32, which has many good points. Strangely, it is labelled as "assembled in the USA." Is the Cabela glass labelled as made in the Czech Republic?

Happy bird watching,
Arthur Pinewoo
My 8x32 Euro HD is clearly marked with the Meopta emblem on the removable plastic "screw" where you mount the tripod adaptor. These bins are very, very impressive.
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Old Monday 18th November 2013, 22:34   #13
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Hello Absolut,

Thanks for the posting.

I recently bought a MeoPro 6.5x32, which has many good points. Strangely, it is labelled as "assembled in the USA." Is the Cabela glass labelled as made in the Czech Republic?

Happy bird watching,
Arthur Pinewoo
Arthur,

Meopta has a large optics facility in Hauppauge, Long Island.

http://www.meoptasportsoptics.com/us...series-23.html

http://www.meoptasportsoptics.com/us/history-1.html

Bob

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Old Tuesday 19th November 2013, 00:14   #14
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So is the gist of this review that the $800 Meoptas best the $1600+ Zeiss'? If so, I don't buy it.
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Old Tuesday 19th November 2013, 00:22   #15
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Arthur,

Meopta has a large optics facility in Hauppauge, Long Island.

http://www.meoptasportsoptics.com/us...series-23.html

http://www.meoptasportsoptics.com/us/history-1.html

Bob
Bob,

Thanks for the information. That is practically in my neighborhood. I have a long history of using Meopta products, going back to my photographic enlarger and its lenses, forty or more years, ago.
Incidentally, I have heard from two people that Meopta supplies that Austrian binocular brand with components.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur
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Old Tuesday 19th November 2013, 00:53   #16
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Arthur, that wouldn't surprise me at all. I know for a fact that Meopta supplies some of the glass to Zeiss for their Conquest rifle scopes.
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Old Tuesday 19th November 2013, 03:44   #17
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Thanks a lot for your effort, AB!
Best of all, you have erased the last shade of doubt whether it was right to sell my 10x32 FL or not. The Euro HD is definitely a worthy contender to the FL and to the Conquest HD.
Best of all, the colours seem to have improved compared to the older version which is similar to the old Conquest. The older Meostar has very little CA but it is good to know that the HD is even better.

One thing I think you could have mentioned is the significantly better portability of the Meopta. I'm sure the volume differs significantly. The easiest way to determine this is to immerse them in a scaled vessel. They replaced my Bushnell Excursion 8x28 which is the smallest usable binocular for me, but the Meostar is a lot better optically, and still quite small.

Another effect of the thinner barrels is how much easier the binoculars could be held.
My IPD is 67 mm and the Zeiss's thick barrels don't allow the thumb/s to take more than one position. With the Meostar, it's easy to grip the focusing knob between the index finger and the thumb, which is a massive improvement of the handling properties.

//L
Thanks for your comments. Yes, colors are outstanding. I was looking at the different hues of the leaves on the trees in my back yard, and the range of autumn colors through the Cabelas is just outstanding. Bright orange, pale brown to pale and dark green. Officially winter, I know, but don't tell the trees that because I'm enjoying the splash of color while I eat my breakfast.

Yes, the thicker barrels will definitely affect IPD, but even my small hands found them very comfortable and a joy to use. As for the portability, yes the Zeiss is slightly larger in width, but it's also slightly lighter. I think that once I add the winged eye cups I'll be a very happy camper
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Old Tuesday 19th November 2013, 03:47   #18
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Hello Absolut,

Thanks for the posting.

I recently bought a MeoPro 6.5x32, which has many good points. Strangely, it is labelled as "assembled in the USA." Is the Cabela glass labelled as made in the Czech Republic?

Happy bird watching,
Arthur Pinewoo
Now you have a very good reason to visit your neighbors. You might even leave with a new toy after looking through them

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Old Tuesday 19th November 2013, 03:52   #19
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My 8x32 Euro HD is clearly marked with the Meopta emblem on the removable plastic "screw" where you mount the tripod adaptor. These bins are very, very impressive.
After looking through a few of the 10x42 Euro HDs in different stores under very different conditions, I knew that I'd be one of the first to get the smaller model. I'm really impressed that they did such an outstanding job, plus I believe that the price is unchanged from the earlier non HD version.
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Old Tuesday 19th November 2013, 04:05   #20
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So is the gist of this review that the $800 Meoptas best the $1600+ Zeiss'? If so, I don't buy it.
No!

If you read through my review carefully you'll see that I stated as clearly as I could that the Cabelas almost matched the Zeiss in every area except control of CA, and bested it in two, viz. vividness of colors and slightly better glare control under extremely difficult lighting conditions. And even the latter required work in order to get the eye cups to sit just right.

So the question for potential buyers is whether the extra cost is worth those small improvements.

It's also worthwhile noting that this Zeiss model is already quite a few years old, and was ahead of most, if not all of its competition when it was introduced. The virtually month or two old Cabelas Euro HD has taken exceptionally good advantage of all the optical and AR coatings advances which have been made in the interim.
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Old Tuesday 19th November 2013, 04:54   #21
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Originally Posted by Annabeth2 View Post
I'm confused by the resolution test results. Was it inconclusive due to the tripod mount issue? Or, were you able to tell which bin is sharper ?
I apologize for the confusion. It would have been easier if they had used numbers and letters, but because of its layout and the way the different columns and rows are numbered I slipped up in making it clear enough.

I have enclosed a pic of the chart in order to clarify my findings. There's a large black square right in the middle of the chart near the top. On the right hand side below that square is column -1. If you follow my two poorly drawn red lines you'll see that the upper one is pointing to the 2nd row in column 1 (not the larger set in column -1) and the lower line is pointing to the last row, #6 of the same column.

My unaided eye could easily make out both vertical and horizontal bars of the larger set that the upper red line is pointing to and with the Zeiss tripler I could do the same for the last row in that column that the lower red line is pointing to.

When looking at this chart here's a few things to keep in mind. Size wise, the enclosed pic on my 24" screen is within a millimeter or two of the printed version that I use for these tests. I view the chart from a distance of about 20' and with my 1.5X magnification reading glasses I can barely even see those lines in the 6th row of the 1st column from less than 12". When I managed to keep my hand still enough every now and then I did get a clear glimpse of the next smaller set with the Zeiss. That, coupled with the slightly sharper stars it showed, leads me to believe that doing the aforementioned test using both the correct bino harness and tripler adapter would clearly show its slightly higher resolution/sharpness. Hopefully that clarifies this test for you.
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Old Tuesday 19th November 2013, 07:53   #22
typo
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I really enjoyed the Cabels/Zeiss/Pentax comparisons, Well Done!

Thanks for the clarification. It helps a lot.

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Old Tuesday 19th November 2013, 11:35   #23
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Greetings. Many thanks for the wonderful read. Perhaps you can advise with how the Cabelas handles with you vis-a-vis the Zeiss, most specifically in reference to the ocular placing for optimum view. To obtain the Zeiss' optimum view--at least in my case--few seconds are needed to arrive at that perfect alignment. Of course, once I am there, the results from the FL are superb, but the repetitive alignment process several times in the hike is annoying to a degree, and I hope that you have found the Cabelas better in that respect.

Further, I wonder why Meopta is not marketing this model under its own name. One can speculate, but has the company addressed this question before. Thank you very much.
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Old Tuesday 19th November 2013, 11:59   #24
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I think "Meopta Man" mentioned something about this in one of the original Meopta 8x32 threads.
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Old Tuesday 19th November 2013, 15:15   #25
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I still question ''vivid'' colours as anything meaningful. My $350.00 Terra has the most ''vivid'' colours of all my glass and I would put that down to a warm colour bias and lower transmission.

Personally, I don't see these vivid colours as realistic - aesthetically pleasing perhaps but not true-to-life. Leica tends toward vivid and you can see why when you look at the lower transmission values and the skew of the curve.
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