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In praise of the 32mm FL binoculars

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Old Sunday 10th February 2019, 19:57   #26
Pinewood
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Hello Patudo,

Thank you for making this thread so informative. Indeed, I occasionally use a classic Porro, like the Leitz Binxuit 8x30 but all the disadvantage of roof prism binoculars seem to resolved with the exception of Field of view, but the 8x32 FL with a field of a bit more than 137m at 1000m is quite respectable, especially with it generous sweet spot.

Even with my specs, I had no trouble using the FL from my first day of ownership. Of course, the human interface with a binocular may be very personal.

There is only one binocular which I have owned that proved to be excessively fiddly: the Nikon 8x32 SE. I had problems with blackouts or kidney bean effect that made it unusable. I was instructed by its enthusiastic supporters to hold it differently from all other binocucars or to build up they eyepiece with washers. I could deal with neither a special way of holding the glass nor with altering it. I believe that if it needs to fixed, it must be broken or at least have a design fault. I acknowledge that mine is a minority opinion about that Nikon glass.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur
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Old Monday 11th February 2019, 23:28   #27
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Arthur, this is just a play, but since you are the most vocal on the subject, if I had a dollar for every time you have dissed the Nikon 8x32 SE, on this forum, just because you are having trouble when you tried this well regarded model, I could buy a new Zeiss.

Jerry
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Old Monday 11th February 2019, 23:47   #28
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Hello Patudo,

Thank you for making this thread so informative. Indeed, I occasionally use a classic Porro, like the Leitz Binxuit 8x30 but all the disadvantage of roof prism binoculars seem to resolved with the exception of Field of view, but the 8x32 FL with a field of a bit more than 137m at 1000m is quite respectable, especially with it generous sweet spot.

Even with my specs, I had no trouble using the FL from my first day of ownership. Of course, the human interface with a binocular may be very personal.

There is only one binocular which I have owned that proved to be excessively fiddly: the Nikon 8x32 SE. I had problems with blackouts or kidney bean effect that made it unusable. I was instructed by its enthusiastic supporters to hold it differently from all other binocucars or to build up they eyepiece with washers. I could deal with neither a special way of holding the glass nor with altering it. I believe that if it needs to fixed, it must be broken or at least have a design fault. I acknowledge that mine is a minority opinion about that Nikon glass.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur
Arthur,
You're a smart man...you know what you like and what you don't. Oh, and the human interface is not only personal but absolutely essential for a pleasant day in the field.
John

PS
Do you have any Tufted Titmice and/or Black-capped Chickadees in Central Park this winter? They're absent this winter in my neck of the woods.
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Old Tuesday 12th February 2019, 00:24   #29
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Praise well deserved.

The 32mm FL series in either power are excellent bincs.
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Old Tuesday 12th February 2019, 00:26   #30
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Arthur,
You're a smart man...you know what you like and what you don't. Oh, and the human interface is not only personal but absolutely essential for a pleasant day in the field.
John

PS
Do you have any Tufted Titmice and/or Black-capped Chickadees in Central Park this winter? They're absent this winter in my neck of the woods.
Hello Pileatus,

Yes, I know what I like, in part because I have some experience in this class of binoculars. I have implied but I have not enumerated the 8x30/32 binoculars which I have owned and not just tried. They were the 8x32 FL, the Nikon 8x30 EII, the 8x32 Leica BN, and the Nikon 8x32 SE, in that order of preference. I have not mentioned two collectible Porro glasses, which were top dogs in their day.

This winter we have a plethora of tufted titmice and a fair number of black-capped chickadees. I see the latter at least once a day. The titmice are so common that they are almost a nuisance when I search distant trees where there is movement.

Yes, Jerry, I regard the Nikon SE as my worst binocular purchase, but I am dissing the glass not the people who find it to be a very usable glass. You may have noticed that Patudo brought up the subject of fiddly binoculars.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur
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Last edited by Pinewood : Tuesday 12th February 2019 at 00:45.
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Old Wednesday 13th February 2019, 14:35   #31
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Everyone has different tastes when it comes to glass, and the fit to facial features (eye sockets) is extremely important. By the way, where did the word dissing come from? just curious.

Andy W.
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Old Wednesday 13th February 2019, 17:03   #32
Pinewood
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.... By the way, where did the word dissing come from? just curious.

Andy W.
Disrespect is a noun which which was turned into a verb, as in disrespecting someone. That has been shortened to "dissing." Whether the term is slang or not is a subject for others.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur
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Old Wednesday 13th February 2019, 17:21   #33
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Disrespect is a noun which which was turned into a verb, as in disrespecting someone. That has been shortened to "dissing." Whether the term is slang or not is a subject for others.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur
'Dissing' is not alone in being a noun-turned-verb. A medal used to be an award at athletics events but is now also a verb: to medal, meaning the act of winning a medal.

Meanwhile back in the land of binos I visited a nature reserve today and saw an FL32 and a Leica BA/BN32, both looking well used and their owners both looking just as well used but also very happy.

Lee
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Old Wednesday 13th February 2019, 17:39   #34
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'...
Meanwhile back in the land of binos I visited a nature reserve today and saw an FL32 and a Leica BA/BN32, both looking well used and their owners both looking just as well used but also very happy.

Lee
Hello Lee,

As a genuine OAP, I am also looking well used but the only part of my FL which looks well used is the Zeiss nameplate.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur
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Old Wednesday 13th February 2019, 20:56   #35
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Thanks Arthur and Lee, I am a bit behind on the new terms. Judging on how well the FL 8X32 performs, I think they will be around for quite a while.

Andy W.
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Old Thursday 14th February 2019, 06:46   #36
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Certainly Zeiss doesn't seem to be in any hurry to replace them, and i believe it's the only model of the FL range still in production, which says much. New models also seem to have retained their 'premium' price band.
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Old Thursday 21st February 2019, 01:00   #37
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Yes, Jerry, I regard the Nikon SE as my worst binocular purchase, but I am dissing the glass not the people who find it to be a very usable glass. You may have noticed that Patudo brought up the subject of fiddly binoculars.
Well... actually paddy7 (post #5) was the first to mention it , although in the negative, as he didn't find the 8x32FL fiddly. I do to some extent, and make no apologies for saying so. I spent about 11 hours with mine over the weekend, including about five hours observing over long distances, and found myself fiddling with the focus more than would have been ideal in order to achieve that happy state where you have the most relaxed view, eyes open naturally, without the slightest squint. I think its exceptional sharpness almost works against it in that once you've seen it, you know when you're not seeing it, and feel compelled to try to achieve it. The Plastic Alpha is more sensitive in this respect (to my eyes anyway) than most of my other binoculars but this niggle is more than outweighed by its good qualities.

I have never even seen an 8x32SE let alone handled/looked through one. I'd certainly like to, as I enjoy the feel of a fine porro, and my experience of so-called field flatteners has been very positive. Others have reported blackouts and such with the SE series, so you're not alone in finding them fiddly. But sometimes one just can't get along with a particular binocular. The much loved 8x30 EII doesn't work for me. Fortunately, for every fine binocular that doesn't work for you there are likely many more that will.

NB. My own experience of the 8x30 Binuxit more or less matches yours.
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Old Thursday 21st February 2019, 04:49   #38
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I own both the FL 8x32 and the SE 8x32 and like them quite a bit (btw, no blackout issues with the SE). I also own the FL 10x32---the only 10x32 alpha binos that have worked for me, really excellent. Given the excellence of the FL 32 mm models will we ever see an SF 32mm line? Many people say that we will, and I know that the SF 32mm's have been in the works at Zeiss for already quite some time, but I am wondering if the market is sufficiently large for 32mm binos that will likely be as big as many 42mm's.

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Old Thursday 21st February 2019, 06:56   #39
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I own both the FL 8x32 and the SE 8x32 and like them quite a bit (btw, no blackout issues with the SE). I also own the FL 10x32---the only 10x32 alpha binos that have worked for me, really excellent. Given the excellence of the FL 32 mm models will we ever see an SF 32mm line? Many people say that we will, and I know that the SF 32mm's have been in the works at Zeiss for already quite some time, but I am wondering if the market is sufficiently large for 32mm binos that will likely be as big as many 42mm's.
Ine UK dealer reports that his sales of EL 32 easily exceed that of the 42 so I bet Swaro are glad they do a 32 at least for the UK market, and with western populations getting older due to longer survival rates one might expect lighter binos to get more popular over time. Opticron sell more 32s than 42s for example.

Lee
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Old Thursday 21st February 2019, 11:07   #40
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Hello PeterPS,

Yes, neither the 10x40 Dialyt nor the 10x50 Leica worked for me as well as the 10x32 FL.

As Troubador wrote the 8x32mm binocular market is strong. The 10x32 market seems to be a lot smaller. I would guess that the 8x32 market is even stronger in the USA, where twilight is rather shorter than in the UK.
Should Zeiss produce an 8x32 SF, I would certainly like to examine one but it would take a great improvement for me to purchase one.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur
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Old Thursday 21st February 2019, 13:07   #41
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I feel the same way. When there was first talk of the SF32, i was quite excited by the idea. However, if it goes for AK prisms rather than SP, it might defeat the object of opting for a 32 in the first place. I would guess it would also be just shy of the price of the SF42s. The FL (for those who haven't bought and then sold it for some ergonomic reason) is so good - how many FL owners will jump for it?
A bit of a dilemma for Zeiss, i would expect. Like Arthur, i'd certainly like to see one, but the podgy little FL will do for me, i reckon.

As i might have mentioned earlier, i also really like the EII 8x30, particularly for relaxed days. The FL is the workhorse though.
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Old Friday 22nd February 2019, 00:28   #42
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I,,,

As i might have mentioned earlier, i also really like the EII 8x30, particularly for relaxed days. The FL is the workhorse though.
Hello Paddy,

My major problem with the 8x30EII was that it did not seem very robust and I have become a somewhat clumsy OAP. For a while, I used the Leica 8x32BN but I think that Zeiss FL is a true step upward: FL glass, very good eye releif and dielectric mirrors improved the optics, while reducing the weight with modern materials.

I will note that the 32mm FL binoculars were not just slimmed down versions of the 42mm FL binoculars. Instead of AK prisms, Zeiss chose S-P prisms, probably to reduce size. I suspect that the SF line is similarly ill suited for 32mm binoculars.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur
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Old Friday 22nd February 2019, 05:38   #43
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Ine UK dealer reports that his sales of EL 32 easily exceed that of the 42 so I bet Swaro are glad they do a 32 at least for the UK market, and with western populations getting older due to longer survival rates one might expect lighter binos to get more popular over time. Opticron sell more 32s than 42s for example.

Lee
Lee,

I have no doubt that some retailers sell more 32s than 42s of the same brand. The point I was trying to make was that the market for a 32 that's as big as many 42s might be limited (of course assuming that Zeiss will not find a way to make the SF 32 unexpectedly small....).

Peter

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Old Friday 22nd February 2019, 05:43   #44
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Hello PeterPS,

Yes, neither the 10x40 Dialyt nor the 10x50 Leica worked for me as well as the 10x32 FL.

As Troubador wrote the 8x32mm binocular market is strong. The 10x32 market seems to be a lot smaller. I would guess that the 8x32 market is even stronger in the USA, where twilight is rather shorter than in the UK.
Should Zeiss produce an 8x32 SF, I would certainly like to examine one but it would take a great improvement for me to purchase one.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur
Hello Arthur,

I am a bit different: I like the FL 10x32 more than any other 10x32, but when a larger EP is needed and the extra weight associated with it is not a problem, then I prefer my FL 10x42, FL 10x56, SV 10x50, or even my SE 10x42.

All the best,
Peter
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Old Friday 22nd February 2019, 07:34   #45
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Lee,

I have no doubt that some retailers sell more 32s than 42s of the same brand. The point I was trying to make was that the market for a 32 that's as big as many 42s might be limited (of course assuming that Zeiss will not find a way to make the SF 32 unexpectedly small....).

Peter
OK, I missed that point and agree that it would be difficult to translate the SF42 concept down to a really compact package. On the other hand perhaps a radical re-think of what is really required of a 32 might mean SF32 is as different from SF 42 as the 42 is from other 42s.

Lee
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Old Friday 22nd February 2019, 19:34   #46
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I spent about 11 hours with mine over the weekend, including about five hours observing over long distances, and found myself fiddling with the focus more than would have been ideal in order to achieve that happy state where you have the most relaxed view, eyes open naturally, without the slightest squint. I think its exceptional sharpness almost works against it in that once you've seen it, you know when you're not seeing it, and feel compelled to try to achieve it. The Plastic Alpha is more sensitive in this respect (to my eyes anyway) than most of my other binoculars but this niggle is more than outweighed by its good qualities.
Unfortunally i had the same issue with the 8x32fl. I really liked the ergonimics, the size etc. But while using it in the field i was constantly turning on the focus wheel. It image was sharp, thats sure. But i never felt that i hit the right spot. In comparison to my other binoculars i never had the impression that i could enjoy the view. Scanning through the field was ok but observing a bird did not work well. There was always the urge to turn the focus a little left or right. I sended it to zeiss and the fixed something in the dioptre adjustment. But it did not get better. I sold it then, the new user seem to be happy with it. And i constantly think about buying another pair but i am afraid it will end up same.
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