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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

12x42 NL instead of 10x42 NL for birding ? (2 Viewers)

Bobalob

Member
I’ve always liked 10x magnification compared to 8x so I can see the bird in all its glory filling the view and happy to accept the weight /bulk and shake penalty.

I tried the forehead rest with the 10x 42 and it didn’t seem to make much difference.

I’ve never seriously considered 12x as on the edge of usability but wondering if the NLs are a game changer. Comparing specs bulk identical and 12x is 10g lighter but smaller exit pupil.

Just wondering about pros and cons of 12x with forehead rest vs 10x and thanks in advance for any thoughts
 

Hermann

Well-known member
Don't forget that the 12x42 will have far less DOF than the 10x42. That's the reason why I would never use a 12x42 as my main binocular.

If you want to see *a lot* more details, get a scope.

Hermann
 

etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
Don't forget that the 12x42 will have far less DOF than the 10x42. That's the reason why I would never use a 12x42 as my main binocular.

If you want to see *a lot* more details, get a scope.

Hermann

Very different from my perception, I see low DOF as a huge advantage.
Trying to see a bird hidden in deep shrub, low DOF allowed me to really look at a Ground Cuckoo in Costa Rica. The Canon 10x42 peeled through the shrub, foot by foot, eventually yielding the bird.
Obviously there is a price to pay, the Canon 10x42 requires about 2 and three quarters turns lock to lock on the focuser, so very exact focus is easy, but switching from near to far not so much.
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
If you want to see *a lot* more details, get a scope.

Hermann

I agree. I've tried and tried to "make" a 12X binocular be a close substitute for a spotting scope/tripod. There's really no substitute. 12X is "better" for sure but when you need a scope, you need a scope.
 

tenex

reality-based
10x vs 12x is not really a huge difference. If 10x has worked well for you I would say sure, get a 12 too if you like, but do keep the 10 because you won't always want 12. (The NL is a great choice due to the FOV but the 12x EL is also excellent.) OTOH, if you didn't notice "much difference" with the forehead rest on the 10x it may not help you that much with the 12 either, so don't count on that.

Individual experience with handheld steadiness varies widely, it's all about what works for you, and I believe there's a learning curve too so give it some time. (I use 10x mostly myself, but also 15x around lakes and other open spaces here.)
 

AlanFrench

Well-known member
Been using 12x IS binoculars since 2004 and love the additional magnification. If you can hand hold the 12x42 NLs, perhaps with the help of the rest, I'd say it's worth it.

As to the "Get a scope" suggestion, I also have a scope, but tend to prefer just carrying binoculars when I plan on doing a fair amount of wandering around, or when in dense woodlands. But a 12x binocular is indeed no substitute for a good scope.

Clear skies, Alan

Clear skies, Alan
 

NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
I think the correct question is 12X vs. 10X for birding. The answer is 12x is much more shaky and
difficult to handle, the FOV is smaller as mentioned. That means 10x or even an 8x is better for birding.

Look at all of those on here that prefer 8x and a few like 7x for an easier view.

Now then if birding on the shore or needing more reach, a quality 12x has its place, but not for
an everyday carry.

That is why many birders like to have several sizes.

Jerry
 

CharleyBird

Well-known member
England
How does the Swaro NL 12x42 compare in use to either the Leica UV+ 12x50 (which I have) or the Swaro EL 12x50?

Anyone have two (or all three) of these instrument to compare side by side?
 

sidpost

Well-known member
United States
How does the Swaro NL 12x42 compare in use to either the Leica UV+ 12x50 (which I have) or the Swaro EL 12x50?

Anyone have two (or all three) of these instrument to compare side by side?

I'm curious as well but, that is a hard group to locate at one time. A side-by-side comparison would be very helpful to down-select to one for purchase.
 

jcnguyen09

Well-known member
How does the Swaro NL 12x42 compare in use to either the Leica UV+ 12x50 (which I have) or the Swaro EL 12x50?

Anyone have two (or all three) of these instrument to compare side by side?
I can't compare side by side since I traded the EL 12x50 a while ago. However, the NL 12x42 got much better eye relief for me as a glasses wearer. With EL 12x50 or even 10x50 I could not see the full view with my glasses on. It is really easy with NL 12x42, especially with the FHR that helps to stabilize the images. FHR is the big plus for glass wearers since I don't have to press the glasses against the eye pieces anymore. That is awesome! Another big plus of the NL is the weight! I can have it on my neck for a long hiking route without any issue and can hand hold steadily for a longer period of time, not with EL x50! And the view! Yeah! with a wider 339 FOV and 71 AFOV that yield a big WoW factor, beautiful grant images! For me, another major drawback of the EL SV series is the too flat the poster like views. NL PURE gives the 3D images very close to the Leica views!
 

tenex

reality-based
For me, another major drawback of the EL SV series is the too flat the poster like views. NL PURE gives the 3D images very close to the Leica views!
Interesting, since NL is also claimed to be a "flat field" binocular.

I'd like to hear more opinions of this sense of flatness vs depth in the views of the NL and SF, compared to EL and more traditional models. Still haven't seen an NL or SF 32 here yet, and saw the 42 too long ago.
 

dries1

Member
Both the SV and NL are flat field views, and though the NL has a wide FOV, it cannot compete on varying night viewing (astro) conditions with the 12X50 SV or UV for reach. Additionally I do not wear glasses.

Andy W.
 

Bobalob

Member
Answering my own question here but short answer is I much prefer the NL12x42 . I was worried about them being difficult to hold steady but no more difficult than 10x42 The strange thing was when I locked on a bird with the 10x42 it wasn't as dramatic as my previous 10x42 SV as the FOV was bigger . I now have the field of view I was used to with the 10x42 SV but I now have a bigger bird with easier to see details in all their glory . I've always loved being able to fill the FOV with seeing the bird in all it's splendour and for me the NL12x42 have been a revelation . I would recommend trying them when considering the 10x42
 

Malsam

Member
I was also thinking of going for a 10x as my primary bins but after trying out an NL Pure and the very logical FRP attachment, I tried a 12x and decide to place an order last year. I just got it last weekend and it’s been working pretty well for me.

I would say the FRP is not a game changer but once u add the ergonomics and weight of 1 (with proper handing and harness strap) i would agree with jcn that it’s as stable as a 8.5 EL which has been serving me well enough until now. The only thing I really don’t like is the price, but that’s another story altogether since OP never mention about budget.
 

Maljunulo

Well-known member
I recently became an 8X convert (from 10X) so I wouldn't even consider 12X, but that is just my personal preference, and is not in any way a statement of relative merit.

Some reviewers seem to feel that the 12X version stretches the NL envelope just a bit too far.
 

GrampaTom

Well-known member
United States
"... The strange thing was when I locked on a bird with the 10x42 it wasn't as dramatic as my previous 10x42 SV as the FOV was bigger . I now have the field of view I was used to with the 10x42 SV but I now have a bigger bird with easier to see details in all their glory . I've always loved being able to fill the FOV with seeing the bird in all it's splendour and for me the NL12x42 have been a revelation . I would recommend trying them when considering the 10x42"
Ive recently figured this out, as well. The preference of many here is for an 8x, (or even 7), often explained as a desire for an immersive, "in the view," deeper FOV thing. I have an 8, in the form of a very nice Zeiss victory Pocket. They are great for my intended use as a lightweight hiking and traveling bin. But I notice the loss of 2X and the narrower, detail focused view, you describe. Ive wondered about the NL 10 with its' FOV of the EL 8.5. Seemed like a winner, maybe even THE choice, of the 3, but couldn't visualize what that would do to the view I enjoy in the EL 1042. After being wowed by the frame filling view of a Yucca, 25' away, while birding recently, it dawned on me this close up, frame filling view is a thing I really enjoy with binoculars. The eyelid details of a Golden Eye and the translucent water droplet hitching a ride on her back is... well... gorgeous! Then it hit me. In another life I preferred a macro lens and close up photography. I was never a snapshot fan. Different strokes.....
 

tenex

reality-based
I'm mostly with Bob and Gramps on this: my preference involves enough magnification to see the target well and enough AFOV to feel immersive, which generally also comes with higher magnification. So I use 10 and 15x. I'd consider less at times only to get more FOV when closer, fast-moving targets are likely, and that tradeoff usually seems too poor to bother with (bad at 8x, even worse at 7). So the NL models present an interesting choice, according to purpose: switch from 8->10 or 10->12x for more magnification without losing FOV; keep your favorite magnification and get more FOV (bad news for current bins); or step down to 8x for absolute maximum FOV. I'm going to try the 8x tomorrow (only one in stock locally) just to see what it's like not to be totally underwhelmed by one.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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