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7/8x42 ultravid hd+ vs swarovski el42? (1 Viewer)

matt green

Norfolkman gone walkabout
I'm sure this has been done before so apologies in advance,

Having passed on an older 8.5x42 el and currently in the process of selling on an 8x32 fieldpro (which I didn't quite bond to in the way i'd hoped) I was all set to aquire a 10x42 el, however having handled recent el models the more I dislike the feldpro package and handling etc..also decided against a 10x as i'd miss field of view, brightness and hand holdability over marginal gains of extra magnification.

I recall reading how the leica colours are more saturated, vibrant and contrasty compared to what can appear washed out and flat in the swaro el's?

I haven't owned a leica binocular for many years since a trinovid 8x42 BN/8x32 BA and only very briefly handlded an ultravid 10x42 hd, with the current situation its impossible to try compare optics so looking to ask here instead!

My question is simple,

Does the ultravid hd+ provide a robust no nonsence alternative to the swaro el with compareble/better optics?

I still have concerns about aquiring a used leica re the non transferable warranty etc, having previously gone down the swaro route I never had this concern but lately I can't help think its time to break with tradition,

Your thoughts welcomed

Matt
 

lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
I haven't compared side by side enough to really evaluate.... But have you looked into the Noctivid? Used prices on those too....
 

John Frink

Well-known member
Short answer: yes, in my opinion. For me, the important question is: how do you feel about flat-field vs. curved-field binos? If the distinction is important to you, then the decision is easy; if it's not, then it's not. I strongly prefer curved-field binos, so my favorites are mostly all Leica or Zeiss. Hope this helps.

My question is simple,

Does the ultravid hd+ provide a robust no nonsence alternative to the swaro el with compareble/better optics?
 

bkdc

Well-known member
If you want a fantastic price on a Noctivid, send Duncan at Foto Henny Hoogeven (authorized Leica dealer in Holland) an e-mail at [email protected], giving you the lifetime warranty of the original owner.

But before you buy, try. Swaro EL's are amazing. But so are the high end Zeiss and Leicas. My ONLY gripe about the Ultravid 7x42 is the reduced apparent field of view with the 7x mag as the FOV is no better than a good 8x bino. It's a minor gripe as it is a beautiful optical instrument.
 

matt green

Norfolkman gone walkabout
Short answer: yes, in my opinion. For me, the important question is: how do you feel about flat-field vs. curved-field binos? If the distinction is important to you, then the decision is easy; if it's not, then it's not. I strongly prefer curved-field binos, so my favorites are mostly all Leica or Zeiss. Hope this helps.
Thanks for your reply, i'm not too picky over flat field vs curved but sometimes feel i'm missing a little extra snap in the colours/contrast department...I feel the same about swaro scopes so maybe it's just how I percieve their glass/colour balance compared to others.

Maybe the swaro has a bias towards brightness over contrast and colour saturation, almost as if the image is slightly over exposed and 'straight from the camera' without any levels tweaks!!

Matt
 

matt green

Norfolkman gone walkabout
If you want a fantastic price on a Noctivid, send Duncan at Foto Henny Hoogeven (authorized Leica dealer in Holland) an e-mail at [email protected], giving you the lifetime warranty of the original owner.

But before you buy, try. Swaro EL's are amazing. But so are the high end Zeiss and Leicas. My ONLY gripe about the Ultravid 7x42 is the reduced apparent field of view with the 7x mag as the FOV is no better than a good 8x bino. It's a minor gripe as it is a beautiful optical instrument.

Thank you for the info, yes the Noctovid looks very appealing but have yet to inspect one for myself..prices for these can be quite varied in the uk and seen some very reasonably priced ex demo/used models online, currently waiting to pass on my el32 and and a few other odds and ends so have plenty of time to make my choice..that and the fact that every optics retailer in the land is closed for instore demos due to this blasted virus!

Matt
 

Conndomat

United States of Europe
Europe
Maybe the swaro has a bias towards brightness over contrast and colour...

Hi Matt,

there is no reason why bright binoculars shouldn't have good contrast too!
The best example here would be the Swarovski SLC 8x56.

All manufacturers have a different color philosophy, the Zeiss love green / yellow, Leica red / brown, Swarovski EL blue / white, the SLC very neutral, between Zeiss SF and EL, Nikon is based on Leica etc.
Everyone perceives colors in binoculars slightly differently.

If you like very saturated colors, Leica wouldn't be wrong, despite all of this, the Swaros don't suffer from low contrast.

Andreas
 

Torview

Registered User
Supporter
Hi Matt, I sold my 7x42UVHD+ some time after I bought my 8.5x42SVFP as I stopped using the Leica, I now regret this as it was a very special offering in 7x42.

Even though for me the 7x42UVHD+ was the best Leica I`ve tried at controlling C/A there was visibly more than the SV or what I now have my SF.

I`d certainly look at the SLC, in fact I do fancy getting an SLC anyway.
 

mbb

Well-known member
Hi Matt, I sold my 7x42UVHD+ some time after I bought my 8.5x42SVFP as I stopped using the Leica, I now regret this as it was a very special offering in 7x42.

Even though for me the 7x42UVHD+ was the best Leica I`ve tried at controlling C/A there was visibly more than the SV or what I now have my SF.

I`d certainly look at the SLC, in fact I do fancy getting an SLC anyway.
Could you tell a bit more about your experience with one versus the other?
I have an Ultravid HD 8x32, which I really like, for its ergonomics, size, optics, including its great handling of difficult light (not talking about low light levels, but about situations that would cause glare/veiling/reflections/... in other binoculars).
Looking for addition, to complement the UV 8x32 for when there is less light (dusk/dawn/or even almost night) while not being too big or heavy, the UV 7x42 HD(+) and the EL 8,5x42 are two contenders I’m considering if I can find one at a good price second hand. Therefor I am following this thread and am very interested in your experience with both, comparing both and having really used both in the field.
Did you notice a significant difference in brightness (Swaroski has a bit higher transmission, but smaller exit pupil) or contrast or handling of difficult light?
 

Torview

Registered User
Supporter
Could you tell a bit more about your experience with one versus the other?
I have an Ultravid HD 8x32, which I really like, for its ergonomics, size, optics, including its great handling of difficult light (not talking about low light levels, but about situations that would cause glare/veiling/reflections/... in other binoculars).
Looking for addition, to complement the UV 8x32 for when there is less light (dusk/dawn/or even almost night) while not being too big or heavy, the UV 7x42 HD(+) and the EL 8,5x42 are two contenders I’m considering if I can find one at a good price second hand. Therefor I am following this thread and am very interested in your experience with both, comparing both and having really used both in the field.
Did you notice a significant difference in brightness (Swaroski has a bit higher transmission, but smaller exit pupil) or contrast or handling of difficult light?
I`ll try, but it was 2016 when I last had both.

There was no discernible difference in brightness to me outside of dusk when the the extra 1mm of exit pupil made itself felt, I always defended the idea that if a 7x wouldn`t get an i.d. an 8x wouldn`t help, but, I was using my 7x42 on the Camel estuary in Cornwall trying to be sure I was looking at Little Terns, and I just couldn`t be sure, a friend passed me their 8.5x42SV and the i.d. was assured.

As much as I loved that 7x42 I went out and bought the Swaro and rarely picked up the Leica again. Also I really hate Veiling glare and the Swaro beat the Leica for me, ( though neither can match my SF IMHO ).

However I have since sold the 8.5 Swaro and use an 8x42 SF which has an unsurpassed balance in the hand and a brilliant wide, bright, c/a free view that I love more than either of the previous two, plus I can hold it up to my eyes seemingly indefinitely which I never found with the other two, I pair it with an 8x33 Kowa Genesis for when I don`t want to take the Zeiss.
 

mbb

Well-known member
I`ll try, but it was 2016 when I last had both.

There was no discernible difference in brightness to me outside of dusk when the the extra 1mm of exit pupil made itself felt, I always defended the idea that if a 7x wouldn`t get an i.d. an 8x wouldn`t help, but, I was using my 7x42 on the Camel estuary in Cornwall trying to be sure I was looking at Little Terns, and I just couldn`t be sure, a friend passed me their 8.5x42SV and the i.d. was assured.

As much as I loved that 7x42 I went out and bought the Swaro and rarely picked up the Leica again. Also I really hate Veiling glare and the Swaro beat the Leica for me, ( though neither can match my SF IMHO ).

However I have since sold the 8.5 Swaro and use an 8x42 SF which has an unsurpassed balance in the hand and a brilliant wide, bright, c/a free view that I love more than either of the previous two, plus I can hold it up to my eyes seemingly indefinitely which I never found with the other two, I pair it with an 8x33 Kowa Genesis for when I don`t want to take the Zeiss.

Thank you for the quick reply!
I was wondering if the 1mm extra exit pupil would make a really noticeable difference and it is interesting to hear that you did appreciate the difference.
It strikes me that you mention the Swarovski has less veiling glare than the Leica, as I had read in several threads some negative comments about veiling/glare in Swarovski-EL's, while the Ultravid 8x32 is very strong in that regard. Is it the 7x42 which is worse at it, within the Ultravid range?
(A good handling of difficult light is something I can really appreciate, I think more than those few percentages difference in transmission that are sometimes discussed a lot here.)
 
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Torview

Registered User
Supporter
Is it the 7x42 which is worse at it, within the Ultravid range?
I couldn`t say with certainty, I found the two 8x32 SV I had appalling, often unusable, the UVHD+ was prone but perfectly acceptable, the 42SV was better still, my SF is all but immune for me, all of this is my own experience, have you considered the Noctivid ?
 

mbb

Well-known member
I couldn`t say with certainty, I found the two 8x32 SV I had appalling, often unusable, the UVHD+ was prone but perfectly acceptable, the 42SV was better still, my SF is all but immune for me, all of this is my own experience, have you considered the Noctivid ?
I have considered the Noctivid, but I have yet to see a second hand offer within budget I'm reasonably willing/able to spend. :) (Already having the 8x32 which, I suppose, will remain first most used pair due to its form-factor and weight.)
Having been on the lookout in the second hand market for more than a year, it seems easier to find the EL 8,5x42 second hand and for considerably less money. The UV 7x42 HD(+) rarely pops up, but I happened to just being offered one at a reasonable price (approx.€200 less than the cheapest EL 42mm I've ever seen pass by until now).

This is really puzzling me, as one reason I was really on the lookout for a UV 7x42 HD were the very positive reviews on them here on the forum, the absence of glare and reflections in the UV 8x32 (and its great contrast) and the several negative comments I have read here about the glare/veiling of Swarovski's EL-range (though indeed mainly complaining about the 32mm-ones, a bit less about the 42mm and barely about the 50mm, if I remember correctly).
I have experienced the bad handling of difficult light of the Kite Lynx 8x30 and Habicht 8x30, which for the rest are really great binoculars with their own impressive strengths(!), and that is something I really don't want in my next binoculars, which will mainly complement my current, smaller binoculars specifically for lower-light use: those are conditions that are more often paired with more challenging light.
I should really find a way to test both, ideally together, comparing them, but I have yet to find a possibility to do so, especially now with corona etc. Therefor I am really grateful for any feedback from people having experience with both of them.
 

Conndomat

United States of Europe
Europe
Hi there,

usually a 1mm larger exit pupil wins against more transmission, so the Ultravid 7x42 should be a tad brighter than the Swarovski 8.5x42 in the twilight.
I don't know why the Swarovski's are generally said to have such poor stray light suppression, that EL 8x32 may be susceptible here with the 8.5x42, I can't confirm that, this glass is better than my SF 8x42 in the discipline.
The EL 12x50 is also not particularly susceptible to Imho in this area, I would give both EL an average rating here.
One should not infer all other ELs from the EL 8x32, of course none of the binoculars in this area can match a Nikon EDG 7x42, which is almost unbeatable in terms of stray light suppression.

Andreas
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
IMO - yes, the Ultravids (and Noctovid) provide a viable "alpha" alternative to the Swaro EL.

Are they "better"? I think at this level it's much more about relative strengths and weaknesses in relation to your personal preferences, there's no point in arguing which is "best" among all these great options.

Swaros are brighter, and subjectively feel a bit brighter than the raw transmission delta would indicate because they have high transmission down into the deep blue range, which gives them that slightly cool "crystalline" quality to the view. However, Swaros also drop off on the extreme red end, which is why they don't appear as "deep" and saturated, which some describe as a "flat" view.

The Leica UV/NV transmission (as well as the EDG) isn't as high on the blue end, but is much higher and more extended in the deep red zone -- you can see this in Gijs' measurements below, note that the Swaro is the flattest (i.e. most neutral) and has the highest transmission below 500nm, whereas above 600nm the Leica transmission stays flat while the Swaro/Zeiss both drop off.

1610740055671.png

Not saying one is better or worse, they are just different. Same thing with flat field vs curved, just different approaches to the same design problem.

My personal preference is for rich, saturated colors and deep contrast, and excellent glare/flare control. I am less concerned about perfect edge sharpness or field "flatness". That's why my two "alphas" are a Leica 7x42 UVHD and Nikon 10x32 EDG (and my wife uses an 8x32 UVHD).

I also am not a huge fan of the Swaro exterior physical feel; I greatly prefer the "silky" Leica rubber armor to the harder, more textured Swaro covering. I also prefer the Leica eyecups and focus knob position. Again, personal preference, not better vs worse.

I find the Leica UV to be outstanding in terms of glare control, both the 8x32 and the 7x42 (as well as the Trinovid 10x42 BR that I had previously). The 42mm models will show some bright crescents at the edge of the FOV in very harsh lighting (looking in the same direction as the sun) but it stays tight to the edges and never intrudes into the center of the FOV, never that "milky" veiling glare that some binoculars get. The 8x32 UV is just ridiculous with glare control considering how small and short the binocular is, I have no idea how they did it!

The downside? Obviously switching from the EL SV to the UV means you are giving up sharp edges and flat field. The UV still has a huge sweet spot, but there's obvious pincushion and it's not sharp to the edge. Also, the UV in my experience is very good, but not great, at CA control. The 7x42 seems a bit better than 8x32 in this respect, but they are both generally CA free in "real world use", but do show some color fringing well off axis and in extreme conditions. That said, Swaros aren't the best in this respect either, both do not reach the best-in-class standards of Zeiss FL/SF or Nikon EDG (or Kowa Genesis for that matter).
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
As a little demo of the superb glare control, I am out on a little sunset stroll at a local park and decided to snap a quick iPhone photo comparison.

One shot is through the 7x42 UVHD and the other is just with the iPhone, taken seconds apart. As you can see, that white truck was DIRECTLY under the blazingly bright setting sun, and there is basically zero glare and minimal degradation of global contrast when viewing through the magical 7x42s :)

(Edit: also worth noting that even though it’s not sharp to the edge, and it has a somewhat reduced AFOV, virtually the entire field is “usable” and there’s only really softening in the outer 10-20% at most. In the field they give the impression of “edge to edge sharpness” if you’re not consciously examining the edges. Obviously the handheld iPhone photo doesn’t do it complete justice)
 

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Patudo

Well-known member
I recall reading how the leica colours are more saturated, vibrant and contrasty compared to what can appear washed out and flat in the swaro el's?

I haven't owned a leica binocular for many years since a trinovid 8x42 BN/8x32 BA and only very briefly handled an ultravid 10x42 hd, with the current situation its impossible to try compare optics so looking to ask here instead!

Colour perception is so individual between each of us that I reckon you will not be 100% sure what your own eyes see till you try them out side by side (and preferably under a variety of light conditions). Speaking only for myself, when trying the 8x42 and 10x42 Noctivids, I did notice the reds and warmer colours stood out more than the 8.5x EL or the FLs that I'm used to, What I see through the EL and FL matches what I see with my own eyes very closely. With the Noctivid the reds/pinks/yellows are more pronounced than what my eyes would expect to see at distance. I don't dislike this effect, but one could say it isn't as neutral or quote "natural".

I also feel the differences in colour rendition between those binoculars, though apparent, are still reasonably subtle (to me anyway). They don't leap out at me in the way one might expect from reading for instance Tobias's web site (greatestbinoculars.com - which I hasten to add is still an interesting and enjoyable read). I don't feel either the EL or FL show "washed out" colours, far from it. From what I've seen, colour rendition in all the top binoculars is exceptional, each in its own slightly different way. When I handed back the 10x42 Noctivid to the fellow birder who had lent it to me, and went back to the 8x32 FL I was impressed all over again by how well the latter compared in every respect.

The only direct comparison between an Ultravid HD+ and the equivalent EL Fieldpro I've been able to make was with the 10x50s of both ranges in 2019 at Birdfair (not the format you're looking at, I realize). Although the UV was a fine binocular, as one would expect of a high-end 10x50, I thought the EL FP bettered it in pretty much every respect, a really impressive product. I know very little about the x42 or x32 Ultravid models though.
 

lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
I have been looking at the Noctivid and El and I prefer the warm colors of the Noctivid ...So it really is personal and what your eyes see. Not one is better as you say. In your example Patudo, you state 'what my eyes would expect to see at distance.". Given that I am assuming that what you are viewing is a bit distant and if so, does the fact that you are comparing a 10x42 to a 8x32 in itself account for some coloration differences as the 10 will just naturally be closer up than the 8x, thus the colorations different?
 

mwhogue

Well Known Member
Supporter
Great thread. No expert here, just an enthusiast. A number of the comments and questions above prompted me to directly compare my SW pre FP 8.5 with Leica HD+ and EDG II both in 7x42. All terrific bins of course. For me all three do well against the light with EDG best followed by HD+ and SV.
I agree with others here that the glare problems in the EL line are more pronounced in both the 32 models. The 8.5x is a noticeable increase in magnification vs the 7x. Regarding the 7x, a narrow AFOV is a pet peeve of mine. The EDG is at the lower limit but still acceptable to me. The HD+ AFOV is quite nice. For accurate color rendition in varying light levels and conditions the SV 8.5 does best.

Mike
 

pimpelmees

Well-known member
more important to me is the durability , is the Noctivid 10x42 more durable then the EL 10x42, i think for the rubber cover this is already true, i have read about and seen about covers from the EL that where destroyed after a few months... ...
 

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