• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

7x42 Discoverer vs 7x42 Zeiss FLvs 7x42 Ultravid? (1 Viewer)

maverick

New member
I'm currently looking for a new pair of bins and after careful evalluation of their intended usage, I have decided that I want a pair with a very wide field of view and also very good low light performance. I currently own a pair of 10x42 Discoverers which I have found to be pretty good optically, I don't like the diopter as its very easy to disturb and I wish that the eye cups would lock in place.
Has anyone had a chance to compare these three?
I'm curious as to how the discoverers compare especially in low light situations such as at dusk?
I know that both the Zeiss and Liecas have two features I really like, a locking diopter and locking eye cups but for those two features alone its hard to justify a $1000 price difference.
 

Atomic Chicken

Registered with the D.O.E.
Greetings!

I've compared the 7x42 Discoverers (the new phase coated/rainguard version) with the Zeiss FL, Leica Ultravid, and Leica Trinovid. They actually hold up very well when compared to the more expensive models, with a few caveats.

First off, the diopter adjust on the Discoverers is not a locking type as found on the high-end models... it is a small lever just behind the focus wheel that has a tendency to become knocked or moved out of adjustment fairly easily. Second, the Discoverers have a "backward" focus lever, which focuses nearer/farther in the opposite rotational direction when compared to the high-end models. Finally, the Discoverers, while VERY bright and contrasty, exhibit a greater degree of edge softness and barrel distortion than the high-end models. The discoverers are also a bit heavier, although only a few ounces.

All said, I personally feel that the B&L Discoverer binoculars in 7x42 and 10x42 are probably the best bargains currently available in mid-priced roof prism optics, I have purchased both models and still use them frequently.

Best wishes,
Bawko

P.S. Make sure you buy the phase coated/rainguard version if you decide to purchase these optics, the older non-phase coated version is nowhere near the optical quality of the newer models.
 

Steve Napier

Well-known member
Maverick,I own a pair of Zeiss 7x42 FL and they are exceptional.
An 8.6 degree field,
Incredible lowlight performance
Lockable diopter and eyecups.
A touch soft round the edges BUT,what binocular isnt at 8.6 degree"s?
Go for these!
Steve.
 

DavidP

Well-known member
maverick said:
I'm currently looking for a new pair of bins and after careful evalluation of their intended usage, I have decided that I want a pair with a very wide field of view and also very good low light performance. I currently own a pair of 10x42 Discoverers which I have found to be pretty good optically, I don't like the diopter as its very easy to disturb and I wish that the eye cups would lock in place.
Has anyone had a chance to compare these three?
I'm curious as to how the discoverers compare especially in low light situations such as at dusk?
I know that both the Zeiss and Liecas have two features I really like, a locking diopter and locking eye cups but for those two features alone its hard to justify a $1000 price difference.


If you're looking for field of view its hard to beat the Nikon 8x30 EII which has a field of view of 461 ft at 1000yds which is even better than the Zeiss 7x42FL which has 450ft at the same distance. Good inexpensive binocular too and well reviewed.
 

maverick

New member
Thank's guys,

I know my question was about 7x but I ended up with a pair of 8x42 FL's and they are wonderful. I compared them with 7x42 FL, 8x42 Ultravid's and 8.5x42 EL's.
The only chance I had to compare them was inside the store which isn't exactly optimum conditions but I didn't have any other choice as the closest store which carries more that 1 brand of high end optics was 2 hrs. away.

I'm deffinately no optics expert, my only experience with binoculars comes from a pair of 7x35 porro prism minoltas that I paid $50 for about 10 years ago, which actually provide a decent view when the lenses don't fog, and a pair of 10x42 B&L Discoverers that I have had for about 5 years, are holding up excellently and provide a good view. I've read alot of reviews to get an idea of what to look for in the premium models, and I concluded that optically they would all be very close to one another, so I concentrated my comparisons on the diopters, eye cups, ergonomics and feel of the focusers more than the optics.

I found it somewhat difficult to tell a difference between the 7 and 8x42 FL inside the store, I did find that the long straight items such as the beams inside the building had a tendancy to bend in the outer edges of both pairs this was not disturbing to me in any way. I like the locking eye cups, the diopter and I really like the smooth housing without those annoying thumb grooves which both of my other pairs have and I find them to be totally useless. I found the focus to be good but not great, it feels similar in speed to my B&L's.

The 8x42 Ultravids had the same charcteristics with the beam bending in the outer edges as the Zeiss but they appeared to make a sharper bend then what either the 7 or 8x FL's did. I liked the eye cups and the diopter on the Leicas but I found the focuser to be rough and I did not like the feel of them, they had tall ridges next to the thumb indents and were not comfortable in my hands at all, I new as soon as I picked them up that I was not buying them.

The 8.5x42 EL's have eye cups that feel exactly like the ones on my discoverers which I have to twist them out every time I lift them up to look through them (strke one) the diopter was fine, I liked the slower focus, the feel of them was better than the Leicas but not as good to me as the Zeiss FL., they felt a little more rugged than the Zeiss but I think that's due to the weight difference more than any build quality issues.

I also took a look at the Bushnell Elites and found them to provide a very good view, the field of view appeared to be narrower than the others, they had a better feel to me then the EL's, the focuser was very smooth and similar to the EL in speed but it felt loose, kinda like it needs a little more friction to keep from possibly going in and out of focus.

Optically I found all of the bins I looked at to be very good, in the end it came down to personal preference which for me was the 7 or 8x42 Zeiss FL, since I have never owned a pair of full size 8x I decided to buy one and I couldn't be happier with my decision.
 

RCMann

Active member
maverick said:
Thank's guys,
I found it somewhat difficult to tell a difference between the 7 and 8x42 FL inside the store

In terms of magnification there is very little difference between the two in the field as well-I spent several days carrying both pair-the 8s went back, I kept the 7s.

The differences are in the field of view, brightness under low-light conditions, steady image, general ease of view, and the slight, but noticeable, smaller size of the 7x42.

Because the magnification of the 8s is the only category in which the 8x42s very slightly exceed the 7x42s, the 7s seemed an obvious choice to me. The more I use them, the more I like them...Rod
 

solentbirder

Well-known member
Does anyone have direct experience of comparing the optical quality of the Discoverer 7x42 to the Zeiss 7x42 Classic ???
I've got a Zeiss 7x42 Classic but would like another 7x42 that's waterproof and tough. I don't want to go to the expense of a Leica. The Discoverer is available at a good price at the moment and seem to fit the bill.
Cheers !
John
 

Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast.
United States
I'm a fan of both the Zeiss 7x42 Classic and the Bausch&Lomb/Bushnell 7x42 Discoverer (roof prism) and have had opportunity to compare them. I always strongly recommend the Discoverer to people who insist on a roof, but who don't want to spend much. It is a little heavy compared to other roofs in the same price range, but it has a MUCH wider field of view. In your case, I wonder if there would be any point to the purchase. The optical quality (sharpness and contrast) of the Zeiss Classic is far superior to the Discoverer, especially when it comes to minimizing internal reflections (compare their images when looking at backlit subjects) so I'm not sure you would be satisfied with the Discoverer. Given the choice, I'm not. Also, when it comes to durability and waterproofness, the Zeiss has proven to be both (Zeiss warranties it to be waterproof), both in my experience and that of countless others around the world. The Discoverer is heavy and solid, but it is not a bomb-proof binocular. In my experience, it often develops loose eyecups (which collapse to the position for eyeglasses wearers), it has a diopter adjustment prone to being bumped while focusing (which may loosen to the point that it does not hold its setting), and its lens coatings seem much more delicate than those of the Zeiss (also true of the older B&L Elite).
--AP
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top