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8x32 Bins w/Great Eye Relief (1 Viewer)

AnalogJ

Active member
I thought I'd make a separate thread for this. I have been able to bring several binoculars into my home (and a couple go back out) to try. My first attempt at purchasing a couple of bins for my wife and I.

As I try a few out, and have taken out onto trails, a few criteria have popped out as important, not necessarily in this order.

1) Eye Relief

2) Ease To Lock Onto An Image

3) Weight and Comfort. Easy to grasp and use, and weight on neck using a strap.

4) Image quality. I am appreciating the ability to render color, detail, with some pop to the image.

She wears contacts all the time, so eye relief isn't an issue. But it is for me. I wear glasses most of the time, so eye relief is important. Thus far, trying Celestron Granite bins, both a 7x33 and 8x42, the latter is better regarding eye relief, but I still don't see the absolute entire image when using my glasses. What I see is bright, crisp, and colorful with excellent contrast. In fact, I'd say it's the best in terms of rendering a great image.

The only bins thus far where I have been able to see the entire image with eyeglasses have been the two Prostaff 8x42 models, the 3S and 7, and the Carson 3D ED 8x42. I also have Athlon Midas UHD and Monarch 5 binoculars on their way in (both offering 19.5mm of eye relief). The Prostaffs have been the easiest to lock onto the image with my eyeglasses, by far.

But I'm also concerned with weight, which gets me to the meat of this post. The Granite 8x42s were causing a bit of a neck ache after an hour and a half or so. I was grateful to take them off my neck when I was hiking. I haven't tried them with the harness that came with them. I really should to see if that helps. Initially we were thinking about bins for excursions to marshes or to the ocean's edge, only briefly putting them on. But being able to wear them around on a nature hike that lasts longer than 15 minutes is probably worth considering in a pair of binoculars.

When I was first searching, I read mostly recommendations for 8x42s. And frankly, the Prostaff models are pretty light for their size. And they both offer great eye relief, but they're both at the narrower end of FOV. Perhaps that will have to be the tradeoff I make.

So now I'm reading that if you get a really good set of binoculars, you can get away with something like 8x32. But researching those, I'm not seeing too many with good eye relief. Nikon makes 8x30s in the Prostaff 7S and Monarch 7 lines, but the eye relief is short in those particular models, unlike the 8x42s.

Carson makes the 3D ED mode in an 8x32 with 19.5mm of eye relief. I'll probably try them, but I got in an 8x42 of those in from the Amazon Warehouse and I'm having difficulty getting a real sharp image out of them (and my right eye aches a bit after using them for a bit). The Granite and the Prostaff 7S render a much crisper, more detailed image. I'm wondering if I might have a bad sample of the Carson, given the excellent reviews they ordinarily get.

Otherwise, the other 8x32 (or 8x30) models from other brands offer 18mm of eye relief, at best. Many at under 15mm! Perhaps the 18mm might work, but the 17.5 of the Granite 8x42, as I mentioned, render me the full image.

For models with 18mm that are reasonably price, there's the Hawke Endurance ED, which gets mixed reviews from what I have read. And Zeiss has their Terra ED, which somewhat recently got redesigned, and as a result also offers 18mm of eye relief, but they're really more than I wanted to spend at retail. Adorama has them for $350, while most other retailers have them for $400. The Carsons are $255.

Honestly, I might end up living with the Prostaff 7S (or the Monarch 5) 8x42, as they're each about 20 ounces, and that's not too bad. Most of the other brands' 8x42s come in at around 24-26 ounces, and their 8x32s coming in around 19-20 ounces.

And, as their objective lenses are not going to be as large, I'm guessing it's probably important to get bins with ED and dielectric coatings to maximize the amount of light they will bring in.

So if anyone has any thoughts, any suggestions for where I might want to steer toward, I'd appreciate it. I will try the units that come with a harness (the Carson and Granite both do).

Jeff
 

wdc

Well-known member
Hi Jeff, I recommend that you try a Rick Young Harness, which is a very simple lightweight affair for a harness, and takes all the load off your neck.

As for eye relief, I wear glasses as well, so have tried many a binocular, only to be disappointed when I'm unable to see the entire field. Here's a few you might consider that work for me:

6.5 x32 Kowa BDII XD: Small, affordable, good eye relief, and Huge FOV. Drawback might be a smaller than usual sweet spot, but you might not even notice it

At 8x32, The Leica Trinovid HD works well for me. Drawbacks are cost, and FOV is not as competitive as other offerings. That said, it is a pleasure to use, so specs vs. reality, and your own judgement is whats important.

Nikon Monarch HG 8x42. Lighter than some 8x32 bins, and an excellent FOV. Eye relief is on the cusp. Feels great in the hand, smooth focuser. You can find used or refurbished ones at a good price.

Swarovski 8x32 El has great eye relief, and a generous field of view. Look for a used one if the price is an issue

Zeiss Victory Pocket 8x25. If you want something VERY small, lightweight, great optics, and usable eye relief, try one. I find them more fiddly to use than a large bin, but they are very useful at what they do.

The 8x32 Zeiss Conquest HD is recommended by many, but does not have enough eye relief for me. However it might work for you, so I'd check it out.

Edit: I just re-read your note, and realize you want to stay in a lower price range, so did not take that into account as much. I apologize.
My experience was that if I wanted good eye relief, AND a decent FOV, I had to go up in price.

Hope this helps.

-Bill
 
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AnalogJ

Active member
Hi Jeff, I recommend that you try a Rick Young Harness, which is a very simple lightweight affair for a harness, and takes all the load off your neck.

As for eye relief, I wear glasses as well, so have tried many a binocular, only to be disappointed when I'm unable to see the entire field. Here's a few you might consider that work for me:

6.5 x32 Kowa BDII XD: Small, affordable, good eye relief, and Huge FOV. Drawback might be a smaller than usual sweet spot, but you might not even notice it

At 8x32, The Leica Trinovid HD works well for me. Drawbacks are cost, and FOV is not as competitive as other offerings. That said, it is a pleasure to use, so specs vs. reality, and your own judgement is whats important.

Nikon Monarch HG 8x42. Lighter than some 8x32 bins, and an excellent FOV. Eye relief is on the cusp. Feels great in the hand, smooth focuser. You can find used or refurbished ones at a good price.

Swarovski 8x32 El has great eye relief, and a generous field of view. Look for a used one if the price is an issue

Zeiss Victory Pocket 8x25. If you want something VERY small, lightweight, great optics, and usable eye relief, try one. I find them more fiddly to use than a large bin, but they are very useful at what they do.

The 8x32 Zeiss Conquest HD is recommended by many, but does not have enough eye relief for me. However it might work for you, so I'd check it out.

Edit: I just re-read your note, and realize you want to stay in a lower price range, so did not take that into account as much. I apologize.
My experience was that if I wanted good eye relief, AND a decent FOV, I had to go up in price.

Hope this helps.

-Bill

Bill, thanks for your thoughtful post.

At this point, I'll give up some FOV for the other stuff. As I mentioned, with both Prostaff, I locked onto the image easily, eye relief is great, allowing me to see the whole image, and they're balanced and easy to use. I have a feeling I'll like the Monarch 5, but I'd like to try out an 8x32 or two for comparison.
 

mwhogue

Registered User
Supporter
Jeff,

A few random thoughts. Good that you have arranged to compare a variety of bins. In you range and given your preferences I agree with Bill you should try the Kowa 6.5x32 before making a decision. On paper at least it checks all your boxes, including eye relief. I easily get the full FOV with glasses but not everyone does. Of the @ 3 dozen sub alphas I have owned it would be my hands down pick for a reasonably light compact all around bin. It's better than the 7x33 Granite which I do own and enjoy as well.

You should try using the Granite harness with the 33s/42s, it is really quite useful for me. If you don't keep either Granite, the harness is available aftermarket for @ $15. As I recall, this particular harness is also branded by Bushnell so it should be easy to find. The key to successfully using a harness is to experiment to find the type best suited to your bin, how high or low on the torso you want to carry and your anatomy. I have modified some of my harnesses to fit better for my preference to carry as high on the chest as reasonable while others prefer to carry down close to the waist. The RYO ultralight harness is great but I prefer it for lighter short barrel 32's and smaller. It should work very well with the Kowa. For anything larger/heavier I prefer the Granite style where the straps are sewn into a rectangular patch of material across the shoulders. For me the least useful style is the most common, the simple all elastic X -style harness, but the style obviously works for many.

Good luck and enjoy the search.

Mike
 
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AnalogJ

Active member
Have you considered the Pro Guide HD in 8x32?

I have not. I have never heard of Pro Guide as a brand.

Jeff,

A few random thoughts. Good that you have arranged to compare a variety of bins. In you range and given your preferences I agree with Bill you should try the Kowa 6.5x32 before making a decision. On paper at least it checks all your boxes, including eye relief. I easily get the full FOV with glasses but not everyone does. Of the @ 3 dozen sub alphas I have owned it would be my hands down pick for a reasonably light compact all around bin. It's better than the 7x33 Granite which I do own and enjoy as well.

You should try using the Granite harness with the 33s/42s, it is really quite useful for me. If you don't keep either Granite, the harness is available aftermarket for @ $15. As I recall, this particular harness is also branded by Bushnell so it should be easy to find. The key to successfully using a harness is to experiment to find the type best suited to your bin, how high or low on the torso you want to carry and your anatomy. I have modified some of my harnesses to fit better for my preference to carry as high on the chest as reasonable while others prefer to carry down close to the waist. The RYO ultralight harness is great but I prefer it for lighter short barrel 32's and smaller. It should work very well with the Kowa. For anything larger/heavier I prefer the Granite style where the straps are sewn into a rectangular patch of material across the shoulders. For me the least useful style is the most common, the simple all elastic X -style harness, but the style obviously works for many.

Good luck and enjoy the search.

Mike

I'm pretty sure I want more magnification than 6.5x.

We played around with the Prostaff 7S and the Granite, both 8x42. The Granite provides SO much more of an engaging image than the 7S. We were looking at a bird today, and the sharpness, detail, color, and dimension of the bird was far superior. Not to mention the FOV is better. If I pressed my eyeglasses into the eyecups and made sure my glasses were up on my face and close to the bridge of my nose, I got just about all of the image. A little more work than the Prostaff 7S, but the image is so much more enjoyable to look through. I'm clear that I want that sort of level of binoculars.

I just ordered a pair of Carson 3D ED 8x32 bins. At $255, they're in the money ballpark and I'll be able to see what an 8x32 is like (as you lose a few ounces along the way).

With a harness, perhaps I'll be happy enough with the Granites. Celestron has the 8x42 on their own website on clearance for $240. Honestly, if I can get an image that good for around that in a comfortable bin, I'd be totally happy.
 

AnalogJ

Active member
Looking For More Than Mere Value

The Pro Guide is a model from Leupold.

Since you seem to be focused on inexpensive binoculars, you would be hard pressed to top this one SIghtron Blue Sky II.

https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=211793

I saw some mixed reviews on it. In this forum, I saw many cite the reddish cast. It might be fine for the money, but we're looking at higher priced, possibly higher performing bins at this point. The Granite 8x42 model was about $380 and the 7x33 was $320. Obviously money doesn't guarantee performance.

We're considering the possibility of spending more to get binoculars we can really get excited about.

From what we see out of the Granite models, they are in another league from the few less expensive ones we have tried. The sharpness and pop we see is something I'm assuming is part of what makes more expensive bins more appealing. That the Granite is more affordable right now is because they're not being manufactured anymore. We got the Granite 7x33 for $180 via a 20% off sale at REI, and I can get the 8x42 for $240. That's sort of the standard at this point.
 

dries1

Member
I wish you luck with the Celestron glass, Granite right? I have never heard of them. Oh well, you seem to know what you like, so enjoy the views.

Andy W.
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

as for the Carson - yes they might state 19.5mm but if they actually have it, who knows... also the specified field is a little bit narrow for an 8x32 at 120/1000m - normal is 130-140m, some extra wide examples have over 150...
If you take any of those and use them with your glasses, what you see might even be more than 120m... just saying.

If you want 18mm or over of eye relief in 32mm pair, I can think of only one - the Nikon EDG. It is arguably the optically best 8x32 pair, weights about as much as a light 8x40 and will set you back $1500 if you are lucky and import directly from Japan.
(actually having casually looked through the Opticron range I found a few with 19 and 20mm and also very narrow fields of 120m and below...)

Joachim, who would try to find a pair with 17mm or so and above 130m of field and just accept a little vignetting caused by the glasses - that way you will have the sweet spot and just loose a bit of the edge which is usually not so great anyways... unless you shell out 1.5 or 2 grand...
 

AnalogJ

Active member
For value and great optics, I have found that the Celestron Granite 8x42 is the way to go. It's brighter, images pop more, and it's sharp.

However, I'd like to try an 8x32 or thereabouts. The problem is, I don't see any good deals that are equal to the Granites. Granite has a 7x33, which my wife loves. They have an amazing 475' FOV (the 8x42 has a really good 426' FOV). The 7x33, though, doesn't provide good eye relief. I can use them, but I don't see the extreme sides of the image. They do feel amazing in the hand, so I don't blame her liking them were her smaller hands. Add to that the 1/4lb less weight, and it's nice. And at under $200 right now, they're a bargain.

I tried the Nikon Monarch 5, but their FOV is narrow, and the Monarch 7's 8x30 binocular eye relief is inadequate.

I don't want to give up ANY of the quality image of the Granite. While the 24 ounce 8x42 Granite can be felt a bit more, using the included harness does help. But boy, the compactness of the 7x33 is fantastic. I'd probably settle for them if the eye relief was adequate.

Looking at the several suggestions in the above posts, I'd either be looking at binoculars close to $400 or binoculars that probably aren't as good as the Granites. There's an older model of Kowa that doesn't have ED glass, and Kowa makes both a 6.5x32 and a 8x32. Both with very respectable FOV. If I were to try one, would I want the extra FOV with the 6.5 or the extra magnification with the 8?

I'd at least try to get a pair or two of 8x32 (or thereabout) in to compare the experience to the Granite before I settle on one.

Jeff
 
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chill6x6

Well-known member
There are a good number of 8X32 binoculars with adequate ER. I wear glasses and have tried several. Of course the price range varies a lot. The Swarovski EL Swarovision though expensive is a great binocular for the eyeglass wearer. Less expensive is the Zeiss Conquest HD. One of the more comfortable is the Nikon Premier HG. It's out of production but can still be found. The Swarovski CL 8X30 both the previous and current model are good to go. Some less expensive models that still offer good ER are the Zeiss Terra ED and a Sightron S-II Blue Sky. Even the Nikon M7 8X30 has enough ER for me. The Zeiss FL and Meopta B.1 have enough ER for me but just barely.
 

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gcole

Well-known member
There are a good number of 8X32 binoculars with adequate ER. I wear glasses and have tried several. Of course the price range varies a lot. The Swarovski EL Swarovision though expensive is a great binocular for the eyeglass wearer. Less expensive is the Zeiss Conquest HD. One of the more comfortable is the Nikon Premier HG. It's out of production but can still be found. The Swarovski CL 8X30 both the previous and current model are good to go. Some less expensive models that still offer good ER are the Zeiss Terra ED and a Sightron S-II Blue Sky. Even the Nikon M7 8X30 has enough ER for me. The Zeiss FL and Meopta B.1 have enough ER for me but just barely.

WOW !! :eek!: .... I do not know how you do it , I mean decide. So many binoculars and this is just your 32mm class out of all your total binocular collection. When I used to keep only a total of Three, sleeping :cat: the night before any planned outing was tough enough .... Which to use ? Then I went to owning only Two, then to owning only One just so I would have no choice to which one I took :t: Now I sleep like a baby but Walt !!! Where do you keep all of these ? On a conveyer belt hanging from the ceiling :-O like a dry cleaner. To get them all off the floor with quick and easy access , just push a button ..... Just kidding 8-P. I salute you :king:
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
WOW !! :eek!: .... I do not know how you do it , I mean decide. So many binoculars and this is just your 32mm class out of all your total binocular collection. When I used to keep only a total of Three, sleeping :cat: the night before any planned outing was tough enough .... Which to use ? Then I went to owning only Two, then to owning only One just so I would have no choice to which one I took :t: Now I sleep like a baby but Walt !!! Where do you keep all of these ? On a conveyer belt hanging from the ceiling :-O like a dry cleaner. To get them all off the floor with quick and easy access , just push a button ..... Just kidding 8-P. I salute you :king:

HAHA! THANKS! I've always been THAT person that wants to try EVERYTHING I'm passionate about! I guess it comes down to I really DO want to have the best instrument for the job at hand. And YEP, I DO sometimes have a hard time picking out what binocular to take! When I go birding, I GO BIRDING! I kind of take it very seriously! I usually stick about three in the vehicle when I go. Sometimes things aren't the way I thought they'd be when I get to the birding spot. Almost always one goes and that's the SV 8X32 so that's always my "go to." I was up last night late deciding WHERE to go birding. I had already decided on the Retrovid 7X35. The spot and the optics proved to be a good combination as I saw a bay breasted warbler, a life bird for me!

Off topic....I'm thinking you are now SURROUNDED by awesome birding spots! If you get bored and I know its quite a haul for you...the Lake Apopka Wildlife drive is an AWESOME spot!
 

justabirdwatcher

Well-known member
I am currently testing out a pair of Meopta Meopro HD 8x32's, and they have plenty of eye relief. Strangely enough, they also have eyecups that extend out far enough to match it! That's rare in my experience, esp. with 8x binoculars.
 

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