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

8x32 EL or the new 8.5x42 “Legend” (2 Viewers)

TomK85

Member
I own a Swarovski CL 8x25 pocket for some time. Really like it due to its compact size which is ideal when backpacking.

I want to step up the game a bit and I am doubting between the 8x32 or the new 8.5x42. Before the focus distance was raised to 3,3m the price difference was pretty significant. Nowadays the price difference is much smaller. I really don’t use the 1.8m focussing distance but still: 3,3m is rather far.

The 8.5 offcourse is better in low light situations while the 8x32 is much more compact. I was wondering if the 8x32 is really a step up from the 8x25 as it is to the 8.5x42.

Hope somebody here can point me in the right direction.
 

Ries

Well-known member
Netherlands
I'm not experienced in using them but from the specs the size and weight difference between the two are of course quite noticeable...From what I've read it seems the quality of the 8x32 el is fantastic but is clear 42 would give more light. The 7mm difference would to that too, and as your used to "only" 25mm you'll already notice that, added the optical quality... I think the disadvantages from the larger and heavier bin would become more negative apparent compared to the upgrade from the 25cl to the 32el would be positive. Just my thoughts... :)
 
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Pileatus

"Experientia Docet”
United States
I own a Swarovski CL 8x25 pocket for some time. Really like it due to its compact size which is ideal when backpacking.

I want to step up the game a bit and I am doubting between the 8x32 or the new 8.5x42. Before the focus distance was raised to 3,3m the price difference was pretty significant. Nowadays the price difference is much smaller. I really don’t use the 1.8m focussing distance but still: 3,3m is rather far.

The 8.5 offcourse is better in low light situations while the 8x32 is much more compact. I was wondering if the 8x32 is really a step up from the 8x25 as it is to the 8.5x42.

Hope somebody here can point me in the right direction.
We have the 8X32, 8.5X42 and 10X50 SV's (pre-FP models).

The 8X32 SV is one of the sharpest and easiest to use bins I've ever seen.
Eye relief is fantastic with my eyeglasses.
It's lightweight but large enough to "feel good" in the hand.
Focus is smooth and precise.
Color, contrast, edge sharpness, etc. are all superb.
The view of the night sky is stunning in the 8X32 SV.

The ONLY downside for me with the 8X32 SV is the glare that often intrudes on the image. I can control it pretty well BUT it can be bothersome. The 8X32 SV belongs to my wife and she NEVER has a problem with glare...and I've asked multiple times. Two birders, two very different views regarding glare.

I've compared the 8X32 SV image to the 8.5X42 SV, 10X50 SV, 7X42 SLC, 7X42 Ultravid and a few Nikon 8X32 SE's. The 8X32 is as good or better than most of them.

In direct comparison to the 8.5X42 SV (your other choice), I'd say the issues are size and glare. I know a few older birders that now use 8X32 SV's as their primary bin. Weight is not a problem for me at age 69 so I still cling to my old favorites.

Good Luck!

PS
My wife used an 8X32 Nikon SE for many years until she tried the 8X32 SV. Interestingly, she never encountered any blackouts with the SE AND she does not have a problem with glare in the 8X32 SV. Different people; different perceptions!
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
I own a Swarovski CL 8x25 pocket for some time. Really like it due to its compact size which is ideal when backpacking.

For backpacking I personally wouldn't take anything bigger than the EL 8x32 WB (current model name). It is a very nice handling instrument and gives excellent definition. During the recent lockdown I had plenty of chance to try one out in some very bright conditions and at all times of day. In fact I thought it was a supremely fast and nice handling pair of binoculars - the first time I have thought that unreservedly about any 32s. Nothing wrong with the 8.5 except of course the recently strangled close focus and that -- your feeling might vary -- it feels a bit front-heavy and, well, just a bit big and heavy for backpacking. The downside you have already seen mentioned by Pileatus and you will often hear in connexion with the 32 is glare but in my recent experience, rather like that of Pileatus's wife, it's not a lot different in that respect from other makes and objective sizes too. The one that is quite famous for lack of glare is the EDG series by Nikon but the few that are still listed as on sale by Nikon won't give you the same peace of mind that Swarovski service back up gives (not saying it's better but the statistics judging from this forum suggest a very high satisfaction rate among birders and often work is done FOC - just as well considering the high initial outlay). Also EDG are quite chunky, so again a minus point for mobility when already weighed down.

To sum up, though I don't like 32s nearly as much as 42s myself, the 8x32 EL is for me the exception: very fine definition and colour (if you like it neutral to cool), nice handling, and though itself bigger than Zeiss and Leica 32s it is still lightweight and also, very unlike the focus-strangled 8.5x42 EL Legend, has good close focus, in fact the closest focus out of the three Teutonic makes of 32. You may not be too fussed now about close focus but if you've got it I bet you'll try it out and find yourself using it!

The 8.5 is a great instrument for birding but not if you're putting in weighted mileage unless you already have joint membership of the USMC, Spetsnaz, Royal Marines, and French Foreign Legion all at the same time. Sorry I don't know the Dutch parallel service!

Good luck!

Tom

I should have mentioned the 8x32 EL WB also steals the prize for widest field of view from the Zeiss T*FL but not from the emerging SF. (Someone correct me if any of this is wrong; I'm pretty sure it's right but not 100% about the new SF.)
 
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matt green

Norfolkman gone walkabout
I've compared both EL's at length at dusk and struggle to see any noticable advantage of the 42, the 32 also feels so sublime and steady in the hands they are a joy to use. The wider field of view is noticable, I also prefer the slightly slower focus speed..makes for a more precise, less twitchy focus adjustment.

The 42 might have slgthly improved micro contrast but you'd never notice unless you are constantly using both and switching from one to the other in all conditions! I'd only opt for a 42 EL if I felt compelled to have a 10x42.

Matt
 

jremmons

Wildlife Biologist
I'll be the dissenting opinion and say that I currently own and have owned both the 8.5x42 Field Pro and 8x32 Swarovision pre-FP, and I sold the 8x32 specifically because of the glare. During certain viewing conditions I literally found the binoculars unusable. I actually found the 8x32 a little easier to use for whatever reason (absolutely no blackouts whereas the 8.5x42 I can occasionally induce blackouts when panning rapidly) aside from this. Optically, both are nearly perfect to my eyes.
So for me, despite all the positives of the little 8x32, I would never again own one.

Justin
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
In my opinion if was going to spend $2000 to $2200 on either an old model EL 8x32 or EL 8.5x42 I would just wait another couple weeks and get the new SF 8x32 or NL 8x42. With discounts, you can get the SF for around $2000 and you can get the NL for around $2700 which really is only $500 more. Once the new SF and NL are out the EL 8x32 and EL 8.5x42 are going to depreciate faster so you will probably lose that $500 you saved on the initial purchase. With the SF and NL you are getting a LOT bigger FOV, better glare control, better ergonomics, better micro contrast, smoother focuser and the innovative head rest.
 

Kammerdiner

Well-known member
I've used all three binos in question, for years now, and I think the 8x32 SV is a great choice. The improvement between 8x25 CL and 8x32 SV is big! Between 8x32 and 8.5 less so.

As for glare, in those conditions where it happens, shift the binos down a bit, relative to your eyes, and most of it goes away. I'm not sure why so many don't realize that Swaro has a reason for this, namely a crazy ease of view. Wide open and a roam-around view. I've used a lot of 8x32's and none of them could match that!
 

jremmons

Wildlife Biologist
As for glare, in those conditions where it happens, shift the binos down a bit, relative to your eyes, and most of it goes away. I'm not sure why so many don't realize that Swaro has a reason for this, namely a crazy ease of view. Wide open and a roam-around view. I've used a lot of 8x32's and none of them could match that!

I agree with the ease of view design, but I highly disagree that it is a simple fix for all users. I certainly think the glare is only a problem for some people so I certainly don't say everyone should discount it due to that issue, but I use binoculars for up to 12 hours a day some times for work, and there were days/conditions the glare was so pronounced in the 8x32 SV that I literally could not use the binoculars. I've never had this with any other pair of binoculars I've owned, including the 8.5x42 SV Field Pro, 8x42 SLC-HD, and the 10x42 EL (pre-Swarovision). I mention the other Swarovski I've owned/own as a point of reference that I have no brand bias. The 8.5x42 FP certainly shows glare or flare under certain conditions(crescent haze towards the bottom of the view that impacts contrast), but I rarely consider it problematic and the other qualities of the binocular outweigh that problem.

THAT SAID, my advice would be to try IN THE FIELD, IN DIFFERENT LIGHTING CONDITIONS before purchase, and make sure there is a good return policy just in case. Certainly the glare exists (Henry has shown this), the issue is whether or not it will be visible to the user and most importantly, whether even if it is visible if it will be problematic.

Justin
 
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SeldomPerched

Well-known member
I agree with the ease of view design, but I highly disagree that it is a simple fix for all users. I certainly think the glare is only a problem for some people so I certainly don't say everyone should discount it due to that issue, but I use binoculars for up to 12 hours a day some times for work, and there were days/conditions the glare was so pronounced in the 8x32 SV that I literally could not use the binoculars. I've never had this with any other pair of binoculars I've owned, including the 8.5x42 SV Field Pro, 8x42 SLC-HD, and the 10x42 EL (pre-Swarovision). I mention the other Swarovski I've owned/own as a point of reference that I have no brand bias. The 8.5x42 FP certainly shows glare or flare under certain conditions(crescent haze towards the bottom of the view that impacts contrast), but I rarely consider it problematic and the other qualities of the binocular outweigh that problem.

THAT SAID, my advice would be to try IN THE FIELD, IN DIFFERENT LIGHTING CONDITIONS before purchase, and make sure there is a good return policy just in case. Certainly the glare exists (Henry has shown this), the issue is whether or not it will be visible to the user and most importantly, whether even if it is visible if it will be problematic.

Justin

This and also Kammerdiner's post are really interesting; thank you especially as you have much experience across the board with these and other glass. Unless I missed an explanation, why do you think people are affected differently by glare? I see it in some binoculars that are well-known for being comparatively glare-free.

A subsidiary point: would you say that glare and veiling flare are the same thing or not?

Tom
 

sbb

Well-known member
go the 32's

I have both the Swaros 8x25 CL and 8x32 SV. THe 25's only come with me if say if I am going to a theater/hike. Where discreetness and weight play a big factor... (mind you my housemate took my Zeiss Terras 42's in to a theatre once).

The 32's offer a much bigger, cleaner picture then the 25's. At home they are my go to vs the smaller/bigger brothers. The have also have a bigger FOV vs the 42 ELs. But in the end, the 42's do give the best pics. Depends on how much weight you want to lug about.
 

timbo79

Mostly harmless
I own a Swarovski CL 8x25 pocket
[...]
The 8.5 offcourse is better in low light situations while the 8x32 is much more compact. I was wondering if the 8x32 is really a step up from the 8x25 as it is to the 8.5x42.

In case you want to keep your 8x25, I would definitely recommend the 8.5x42, as the 8x32 is (in my opinion) too similar to your existing equipment. Moreover, the 8x32 is relatively large for its class, so that the size difference compared to the 8.5x42 is not that big.

In case you want to sell the 8x25, a 8x32 might be the right glass for you. However, as compactness seems to be important to you, I would also consider the Leica Ultravid 8x32 or the Zeiss FL 8x32, both are much more compact than the Swarovski EL 8x32 and the upcoming Zeiss SF 8x32.
 

Uhu74

Well-known member
I'll be the dissenting opinion and say that I currently own and have owned both the 8.5x42 Field Pro and 8x32 Swarovision pre-FP, and I sold the 8x32 specifically because of the glare. During certain viewing conditions I literally found the binoculars unusable. I actually found the 8x32 a little easier to use for whatever reason (absolutely no blackouts whereas the 8.5x42 I can occasionally induce blackouts when panning rapidly) aside from this. Optically, both are nearly perfect to my eyes.
So for me, despite all the positives of the little 8x32, I would never again own one.

Justin

Same here Justin, I've had the el8x32 and encountered severe veiling glare on a regular basis. (And with severe, I mean a total whiteout, whereas my 250€ Zeiss Terra was perfectly fine next to it)
The bins have been to Swarovski service several times in total, mainly because of a really bad focuser and a rattle inside when switching focus direction.
I also complained about the glare issue, and asked them to check for that issue too, but it was according factory specs.

Long story short, the focus and rattle issue was solved perfectly, but the glare issue remained..... I've sold it shortly after that.
I have had the SLC 8x42 and el10x50 too, and have never encountered any annoying glare with them.

You may call me a Swarovski fanboy, but the el8x32 is definitely way below par regarding glare considering the price of this instrument..
When it would not have had the glare issue, it would easily be the very best 8x32 bino in existence for me.
As lovely as the view is, as bad is the glare in some circumstances.
In the cases I encountered glare, there was no way to suppress it by looking through it in a different angle.

For the TS, seen the fact that you already have the compacts, I would definitely recommend the el8.5x42 instead over the el8x32.

Cheers, Gijs
 

jremmons

Wildlife Biologist
This and also Kammerdiner's post are really interesting; thank you especially as you have much experience across the board with these and other glass. Unless I missed an explanation, why do you think people are affected differently by glare? I see it in some binoculars that are well-known for being comparatively glare-free.

A subsidiary point: would you say that glare and veiling flare are the same thing or not?

Tom

Tom,
I honestly don't know why and I wish I did. I believe some other users more well-versed in optical phenomena mentioned that it could possibly be the way ones eyes line up with exit pupil of the binocular; I believe Henry Link in particular mentioned that binoculars with larger exit pupils often allow any glare along the edge to actually fall onto the iris and so not be visible. I have noticed for me proper alignment of the exit pupil seems very important and binoculars that require extensive work to align with my eyes don't work too well for m (e.g. the Zeiss Victory 8x32 FL).
Gijs above mentioned "white out" and I believe that is most accurate description as I could literally see almost nothing in a portion of the field when the "glare" showed itself.
In regards to the terminology, I guess I consider flare and glare somewhat synonymous, as I'm referencing light intruding over the image. More specifically I've always thought of "veiling glare" as when light "washes over" the image and reduces the contrast, whereas to me flare is more extreme like what I saw in the 8x32 EL SV.
Justin
 
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NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
I own both the 8x32 and the 8.5x42 SV, and I have owned the previous versions. They both offer very good views, I have not been bothered at all by any glare mentioned, I will just say the 8x32 offers a very nice 8* FOV, and the best ergos in any binocular that I have handled.

The 8.5x42 SV is a better choice for a just one, get it and forget it, binocular. I really like the 8.5 power, as I
find it offers a nice balance with a little more mag. than 8x, it fits nicely between 8 and 10x.

Either of these would be a great choice. These 2 models are in the top handful of the best binoculars available.

Jerry
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Here is the thread where Henry Link explains why the Swarovski SV 8x32 has so much glare. Also, a link to the greatestbinoculars reviews explaining the SV 8x32 glare problem. Very interesting!

https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=308250
http://www.greatestbinoculars.com/allpages/reviews/swarovski/swaroel8x32sv/swarovision8x32.html

"Ghosting and flare
The Swarovision´s image is nervous with ghosting and internal reflections, especially with crescent flare in the periphery of the image, and with veiling glare in backlight. The Nikon SE 8x32 definitely has a better image in this respect with less ghosts and less flare. The Habicht is about as bad as the SV when used without sunshades, which is not a compliment to the SV given the 1000.- price difference and an almost 60 years younger optical design... It seems plausible that the quite extreme lens curvature needed for this kind of field flattening also results in light beams not flowing unhindered and unforced through the optical system, resulting in glare which lowers the contrast of the image.The street lantern test was good though, with just two faint reflections which were not bothersome. But in backlight, these binos cry out for sunshades."
 
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Kammerdiner

Well-known member
I once spent a week on Sanibel Island, Florida, looking east over to Fort Myers, with the 8x32 SV. I was out every morning before sunrise. When the sun came up I was looking at dolphins playing around the fishing boats and the Red Egrets dancing around. A totally un-heron way of doing things, but great to see.

Yes the SV can glare. I've seen it more than most. And yet my 8x32 FL is...I guess it's somewhere. I don't use it. Instead of glare, which is sharp and local, you'll get milk. I've never seen a bino without something glaring/flaring. Look beyond that 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 Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
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