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An evaluation of the NL’s performance from Poland (1 Viewer)

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
There is a 14 page thread on the Polish forum Optyczne (‘Optics’) about the new Swarovski NL binoculars,
see at: https://forum.optyczne.pl/viewtopic.php?t=33407&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0
It is of course associated with the English language version of Arek's Allbinos site at: https://www.allbinos.com

3mnich (aka mnich here on BirdForum) has posted comments and images on pages 7 and 8 of the thread, comparing:
- the NL 8x42 to the EL FieldPro x42 and x50, and
- the NL 8x42 to the SLC 8x42
There is a number of aspects that I expect will be of interest to many

I’ve posted the full text below via Google Translate (though with extra spacing), along with the accompanying images


John


A) NL vs EL

‘A few days ago, I went on a long-awaited shopping.
It has arrived at the NL 8x42 Pure store, the rest of the sizes will be in a month or more. Apparently, there are so many orders for new models in the world that there is no sufficient production capacity ...
Something like this nowadays ... export…

The weather was nice that day, so I decided to put up a tourist chair in front of the store and have a little fun with other models from Austria, because they were in stock.
Of course, the first shot is NL 8x42. The first application to the eye was very phenomenal. IMAX at its best ...

After a few minutes, I took the two SV x 42 and x50 models for comparisons. After almost an hour of comparisons in various conditions, the conclusion was as follows:
each pair of binoculars has its advantages, of course such a large field in NL is something new on the market, so you have to cool down a bit and move on to the practical side of using the binoculars,
because this looking is not about constantly peeking at the edges of the picture, but mainly at the centre, and that's where the whole battle unfolds.

The image in NL is very neutral, it is difficult to distinguish it from SV. Of course, sharpness to the very edge, CA, and other distortions also a copy of the SV.
I didn't notice any difference in brightness and contrast.
What clearly differs the NL from the SV is the ergonomics and the feeling of being held in your hands. I don't want to say which is "better", it is to be judged individually by each user,
but personally I prefer classic design.

The focus mechanism is a revolution. Unfortunately, SV is lagging behind in this topic. It could be compared to the Zeiss mechanics in the top models (not FL), rather the SF or HT.

I discovered a small optical flaw in the NL 8x42 that is not present in the SV, namely the spikes on sharp points of light ...
Apparently, the new prism design has not yet taken this parameter into account, or it is not technologically possible (for now) to eliminate this phenomenon.’

- - - -


The images show from top to bottom:
- 2011 production EL SV 10x32
- 2015 production EL FP 8.5x42
- 2017 production EL FP 8.5x42
- 2020 production NL 12x42
 

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John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
B) NL 8x42 vs SLC 8x42
‘There were also new SLC models, so I tell myself what I have to lose, I will see if anything has changed in the optics.
First it was 10x42 and ... no surprise. Correct, decent, nice ...
Well, after longer games with NL and SV there was no great delight.

Finally, I asked your dealer for the SLC 8x42 ...
I looked at the serial number, production from July this year, ten was from a year ago - more or less.
The first application to my eyes and I immediately felt hot, my heart rate sped up, and a thought popped into my head - it's impossible ...
I adjusted optics, mechanics and re-look, yes, the guys in Austria have evidently improved the SLC x42 series recently, unless the copy I had in my hand was special ...

Of course, I didn't find a flat field, like in SV, but something I love about binoculars - the beauty of the image.
Sharpness (centre) and brightness comparable to NL, higher contrast in SLC - probably due to higher colour saturation, and better 3D effect.
Working against bright light - the sun - one more point for SLC. This whole mix impressed me more than the big field in NL.
I spent the next hour comparing the new SLC to the NL. I also found no problems with spikes in SLC. And the ergonomics of the SLC, my hands accepted this solution more.

In the end, I left the store with the new SLC, and when it comes to NL, I will wait for the development of the project and possible removal of small mistakes in optics and aesthetics
(very visible seams on the housing).
This is not an objective review of the binoculars, but my private opinion, which is in line with my preferences and experience.
Considering the number of orders in the world of the new NL, I am probably in the minority of people who prefer classic, already proven solutions.’

- - - -


Current production SLC 8x42 top, and NL 8x42 below:
 

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elkcub

Silicon Valley, California
United States
Hi John,

I only have one specimen of the original 8x42 SLC-HD, so I can't compare it with the newer model, but it was a "salesman's sample" in an unopened box. Maybe it was a "cherry." In any event what was just described captures my own reactions exactly, so I hope it's enjoyed as much as mine.

Ed
 
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Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Current production SLC 8x42 top, and NL 8x42 below:

John, thanks for posting this along with these pics - particularly the 3rd one - where the two binoculars are lined up at the eye cup end.

I hope the penny drops - DING DING ! and the good folk here at BF can make this method something of a reference standard around here.

It puts into stark contrast all these claims of ergonomics and balance, when you can see as plain as day, how the position of the focus wheels plays out with hand positioning ......... :smoke:








Chosun :gh:
 

PeterPS

MEMBER
3mnich (aka mnich here on BirdForum) has posted comments and images on pages 7 and 8 of the thread, comparing:
- the NL 8x42 to the EL FieldPro x42 and x50

What clearly differs the NL from the SV is the ergonomics and the feeling of being held in your hands. I don't want to say which is "better", it is to be judged individually by each user,
but personally I prefer classic design.


I discovered a small optical flaw in the NL 8x42 that is not present in the SV, namely the spikes on sharp points of light ...
Apparently, the new prism design has not yet taken this parameter into account, or it is not technologically possible (for now) to eliminate this phenomenon.’

I agree with mnich: the "wasp waist" of the NLs is not for everyone; like mnich I also prefer the ergonomics of the SV 50mm.
Imo the glare issue of the NLs is more than "a small optical flaw"; I have discussed this problem with Swaro and the brief version of their answer is that there are unavoidable compromises in any design.....
 

Gray C

Newbie birder
I think the SLCs are phenomenal optics, great to hold and solidly built. I've decided against getting the NLs as I am perfectly happy with my SLC 8x42.

My next purchase will be SLC 8x56 for very low light viewing
 

bockos

Well-known member
I would have believed you if I had not seen all three Swarovski NL Pure, at the end of August 2020 at an exhibition in the Czech Republic. It was a sunny day..There were all the binoculars from the EL and SLC series ... I stayed for about 3-4 hours .. in front of me there was a meadow, a forest; shadow and light .. I can definitely see a difference in NL Pure ... in better colors, better contrast, black is blacker, white is whiter ... and most of all: this transparency in 8x42NL The overall picture in NL Pure for I'm more alive than all the other binoculars at all .... (and add 159m ... for 8x). (... Or 133m for 10x ...) For me this is the binoculars. If anyone is talking about money, let them take SLC or cheaper binoculars ... But NL is in another class, in my opinion. Sorry I think so. But I really liked NL Pure ... (I had Swarovski 10x50EL and 15x56SLC ... they are great!) (I had Swarovski 10x50EL and 15x56SLC ... they are great!)
 
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bockos

Well-known member
I would have believed you if I had not seen all three Swarovski NL Pure, at the end of August 2020 at an exhibition in the Czech Republic. It was a sunny day..There were all the binoculars from the EL and SLC series ... I stayed for about 3-4 hours .. in front of me there was a meadow, a forest; shadow and light .. I can definitely see a difference in NL Pure ... in better colors, better contrast, black is blacker, white is whiter ... and most of all: this transparency in 8x42NL The overall picture in NL Pure for I'm more alive than all the other binoculars at all .... (and add 159m ... for 8x). (... Or 133m for 10x ...) For me this is the binoculars. If anyone is talking about money, let them take SLC or cheaper binoculars ... But NL is in another class, in my opinion. Sorry I think so. But I really liked NL Pure ... (I had Swarovski 10x50EL and 15x56SLC ... they are great!) (I had Swarovski 10x50EL and 15x56SLC ... they are great!)

(I had Swarovski 10x50EL and 15x56SLC ... they are great!)
 

nzwild

Well-known member
I would have believed you if I had not seen all three Swarovski NL Pure, at the end of August 2020 at an exhibition in the Czech Republic. It was a sunny day..There were all the binoculars from the EL and SLC series ... I stayed for about 3-4 hours .. in front of me there was a meadow, a forest; shadow and light .. I can definitely see a difference in NL Pure ... in better colors, better contrast, black is blacker, white is whiter ... and most of all: this transparency in 8x42NL The overall picture in NL Pure for I'm more alive than all the other binoculars at all .... (and add 159m ... for 8x). (... Or 133m for 10x ...) For me this is the binoculars. If anyone is talking about money, let them take SLC or cheaper binoculars ... But NL is in another class, in my opinion. Sorry I think so. But I really liked NL Pure ... (I had Swarovski 10x50EL and 15x56SLC ... they are great!) (I had Swarovski 10x50EL and 15x56SLC ... they are great!)

You don't have to say sorry. It's the variety of opinions that builds a picture of the character of the bino. Some consider the EL view close to the NL. Some dont. Some like the 'pop' of the wide FOV. Some look for centre detail in poor or difficult conditions. Thank goodness for varied opinions.
 

PeterPS

MEMBER
You don't have to say sorry. It's the variety of opinions that builds a picture of the character of the bino. Some consider the EL view close to the NL. Some dont. Some like the 'pop' of the wide FOV. Some look for centre detail in poor or difficult conditions. Thank goodness for varied opinions.
That's precisely what sells every binocular produced on this planet. If there was only one opinion then we would have only one brand making only one pair.
 

bockos

Well-known member
You don't have to say sorry. It's the variety of opinions that builds a picture of the character of the bino. Some consider the EL view close to the NL. Some dont. Some like the 'pop' of the wide FOV. Some look for centre detail in poor or difficult conditions. Thank goodness for varied opinions.
Yes. there really is something i can learn from other people and their experience with binoculars
 
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Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
PeterPs, post 5,
After reading about your observations I took the 8x42 NL pure to look at my "standard" intense light sources to check for glare, internal reflections, spikes etc. None of them appeared in my eyes, now the question is: where do we differ, do you wear spectacles/contactlenses (I do not)?
Gijs van Ginkel
 

PeterPS

MEMBER
PeterPs, post 5,
After reading about your observations I took the 8x42 NL pure to look at my "standard" intense light sources to check for glare, internal reflections, spikes etc. None of them appeared in my eyes, now the question is: where do we differ, do you wear spectacles/contactlenses (I do not)?
Gijs van Ginkel

There is no doubt that there are internal reflections that cause bright spots at the very edge of the EP, which in turn cause glare. That is easy to see by just looking at the EP and there have been pics on the BF documenting the haze/glare. I am sure that Henry will post more pics when he gets time to write down his review. Now to your question why some people notice the glare and others don't, the explanation is quite simple: it depends on your facial features. In particular, I do not wear glasses but if I did it would easier for me to avoid the glare in the NLs by moving the bino down as needed.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I would have believed you if I had not seen all three Swarovski NL Pure, at the end of August 2020 at an exhibition in the Czech Republic. It was a sunny day..There were all the binoculars from the EL and SLC series ... I stayed for about 3-4 hours .. in front of me there was a meadow, a forest; shadow and light .. I can definitely see a difference in NL Pure ... in better colors, better contrast, black is blacker, white is whiter ... and most of all: this transparency in 8x42NL The overall picture in NL Pure for I'm more alive than all the other binoculars at all .... (and add 159m ... for 8x). (... Or 133m for 10x ...) For me this is the binoculars. If anyone is talking about money, let them take SLC or cheaper binoculars ... But NL is in another class, in my opinion. Sorry I think so. But I really liked NL Pure ... (I had Swarovski 10x50EL and 15x56SLC ... they are great!) (I had Swarovski 10x50EL and 15x56SLC ... they are great!)
I agree with bockos. I have had practically all the Swarovski's including many of the SLC's, EL's and the 10x50 EL and even the 8x56 SLC. The El's are no doubt in my mind better than the SLC's. But none of them even the El's compare with the colors, contrast and especially the transparency of the NL. I have never experienced any binocular that has the transparency of the NL. They are at a different level than anything else with the view almost seeming like there is no glass between you and the bird. IMO when somebody says they prefer the SLC over the NL they have to not like a big color rich, contrasty and extremely transparent view and I think a lot of the motivation to choose an SLC is based on the price tag. People rationalize their decision based on the cost of the binocular. You get what you pay for in the end.
 
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jaymann

Well-known member
I have no budget issues. I compared 8.5x42 el and 8x42 nl for half an hour at eurooptics in Pennsylvania. I did not find any major improvements. Eye box was little better but eye relief was tighter. I ended up buying el 12x50 to compliment my el 8.5x42. I also placed an order for slc 8x56 last week. Binoculars are personal choice, don’t think you only have the money to buy it. This is a Swarovski page so everyone has capabilities to buy it and right to say that that they don’t like it.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I have no budget issues. I compared 8.5x42 el and 8x42 nl for half an hour at eurooptics in Pennsylvania. I did not find any major improvements. Eye box was little better but eye relief was tighter. I ended up buying el 12x50 to compliment my el 8.5x42. I also placed an order for slc 8x56 last week. Binoculars are personal choice, don’t think you only have the money to buy it. This is a Swarovski page so everyone has capabilities to buy it and right to say that that they don’t like it.
Everybody is different and our eyes are different and what we perceive. I am sure Swarovski would NOT like to hear that you found no major improvements in the 8x42 NL over the 8.5x42 EL after they spent 30 million dollars on R&D on the NL trying to improve the EL. The EL was already a great binocular though but I feel the NL is better. The SLC just never did it for me because I always liked the sharp edges of the EL. Some people don't care one way or the other about sharp edges. For that reason I always felt the EL was better and was worth the difference in price. You should feel lucky that you don't see a difference between the EL and the NL because it saved you a lot of money. I will tell you a story about the big 8x56 SLC. I had it at about the same time I had the Habicht 8x30 W and I liked it for its transparency although I don't think it is quite as transparent as the NL and low light performance but I found there were only a few minutes between dawn and dusk where that big SLC 8x56 would outperform that tiny Habicht and it was like 3x the size and weight. In the daytime the Habicht 8x30 would give an identical view to the SLC 8x56 with a BIGGER FOV! So one night I was looking at both binoculars together and I thought WHY am I carrying this big thing for those few minutes of time when it REALLY benefits me! I would guess that is why a lot of birders carry a 8x32 instead of 8x42 but there is ease of eye placement to be considered to. I think I sold the SLC 8x56 that week. But it was one of the BRIGHTEST binoculars I have ever used in low light being almost like night vision and I would say the Habicht 7x42 is second because of it's extremely high transmission. So for low light hunting or owling I could see a place for a 8x56 and I think that is their primary use. I just don't do enough of those type of things to carry it.
 
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bockos

Well-known member
Everybody is different and our eyes are different and what we perceive. I am sure Swarovski would NOT like to hear that you found no major improvements in the 8x42 NL over the 8.5x42 EL after they spent 30 million dollars on R&D on the NL trying to improve the EL. The EL was already a great binocular though but I feel the NL is better. The SLC just never did it for me because I always liked the sharp edges of the EL. Some people don't care one way or the other about sharp edges. For that reason I always felt the EL was better and was worth the difference in price. You should feel lucky that you don't see a difference between the EL and the NL because it saved you a lot of money. I will tell you a story about the big 8x56 SLC. I had it at about the same time I had the Habicht 8x30 W and I liked it for its transparency although I don't think it is quite as transparent as the NL and low light performance but I found there were only a few minutes between dawn and dusk where that big SLC 8x56 would outperform that tiny Habicht and it was like 3x the size and weight. In the daytime the Habicht 8x30 would give an identical view to the SLC 8x56 with a BIGGER FOV! So one night I was looking at both binoculars together and I thought WHY am I carrying this big thing for those few minutes of time when it REALLY benefits me! I would guess that is why a lot of birders carry a 8x32 instead of 8x42 but there is ease of eye placement to be considered to. I think I sold the SLC 8x56 that week. But it was one of the BRIGHTEST binoculars I have ever used in low light being almost like night vision and I would say the Habicht 7x42 is second because of it's extremely high transmission. So for low light hunting or owling I could see a place for a 8x56 and I think that is their primary use. I just don't do enough of those type of things to carry it.

thank you for the nice words. every time.
 

jaymann

Well-known member
Yes when I say eyebox it means what you refer to as transparency where you feel the view is easy on eyes, natural and like there is no glass between eyes and the object in focus. When I compared NL to noctavids/ultravids, I got the same view.
I don’t dislike NLs! But I think they are overpriced and overhyped. A lot of reviews I see say they are better than ELS but I also see a lot of people saying there is nothing special in NL optics other than slightly wider field of view which is not noticeable if you have nothing to compare at the same time.
The outdoor industry is like a teenager, they fall heads over for anything that is advertised to be the best. People should try these before buying and make sure you compare them to other options.
If I have to use an analogy I would say SLC is 308 win , el is like 30.06 and nl is like 300 prc.
If Swarovski did not have ELS, I would buy NLs. But because I have ELs already I will not buy NLs especially the 12x42.
My polite 2 cents.
 
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Conndomat

United States of Europe
Europe
I will tell you a story about the big 8x56 SLC. I had it at about the same time I had the Habicht 8x30 W and I liked it for its transparency although I don't think it is quite as transparent as the NL and low light performance but I found there were only a few minutes between dawn and dusk where that big SLC 8x56 would outperform that tiny Habicht and it was like 3x the size and weight.

Dennis your beautiful observation is useless if you don't know how far your pupils will open in the dark!

Mine still open to 6.8mm. So I can use the 8x56 almost fully and the SLC 8x56 can be used much longer at dusk than an 8x30!

In addition, they should respect that other participants do not find the NL as good as they do, that has nothing to do with envy or cannot afford, I also think the SLC are very good binoculars, tastes are just different and that is a good thing.

Andreas
 

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