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And now for something completely different: The Habicht 7x42 (1 Viewer)

Hermann

Well-known member
Over the years the Swarovski Habicht has received quite a lot of attention on this forum, even though it is in several ways one of the most old-fashioned binoculars on the market nowadays: It is one of the few remaining porros made by one of the major manufacturers now that Nikon has finally decided to stop production of the Nikon SE and Zeiss the production of the 7x50 BGAT*, and its basic design hasn’t changed for some 60 years. It does not have most of the features many people take for granted nowadays like internal focusing and close focus, it only has simple fold-down eyecups and is not really suitable for eyeglass wearers.

Of the different Habicht models still in production the 8x30 has received by far the most attention here. There are several threads about this model, including some detailed reviews:

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=222503 (Giorgio, 8x30)
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=278276 (Tobias Mennle, 8x30)
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=251846 (stephen b, 8x30)

These threads are all well worth reading for anyone who is interested in the basic properties of the Habicht series, including some high quality photos of the Habicht 8x30 in Stephen B's review.

By comparison, the Habicht 10x40 and the 7x42 have received far less attention here. There are several posts on the performance of the 10x40, especially those by PHA, and the 7x42, mainly those by Mallot, and a review by mikeymo:

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=278225

There are also a few reviews on the web, for instance by Allbinos (10x40), Binomania (7x42), Kikkertspesialisten (7x42, 10x40) and Holger Merlitz (7x42) as well as a detailed review of the 7x42 on the German forum.

I have been interested in the Habicht series for well over 25 years now, as I generally prefer porros over roofs. In the 1980s I came close to buying a Habicht 10x40, but I could not cope with the yellowish tinge of the image. So, after reading some of the reviews here, especially Stephen B's, and the astonishing transmission figures Gijs van Ginkel found for the Habicht porros, I finally decided to get a Habicht myself to see what it is like in the field. After some thoughts I settled for the 7x42 rather than 8x30 or the 10x40, despite its small AFOV.

Why the 7x42? Mainly because I do not own a lightweight binocular with large exit pupils, so the Habicht actually fills a gap. In addition, the focusing of the Habicht porros is quite stiff due to them being sealed, so the 7x42 with its greater depth of field is somewhat easier to handle than the 8x30 and especially the 10x40. And while the 10x40 and especially the 8x30 have some problems when viewing against the light and/or with veiling glare, the 7x42 does not (cf. eg Holger Merlitz review: http://www.holgermerlitz.de/swaro7x42.html). Ghosting and veiling glare are among my pet peeves and I have a very strong dislike of veiling glare in particular, so the 7x42 seemed more suitable to my requirements than either the 8x30 and the 10x40. It also has slightly more eye relief, a point I will come back to later.

My 7x42 is from November 2012, so it is quite recent and has (probably) up-to-date coatings. So far I have used it for some 80 hours in the field in different weather conditions, both during the day and in low light. I have also done some comparisons with a Nikon 8x32 SE (serial number 550xxx) I will refer to when looking at the optical quality. Even though the binoculars are not strictly comparable because of the smaller objectives and the higher magnification of the Nikon, it is a binocular many people here will know, so it can serve as a reference point.

Optical quality
The Habicht has got excellent image quality. The resolution on axis is about as good as it gets. To my eyes I would say it is even better than the Nikon SE, with even more fine detail, for instance in the plumage of Reed Buntings viewed at a range of about 20-30m. That is no mean feat, considering the optical quality of the Nikon SE. The Nikon is sharp and the Habicht is tack sharp. Even when used with the Zeiss 3x12 tripler the image looks pretty good, although I did not do any formal resolution tests. The sweetspot is sufficiently large; I estimate about 75-80% of the image is sharp, with a soft transition towards the edge. The Nikon is of course better here, as the the Habicht does not have field flatteners. CA is no problem at all, at least I couldn’t see any, but I am perhaps not the best person to judge this as I am not very susceptible to CA at all. The 3D effect is of course pronounced and one of the nice features of this binocular.

Transmission and contrast are also excellent, with no colour cast whatsoever. In fact, when I first compared the Habicht to the Nikon SE, I was almost disappointed with the view because the image looked almost flat compared to the Nikon with its reddish colour cast. Once I got used to the Habicht, however, I found I could perceive small differences in plumage coloration more easily through the Habicht. Of course the higher transmission of the Habicht that is obvious even in bright daylight also helps. The image is extremely bright with very high contrast and no colour cast whatsoever; it looks absolutely neutral. In fact, the difference compared to the Nikon SE is so obvious the Nikon SE’s image looks almost “mushy” in a direct comparison. That is something I never thought I would have to say about the Nikon SE. In low light and at night the Habicht also obviously works very well with its high transmission.

Ghosting, stray light and veiling glare: The Nikon SE is already very good as many here will know from personal experience, especially compared to most roofs, but the Habicht is even better. I could not see any veiling glare, not even on bright, overcast days, and bright lights at night did not cause any ghosts. There are obviously also no spikes caused by the prisms, something I find highly distracting with many roof prism binoculars. The only stray light I found was when viewing against the sun at sunset, with the light coming from the side.

The field of view is at 114m/1000m small, very small in fact, especially if you compare it to, for instance, the well-known Zeiss 7x42 BGAT*P with its field of view of 150m/1000m. An apparent field of view of ~46 degrees is not really a lot, and as a result the view “feels” tunnel-like. There is no denying that, the view through the Nikon SE feels better, even though it is not a “real” wide-angle binocular. Even a standard 7x50 with a field of 130m/1000m does not feel as claustrophobic as the Habicht. However, 114m/1000m is still about the same as a standard 10x42 binocular and wider than most compacts. I will come back to that later in the conclusion.

Ergonomics and handling
The Habicht basically handles just like any medium-sized porro. I have got fairly small hands for a man, and the Habicht just feels right in my hands. One of its great advantages is its weight, at 620gr (!) it is quite a lot lighter than virtually all the other 42mm binoculars on the market.

The Habicht has got some peculiarities though: The focusing is, like others have said before, pretty stiff (but in my opinion not too bad). It is very precise with no play at all, as might be expected from a simple focuser. The Nikon with its smooth focuser is, however, better. That is presumably the price one has to pay for the waterproofing. Still, I find I can focus the Habicht quite easily, even though the focusing may be a problem in winter. I may have to use two fingers then (right index finger and left thumb work quite well for me). The focus wheel has markings, a nice feature in my opinion because it is easy to set the binocular to infinity.

The eyecups are small and perhaps a bit too short, I would prefer them to be about 2mm longer. In an ideal world Swarovski would offer three different sets of eyecups for the 7x42: One for spectacle wearers, one like the current eyecups, and one that is slightly longer. The slightly greater eye-relief compared to the 8x30 and the 10x40 (14mm vs. 12mm) surprisingly makes a difference – with the 8x30 I find I soil the lenses with my eyelashes quite easily, with the 7x42 that is much less of a problem.

Conclusion
The Habicht is an interesting binocular with excellent optical quality and several quirks. It is certainly not a binocular for everyone, and there are definitely quite a few binoculars that are better for birding overall for most people. I was initially mainly worried about the AFOV, and in the field I still often wish it were wider, but the small AFOV is probably the price one has to pay for the low weight and maybe also the optical quality of Habicht. However, after a few hours in the field I found the small field of view was something I can live with. Yes, it does feel narrow, but because I am used to 10x42s with a field of view of 110m/1000m I do not lose any field of view.

To me it looks as though Swarovski originally designed this binocular to have a very high optical quality in all sorts of lighting conditions by keeping the construction as simple as possible (the eyepieces are reversed Kellners with just three elements) and minimizing problems with stray light by limiting the field of view. They certainly succeeded in doing so.

So, if you cannot cope with a smallish, almost tunnel-like AFOV, a binocular without close focusing or a somewhat stiff focuser, if you wear glasses or just do not like the handling of porros, the Habicht is definitely not for you.

If, however, you want excellent optical performance in a lightweight package and at a price well below that of top roofs, the Habicht 7x42 is a binocular you might want to have a look at.

Hermann
 
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Pinewood

New York correspondent
United States
Hello Hermann,

I once owned this glass but found the FOV too constricting. The eye cups on the 7x42 have the reputation of popping up, from the turned down position, without warning.

The Zeiss 7x42 BGAT*P was, for me, a much happier choice.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur :hi:
 

ronh

Well-known member
Excellent review Hermann, thorough, and experienced. You are a connoisseur, and your presence here is appreciated.

What an interesting and rare binocular also. I wanted a lightweight narrow fielded 7x50 at one time, but couldn't find one that was good enough. This Swaro is way good enough, and makes me think again.

Ron
 

proudpapa56

Where'd you go, stay put!
Supporter
United States
The narrower FOV is why the Habicht 7x42 model isn't followed with a W (wide angle), the 8x30 and 10x40 are. The only other Swarovski models without the W are all in the CL line.

Very nice review.
 
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PHA

Well-known member
Hello Hermann,

Very good review! Your points on Optical quality, Transmission and contrast, Natural colours, Ergonomics and handling match my own about the Habicht I have since 2009. Mine differs on the field of view. The 10x40 is a W Angle, and has the same field as my FL (not mine anymore) and actual HT. A few years ago I commented about a brief "test" between my Habicht 10x42 W GA vs. a sample of the Nikon SE 10x42. At noon and late afternoon. In these two samples, the Nikon SE wasn't a match to my Habicht. Period! The center resolution and the CA control was clearly better in the Swarovski!!! And the tightness of the ocular bridge (I am not refering to the focussing resistant, only the lateral movement of the bridge) is much better in my Habicht with some years of use....
One thing you comment, a very good feature almost gone in all the binoculars now, is the 0 or infinity marks in the focus wheel AND the angular degrees openning graduation in the bridge!!!! This is a very useful one because, once defined your graduation is very quick to open to it without trying again... Very good!!!!
Thank you and best regards!

PHA
 

PHA

Well-known member
Hello Hermann,

Very good review! Your points on Optical quality, Transmission and contrast, Natural colours, Ergonomics and handling match my own about the Habicht I have since 2009. Mine differs on the field of view. The 10x40 is a W Angle, and has the same field as my FL (not mine anymore) and actual HT. A few years ago I commented about a brief "test" between my Habicht 10x42 W GA vs. a sample of the Nikon SE 10x42. At noon and late afternoon. In these two samples, the Nikon SE wasn't a match to my Habicht. Period! The center resolution and the CA control was clearly better in the Swarovski!!! And the tightness of the ocular bridge (I am not refering to the focussing resistance, only the play of the bridge) is much better in my Habicht with some years of use....
One thing you comment, a very good feature almost gone in all the binoculars now, is the 0 or infinity marks in the focus wheel AND the angular degrees openning graduation in the bridge!!!! This is a very useful because, once defined your graduation is very quick to open to it without trying again... Very good!!!!
Thank you and best regards!

PHA
 

henry link

Well-known member
Very nice job, Hermann.

I KNOW I don't want a binocular with a 46º AFOV, but after reading your review I started mulling it over in spite of myself.

Henry
 

cycleguy

Well-known member
Hermann,

Thanks for stepping out on this one and providing commentary!

I too considered it, but chose otherwise given the FOV.

The 8x30 is on my list to try someday and your review reaffirms.

My desire for a wide FOV seems to be growing. Mid 300's was good enough once, but now prefer low 400's. Having time with a 7x42 EDG and finding it so comfortable and enjoyable, I'm left craving even more FOV.

Thanks again,

CG
 
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Pileatus

"Experientia Docet”
United States
Over the years the Swarovski Habicht has received quite a lot of attention on this forum, even though it is in several ways one of the most old-fashioned binoculars on the market nowadays: It is one of the few remaining porros made by one of the major manufacturers now that Nikon has finally decided to stop production of the Nikon SE and Zeiss the production of the 7x50 BGAT*, and its basic design hasn’t changed for some 60 years. It does not have most of the features many people take for granted nowadays like internal focusing and close focus, it only has simple fold-down eyecups and is not really suitable for eyeglass wearers.

Of the different Habicht models still in production the 8x30 has received by far the most attention here. There are several threads about this model, including some detailed reviews:

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=222503 (Giorgio, 8x30)
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=278276 (Tobias Mennle, 8x30)
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=251846 (stephen b, 8x30)

These threads are all well worth reading for anyone who is interested in the basic properties of the Habicht series, including some high quality photos of the Habicht 8x30 in Stephen B's review.

By comparison, the Habicht 10x40 and the 7x42 have received far less attention here. There are several posts on the performance of the 10x40, especially those by PHA, and the 7x42, mainly those by Mallot, and a review by mikeymo:

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=278225

There are also a few reviews on the web, for instance by Allbinos (10x40), Binomania (7x42), Kikkertspesialisten (7x42, 10x40) and Holger Merlitz (7x42) as well as a detailed review of the 7x42 on the German forum.

I have been interested in the Habicht series for well over 25 years now, as I generally prefer porros over roofs. In the 1980s I came close to buying a Habicht 10x40, but I could not cope with the yellowish tinge of the image. So, after reading some of the reviews here, especially Stephen B's, and the astonishing transmission figures Gijs van Ginkel found for the Habicht porros, I finally decided to get a Habicht myself to see what it is like in the field. After some thoughts I settled for the 7x42 rather than 8x30 or the 10x40, despite its small AFOV.

Why the 7x42? Mainly because I do not own a lightweight binocular with large exit pupils, so the Habicht actually fills a gap. In addition, the focusing of the Habicht porros is quite stiff due to them being sealed, so the 7x42 with its greater depth of field is somewhat easier to handle than the 8x30 and especially the 10x40. And while the 10x40 and especially the 8x30 have some problems when viewing against the light and/or with veiling glare, the 7x42 does not (cf. eg Holger Merlitz review: http://www.holgermerlitz.de/swaro7x42.html). Ghosting and veiling glare are among my pet peeves and I have a very strong dislike of veiling glare in particular, so the 7x42 seemed more suitable to my requirements than either the 8x30 and the 10x40. It also has slightly more eye relief, a point I will come back to later.

My 7x42 is from November 2012, so it is quite recent and has (probably) up-to-date coatings. So far I have used it for some 80 hours in the field in different weather conditions, both during the day and in low light. I have also done some comparisons with a Nikon 8x32 SE (serial number 550xxx) I will refer to when looking at the optical quality. Even though the binoculars are not strictly comparable because of the smaller objectives and the higher magnification of the Nikon, it is a binocular many people here will know, so it can serve as a reference point.

Optical quality
The Habicht has got excellent image quality. The resolution on axis is about as good as it gets. To my eyes I would say it is even better than the Nikon SE, with even more fine detail, for instance in the plumage of Reed Buntings viewed at a range of about 20-30m. That is no mean feat, considering the optical quality of the Nikon SE. The Nikon is sharp and the Habicht is tack sharp. Even when used with the Zeiss 3x12 tripler the image looks pretty good, although I did not do any formal resolution tests. The sweetspot is sufficiently large; I estimate about 75-80% of the image is sharp, with a soft transition towards the edge. The Nikon is of course better here, as the the Habicht does not have field flatteners. CA is no problem at all, at least I couldn’t see any, but I am perhaps not the best person to judge this as I am not very susceptible to CA at all. The 3D effect is of course pronounced and one of the nice features of this binocular.

Transmission and contrast are also excellent, with no colour cast whatsoever. In fact, when I first compared the Habicht to the Nikon SE, I was almost disappointed with the view because the image looked almost flat compared to the Nikon with its reddish colour cast. Once I got used to the Habicht, however, I found I could perceive small differences in plumage coloration more easily through the Habicht. Of course the higher transmission of the Habicht that is obvious even in bright daylight also helps. The image is extremely bright with very high contrast and no colour cast whatsoever; it looks absolutely neutral. In fact, the difference compared to the Nikon SE is so obvious the Nikon SE’s image looks almost “mushy” in a direct comparison. That is something I never thought I would have to say about the Nikon SE. In low light and at night the Habicht also obviously works very well with its high transmission.

Ghosting, stray light and veiling glare: The Nikon SE is already very good as many here will know from personal experience, especially compared to most roofs, but the Habicht is even better. I could not see any veiling glare, not even on bright, overcast days, and bright lights at night did not cause any ghosts. There are obviously also no spikes caused by the prisms, something I find highly distracting with many roof prism binoculars. The only stray light I found was when viewing against the sun at sunset, with the light coming from the side.

The field of view is at 114m/1000m small, very small in fact, especially if you compare it to, for instance, the well-known Zeiss 7x42 BGAT*P with its field of view of 150m/1000m. An apparent field of view of ~46 degrees is not really a lot, and as a result the view “feels” tunnel-like. There is no denying that, the view through the Nikon SE feels better, even though it is not a “real” wide-angle binocular. Even a standard 7x50 with a field of 130m/1000m does not feel as claustrophobic as the Habicht. However, 114m/1000m is still about the same as a standard 10x42 binocular and wider than most compacts. I will come back to that later in the conclusion.

Ergonomics and handling
The Habicht basically handles just like any medium-sized porro. I have got fairly small hands for a man, and the Habicht just feels right in my hands. One of its great advantages is its weight, at 620gr (!) it is quite a lot lighter than virtually all the other 42mm binoculars on the market.

The Habicht has got some peculiarities though: The focusing is, like others have said before, pretty stiff (but in my opinion not too bad). It is very precise with no play at all, as might be expected from a simple focuser. The Nikon with its smooth focuser is, however, better. That is presumably the price one has to pay for the waterproofing. Still, I find I can focus the Habicht quite easily, even though the focusing may be a problem in winter. I may have to use two fingers then (right index finger and left thumb work quite well for me). The focus wheel has markings, a nice feature in my opinion because it is easy to set the binocular to infinity.

The eyecups are small and perhaps a bit too short, I would prefer them to be about 2mm longer. In an ideal world Swarovski would offer three different sets of eyecups for the 7x42: One for spectacle wearers, one like the current eyecups, and one that is slightly longer. The slightly greater eye-relief compared to the 8x30 and the 10x40 (14mm vs. 12mm) surprisingly makes a difference – with the 8x30 I find I soil the lenses with my eyelashes quite easily, with the 7x42 that is much less of a problem.

Conclusion
The Habicht is an interesting binocular with excellent optical quality and several quirks. It is certainly not a binocular for everyone, and there are definitely quite a few binoculars that are better for birding overall for most people. I was initially mainly worried about the AFOV, and in the field I still often wish it were wider, but the small AFOV is probably the price one has to pay for the low weight and maybe also the optical quality of Habicht. However, after a few hours in the field I found the small field of view was something I can live with. Yes, it does feel narrow, but because I am used to 10x42s with a field of view of 110m/1000m I do not lose any field of view.

To me it looks as though Swarovski originally designed this binocular to have a very high optical quality in all sorts of lighting conditions by keeping the construction as simple as possible (the eyepieces are reversed Kellners with just three elements) and minimizing problems with stray light by limiting the field of view. They certainly succeeded in doing so.

So, if you cannot cope with a smallish, almost tunnel-like AFOV, a binocular without close focusing or a somewhat stiff focuser, if you wear glasses or just do not like the handling of porros, the Habicht is definitely not for you.

If, however, you want excellent optical performance in a lightweight package and at a price well below that of top roofs, the Habicht 7x42 is a binocular you might want to have a look at.

Hermann
I spent a few days birding with a 7X42 Habicht and all I will say is that your last two sentences are a perfect summary.
 

winwinbino

Well-known member
What a nice review. I own the 8x30W leatherette first and found them to be optically excellent, but not too good stray light control. 12mm ER is not enough for me being a glasses wearer, even folding down the eyepieces. By taking them off, I could view a full FOV (I guess).

Basically only fond of roof prism, I'd like to try the 7x42 as well since the Habicht's optics is so impressive. The 7x42 GA arrived 2 weeks back and I tested them extensively. Optically they are even better than 8x30 (spec advantage) and the stray light control is really pleased me (the subjective recessed inside more).

The ER is said to be 14mm, but still I have to take off the eyepieces to have a full view. The narrow TFOV does not feel restricted at all. The black circles are very slim (might be because without the eyepeices like some people does it with the Zeiss classic 7x42 T*P).

After comparsion, I guess the 8x30W will be "once mine" binoculars, which does not mean they are of any no good, but only because I have few 8x bins already and the GA rubber armour make me dare to use them more. The leatherette version is too much like a handicraft.
 

edwincjones

Well-known member
the other OLD binocular still in production is the zeiss dialty 8x56
other than size, how do these compare
-optics?
-quality of construction?
-other factors?

edj
 

brocknroller

A professed porromaniac
United States
Excellent review, Hermann. Fair and balanced yet personal at the same time.

So enticing that I, too, find myself wondering if I could overcome my claustrophobia, particularly after that "mushy" remark about the SE. Others have made similar observations when comparing the 8x and 10x SE to the 8x and 10x Habichts.

Their tack sharp resolution is probably one reason why these "dinosaurs" with updated coatings have survived the roof revolution while other premium roofs have gone to their final resting place. But probably the chief reason is the brand -- Swarovski -- and all that name implies.

If you need a couple more mm of eyecup, try a pair of Field Optics sun shields and place them near the top of the eyecup such that 2mm of the shields extends beyond the cups. Might get you to the right height for your eyes.

Brock
 

ceasar

Well-known member
Brock,

The Habichts survived because they have been, for all practical purposes custom made by Swarovski and available by special order from Swarovski dealers for quite a few years now.

Nikons SEs, as you know, were never available that way. I suspect that if they were there still would be a small market for them. About the size of the market for the Habichts. Maybe bigger?

Bob
 

Hermann

Well-known member
Excellent review, Hermann. Fair and balanced yet personal at the same time.

Thank you.

So enticing that I, too, find myself wondering if I could overcome my claustrophobia, particularly after that "mushy" remark about the SE. Others have made similar observations when comparing the 8x and 10x SE to the 8x and 10x Habichts.

To be honest, Brock - I don't think the Habicht 7x42 is for you. I think you couldn't really live with the narrow AFOV. From what you wrote over the years I've got the impression you really, really like a wide (or very wide) AFOV, like that of the Nikon 8x30 EII. Try the Habicht if you ever have the chance by any means, but it's not a binocular that's easy to fall in love with - not if you're into wide fields of view (or smooth focusers ... ;)).

What makes the Habicht special is the exceptional image quality in combination with the low weight. The narrow AFOV is the price you have to pay for this. That is of course to some extent a psychological thing, after all, a typical 10x40/10x42 has an even narrower TFOV than the Habicht, but it does feel a bit (or more than a bit) tunnel like. It's all in the mind though ...

BTW, my impression is that the 7x42 is quite a bit better than the 8x30 with regard to stray light and veiling glare. The 7x42 is really good in that respect, whereas the 8x30 can be a bit difficult when viewing against the light. That may also be a result of restricting the field of view so much. I don't know the 10x40 well enough to compare it to the 7x42.

Their tack sharp resolution is probably one reason why these "dinosaurs" with updated coatings have survived the roof revolution while other premium roofs have gone to their final resting place. But probably the chief reason is the brand -- Swarovski -- and all that name implies.

I think there's something else: The Habicht was AFAIK the first binocular they made, and it has been (and probably still is to some extent) the traditional binocular used in the Austrian Alps. So they just keep it alive. Making a few of them every year probably doesn't cost them a lot of money, and switching to new coatings is probably not that expensive either. I also heard the 7x42 and the 10x42 are still made for the military in Austria (rubber-armoured and with a reticle and IF instead of centre focussing).

If you need a couple more mm of eyecup, try a pair of Field Optics sun shields and place them near the top of the eyecup such that 2mm of the shields extends beyond the cups. Might get you to the right height for your eyes.

The eyecups are indeed a problem, and I'll try to find a replacement somewhere. But after changing my holding technique a bit I find them not that bad anymore, so that can wait.

The eyecups are actually pretty nice as they are, made from a high quality material and with a wide enough edge, far better than the floppy eyecups of the Nikon SE. They screw on, that alone if a distinct advantage. Their quality is similar to that of the eyecups Zeiss used in the Classic series. But they are a bit too short. They also have tendency to pop up when folded down, so spectacle wearers would be well adivised to find different eyecups (or to cut off the Swarovski ones).

Hermann
 

Hermann

Well-known member
the other OLD binocular still in production is the zeiss dialty 8x56
other than size, how do these compare
-optics?
-quality of construction?
-other factors?

You can't really compare these two - the Habicht is a porro, the Zeiss a roof. The Zeiss is much longer and heavier, with a narrowish field of view (110/1000m), has very good optics, but is not quite as sharp as the Habicht in the image centre. The Zeiss has modern eyepieces and is suitable for spectacle wearers, the Habicht isn't really. And so on.

I actually like them both. But I won't buy a Zeiss 8x56.

Hermann
 

Hermann

Well-known member
The 7x42 GA arrived 2 weeks back and I tested them extensively. Optically they are even better than 8x30 (spec advantage) and the stray light control is really pleased me (the subjective recessed inside more).

Agreed. The Habicht is even more impressive than the 8x30, I think, and the stray light control makes a real difference in the field.

BTW, I didn't get the GA because it's more than 120 gr heavier than the leatherette version, and I wanted to keep the weight down.

Hermann
 

bh46118

Well-known member
Hermann

Have you had a look through one of the Minox, Leupold, or Opticron internal focus Porros ? They have exceptional center field resolution, along with a narrow FOV. I'm used to the wider view of the Zen ED2 and 6.5X32 Fury, but the 5.1 degree of the Minox doesn't bother me.

Bruce

What makes the Habicht special is the exceptional image quality in combination with the low weight. The narrow AFOV is the price you have to pay for this. That is of course to some extent a psychological thing, after all, a typical 10x40/10x42 has an even narrower TFOV than the Habicht, but it does feel a bit (or more than a bit) tunnel like. It's all in the mind though ...

.Hermann
 

Nessus

Well-known member
They sound interesting but I don't get designing a 7x42 with such a small FOV. I can understand in a 12x but in a 7x? They have less FOV than my 8x Zeiss Conquests which a lot of people rag on for it's keyhole view.
 

Hermann

Well-known member
They sound interesting but I don't get designing a 7x42 with such a small FOV. I can understand in a 12x but in a 7x? They have less FOV than my 8x Zeiss Conquests which a lot of people rag on for it's keyhole view.

Like I wrote in my review, the Habicht is an old design, over 60 years old, and it was originally developed for use in the Austrian Alps, especially for hunting. So the idea presumably was to keep the weight down as much as possible which makes a lot of sense in the kind of environment these binoculars were to be used. In order to keep the weight down, you've got to keep the prisms small, and small prisms mean a small field of view.

In addition, hunting in Europe often means hunting in low light, even in the Alps, so at the time these binoculars were developed it was probably a good idea to keep the number of glass-to-air surfaces down. The Habicht has very simple eyepieces, with only four glass-to-air surfaces, which meant its transmission had to be better than that of binoculars with more complex eyepiece designs, for instance Erfles, especially before the development of efficient multicoatings around 1980.

Plus a small field of view makes controlling stray light easier without increasing the size of the body. If you compare a modern Habicht 7x42 with its simple eyepieces with a modern Habicht 10x40 which has wideangle eyepieces, the difference between the two is quite obvious when it comes to controlling stray light. This difference must have been even more pronounced before the introduction of modern coatings.

The end result is a binocular with excellent optical quality (resolution, contrast, control of CA and straylight), virtually no colour cast, very high transmission (about 95% across a wide spectrum according to Gijs van Ginkel) and a very low weight. Compared to the well-known Zeiss Dialyt 7x42 BGAT*P, sadly out of production, it is about 180 gr. lighter, compared to the Leica Ultravid 7x42 HD it is about 150 gr. lighter. Both have of course a much wider field of view. In fact, the Habicht 7x42 weighs slightly less than the Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32. It is, as far as I know, the lightest 42mm binocular on the market.

In other words, the Habicht is a compromise. Whether you could live with that compromise, is something only you can decide. It all depends on your preferences. Like I wrote in the review:

"So, if you cannot cope with a smallish, almost tunnel-like AFOV, a binocular without close focusing or a somewhat stiff focuser, if you wear glasses or just do not like the handling of porros, the Habicht is definitely not for you.

If, however, you want excellent optical performance in a lightweight package and at a price well below that of top roofs, the Habicht 7x42 is a binocular you might want to have a look at."

Hermann
 

Hermann

Well-known member
A quick update: I used the Habicht this summer during my holidays in Sweden as well as a birding trip to the North Sea. Just in case I also took my old Leica 8x32 BA on my trip to Sweden as I wasn't sure how I'd get on with the Habicht in woodland, but in the event I only used the Habicht.

The focusing is still pretty stiff (although it loosened up a bit), but that didn't really present any problems, not even in fairly dense woodland. The large depth of field of the Habicht (due to its low magnification) made things pretty easy in the woods, even in situations where I had to be quick to get on the bird. And the focusing is very precise, like it should be. Hitting exactly the spot of maximum sharpness is easy, much easier than with some other binoculars I've used over the years.

The optical quality still amazes me. I used the Habicht in all sorts of lighting conditions, and I didn't find any problems at all. I'd go as far as saying that in difficult conditions the Habicht is just about the best pair of binoculars I've used so far. No CA, no colour cast, very bright, very high contrast and sharpness, excellent resolution, no veiling glare, no ghosting.

The only thing that takes some getting used to is the narrow field of view. Yes, it is narrow (about the same as a "normal" 10x40), yes, it feels tunnel-like. I got pretty much used to it over the three weeks in Sweden, but it would sure be nice if it were at least a bit bigger, say 130m/1000m.

Still, it's quite an amazing binocular.

Hermann
 

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