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Best high-end birding binoculars without "rolling ball" effect? (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Dear Lord, thank you for letting me be born when I was. Even though I’m old, decrepit, and nearing my expiration date, I avoided going weak in the knees over distortion, chromatic aberration, or field curvature, and although it was around all during the time I was in optics, I very rarely even heard Roller Ball being mentioned.

I guess, today, people just need more boogiemen behind more bushes to give them things to talk about—substantive or not.l

I don't understand the point of this post, or the need to be patronizing about what bothers other people.

He's not nit-picking every little thing, there is ONE thing (the specific distortion pattern) that bothers him. So he's asking people for advice about high-end binoculars that don't display that one thing.

I don't see what's unreasonable or problematic about this.

I disagree that the point of your post "was just to add a bit of practicality". What "practicality" does whining about other people's complaints or thanking the lord for the timing of your birth have for this discussion? That seems like a post hoc rationalization after the OP was (rightfully) confused about WTF you were going on about.



As Pyrtle mentioned the Noctivid is a premium 8X42 which has adequate PC so panning with it is comfortable. Additionally Ries has suggested Meopta, the Meostar is one model and the new Air which comes in 8 and 10X42.
Try some viewing with other mid range glass also if you can, you might end up saving some $$.

Andy W.


Staff member
Basically I'm asking to be reassured that a 7x bino is not going to hurt my birding experience!

There will always be a bird that is too far away to identify. Doesn't matter whether you are looking through a 6.5x bino or a 70x scope.

I was a 10x bino guy for years due to 'magnification anxiety' preventing me from trying 8x and making me think I might miss something. I swapped to 8x and never looked back.

Now 2 years ago I got a 7x and have used it a lot and I now agree with what I have read on here in the past: there is nothing you can see with 8x that you will not see with 7x. And there is the nice bonus of not only deeper depth of focus but also the reduction in magnification-compression that makes objects placed one behind the other appear to have no space between them. 7x gives this spacial separation back to you and means the view has more depth to it.

I use several different magnifications these days, for different habitats and purposes and 7x definitely is right up there with 8x and 10x and as explained, even has a trick that even they can't pull off.

Hi everyone and thank you for your comments. I thought I would give an update.

I was not able to test the leica UV HD+ 7x42.

A friend of mine owns a Zeiss Victory T FL 8x42. I recently tried it and loved the view through it, although I found that the field of view was a bit too narrow still (similar to the Noctivid), and its quite voluminous! These are drawbacks I was okay to live with, but the FL is discontinued.

I discovered that the store Optics Trade in slovenia still had the 8x32 T FL in stock. I did a bit of research on the 8x32 and found out that it was often recommended as second best choice after the SV 8x32, which was the one I originally loved in the store and picked up before realising it had the desastrous rolling ball effect. After some reading on the forum I decided to take the risk of a potential complicated return if things did not work out, and I ordered it from Optics Trade.

I am happy with it. Yes, it will not be as bright at the 42 equivalent, but so far I've found that its holding up pretty well as dawn and dusk, and is likely as bright in low light situations than previous less expensive pairs I've udes. It is sharp, has wide FOV. To me, no rolling ball and no noticeable distorsion (I know it is not flat but it appears as such to my eyes). It is small, lightweight, has near perfect ergonomics in terms of holding and focusing (almost as good as the SV). I love the focusing knob, its size, its speed and resistance are the best I've used. Eye placement can be a tiny less forgiving given its a 8x32, but once your find the perfect IPD it is not a problem (the hinge keeps the IPD the same as its very robust). And I got a bit of a discount on it.

I do not exclude the idea of coming back to 8x42 or 7x42 in the future. But for now I am happy to have a high quality "compact" bino given the amount of hiking I do. We will see if I come to miss bigger format or if from now on full-size binos will feel too big.

BTW: Optics trade service is very good. I gave them a call and asked questions. Shipping was great, they really know what they are doing.


missing the neotropics
I think that's a very well reasoned choice - I hope you continue to like them! I find the 8x32 EL excellent, but actually prefer the FL. As good or better in almost all categories that matter to me and notably it is a lot smaller - a really noticeable difference. If I didn't have an 8x30 that I loved, I would have an 8x32FL - I've been tempted many, many times.

John Frink

Well-known member
...it will not be as bright at the 42 equivalent...

Oh, but it will be as bright as the 42 equivalent, until the light level drops enough to cause your pupils to enlarge beyond 4mm; at that point the 42s will have the advantage. I have both 8x32 and 8x42 FLs, and in normal daylight they are equally bright.

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