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Can a binocular have too big of a FOV? (1 Viewer)

willisoften

Well-known member
United Kingdom
That makes me wonder if they could develop a Virtual Reality binocular. That would be truly 3-D!

I think such a thing exists for military drone pilots. My limited exposure to 3D virtual reality was wearing a headset with headphones to experience a virtual roller coaster ride. I was convinced my stomach lurched while swaying in an office chair. Watching somebody else experience the ride is strange too. Leaning from side to side on the corners and bracing for the high drops. It was just a cartoon landscape - surreal. Some people seemed more susceptible than others. (Me). Alcohol helps!
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I think such a thing exists for military drone pilots. My limited exposure to 3D virtual reality was wearing a headset with headphones to experience a virtual roller coaster ride. I was convinced my stomach lurched while swaying in an office chair. Watching somebody else experience the ride is strange too. Leaning from side to side on the corners and bracing for the high drops. It was just a cartoon landscape - surreal. Some people seemed more susceptible than others. (Me). Alcohol helps!
I have an Oculus VR headset and I can't watch some of the VR because of the motion sickness I develop. The roller coaster rides are especially bad. It fools you into thinking you are actually riding a roller coaster. VR takes a big FOV to the extreme. You are actually in the center of the FOV and you can look 360 degrees around you. I always miss the zombies sneaking up behind me and end up being zombie chow.
 

tenex

reality-based
After having the new Swarovski NL 8x42 it made question if there is a limit to how big of a FOV is actually usable.
Judging from the 72° eyepieces I've been using in our new scope, that's about enough AFOV for me. But your question really is, how is it best used? A wide field is desirable and enjoyable for a general sense of immersion, and for scanning to acquire targets. You're right, that's more challenging with a busy field (birds in bushes etc) than with birds in flight, so it's probably best in such a situation to leave the periphery to peripheral vision, detecting motion but not actively scanning the entire field, leaving you free to pan with the bino instead. (This is why I don't find the flat-field concept compelling, except for astronomy, and even then only for aesthetic reasons.) Of course having said that, this is likely a personal preference... but don't do what doesn't work for you.
 

Patudo

Well-known member
I don't think I have ever used a binocular and thought it had "too much" field of view. Field of view has always been a highly prized quality, both because it enhances the user experience and provides greater situational awareness. Most of the old binoculars most desired today (SARD 6x42, B&L wide field 7x50, Zeiss extra wide 8x40 and so on) are those with exceptional fields of view and in my own experience there have been many times that a wide field of view has not only been enjoyable to look at, but very helpful in finding what I was after and staying with it.

in my opinion the limit of usefulness for afov is somewhere near 80 deg because that is what I can see without doing strange eye gymnastics.

Some people seem to prefer to see a certain amount of field stop for daylight observation, so sth in the 65 to 70 deg afov range would be just right. So the NL with their 70 deg afov should be just right.

I'd instinctively agree with the figures quoted above. I can probably take in about 90 degrees of what's in front of me, of which around 60 degrees in front of me is sharp. 90 degrees FOV - a 60 degree sweet spot and 15 degrees either side so I could use my peripheral vision - would do me just fine. The real question is - what sacrifices need to be made to achieve that field of view. In some cases it's weight/size (the WX and a couple of others), for many of the older ones eye relief and/or edge sharpness, in the latest NL and x32 SF which have excellent field of view in a more convenient package, it seems eye placement may be more exacting. In practice, although I would love all of my binoculars to have the same field of view and sharpness to the edge as the 10x50 WX (9 degrees), 8.5 degrees (some old 8x30 porros) and 7.4 degrees for a 10x50 seem sufficiently generous - it's a shame I can't use them with glasses, but I keep mine because there are times I just want to enjoy that field of view despite the handicap. Swift's 7x35 Holiday mark II (also sold as the "Panoramic" which describes it aptly) is still a pleasure to look through, although edge performance suffers somewhat when compared to more modern designs. I know I find my 10x42 SE (60 degrees) confining at times, but fortunately the image is sharp all the way to the edge.

Oh, and just for some laughs...

The huge FOV of my NL 8x42 8x42 has spoiled me for any other binocular. Once you are used to the bigger FOV of the NL you don't really notice it UNTIL you try another binocular with a smaller FOV. I sold my Nikon Monarch HG 8x42 and my Kowa Genesis 8x33 because the FOV felt tunnel like after using the NL. It was almost depressing to go back to them. The NL is much more transparent and has better more neutral colors than either the Nikon HG or the Kowa Genesis also. Don't believe the naysayers. They are just finding excuses not to buy the NL because they don't want to or can't spend the money. There is a BIG difference between the NL and other lesser binoculars.
 

BabyDov

Well-known member
Supporter
United States
I appreciate the exceptionally wide FOV of my 8x42 NL with its flat, sharply in focus field. While the center of the field always is my main point of interest, I appreciate not having to move and refocus my binoculars when tracking a bird that moves from the center of the field to one side or other of the other side of the field of view. However, in some sense this may be unnatural, especially if you were looking at a static object in the center of the FOV. If for example you focus your eyes without binoculars on something, say 8 feet away, you will notice other objects on either side of the center object are not in sharp focus. But your eyes without binoculars, if need be, can track and refocus much more quickly looking to the side of center, than you can do with ordinary non-flat field binoculars. But when we are using our 8x binoculars to see wild life, say 64 feet away, unlike the static object we can't expect the bird or whatever, to always stay put in the center of our FOV. They are frequently moving targets, so that we end up readjusting our binocular's position and refocusing ,which takes time away from the view. None of this is true with the NL because of its wide sharp FOV. As unnatural as it may be, compared to unaided vision, or vision with non-flat field binoculars, the NL's allow you to see what you may otherwise miss, with either.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I appreciate the exceptionally wide FOV of my 8x42 NL with its flat, sharply in focus field. While the center of the field always is my main point of interest, I appreciate not having to move and refocus my binoculars when tracking a bird that moves from the center of the field to one side or other of the other side of the field of view. However, in some sense this may be unnatural, especially if you were looking at a static object in the center of the FOV. If for example you focus your eyes without binoculars on something, say 8 feet away, you will notice other objects on either side of the center object are not in sharp focus. But your eyes without binoculars, if need be, can track and refocus much more quickly looking to the side of center, than you can do with ordinary non-flat field binoculars. But when we are using our 8x binoculars to see wild life, say 64 feet away, unlike the static object we can't expect the bird or whatever, to always stay put in the center of our FOV. They are frequently moving targets, so that we end up readjusting our binocular's position and refocusing ,which takes time away from the view. None of this is true with the NL because of its wide sharp FOV. As unnatural as it may be, compared to unaided vision, or vision with non-flat field binoculars, the NL's allow you to see what you may otherwise miss, with either.
Very good point and that describes what I was seeing with the NL. If you like it or not is personal preference. I think that is why I find overly flat field binoculars like the NL weird because they are so different from our normal vision.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I don't think I have ever used a binocular and thought it had "too much" field of view. Field of view has always been a highly prized quality, both because it enhances the user experience and provides greater situational awareness. Most of the old binoculars most desired today (SARD 6x42, B&L wide field 7x50, Zeiss extra wide 8x40 and so on) are those with exceptional fields of view and in my own experience there have been many times that a wide field of view has not only been enjoyable to look at, but very helpful in finding what I was after and staying with it.



I'd instinctively agree with the figures quoted above. I can probably take in about 90 degrees of what's in front of me, of which around 60 degrees in front of me is sharp. 90 degrees FOV - a 60 degree sweet spot and 15 degrees either side so I could use my peripheral vision - would do me just fine. The real question is - what sacrifices need to be made to achieve that field of view. In some cases it's weight/size (the WX and a couple of others), for many of the older ones eye relief and/or edge sharpness, in the latest NL and x32 SF which have excellent field of view in a more convenient package, it seems eye placement may be more exacting. In practice, although I would love all of my binoculars to have the same field of view and sharpness to the edge as the 10x50 WX (9 degrees), 8.5 degrees (some old 8x30 porros) and 7.4 degrees for a 10x50 seem sufficiently generous - it's a shame I can't use them with glasses, but I keep mine because there are times I just want to enjoy that field of view despite the handicap. Swift's 7x35 Holiday mark II (also sold as the "Panoramic" which describes it aptly) is still a pleasure to look through, although edge performance suffers somewhat when compared to more modern designs. I know I find my 10x42 SE (60 degrees) confining at times, but fortunately the image is sharp all the way to the edge.

Oh, and just for some laughs...
Patudo. I don't know how many times you have changed your mind and opinion on binoculars so don't even go there. People criticize me for changing binoculars often but just look at the classifieds and every day I see a binocular for sale that they said was their favorite a week ago. That was before I really got the NL out in the field on a sunny day and starting seeing that dang glare in the bottom of the FOV and started having trouble with difficult eye placement. The trouble is once you see the glare you KNOW it is there, and then you start looking for it. The glare shouldn't be there on a $3K binocular I don't care how good they are otherwise.
 
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CharleyBird

Well-known member
England
Patudo. I don't know how many times you have changed your mind and opinion on binoculars so don't even go there. That was before I really got the NL out in the field on a sunny day and starting seeing that dang glare in the bottom of the FOV and started having trouble with difficult eye placement. The trouble is once you see the glare you KNOW it is there, and then you start looking for it. The glare shouldn't be there on a $3K binocular I don't care how good they are otherwise.

It's a shame the NL didn't work for you when, all things considered, they are probably the best birding binoculars on the market.
I have to admit that the 12x42NL binocular has scratched my itch.
 

BabyDov

Well-known member
Supporter
United States
I do understand, your not liking the NLs flat FOV because our unaided eyes don't see with a flat sharp view. But when it comes to bird watching and following a distant, moving target, it is precisely because of that sharp flat field, that the NLs have been frequently praised as the best birding binoculars out there, even by reviewers who might have mentioned occasionally noticing a bit of glare. Unlike you, however, they didn't seem to let that little glare interfere with their birding enjoyment.

However. I would think that when using binoculars for other purposes, such as viewing static landscapes, a non-flat, more natural FOV might be more natural and preferable. However, regardless of use, a wider FOV in any binocular, flat field or not, can't come close to the FOV our eyes see without them. So most would agree, the wider the FOV, the better.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
This thread seems rather silly.
Why not say 'should all humans be forced to wear horse racing blinkers from birth' if seeing too much is such a problem?
Now if you don't think there is a limit to the size of the FOV in a binocular try some of the old Porros with huge FOV's. The view through them is quite weird IMO.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I do understand, your not liking the NLs flat FOV because our unaided eyes don't see with a flat sharp view. But when it comes to bird watching and following a distant, moving target, it is precisely because of that sharp flat field, that the NLs have been frequently praised as the best birding binoculars out there, even by reviewers who might have mentioned occasionally noticing a bit of glare. Unlike you, however, they didn't seem to let that little glare interfere with their birding enjoyment.

However. I would think that when using binoculars for other purposes, such as viewing static landscapes, a non-flat, more natural FOV might be more natural and preferable. However, regardless of use, a wider FOV in any binocular, flat field or not, can't come close to the FOV our eyes see without them. So most would agree, the wider the FOV, the better.
I noticed more than a BIT of glare! I had a big crescent of glare in the bottom of the FOV a large percentage of the time. The NL did not work well for me. I found the eye cups had to be much more precisely adjusted than the EL also to avoid blackouts. I think these problems are the result of trying to make a binocular with too big of a FOV. Just because a binocular is expensive doesn't mean it is going to be ideal for everybody. The Zeiss SF 8x42 didn't work for me either. I saw orange crescents around the bottom of the FOV in it even after trying two different samples. Every time I use my 8x42 SLC it just makes me "giggle". 1/2 the price of the NL but yet they are a superior binocular! I can hear the SLC whispering to me "aren't you glad you weren't a fool, and you didn't buy that overpriced NL when I have no glare and better 3-D and really who cares about that fancy shape?"
 
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tenex

reality-based
It must be the combination of wider AFOV with today's demands for high eye relief and edge sharpness that make oculars increasingly tricky to use; a wide field itself is nothing new. Users will make different choices according to their needs, and the inevitable tradeoffs.

I may have the opportunity to try out an 8x NL tomorrow, and am very curious! Do NL users find that avoiding the sun becomes a greater challenge, or not so much?
 

BabyDov

Well-known member
Supporter
United States
It must be the combination of wider AFOV with today's demands for high eye relief and edge sharpness that make oculars increasingly tricky to use; a wide field itself is nothing new. Users will make different choices according to their needs, and the inevitable tradeoffs.

I may have the opportunity to try out an 8x NL tomorrow, and am very curious! Do NL users find that avoiding the sun becomes a greater challenge, or not so much?
I have never found glare to be a problem with my 8x42 NL. I frequently use my NL in the late afternoon and don't have an issue with the sun setting behind the trees. Most reviewers who have noticed it, find it to be only in the lower periphery of the wide FOV, and therefore, not intrusive on the view.

I guess the people here who are bothered the most about it, expected that such an expensive binocular should be glare free. They can't seem, to focus on anything but the glare, even though the glare isn't interfering with the majority of their FOV, a FOV which is unmatched for being sharp and clear, with near perfect color rendition and no discernable CA. (I sometimes wonder, had the NL's been the same price as the SLC, would they have loved them, in spite of the glare.) I shouldn't be discounting their opinion any more than you should believe mine, because everyone sees things differently. [That's why one prescription set of glasses isn't right for everyone.] The bottom line is you will be your own judge. Let us know what you think after you try them.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I have never found glare to be a problem with my 8x42 NL. I frequently use my NL in the late afternoon and don't have an issue with the sun setting behind the trees. Most reviewers who have noticed it, find it to be only in the lower periphery of the wide FOV, and therefore, not intrusive on the view.

I guess the people here who are bothered the most about it, expected that such an expensive binocular should be glare free. They can't seem, to focus on anything but the glare, even though the glare isn't interfering with the majority of their FOV, a FOV which is unmatched for being sharp and clear, with near perfect color rendition and no discernable CA. (I sometimes wonder, had the NL's been the same price as the SLC, would they have loved them, in spite of the glare.) I shouldn't be discounting their opinion any more than you should believe mine, because everyone sees things differently. [That's why one prescription set of glasses isn't right for everyone.] The bottom line is you will be your own judge. Let us know what you think after you try them.
No binoculars are perfect even the NL, but I guess I expected perfection at the high price point. To me, it was disappointing Swarovski did not get rid of the glare in their flagship binocular. It all comes down to personal preference. I really DON'T like glare, so I prefer a binocular like the SLC 8x42 with a smaller FOV and less glare. Also, I prefer the better 3-D and lack of RB in the SLC over the NL.
 

tenex

reality-based
I have never found glare to be a problem with my 8x42 NL.
Actually I wasn't talking about glare, just the need to avoid getting the sun itself in the field. I think Dennis left me with an exaggerated notion of how large the field would be! I did get to try the NL this morning, and you can see my very positive reaction here. Quite the opposite of Dennis's conclusion: apparently what glare is for him, tunnel-vision is for me. As much as I like the SLC series (I have two 56s), I'd take NL 42 over SLC 42 in a heartbeat.
 
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