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Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.

Choice: SLC 10x56 or NL Pure 12x42 (1 Viewer)

Rg548

Retired Somewhere
United Kingdom
I have used my dad's 10x42 (25 year old SLC) for a few weeks and it was fine handheld except for star gazing. After a while I wished it had a bit more magnification, so that's why I'm considering the 12x. Is it that much difference?
Stargazing with 12's instead of 10's is not much different...... it's still tiny bright dots in the sky.
You need a scope for improvement, but then you also need light gathering.... so that may as well be a big scope.
 
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Rg548

Retired Somewhere
United Kingdom
I am strongly in favour of 8x.
I've had many bins, small, large, 8s, 10s, porros and roofs, as have most people on this forum i should imagine.

I believe you will see more in a quality 8x bino than 10x, unless you can hold the 10 rock steady, or tripod it.
I have Victory FL 8x56 and I find the weight, which is the same as the SLC's, to be a blessing for steadiness, and they are steadiest binos I have had, although holding them up for a while can cause fatigue. Pros and cons.

I thought about getting rid of them a while back, due to size and weight, but quite honestly, the view is, in my opinion, the most important part of binoculars.... or what's the point?? And these big bins deliver in spades..... and then some. Night time stargazing is breathtaking. Huge light gathering abilities.
So I am happy to lug my 8x56 around, and just enjoy the view. It's spectacular on sunny days, or grey dull days.
It is steady, wide, bright and hugely detailed.
Also a wider field of view is a bonus, especially for general all round use.

Bottom line is, if you're not identifying whatever it is you're looking at with a top line Alpha 8x HANDHELD, then I reckon you're not gonna get it with a 10x.
I also like to spot a high altitude airliner (don't know why) and my 8's do it just fine.

Personally, for all round use I definately would NOT go 12x.
Hope this helps

8's💪👊😉
 

Rg548

Retired Somewhere
United Kingdom
Ace Optics have an 8x56SLC second hand mint at the moment...
Worth a look, if you don't like them, you've not lost too much if you sell.
Might be a good starting point, for a lot less money..... just a thought.
I'm a fan of quality, warranted second hand..... big bang for your buck.
 

Rg548

Retired Somewhere
United Kingdom
Unbelievably they've also got a second hand Leica Duovid 8-12 x 42 for £1249.00
That would give you an Alpha bino, with ALL the magnification in one bino... at least it would help you make your mind up.
Can't think of anything else to help so i'll be off now.
Good luck, have fun with the dilema...
 

Richard D

what was that...
Supporter
United Kingdom
Weight isn't a big issue in terms of viewing - often heavier binoculars will allow a more steady view. Balance is the main issue when holding, and personal preferences as to grip etc. all play a part. The main issue with weight is whether you can comfortably carry them - there are various support options - wider straps, chest harness, shoulder holster etc. all of which have their fans and detractors. For me unless going on a very long hike weight isn't a big issue, but then I'm bull-necked and used to carrying camera gear...
 

Thotmosis

Well-known member
Netherlands
Unbelievably they've also got a second hand Leica Duovid 8-12 x 42 for £1249.00
That would give you an Alpha bino, with ALL the magnification in one bino... at least it would help you make your mind up.
Can't think of anything else to help so i'll be off now.
Good luck, have fun with the dilema...
Best choice for a lot of situations: Duovid 8-12x42 ;) Best of both worlds 8 and 12, proven technology and sturdy housing. You can find them for a good price now used.
 

RobMorane

Well-known member
Weight isn't a big issue in terms of viewing - often heavier binoculars will allow a more steady view. Balance is the main issue when holding, and personal preferences as to grip etc. all play a part. The main issue with weight is whether you can comfortably carry them - there are various support options - wider straps, chest harness, shoulder holster etc. all of which have their fans and detractors. For me unless going on a very long hike weight isn't a big issue, but then I'm bull-necked and used to carrying camera gear...
I totally agree with Richard, balance is more important than weight, and ergonomics (like the focuser) can make a big difference.

I started with 10x50 Binos, to watch Nature and Stargazing, and I really had tough time to maintain them steady.
They were not well balanced, too "front heavy".

Later, I could afford a pair of SLC 15x56, Binos that are very well balanced, and were easier to hold steady (for me) than the 10x50 (I have quite large hands).
But while having these Binos in the Mountains is a pure joy (for Stargazing too), the focuser is very precise and too slow for Birdwatching, and they are big to carry around without a proper chest Harness.

Then I decided to buy a pair specific for Birdwatching. After trying 32mm and 42mm Alphas I couldn't keep steady (because too light), I ended up getting Meopta Meostar 12x50 HD.
And if I thought I was managing ok to keep the 15x56 steady long enough, boy the Meostar changed my "vision" of the world.
Nowadays, my SLC stay on my desk at home, and I mainly use the 12x50 now.
I brought the Meostar to Nepal when I helped monitoring the Steppe Eagle Migration in October-November, and have not regretted it a single minute. Spending so much time daily behind the Binos, the SLC would have been too heavy on that type of long use.

So in your position, I would choose the NL Pure. The SLC 56 are fantastic Binos, but heavy/Bulky to carry around, and you might find the focuser too slow for Birdwatching.
 

Conndomat

United States of Europe
Ukraine
Stargazing with 12's instead of 10's is not much different...... it's still tiny bright dots in the sky.
You need a scope for improvement, but then you also need light gathering.... so that may as well be a big scope.
Hi,

just to clarify...

Even in a 20 or 30 inch telescope and at 500x magnification, stars remain small tiny dots, they are just too far away.

When observing the sun, be sure to remember the filter, it is the only star that is noticeably larger...and uncomfortably hot in the eyes...:cool:

Andreas
 
Hi,

just to clarify...

Even in a 20 or 30 inch telescope and at 500x magnification, stars remain small tiny dots, they are just too far away.

When observing the sun, be sure to remember the filter, it is the only star that is noticeably larger...and uncomfortably hot in the eyes...:cool:

Andreas

I'm aware of astronomic scales and limitations of any optics in that regard. What we all really want is our own private James Webb scope. ;)
 
I've been messing around with my father's SLC 10x42 in the past few days. I notice that when I move my eyes to look at the edge of the image, the image turns black. I assume this is normal as the barrels are only so wide.

Can I also assume that:
  1. Current-gen bino's such as the NL Pure exhibit the same?
  2. Bigger lens bino's such as the SLC 10x56 allow for more eye movement to the edge?

I'm not too impressed with this SLC's image quality (note this pair is 30 years old): quite a bit of chromatic aberration and lost sharpness at the edges. They also seem a bit dim in overcast weather (I assume they're pre-Swarobright). Not bad either, just noticeable degradation of reality.

On a side note:

In the mean time I've been really enjoying using binoculars in various settings: by day, by night, handheld (perfectly fine), on my tripod (even better), outside in the field, inside my apartment,... I have yet to decide what favours my preference though: enjoy more light during the night with 10x56 or enjoy more magnification with 12x42.

You have all warned me against 12x - thank you for that - but I'm still convinced it would suit my outside use better than 10x. Today I was observing a buzzard and a falcon at a wide open field at about 500 meters (1640 ft) distance.... I really wished for more magnification. When observing from my apartment at much closer distances I do realize the benefit a wider FOV of 8x would provide. Ahh, choices.... :)
 
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Richard D

what was that...
Supporter
United Kingdom
I've been messing around with my father's SLC 10x42 in the past few days. I notice that when I move my eyes to look at the edge of the image, the image turns black. I assume this is normal as the barrels are only so wide.

Can I also assume that:
  1. Current-gen bino's such as the NL Pure exhibit the same?
  2. Bigger lens bino's such as the SLC 10x56 allow for more eye movement to the edge?

I'm not too impressed with this SLC's image quality (note this pair is 30 years old): quite a bit of chromatic aberration and lost sharpness at the edges. They also seem a bit dim in overcast weather (I assume they're pre-Swarobright). Not bad either, just noticeable degradation of reality.

On a side note:

In the mean time I've been really enjoying using binoculars in various settings: by day, by night, handheld (perfectly fine), on my tripod (even better), outside in the field, inside my apartment,... I have yet to decide what favours my preference though: enjoy more light during the night with 10x56 or enjoy more magnification with 12x42.

You have all warned me against 12x - thank you for that - but I'm still convinced it would suit my outside use better than 10x. Today I was observing a buzzard and a falcon at a wide open field at about 500 meters (1640 ft) distance.... I really wished for more magnification. When observing from my apartment at much closer distances I do realize the benefit a wider FOV of 8x would provide. Ahh, choices.... :)
Larger lens with the same magnification will generally give more wriggle room for eye positioning. Eye relief also plays a part in preventing blackouts - you might need to adjust the eye cups a bit. Yes the coatings on SLCs changed a lot over the years, someone with more knowledge can probably be more precise on dates, but generally you want 2006 ish onwards to get the best coatings.
 

rodneyAB

Member
United States
I've been messing around with my father's SLC 10x42 in the past few days. I notice that when I move my eyes to look at the edge of the image, the image turns black. I assume this is normal as the barrels are only so wide.

Can I also assume that:
  1. Current-gen bino's such as the NL Pure exhibit the same?
  2. Bigger lens bino's such as the SLC 10x56 allow for more eye movement to the edge?

I'm not too impressed with this SLC's image quality (note this pair is 30 years old): quite a bit of chromatic aberration and lost sharpness at the edges. They also seem a bit dim in overcast weather (I assume they're pre-Swarobright). Not bad either, just noticeable degradation of reality.

On a side note:

In the mean time I've been really enjoying using binoculars in various settings: by day, by night, handheld (perfectly fine), on my tripod (even better), outside in the field, inside my apartment,... I have yet to decide what favours my preference though: enjoy more light during the night with 10x56 or enjoy more magnification with 12x42.

You have all warned me against 12x - thank you for that - but I'm still convinced it would suit my outside use better than 10x. Today I was observing a buzzard and a falcon at a wide open field at about 500 meters (1640 ft) distance.... I really wished for more magnification. When observing from my apartment at much closer distances I do realize the benefit a wider FOV of 8x would provide. Ahh, choices.... :)
I was just outside looking thru the NL12x42 in the fading afternoon light. It is a very good instrument. As long as the hummingbird is perched or hovering at the feeder, and I'm not trying to view close angle to the setting sun, the view is stunning. if the hummer flees, no way can I follow. So what. If you want the NL12x42, just buy it, it will work for you.
 

BKoh

Well-known member
Singapore
I've been messing around with my father's SLC 10x42 in the past few days. I notice that when I move my eyes to look at the edge of the image, the image turns black. I assume this is normal as the barrels are only so wide.

Can I also assume that:
  1. Current-gen bino's such as the NL Pure exhibit the same?
  2. Bigger lens bino's such as the SLC 10x56 allow for more eye movement to the edge?
Blackouts occur when you move your eyeballs to look at the edge of the field of view, because your pupil is no longer lined up with the light coming through the binocular. The wider the field of view, the more your eyeball swivels, so the NL Pure will be worse than the SLC.

The SLC 10x56 has a bigger exit pupil that could help alleviate this, also its smaller field of view won't require as much (or any) eyeball movement.
You have all warned me against 12x - thank you for that - but I'm still convinced it would suit my outside use better than 10x. Today I was observing a buzzard and a falcon at a wide open field at about 500 meters (1640 ft) distance.... I really wished for more magnification. When observing from my apartment at much closer distances I do realize the benefit a wider FOV of 8x would provide. Ahh, choices.... :)

Birds at 500m are still tiny at 12x. A tripod mounted spotting scope is a better tool for that job. It is no surprise that 8/10x bino plus 65/80mm spotting scope is a common birding setup. A "good" scope at 30x is going to show far more than the "best" 12x bino.

For astronomy, the SLC HD 10x56/15x56 will be good. Cheaper alternatives:

Zeiss Conquest HD 10/15x56
Maven 10/12/15x56
*Fujinon FMT-SX 10x50
*APM MS ED 10x50/12x50

*much cheaper due to porro design, but heavier (1.4kg) and individual focus

Personally, given the 3 different goals (general use, far off birds, astronomy) I would spend the NL Pure budget on:

1. 8x30/32 binocular;
2. 65/80mm spotting scope, mount and tripod; plus (Optional)
3. 12x50/15x56 binocular

As a group, the above will be more versatile than a single NL Pure. Lighter (8x30/32) for walking around, more powerful (scope) for distant observation and better light gathering (12x50/15x56) for astronomy. The scope can also be used for astronomy, you can observe double stars, Jupiter's bands, Saturn's rings etc.
 

tenex

reality-based
Can I also assume that:
  1. Current-gen bino's such as the NL Pure exhibit the same?
  2. Bigger lens bino's such as the SLC 10x56 allow for more eye movement to the edge?
#2 - No. I can produce the same effect in my SLC 10x56, as in most roof-prism bins I've tried. (A bigger exit pupil just makes eye position less critical.) I used to think one had to go back to Porro prism designs to get more freedom for eye movement, but...
#1 - No. As I recall from (briefly) trying recent flat-field models like EL, NL, and SF, I was able to examine the entire field without blackouts. There would be little point to field flattening (or the extra-wide AFOV of SF/NL) otherwise. A possible trade-off for this (if due to reduced baffling?) is greater susceptibility to glare/flare in sunlight.

In any case you will surely be impressed with the last 25 years' improvements in transmission coatings etc.
 

etc

Well-known member
This is simple, the 56mm objectives are vastly superior in low-light conditions.

I would go with 10x56 SLC, or 10x54 Zeiss HT which is another excellent contender, low light picture is just stunning and no 42mm can keep up.

No 42mm objective will keep up with any 50mm, let alone 56mm or 54mm objective. It's not just the low light, while it's the biggest thing, 12x42 just makes no sense at all, the exit pupil size is too small. 12x might work with a huge objective lense but 12x42 makes no sense IMO, even 10x42 is not my favorite configuration. IMO 8x works well with 42mm while 10x with 50mm and 12x.. needs an even bigger lenses, ideally. IMO.

If I could do it again, I would have skipped all 42mm objectives, the 10x54 is so vastly superior in every way, except of course for the weight, it seems twice as heavy/large.
 
All véry useful comments, thank you all.

Over the past few days / week I have been using the 10x42 a lot, mostly on my tripod and quite a bit at night for star gazing. Plus handheld for some ad hoc birdwatching from my balcony, but not extensively.

Which has led me to the conclusion the SLC 10x56 will suit me best. I love the night, and the larger objective will benefit me more than an increase in magnification, while also keeping it useful for birdwatching.

I imagine I might add a lighter bino when I get older, but for this day and age, a binosaur will suit me fine 😄

Cheers.
 

etc

Well-known member
Which has led me to the conclusion the SLC 10x56 will suit me best. I love the night, and the larger objective will benefit me more than an increase in magnification, while also keeping it useful for birdwatching.
A wise choice! I almost got one but decided to go with HT 10x54 which is basically the same thing.
 

Brummie

Well-known member
I've never held the 10x56 SLC. I have a pair of the latest 15x56 SLC. They're a fine instrument. I would never use something that size as a general field optic, but if your use is primarily at home and night sky, with only occasional field carry, then sure, they would work for you.

I love my 12x42 NL - I never would have imagined a 12x could work as a general use full-size binocular before. I've always been a 10x42 guy. But these work great for me - the ergonomics of the barrels and the eyecups (I use the Swaro winged eyecups with them), means that they just lock into my face, so I get a steady view without blackouts. The forehead rest also helps, although I don't find it revolutionary.

Neither of these is going to be the very best thing for chasing tiny warblers throught the undergrowth a couple of yards in front of your face, but otherwise they'll still work well for birding. I'd say, if low-light performance is the most important thing for you, and you don't mind the extra weight, then sure, get the 10x56 SLC. Otherwise, the 12x42 NL all the way, as long as they work well for your face.

If you're not familiar with it, you might want to check out scopereviews.co.uk - the guy behind it reviews both the models you're interested in, and a whole lot more, and he's also someone with a wide range of viewing interests, but a particular focus on astronomy.

[PS - My first choice for a general field binocular is still a 32mm Victory SF, just for the ease of carry. But if I'm going to be doing enough long-range viewing to justify carrying a full-sized model, there's nothing better for hand-held use than the 12x42 NL.]
 

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