• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.

Choosing SLC over NL... (Swaro please read) (1 Viewer)

William Lewis

Wishing birdwatching paid the bills.
United Kingdom
Hold up. There not designed for quite the same user, they're not competing with each other so better or worse really depends on what you use them for or prefer.

Original slc 42 hd was at the time lighter and smaller than the EL, just as good centre field but with more field curvature that the EL, a cheaper price and a more traditional shape hence the slogan "perfection meets tradition" They were the antidote at the time to the El for users who didn't like rolling ball, wanted lighter weight and a more traditional view with the same high Swarovski quality. It's the same attitude leica has with everything in their bino line other than the possible exception of the noctovids.

New Slc hd 56's are for a different user again, they prioritise transmission over packaging, weight and field of view, hence the abbe konig prisms and larger objectives. Better in lower light in other words. Also, and addition of the 15x magnification is testament to this, they work better on low light targets than the NL for example star gazing on messier objects. They also include field flatteners which I think has become more valuable to more users now rolling ball can be minimised.

They were and are all excellent for there intended users and uses.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

tenex

reality-based
You think Swaro wants you to do something? Do they talk to you while you sleep? Try to control your mind?
And you think I have a problem?

Hold up. There not designed for quite the same user...
That's not so clear. I also own SLC 56s without being schizophrenic, and would not have become a different person had I bought an NL. I don't have strong feelings about flat field either way; what I did dislike about EL was the open bridge, so yes SLC HD was the more conventional alternative. It actually does have a rather similar optical character to the Leica I've used for 20+ years, though with better control of CA.

It's all about choice, which isn't simple or objective or entirely rational. I suppose that's what makes it interesting, at least to some. I don't quite understand why others are posting here.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

William Lewis

Wishing birdwatching paid the bills.
United Kingdom
And you think I have a problem?


That's not so clear. I also own SLC 56s without being schizophrenic, and would not have become a different person had I bought an NL. I don't have strong feelings about flat field either way; what I did dislike about EL was the open bridge, so yes SLC HD was the more conventional alternative. It actually does have a rather similar optical character to the Leica I've used for 20+ years, though with better control of CA.

It's all about choice, which isn't simple or objective or entirely rational. I suppose that's what makes it interesting, at least to some. I don't quite understand why others are posting here.
And there was me thinking I'd put equal weight on uses!
 

Trinovid

mountain and glacier watcher
United States
this thread is the usual "sub-alphas are very good" with a hint of "let's over-rationalize my choice instead of simply stating my preferences".
I've seen that sort of thread, but this isn't one of them. Your posts towards the intent of the originator of the thread does have more than a bit of that over-rationalization of which you speak. I've liked some of your content in the past, but this isn't it.
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
In relation to the more general issues raised by tennex’s initial post, see Mike Johnston's post this morning at The Online Photographer:
Have Camera Manufacturers Fallen Victim to Audience Capture?

Regarding Mike’s reference to 'Veblen goods', they are:
' . . . a type of luxury good for which the demand increases as the price increases, in apparent (but not actual) contradiction of the law of demand,
resulting in an upward-sloping demand curve.
The higher prices of Veblen goods may make them desirable as a status symbol in the practices of conspicuous consumption and conspicuous leisure.
A product may be a Veblen good because it is a positional good, something few others can own.'
From: Veblen good - Wikipedia

It will be worthwhile revisiting Mike’s post in a week or so, as by then there will be interesting moderated comments from his readership.


John
 
Last edited:

tenex

reality-based
...see Mike Johnston's post this morning...
I used to read him years ago. He rambles. A lot. Often without much of a point. Personal quirk, or "audience capture"? (occupational hazard of blogging for money?)

I have trouble seeing NLs as Veblen goods because they're too useful (and not really expensive enough). How Swarovski think about what customers want is a more interesting question...

And there was me thinking I'd put equal weight on uses!
Hmm, I may have taken you too literally on different users... I think we can agree that various models have their virtues and people their tastes, and it's really nice when one can find a good match.

SLC vs SFL... anyone?
If we must, then in the spirit of noting differences or similarities please, not determining which one "kills" the other. For a start, SLC strikes me as having particularly good contrast, which I've heard said now of SFL as well. (Actually someone has complained of too much.)
 
Last edited:

William Lewis

Wishing birdwatching paid the bills.
United Kingdom
I used to read him years ago. He rambles. A lot. Often without much of a point. Personal quirk, or "audience capture"? (occupational hazard of blogging for money?)


Hmm, I may have taken you too literally on different users... I think we can agree that various models have their virtues and people their tastes, and it's really nice when one can find a good match.


If we must, then in the spirit of noting differences or similarities please, not determining which one "kills" the other. For a start, SLC strikes me as having particularly good contrast, which I've heard said now of SFL as well. (Actually someone has complained of too much.)
No bother ✌️
 

GrampaTom

Well-known member
United States
If we must, then in the spirit of noting differences or similarities please, not determining which one "kills" the other. For a start, SLC strikes me as having particularly good contrast, which I've heard said now of SFL as well. (Actually someone has complained of too much.)
Nah, we don’t have to. Sorry if that question hijacked your post in any way. Definitely not looking for a competitive, which one, is better POV. Have a sense of the SLC having looked through them and respect the views of folks who really like them. Have no experience with SFL. Looking to get my hands and eyes on one and compare that experience with what gets written here, discounting for some NBE. Waiting for that opportunity, thought if someone had both that could be interesting. That’s all.
 

Paultricounty

Well-known member
United States
Money = consumption = environmentally-unfriendly.

So is the Internet: more greenhouse gas than planes.
So we should also stop using this forum if we go this way :unsure:

But this thread is the usual "sub-alphas are very good" with a hint of "let's over-rationalize my choice instead of simply stating my preferences".
So we end up with sentences like this:


I wonder where Swaro shot them in the foot: they sell plenty of NL Pure, the users are quite satisfied, the reviews are positive...
Just like the negative points above, it looks like some trying to convince itself he made the right choice.
We have a saying in France: "if you want to kill your dog accuse him of having rabies" and reading about the "ugly seam" of the NL Pure armor as it mattered really made me think of it.
You took the words right out of my mouth. I’m not going to say anything about the NL optics, no need. I’ve grown to really like the Field pro attachment system and the diopter, is the most accessible and i think the best designed diopter of any binoculars. Can’t argue about the price though. 🙁
 

Paultricounty

Well-known member
United States
I guess you would prefer the SLC 10x42 over the SLF 10x40 if you preferred a bigger especially wider, heavier binocular with a much smaller FOV, less sharp edges, less accurate colors, more CA especially on the edge, and a much rougher focuser that is often harder in one direction and is not positioned as well under your fingers than the SFL. I really can't see why anybody would, though. If you like Swarovski's choosing between the NL, EL and SLC there is no doubt the NL and the EL are optically superior because they both have sharper edges and better contrast than the SLC and in the case of the NL a bigger FOV, but the NL has more glare than either the EL or the SLC and for me, it was a dealbreaker. Of the three and when you consider value I would choose the EL 8.5x42 but for about the same amount of money you can get the Zeiss SFL 8x40, and it is lighter and smaller than the EL 8.5x42 has a bigger FOV, better more accurate colors and really outside of the bigger FOV the SFL is the equal of the NL and the SFL has less glare and truer colors. Honestly, with the introduction of the SFL I don't see why anybody would buy an NL, EL, SLC or SF unless you have to have the bigger FOV of the NL and SF.
Hmm, sounds to me like I’m seeing a pattern repeating itself. Might I ask if you put the SFL on eBay ?
 

Paultricounty

Well-known member
United States
And you think I have a problem?


That's not so clear. I also own SLC 56s without being schizophrenic, and would not have become a different person had I bought an NL. I don't have strong feelings about flat field either way; what I did dislike about EL was the open bridge, so yes SLC HD was the more conventional alternative. It actually does have a rather similar optical character to the Leica I've used for 20+ years, though with better control of CA.

It's all about choice, which isn't simple or objective or entirely rational. I suppose that's what makes it interesting, at least to some. I don't quite understand why others are posting here.

And you think I have a problem?


That's not so clear. I also own SLC 56s without being schizophrenic, and would not have become a different person had I bought an NL. I don't have strong feelings about flat field either way; what I did dislike about EL was the open bridge, so yes SLC HD was the more conventional alternative. It actually does have a rather similar optical character to the Leica I've used for 20+ years, though with better control of CA.

It's all about choice, which isn't simple or objective or entirely rational. I suppose that's what makes it interesting, at least to some. I don't quite understand why others are posting here.
Chillax Tenex, we’re just hacking on you a little bit. Whenever someone has objective opinions than differ from someone else that spend a lot of money it touches some nerves. I can agree with some of your more subjective opinions though. It’s all good im sure many here enjoy your posts. Don’t let a few words ruin Your day ✌🏼🙏🏼
 

Canip

Well-known member
Canip:
Can you tell us more about your comparison of these two? I value your opinion.
Jerry

SLC 8x42 vs SFL 8x40 - without killing either …

Soon after the SFL came out, I thought: this is Zeiss‘ SLC - like the SLC for Swaro, the SFL is positioned in the second rang behind the top models, and like the SCL, the SFL early on got very good ratings.

Both are in my view fabulous binoculars, and if I prefer one over the other, that has nothing to do with „better“ or „worse“ and everything with personal preferences.

A few numbers to start:

Eye relief and effective/usable eye relief are identical: 18 mm and 15.5 mm, respectively. Both should work well with most glasses.

RFOV is 8 degress for the SFL and 7.8 for the SLC. Almost the same, I could only detect a slight difference when both binos were mounted side by side. Even more so perhaps since the SLC shows a slightly larger AFOV than the SFL (61 vs 60 degrees - both numbers measured myself). Reason: see below under distortion.

Minimum focus distance: excellent 1.45m for the SFL, mediocre 3.5m for the SLC (both measured).

Focus speed: much, much faster in the SFL than the SLC (from 3m to infinity: SFL 180 degrees, SLC 580 degrees rotation of the focus wheel – both measured).

Excess travel beyond infinity: very good for both (6.5 resp. 6 dpt - estimate).

The SFL weighs 710g with eyepiece covers and strap, the SLC 905g (both measured); the difference is substantial.

As for the „softer“ criteria:

As different as the two binos may be, I consider the finish and build quality as well as the haptics about equal in both. Grip in wet conditions, balance and the ergonomics, esp. with regard to the position of the focus wheel (see pic), are clearly better in the SFL.

Similarly regarding the eye cups and the diopter adjustment mechanism: the mechanics work quite differently, but both binos have in my view quality solutions.

Beside the focus speed, the very smooth and precise focusing of the SFL is a step ahead of the (after an earlier repair) still somewhat noisy focus of the SLC. The difference in focus speed is huge: the SFL has one of the fastest focusers I know, the SLC one of the slowest. Depending on usage, both can have advantages and disadvantages. For me, the SFL is too fast, the SCL too slow, ideal would be something in between.

And then the optics:

Field of view and off-axis sharpness are for my eyes very comparable, and the same holds true for CA correction (again, for my eyes!).

Color fidelity is a bit better in the SFL, although only by a small margin. The image of the SLC appears just a tiny bit warmer.

Both binos exhibit little globe effect, the SLC even less than the SFL. That is the result of clearly more pronounced rectilinear distortion of the SLC, which some will probably like and some not (and that’s why measured AFOV is still a useful number, because it takes into account the distortion which the simple formula doesn’t).

No big difference as far as I could see regarding stray-light, spikes etc. However, when observing bright lighting on a football field at night, the SFL let me distinguish the individual spotlights in the beamers even more easily than the SLC, which testifies to the quality of the Zeiss (Kamakura?) optics.

Last point: central sharpness, contrast, and what I would combined name “image brilliance”. Here, the SLC is ahead in my eyes, it has an incredibly brilliant image, but without the almost painful sharpness of the EL SV. To be sure I am not dreaming, I briefly (re)confirmed on the USAF 51 that the SLC with a 4x and a 6x booster exhibits more details than the SFL (that is not to be taken as the final truth, just an indication, the USAF-test is in black and white, and the world isn’t black and white) and is in that sense “sharper” than the SFL.

To conclude, I find both the SFL and the SLC superb „overall packages“. The one factor that lets me tip the balance in favor of the SLC is its image brilliance that I have hardly ever found in other binoculars. Most probably just a personal perception that others will not share. Over the years, my assessment of many binoculars has changed as I age, but the SLC still impresses me as it did when I first got it. Hard to describe really whether it‘s the specific combination of color tone, sharpness, contrast, and perhaps other factors, I just prefer the SLC‘s image over most other same size binos. For me, the SFL‘s image is great, the SLC’s unbeatable.

fwiw Canip
 

Attachments

  • IMG_0699.jpg
    IMG_0699.jpg
    386.5 KB · Views: 72
  • IMG_0700.jpg
    IMG_0700.jpg
    217.4 KB · Views: 72
  • IMG_0702.jpg
    IMG_0702.jpg
    207.2 KB · Views: 72

Canip

Well-known member
… and just one other thought:
For some reason, Swarovski stopped selling the SLC x42 a good year ago (the x56 models are continued). The 8x42 and 10x42 are still produced by Swaro, but now sold under the label Kahles** Helia S (NEU Helia S 42 Ferngläser), in brown instead of green armor, but optically unchanged.

** Kahles, well known for its riflescopes, is a subsidiary of Swarovski Optics
 
Last edited:

Vespobuteo

Well-known member
… and just one other thought:
For some reason, Swarovski stopped selling the SLC x42 a good year ago (the x56 models are continued). The 8x42 and 10x42 are still produced by Swaro, but now sold under the label Kahles** Helia S (NEU Helia S 42 Ferngläser), in brown instead of green armor, but optically unchanged.

** Kahles, well known for its riflescopes, is a subsidiary of Swarovski Optics

Strange yes, big price and size gap between CL and EL SV now.

Maybe Swaro has something new in the works to replace the SLC?
 

ReinierBos

Well-known member
Netherlands
SLC 8x42 vs SFL 8x40 - without killing either …

Soon after the SFL came out, I thought: this is Zeiss‘ SLC - like the SLC for Swaro, the SFL is positioned in the second rang behind the top models, and like the SCL, the SFL early on got very good ratings.

Both are in my view fabulous binoculars, and if I prefer one over the other, that has nothing to do with „better“ or „worse“ and everything with personal preferences.

A few numbers to start:

Eye relief and effective/usable eye relief are identical: 18 mm and 15.5 mm, respectively. Both should work well with most glasses.

RFOV is 8 degress for the SFL and 7.8 for the SLC. Almost the same, I could only detect a slight difference when both binos were mounted side by side. Even more so perhaps since the SLC shows a slightly larger AFOV than the SFL (61 vs 60 degrees - both numbers measured myself). Reason: see below under distortion.

Minimum focus distance: excellent 1.45m for the SFL, mediocre 3.5m for the SLC (both measured).

Focus speed: much, much faster in the SFL than the SLC (from 3m to infinity: SFL 180 degrees, SLC 580 degrees rotation of the focus wheel – both measured).

Excess travel beyond infinity: very good for both (6.5 resp. 6 dpt - estimate).

The SFL weighs 710g with eyepiece covers and strap, the SLC 905g (both measured); the difference is substantial.

As for the „softer“ criteria:

As different as the two binos may be, I consider the finish and build quality as well as the haptics about equal in both. Grip in wet conditions, balance and the ergonomics, esp. with regard to the position of the focus wheel (see pic), are clearly better in the SFL.

Similarly regarding the eye cups and the diopter adjustment mechanism: the mechanics work quite differently, but both binos have in my view quality solutions.

Beside the focus speed, the very smooth and precise focusing of the SFL is a step ahead of the (after an earlier repair) still somewhat noisy focus of the SLC. The difference in focus speed is huge: the SFL has one of the fastest focusers I know, the SLC one of the slowest. Depending on usage, both can have advantages and disadvantages. For me, the SFL is too fast, the SCL too slow, ideal would be something in between.

And then the optics:

Field of view and off-axis sharpness are for my eyes very comparable, and the same holds true for CA correction (again, for my eyes!).

Color fidelity is a bit better in the SFL, although only by a small margin. The image of the SLC appears just a tiny bit warmer.

Both binos exhibit little globe effect, the SLC even less than the SFL. That is the result of clearly more pronounced rectilinear distortion of the SLC, which some will probably like and some not (and that’s why measured AFOV is still a useful number, because it takes into account the distortion which the simple formula doesn’t).

No big difference as far as I could see regarding stray-light, spikes etc. However, when observing bright lighting on a football field at night, the SFL let me distinguish the individual spotlights in the beamers even more easily than the SLC, which testifies to the quality of the Zeiss (Kamakura?) optics.

Last point: central sharpness, contrast, and what I would combined name “image brilliance”. Here, the SLC is ahead in my eyes, it has an incredibly brilliant image, but without the almost painful sharpness of the EL SV. To be sure I am not dreaming, I briefly (re)confirmed on the USAF 51 that the SLC with a 4x and a 6x booster exhibits more details than the SFL (that is not to be taken as the final truth, just an indication, the USAF-test is in black and white, and the world isn’t black and white) and is in that sense “sharper” than the SFL.

To conclude, I find both the SFL and the SLC superb „overall packages“. The one factor that lets me tip the balance in favor of the SLC is its image brilliance that I have hardly ever found in other binoculars. Most probably just a personal perception that others will not share. Over the years, my assessment of many binoculars has changed as I age, but the SLC still impresses me as it did when I first got it. Hard to describe really whether it‘s the specific combination of color tone, sharpness, contrast, and perhaps other factors, I just prefer the SLC‘s image over most other same size binos. For me, the SFL‘s image is great, the SLC’s unbeatable.

fwiw Canip
Thanks! What about dim light conditions? Can you tell something about the differences between them too?
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top