• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Comparisons and differences in the current "Alpha" bins? (1 Viewer)

sidpost

Well-known member
United States
The 'Swaro News' and my Leica NV bins has me thinking about the state of the art ALPHA binoculars. I own a pair of Leica NV and have viewed, briefly, through a pair of Swarovski NL Pure as well. What I haven't seen are a pair of Zeiss SF bins.

Regarding the top-end Alpha bins:
  • What is the same among them?
  • What is better than its peers?
  • Which suffer from some deficiency relative to its peers?
On a related note, what near "ALPHA" bins (Meopta?) should be considered with these bins in a similar context? In my case for example, while I really like my Steiners, I must say my Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 bins blow away my Steiners mainly due to overall bulk and probably give 90~95% of the 'view quality' as the Alpha options. For rough use on my farm and general utility viewing though, the Steiner's rule for ease of use (Independent Focus) and overall durability and general 'toughness'.

So in summary, saying you had an ALPHA budget for new bins, what would you choose as well as why. While I'm thinking primarily of comparing 8x42 bins, I'm also open to suggestions of other options like 8x32 or 8x56 versions realizing these have a significant difference in ergonomics and some issues with light gathering for use at dawn or dusk and in unfavorable lighting conditions like overcast or otherwise dark skies.

In my specific case, I'm debating what to do with my Leica NV bins. Do I keep them? Do I trade my 8x42's for some 10x42's or 12x50's? On the flip side, I need to be really picky to fault them for something like an eye-box that is a little hard for me to find consistently with my eyeglasses or the fact that they are deceptively heavy for such a trim package in 'big' bins.

TIA,
Sid
 

dries1

Member
Sidpost,

When you get to the premium level of glass, it is ergonomics first, then weight, ER, and size that matter to various users. They are all very good, each person will have to find what they like. I do not wear glasses, and find between the three I prefer the NV but appreciate the wide FOV view in the NL, I will not be selling either of them. I am also a big fan of the EDG as well.
The SF has very good optics, but just did not fit my face with their eyecups, and thought it was too long esp. with the eyecups extended. They are light and for some that is important, but not in my priority wheel house at the moment. I am open to trying the SF in 8X32 however, perhaps later this year.

Andy W.
 

Conndomat

United States of Europe
Europe
Hi Sid,

we're looking for the hair in the soup ...

Put the Noctivid, the SF, the EL or the EDG on a table, blindfold your eyes you will always pull out the right glass, at least as far as the optical properties are concerned!

As always in life there are subjective criteria according to which binoculars are judged a real "better" does not exist here anymore, with the Noctivid you have a absolutely top binocular, you have to compare directly whether an EL, SF, EDG or NL would fit better , there is no golden rule.

If you ask for 8x56 binoculars look at the SLC, a fantastic glass, one of the best glasses I know, but that too is subjective ...

Andreas
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Hi Sid,

we're looking for the hair in the soup ...

Put the Noctivid, the SF, the EL or the EDG on a table, blindfold your eyes you will always pull out the right glass, at least as far as the optical properties are concerned!

As always in life there are subjective criteria according to which binoculars are judged a real "better" does not exist here anymore, with the Noctivid you have a absolutely top binocular, you have to compare directly whether an EL, SF, EDG or NL would fit better , there is no golden rule.

If you ask for 8x56 binoculars look at the SLC, a fantastic glass, one of the best glasses I know, but that too is subjective ...

Andreas
Andreas. Do you prefer the SLC 8x56 optically over the current 8x32 and 8x42 alphas and why? Just curious what there is about the bigger aperture that appeals to you.
 
Last edited:

Anon2020

Well-known member
I agree with the answers to the original post. I own a pair of Noctivids and chose them in preference to the Zeiss SFs principally for subjective reasons. In truth I think the SFs handle better and may offer a slightly better view but they are simply too long for my taste. The Leicas also “feel” as though they are better built although I think this perception is mainly a result of their more compact size giving them a more “solid” feel in the hand.

I also wear glasses and find that the Noctivids work best for me with the eyecups turned out by one click.
 

Conndomat

United States of Europe
Europe
Andreas. Do you prefer the SLC 8x56 optically over the current 8x32 and 8x42 alphas and why? Just curious what there is about the bigger aperture that appeals to you.
Dennis, that the SLC 8x56 has something magical, I can't even say what it is.

Everything fits together for me, the view (with eyeglasses) is awesome for me, the picture is extremely bright and the color balance is absolutely natural for me.
The glass is very sharp in the middle, the stray light suppression and the contrast are also very good and the edge sharpness is still very good at around 80%, it is practically a pair of binoculars that can reconcile flat field friends and friends of conventional optics.
The SLC can also provide good 3-D perception for a roof.

Originally I wanted to see a SLC 10x56 at the dealer, but they only had the 8x56, so I looked through it, and immediately I had a "wow" on my lips, the second thought was "must have".
The SLC just fits for me, it is a very good glass all round, you can tell that AK prisms are superior to Schmidt-Pechan in terms of brilliance, the disadvantage of the SLC is of course the size and weight but the optics are roaring, every time I look through it I get a smile on my face.

Andreas
 

sidpost

Well-known member
United States
I agree with the answers to the original post. I own a pair of Noctivids and chose them in preference to the Zeiss SFs principally for subjective reasons. In truth I think the SFs handle better and may offer a slightly better view but they are simply too long for my taste. The Leicas also “feel” as though they are better built although I think this perception is mainly a result of their more compact size giving them a more “solid” feel in the hand.

I also wear glasses and find that the Noctivids work best for me with the eyecups turned out by one click.
That sums up my feelings pretty well. Like you, one or two clicks seems best on the eyecups and they are certainly solid which I think their compact size and weight reinforce. The views are very easy and pleasing to my eyes. Ergonomics are okay but, not the best for me personally but any negative feelings here are pretty minor and subjective to myself.
 

lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
When I entered the ALPA market years ago, and subsequently since....it is always ergonomics that dictate what I buy. The glass is superb for any Alpha but how the bins feel in your hands or up to face, is all too personal. I love the glass I have an wouldn't trade it for nada...

In fact....I often wonder if we have peaked out in terms of Alpha before the big three move to digital. And if so, I know I have the best there is in an 'analog' bin...

Meopta.... I have a pair of Meostars and they are great. But not quite Alpha with the other three. Now, something to look for is the new Meostar B2 coming out in a few years. I money is on them being Alpha glass at a portion of the price but again, ergonomics will come into play.
 

Maljunulo

Well-known member
In truth I think the SFs handle better and may offer a slightly better view but they are simply too long for my taste.
I hope this won't be seen as argumentative, but absolutely the last thing I worry about is whether or not my binoculars may be "too long". Especially if they give a "better view".

I tend to look through my binoculars rather than at them.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I hope this won't be seen as argumentative, but absolutely the last thing I worry about is whether or not my binoculars may be "too long". Especially if they give a "better view".

I tend to look through my binoculars rather than at them.
I agree. All I really care about is a "better view". Ergonomics don't matter to me neither does weight unless I am hiking for miles.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Dennis, that the SLC 8x56 has something magical, I can't even say what it is.

Everything fits together for me, the view (with eyeglasses) is awesome for me, the picture is extremely bright and the color balance is absolutely natural for me.
The glass is very sharp in the middle, the stray light suppression and the contrast are also very good and the edge sharpness is still very good at around 80%, it is practically a pair of binoculars that can reconcile flat field friends and friends of conventional optics.
The SLC can also provide good 3-D perception for a roof.

Originally I wanted to see a SLC 10x56 at the dealer, but they only had the 8x56, so I looked through it, and immediately I had a "wow" on my lips, the second thought was "must have".
The SLC just fits for me, it is a very good glass all round, you can tell that AK prisms are superior to Schmidt-Pechan in terms of brilliance, the disadvantage of the SLC is of course the size and weight but the optics are roaring, every time I look through it I get a smile on my face.

Andreas
I agree with you. I had the SLC 8x56 and I liked it for the same reasons you do. The big aperture binoculars have a lot of advantages that not even the smaller alphas can compete with. Outside of FOV I would say the SLC 8x56 is better optically than the NL 8x42. The optical superiority of the bigger aperture can't be overcome by coatings and glass. It is a matter of Physics.
 

Anon2020

Well-known member
I hope this won't be seen as argumentative, but absolutely the last thing I worry about is whether or not my binoculars may be "too long". Especially if they give a "better view".

I tend to look through my binoculars rather than at them.
Call me shallow but I would also not consider purchasing the Swarovski NLs because I find their appearance ugly and ungainly.

When the difference in performance between several tools designed for the same job is relatively insignificant why not choose the one you take most pleasure in using?
 

M&P805

Member
Supporter
United States
Originally I wanted to see a SLC 10x56 at the dealer, but they only had the 8x56, so I looked through it, and immediately I had a "wow" on my lips, the second thought was "must have".
I have been looking for an SLC 10x56 for astro use however they are impossible to find in the U.S. Have you an opinion regarding your 8x56 at night?

George
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
I have been looking for an SLC 10x56 for astro use however they are impossible to find in the U.S. Have you an opinion regarding your 8x56 at night?

George
So call Gordon at Honey Creek Bill and Beak. He is also on BF as proudpappa56. You might send him a PM. Good dude!
Also don't rule out the SV 10X50.
 

tenex

reality-based
it is practically a pair of binoculars that can reconcile flat field friends and friends of conventional optics.
This is exactly what I like about the whole SLC line... er, former line, now reduced to the 56s.

I have been looking for an SLC 10x56 for astro use however they are impossible to find in the U.S.
The 10x56 is great for astro if you have a good dark sky; a smaller exit pupil will serve better if you don't.
So call Gordon at Honey Creek Bill and Beak. He is also on BF as proudpappa56.
Single "p", @proudpapa56. (I got mine from him.)
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I have been looking for an SLC 10x56 for astro use however they are impossible to find in the U.S. Have you an opinion regarding your 8x56 at night?

George
For astro use the 10x56 SLC will be better than the SLC 8x56 because of the higher magnification. The SLC 8x56 is wonderful for low light terrestrial use though. An 8x56 is probably one of the best binoculars for low light there is.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top