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Did changing to a lighter 32mm over 42mm bino really make that much difference? (1 Viewer)

My wife carries a handbag everyday weighing twice what binoculars weigh!!!😄
42's are a nice middle ground, I reckon. I should never have sold mine to my mate.
My 56's are heavy, my wife won't use them, but they do gather light well, and provide easy viewing.
On balance, I was just as happy with my 42's.
My Swaro 8x25's are fine on a sunny walk though.
It just depends where you compromise.
 
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As was mentioned, when it starts to get warmer and I ditch the coat, that’s when the lighter weight is very apparent on the back of my neck.

When travelling or just hiking, 32mm but when birding is serious and conditions challenging, almost always 42 mm.
 
i used nikon premier 8x32 (about 660g) glasses for about 15 years and replaced them with kowa genesis 8.5x44 (940g). i used both binoculars side by side for a couple of weeks, and liked the detail, colors, and sharper views more from the kowa, so sold the nikons. a lot of the time i'm under the canopy of rock creek park in dc, my backyard, so not bright direct sunlight.

i'd found the 8x32 glasses just too heavy to carry around the neck so early on started using a harness. the standard harnesses we find online, lightweight one inch straps made of pretty stretchy material, were fine.

but those lighter harnesses weren't very comfortable with the heavier genesis. after trying a few different harnesses, i've become a big fan of the made in montana nyack harness -- 1.5 inch robust straps with a substantial leather anchor at the back. no binocular bouncing or swaying even when i clamber up some pretty steep hills.

with the nyack harness i don't feel the weight of the binoculars at all, even after hours of walking. after a while of holding up the glasses to look through them my arms get tired. that happened with the 8x32's, too, though maybe it took longer. for my eyes, having used them side by side, i get more detail and enjoyment through the 8.5x44 than the 8x32 glasses. but how one carries them matters a lot.
 
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IMO it’s a mistake to focus on optical quality differences, which are minor (all things being equal, which the above post isn’t). In normal use (ie typical daylight situations) with modern premium 8x32s there’s no meaningful difference in handheld optical quality (ie handheld means you’re not going to benefit from any theoretical increase in ultimate resolving power).

The difference to be focused on is COMFORT. In my experience that is a much more noticeable real world benefit of the larger exit pupil than the “raw optical quality” difference (if any). After extended use the larger exit pupil eye comfort advantage increases (less eye fatigue, less fidgeting to find proper eye position etc). And on the flip side of course the 8x32 has comfort advantages for nearly everything that doesn’t involve your eyeballs (smaller and lighter), and with extended use the neck / arm fatigue advantage compounds in favor of the smaller bin.

It’s up to your priorities and uses as to which makes more sense. As someone who owns a premium 7x42 and 8x32, and has tried many others, IMO a good modern 8x32 is more than good enough for the vast majority of people and uses. I’m currently in the mountains in central Mexico and took my 8x32 Meostar and left the 7x42 Ultravid at home for this trip. I knew I wasn’t going to be doing any extreme low light birding (plus few potential lifers on this trip) so it was an easy decision; the size/weight savings was more important than the slight increase in viewing comfort and optical quality, and it’s also lower profile when wandering around populated areas. If I was going somewhere with lots of poor light and lots of tricky lifers, I probably would have taken the 7x42.
 
….. that said, this reoccurring dilemma highlights once again why 7x35 is really the optimal format for an all-around daily use binocular. Nearly all the size/weight advantages of a 32mm with the 5mm exit pupil of an 8x42. And the only penalty is a teeny decrease in magnification (which happens to have a counterbalancing advantage in the form of increased DOF). Yes please!
 
….. that said, this reoccurring dilemma highlights once again why 7x35 is really the optimal format for an all-around daily use binocular. Nearly all the size/weight advantages of a 32mm with the 5mm exit pupil of an 8x42. And the only penalty is a teeny decrease in magnification (which happens to have a counterbalancing advantage in the form of increased DOF). Yes please!
Interesting you mention the 7x35 format, I sometimes wonder if 32mm and 42mm objective binoculars could ever merge into a single universal 35-36mm bino ranging in magnifications from 6.5x 7x 8x and 10x!

Matt
 
Interesting you mention the 7x35 format, I sometimes wonder if 32mm and 42mm objective binoculars could ever merge into a single universal 35-36mm bino ranging in magnifications from 6.5x 7x 8x and 10x!

Matt
And it’s why I’m traveling with 7x35 retrovids…
 
Lighter binoculars can definitely make a difference when out walking/hiking. I usually have a camera and photo gear with me when I'm birding, so I like the smaller size and lighter weight of 8x32, or even 10x32. Even when I'm not photographing I take smaller binoculars now.
 
8x30 is one of my preferred sizes. My Optolyth 8x30 weighs in at 420 gr without the strap. I can carry that around all day. With heavier ones I put the strap over the shoulder not around the neck.
 
As above, frequently walk hedonistically long distances and often wonder wether the difference in weight between a 32mm and a 42mm is really that noticeable as far as easing neck/back fatigue on long walks?
I hike a lot in the mountains in sometimes very difficult terrain and a heavy binocular can cause neck/back fatigue. That's why I prefer to carry my binoculars bandelier style so I don't get neck pain. Depending the terrain and the amount of alcohol I drank the previous evening lately I either carry the Swarovski Habicht 10x40 GA (790 gram) or my Leica Ultravid 8x32 HD (535 gram). Optically they are both adequate for my uses, only for distant raptors I like the 10x more. The 8x Leica however is better to hold still if you are tired and has nicer colors. The 255 gr weight difference -for me- is not noticeable. The dimensions are noticeable though, the Leica being very compact. It's nice to have options 🙂
 
For anyone who mostly observes in daylight there is no downside to using a 32mm.

It would be interesting to hear the experiences from people who changed from x32 to x42.
Regarding daylight, in 2000 I realized my 8x32 Leica BA model was not good enough when birding in tropical rain forest. That's what led to getting my Zeiss 8x42 FL. It is still my most preferred model after more than 16 years. That evaluation had taken a few years while no other such rainforest opportunities pushed for a decision to be made. I have since managed to get 7x and 10x version of the same FL type which I also cherish. But the need for a lighter-weight 8x32 arose, and I ended up with another FL. :) Nevertheless, I feel there is quite a noticable difference in favor of the x42 models. The view is much more immersive and I thus prefer the larger models.
I have not yet evaluated the newer x32 models which offer a wider field. So at some point that small FL might get exchanged for a SF, maybe? Or another brand without the red coating that I feel irritating.
 
IMO it’s a mistake to focus on optical quality differences, which are minor (all things being equal, which the above post isn’t). In normal use (ie typical daylight situations) with modern premium 8x32s there’s no meaningful difference in handheld optical quality (ie handheld means you’re not going to benefit from any theoretical increase in ultimate resolving power).

The difference to be focused on is COMFORT. In my experience that is a much more noticeable real world benefit of the larger exit pupil than the “raw optical quality” difference (if any). After extended use the larger exit pupil eye comfort advantage increases (less eye fatigue, less fidgeting to find proper eye position etc). And on the flip side of course the 8x32 has comfort advantages for nearly everything that doesn’t involve your eyeballs (smaller and lighter), and with extended use the neck / arm fatigue advantage compounds in favor of the smaller bin.

It’s up to your priorities and uses as to which makes more sense. As someone who owns a premium 7x42 and 8x32, and has tried many others, IMO a good modern 8x32 is more than good enough for the vast majority of people and uses. I’m currently in the mountains in central Mexico and took my 8x32 Meostar and left the 7x42 Ultravid at home for this trip. I knew I wasn’t going to be doing any extreme low light birding (plus few potential lifers on this trip) so it was an easy decision; the size/weight savings was more important than the slight increase in viewing comfort and optical quality, and it’s also lower profile when wandering around populated areas. If I was going somewhere with lots of poor light and lots of tricky lifers, I probably would have taken the 7x42.
How much of a difference in ease of viewing do you find the switch from x42 to x32? I am currently in a rabbit hole of figuring out which will be my next set of bins. I am thinking of going from monarch 5 8x42 to high end - noctivid, ultravid it SF, or even FL or conquest. I’m not a Swarovision fan from what I’ve looked through. Anyways I was going to order a noctivid 8x42 and SF 8x32 and compare ease of view/comfort (I use a harness anyways). The pleasure of a beautiful view is what I’m after and willing to pay for.
 
The pleasure of a beautiful view is what I’m after and willing to pay for.
Reading this last sentence I can't help thinking that, if it's about "a pleasurable and beautiful view" you should definitely consider a 7x42.
A 7x42 Leica UV (still on sale, or else a 7x42 FL, if you have the patience to wait for one to show up) may not have the FOV of an SF, but it has other charms. Personally, the more "pleasurable" views I've experienced were with a 7x42. Just a thought to consider 😊
 
How much of a difference in ease of viewing do you find the switch from x42 to x32? I am currently in a rabbit hole of figuring out which will be my next set of bins. I am thinking of going from monarch 5 8x42 to high end - noctivid, ultravid it SF, or even FL or conquest. I’m not a Swarovision fan from what I’ve looked through. Anyways I was going to order a noctivid 8x42 and SF 8x32 and compare ease of view/comfort (I use a harness anyways). The pleasure of a beautiful view is what I’m after and willing to pay for.
I have not regretted my shift to using only 32mm binos at all. There is no downside for me.

Lee
 
Is there anyone who wears glasses (spectacles for you brits :) who has made shift from 42 to 32 w/out regrets and if so which binos?
 
When I'm walking or cycling for a distance I sling the binoculars round my shoulder like a satchel so the strap goes accross my body. This I've found makes things much more comfortable -especially on the bike! It means the weights not really noticeable compared to it all being on my neck and it only takes a couple of seconds to move round my neck if I see something of interest. I can comfortably carry 42's this way.
 
Is there anyone who wears glasses (spectacles for you brits :) who has made shift from 42 to 32 w/out regrets and if so which binos?
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I wear varifocal glasses and happily transition between my 10x42 Swarovski ELs; my 8x32 Swarovski ELs and my 8x25 Hawke endurance ED pocket binoculars.
Probably not on the same day but certainly there is at least one week per month where I would take one of these pairs of binoculars with me as a preference.
 
Around 2017 I pretty much swapped to a Conquest HD 8X32 and then to an SV 8X32 and now to the NL 8X32 as my primary birding binocular. In no way do I think for one second I've compromised the "view" in any way whatsoever over a 42mm counterpart. Certainly not for my intended uses. I actually feel like I've GAINED in handling, loss in size/weight, and in most cases FOV.
 
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