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Do you think an excellent 8x42 can be better than an alpha 8x32 optically? (1 Viewer)

[email protected]

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8x42SF and 8x25CL Pocket. I`ve just been checking, now I`m less convinced, its very subtle so I could be well wrong.

From my own experience if your original question is something like can an 8x42SLC be better than an 8x32SV, yes some of the time, can an 8x42 Trinovid be better than an 8x32 UVHD+, no, not at all for me.
It goes back to the question is a Corvette with a big V8 better than a Porsche with an flat 6? The Corvette being the Nikon Monarch HG 8x42 and the Porsche being the Swarovski EL 8x32. The EL like the Porsche has better build quality then the HG but most of the time the HG is going to be brighter because of the bigger aperture and the Corvette is going to beat the Porsche through the quarter mile. I think if you can't afford an alpha 8x32 you are better off getting and excellent 8x42 like the HG than an excellent quality 8x32 unless your 1st priority is weight and size.
 
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[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Yes, probably the eye placement on the EL 8.5x42 is better than in the 8x32 ELSV, and probably eye position, FOV, and low light performance in the 10x50 WX are miles better than in the EL 8.5x42. Why don't you carry one? :p The answer is simple: any item is a matter of the compromises you are ready to take: a shoe, a pencil, a car, you name it. In your threads and your rationale you usually chose one characteristic (being a Porro, or having big FOV, or high % light transmission) and make it stand above the rest. Well, that's perfectly OK if it works for you.

Back to your original post. Your question is a simple one "Do you think an excellent 8x42 can be better than an alpha 8x32 optically? "
My simple answer, based on my personal experience is no, it is not. My elaborate answer can be found on my first reply, where I explain my experience exactly with those two kind of binoculars (8x42 Conquest HD vs 8x32 ELSV). Give me a nice 8x32 over a 8x42 everyday of the week.
So, "is an excellent 8x42 better optically than a 8x32?". I don't know. As always, answers have many facets and there are endless points of view, and I've given you mine: in my case, the answer is no. Yes, a 8x42 surely is brighter in low light, but that is only a part of the everyday use (your question was not narrowed to low light, but to "optical excellence", whatever that means.

Let me give you an example following your reasoning style. For starters, most 8x32 have a wider FOV than their 8x42 counterparts. Take the two binoculars I'm always referring to: 8x42 Conquest HD and 8x32 ELSV. Surprise: 7,4º vs 8º FOV. How good is that? To follow the film-noir-attorney-tone you usually use for questioning and getting the answer you want to get I could simply ask you: What do you prefer, a 7,4º or a 8º FOV? And conclude, in pure Dennis-fashionTM that a 8x32 is way better, because FOV is of outmost importance ;) (hey, I'm starting to like this game of yours! :p).

Regarding your question about weight, yes, weight is of utmost importance for my intended use, since I usually use my binoculars on the move (and the simple and sad proof is that I sold my Conquest HD 8x42 because I just left it at home to avoid the burden of carrying its weight and bulk). For astro, since I do it from my balcony, I've enjoyed behemoths like the Fujinon FMT-SX 7x50 or the 8x56 Nighthunter, which I know you know and like, and I've enjoyed their great performance.

Glare is clearly the biggest fault of the 8x32 ELSV. However, as I said earlier, any item is a matter of compromise among its strengths and weaknesses and each one chooses their own, what he or she is ready to accept or not. I value the stunning view, size, weight, handling and comfort of the 8x32 ELSV way more than its glare issue (the same way I prefer the view through the 7x35 Retrovids better, but the viewing comfort is inexistent for me, and hence a deal-breaker). On the other hand, I found the weight, bulk and eye comfort problems in the 8x42 Conquest HD to have more weight (pun intended) than its better low light performance. So, there you have my answer: no, I don't think an excellent 8x42 is better than an alpha 8x32 (that's my personal opinion, and I don't expect anyone to agree with it).
The question is more complicated than you think, isn't it? An alpha 8x32 can be better for some people than an excellent 8x42 and vice versa depending on your uses and preferences. Why don't I carry a 10x50 WX? Firstly, I don't think it is worth $6K just for the bigger FOV over a Fujinon FMTR-SX 10x50 and I prefer the 3D view of the Porro. Second, I will use a 3# binocular in a static situation but 5.5# is starting to get a little heavy. Sometimes I think I would like to have a WX 10x50 just because it is considered the best binocular available, but I question how much I would use it. I personally found out after having the Swarovski NL 8x42 that FOV isn't everything and I would rather have the smaller quality 3D FOV that a big Porro provides.
 

Troubador

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Staff member
Supporter
I agree a 10x42 is better in twilight, but I don't think it is better overall than a 8x42 for birding.
Dennis, you are changing the question again because you didn't get the answer you were looking for. Nevertheless I prefer 8x most of the time too.
Lee
 

jgraider

Well-known member
This thread by the OP has turned into the sideshow we all thought it would.....what a surprise. Dennis should have taken the above advice previously mentioned and regurgitate Allbino's thoughts.
 

Maljunulo

Well-known member
This thread by the OP has turned into the sideshow we all thought it would.....what a surprise. Dennis should have taken the above advice previously mentioned and regurgitate Allbino's thoughts.
I think the questions he poses pretty much predispose his threads to become "sideshows", especially when he keeps changing the question.

It's really hard to contribute anything constructive to such a thread. (although I did try)
 

[email protected]

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I think the questions he poses pretty much predispose his threads to become "sideshows", especially when he keeps changing the question.

It's really hard to contribute anything constructive to such a thread. (although I did try)
My point is, and I have often thought about it when purchasing binoculars. NOT considering ergonomics, weight or size but from a purely OPTICAL standpoint will an excellent 8x42 binocular outperform an alpha 8x32? If you had to pick from the following binoculars based just on the VIEW which would you pick. I know very few birders pick their binoculars based solely on the quality of the optics, but I usually do. What is confusing the question is we need to FORGET about size, weight, focus type, prism type, FOV and ergonomics. I think that is making it hard is everybody has a different opinion of what is good optics. The optics and view are personal preference, but I have found for me personally objective size will usually trump the quality of the objectives in pure performance. But I guess the question has been answered because many feel a smaller alpha binocular is preferable to a larger mid-range binocular depending on how they use it. Everybody chooses their binocular based on many things and aperture is just one consideration. Maybe a better question would be how important is aperture to you when purchasing binoculars? What would be interesting is for members to list their priorities ranked in a list when purchasing binoculars.

1) Nikon Monarch HG 8x42 or Swarovski EL 8x32
2) Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 or Zeiss Victory 8x25
3) Kowa 8x32 Prominar or Swarovski 8x25 CL-P
4) Swarovski SLC 8x56 or Swarovski NL 8x42
5) Steiner Shadowquest 8x56 or Swarovski EL 8.5x42
6) Fujinon FMTR-SX 10x50 or Swarovski SV 10x50
7) Fujinon FMTR-SX 7x50 or Leica Ultravid HD 7x42
8) Swarovski Habicht 10x40 GA or Swarovski NL 10x42
 
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PeterPS

MEMBER
Dennis, you are changing the question again because you didn't get the answer you were looking for. Nevertheless I prefer 8x most of the time too.
Lee
Better change the question in the same thread than start another thread...Anyway the original question does not have a general answer, it all depends on the priorities and preferences of the user.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Better change the question in the same thread than start another thread...Anyway the original question does not have a general answer, it all depends on the priorities and preferences of the user.
You're correct. If your priorities is low light performance than the bigger aperture is preferable but if size and ergonomics are more important then the smaller alpha would be your best choice.
 

WJC

Well-known member
"Dennis, you are changing the question again because you didn't get the answer you were looking for. ..."
Lee

And it seems that forever will be. For without some kind of fence, a sandbox for all can become a litterbox for one.
Bill
 

Brink

Well-known member
My point is, and I have often thought about it when purchasing binoculars. NOT considering ergonomics, weight or size but from a purely OPTICAL standpoint will an excellent 8x42 binocular outperform an alpha 8x32? If you had to pick from the following binoculars based just on the VIEW which would you pick. I know very few birders pick their binoculars based solely on the quality of the optics, but I usually do. What is confusing the question is we need to FORGET about size, weight, focus type, prism type, FOV and ergonomics. I think that is making it hard is everybody has a different opinion of what is good optics. The optics and view are personal preference, but I have found for me personally objective size will usually trump the quality of the objectives in pure performance. But I guess the question has been answered because many feel a smaller alpha binocular is preferable to a larger mid-range binocular depending on how they use it. Everybody chooses their binocular based on many things and aperture is just one consideration. Maybe a better question would be how important is aperture to you when purchasing binoculars? What would be interesting is for members to list their priorities ranked in a list when purchasing binoculars.

1) Nikon Monarch HG 8x42 or Swarovski EL 8x32
2) Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 or Zeiss Victory 8x25
3) Kowa 8x32 Prominar or Swarovski 8x25 CL-P
4) Swarovski SLC 8x56 or Swarovski NL 8x42
5) Steiner Shadowquest 8x56 or Swarovski EL 8.5x42
6) Fujinon FMTR-SX 10x50 or Swarovski SV 10x50
7) Fujinon FMTR-SX 7x50 or Leica Ultravid HD 7x42
8) Swarovski Habicht 10x40 GA or Swarovski NL 10x42
So this thread has gotten pretty far off the rails, eh?
 

[email protected]

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So this thread has gotten pretty far off the rails, eh?
So this thread has gotten pretty far off the rails, eh?
The point I was trying to make is I think aperture is one of the most important if not the most important specification of a binocular and if your limited in budget you might be better off going for a less expensive bigger aperture binocular than a more expensive smaller aperture binocular. It is that way in Astronomy because aperture is everything so many amateur astronomers choose big aperture Dobsonian reflector "Light Bucket" telescopes over higher priced APO refractors because they get the most bang for their buck.
 

Brink

Well-known member
As far as I am concerned it is on track, but I am not sure where the tracks are leading.
I was trying to sum up what most of the other posters had said. When I tried to read through the thread it was a bit frustrating. The original question was basically 8x32 vs. 8x42 considering only optical quality (except you brought ease of eye placement in as a criteria, which I wouldn't consider relevant to that question). The post I was quoting asked us to compare the hypothetical "VIEW" through 8 pairs of binoculars, only one of which was 8x32 vs 8x42. Also, you suggest we should forget about FOV, but it is one of the more important considerations when comparing "VIEW" I think. Also - Some of the binoculars on that list are kind of astronomy specialties I think.
 

[email protected]

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If you are doing a lot of low light viewing a less expensive 8x42 will serve you better than an alpha 8x32 in most cases and that is my point. It is going to be brighter and have easier eye placement. If you do mostly daylight birding an alpha 8x32 with a bigger FOV might be a better choice.
 
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Maljunulo

Well-known member
I think if you are doing a lot of low light viewing a less expensive 8x42 will serve you better than an alpha 8x32 in most cases and that is my point. It is going to be brighter and have easier eye placement. If you do mostly daylight birding an alpha 8x32 with a bigger FOV might be a better choice.
The first two words of that post are the most significant.
 

Brink

Well-known member
I think if you are doing a lot of low light viewing a less expensive 8x42 will serve you better than an alpha 8x32 in most cases and that is my point. It is going to be brighter and have easier eye placement. If you do mostly daylight birding an alpha 8x32 with a bigger FOV might be a better choice.
So basically an alpha in general has better optics, but the larger objective sub-alpha performs better in low light. I can certainly agree with this
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
To further extend the notion of whether a larger non-premium binocular can perform as well as a smaller premium one . . .

I remember around 20 years ago reading an article by Bill McRae. He stated that in all the optical testing that he’d done,
the cheapest 10x50 Porro prism binoculars had shown as much resolution as the most expensive 10x25 roof prism ones *

On reflection Bill’s observation is not all that surprising, since it must be several orders of magnitude more difficult,
to make a 10x25 that can perform perform as well as a 10x50
Firstly, there are obvious physical limitations, including the need for higher magnification lenses to achieve the same focal lengths
within significantly shorter physical lengths
And much more precision would be required both in the production and assembly of the many components

For a quick visual comparison, see a combined image of:
a) a cheap Z style construction Porro 10x50, the Tasco Essentials (US $42 at B&H Photo), and
b) the most compact premium roof prism 10x25, the Leica Ultravid ($900 in the leather finish version shown, $100 less in rubber armour) **

The image demonstrates that classic triangular relationship between: Physical Size (and weight); Performance, and; Cost


John


* Bill was a long-time writer on optics, mainly in US outdoors magazines. He was also a long-time consultant for Bushnell

** I used an image of the leather finished version for convenience. It had sufficient white space at the top to enable me to easily combine it
with the Tasco image
 

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Brink

Well-known member
To further extend the notion of whether a larger non-premium binocular can perform as well as a smaller premium one . . .

I remember around 20 years ago reading an article by Bill McRae. He stated that in all the optical testing that he’d done,
the cheapest 10x50 Porro prism binoculars had shown as much resolution as the most expensive 10x25 roof prism ones *

On reflection Bill’s observation is not all that surprising, since it must be several orders of magnitude more difficult,
to make a 10x25 that can perform perform as well as a 10x50
Firstly, there are obvious physical limitations, including the need for higher magnification lenses to achieve the same focal lengths
within significantly shorter physical lengths
And much more precision would be required both in the production and assembly of the many components

For a quick visual comparison, see a combined image of:
a) a cheap Z style construction Porro 10x50, the Tasco Essentials (US $42 at B&H Photo), and
b) the most compact premium roof prism 10x25, the Leica Ultravid ($900 in the leather finish version shown, $100 less in rubber armour) **

The image demonstrates that classic triangular relationship between: Physical Size (and weight); Performance, and; Cost


John


* Bill was a long-time writer on optics, mainly in US outdoors magazines. He was also a long-time consultant for Bushnell

** I used an image of the leather finished version for convenience. It had sufficient white space at the top to enable me to easily combine it
with the Tasco image
This is very interesting, and I would be interested in looking at some of the testing data. I am not the most educated on the subject, but I don’t see how making smaller optics would be much more difficult than larger ones, let alone orders of magnitude. This would ostensibly be evident in the price of these optics, but the bigger optics are always more expensive than the smaller (big ultravids cost more than twice what the 25mm models do). Maybe several decades ago machining and assembling smaller optics was a challenge, I wouldn’t know, but that seems to have been largely overcome these days.
 

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