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Does the Head Rest help on the NL 8x42? (2 Viewers)

NZbinodude

Well-known member
Whats the verdict with headrest AND tripod?

Haven't tried that combination (yet).

With the binos mounted on a tripod, you'll no longer be pulling them against your face (exerting downward pressure), which makes the head-rest a tad redundant from a comfort standpoint.

That said...I wonder if the headrest would allow for more repeatable positioning of your eyes on a tripod mounted bino? I.e like the Swaro BTX spotting scope.

That way, as soon as your forehead hits the rest, your eyes are automatically centered within the eye pieces.
 
I was wondering if the head rest is usable when you use a beanie? At least here in Finland you have to use beanie maybe 5-7 months in a year. I guess you have to lift the beanie at the back of your head so that the forehead rest can hit the forehead...
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I was wondering if the head rest is usable when you use a beanie? At least here in Finland you have to use beanie maybe 5-7 months in a year. I guess you have to lift the beanie at the back of your head so that the forehead rest can hit the forehead...
Just cut a hole in the beanie.:-O
 
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[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
After ongoing testing of the head-rest v.s using the binoculars without it installed (I've got a 10x42 NL), I don't think it helps all that much with image shake. I can barely see any improvement. I imagine this would be even more so with the 8x42 model. Perhaps it'll be more useful with the 12x?

I think it was a case of placebo effect. After spending the $$ on one, you'll desperately want it to work, and your mind will do everything to convince you of that fact.

What it does do well, however (and I think this is what it was mostly designed for) is provide extra comfort during prolonged viewing sessions. It may not be a big factor if you're into viewing fleeting birds, but if you're into more static stuff (larger wildlife, or astronomical subjects) where you may be staring at a spot for hours on end, the head rest allows you to spread the pressure of the binoculars onto your forehead, so that your eye sockets aren't taking the brunt of it. The headrest does this very well, and it's well worth the $$ in that sense.

Sure, you can definitely live without it, but every time I've taken the headrest off, it feels kinda weird and I've found myself putting it back on again.

In summary - it's best suited to people who will have the binos glued to their eyes for prolonged periods. In that regard, it makes a noticeable difference in comfort .
"After ongoing testing of the head-rest v.s using the binoculars without it installed (I've got a 10x42 NL), I don't think it helps all that much with image shake. I can barely see any improvement. I imagine this would be even more so with the 8x42 model. Perhaps it'll be more useful with the 12x?"

That is what I found on the NL 8x42. Barely any improvement. Your forehead is shaking and that shake is transferred to the head rest which is transferred to the binoculars. The head rest does not improve shake on the 8x at least. A tripod totally separates you from the binoculars and any shaking. If you want a steady view get a tripod or IS.
 
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sfphoto

New member
United States
That is what I found on the NL 8x42. Barely any improvement. Your forehead is shaking and that shake is transferred to the head rest which is transferred to the binoculars. The head rest does not improve shake on the 8x at least. A tripod totally separates you from the binoculars and any shaking. If you want a steady view get a tripod or IS.

Do you wear eye glasses? It makes a huge difference for someone with glasses. Much better, steady positioning of the binocular. Less pressure on your glasses and less shake. Just my experience...
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Do you wear eye glasses? It makes a huge difference for someone with glasses. Much better, steady positioning of the binocular. Less pressure on your glasses and less shake. Just my experience...
No glasses. I had Lasik years ago. I can see how it would help with the spacing if you wear eye glasses.
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi again,


As an update:

- I really like the slight extra stabilzation provided by the headrest.
- I managed to snag my scope straps, dangerously, on the headrest, once.
- The design broke in the field through load applied vertically downwards.

I'll print a reinforced one once I get home.

Regards,

Henning
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Hi again,



As an update:

- I really like the slight extra stabilzation provided by the headrest.
- I managed to snag my scope straps, dangerously, on the headrest, once.
- The design broke in the field through load applied vertically downwards.

I'll print a reinforced one once I get home.

Regards,

Henning
it looks good. Why all the grooves on the top? Reinforcement?
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi,

it looks good. Why all the grooves on the top? Reinforcement?

Hehe, no. The design was a quick adaption of an adapter meant to mount an action camera to the binoculars, using a bit of (notched) NATO rail.

This rail allows mounting a reflex sight on the binos, but I'll admit that I wasn't seriously planning to actually them this way - it was a bit of a joke:

View attachment 738505

The headrest broke in the corner where the vertical part meets the rail, and the failure was caused mainly by "de-lamination" of the layers of the 3D print ... this could have been prevented by rounding the corner a bit, by giving the print stronger walls (it had 0.8 mm thickness only), or by beefing up the internal structure (which filled only 5% of the internal volume).

So, the notches neither helped nor hindered the failure, and were pretty much unnecessary except that they allowed me to try out whether it makes any sense to aim the binoculars with the aid of a red dot. (Predictably, I found it doesn't.)

Regards,

Henning
 

pm42

Well-known member
I just got yesterday and I mounted it on my NL 8x42. It makes a difference: less micro-vibrations so for instance, I'm able to read something small by my window (we are in lockdown mode in France) with it when it is much harder without it.
I'm wearing glasses and I'm 54 so it may be different for someone else.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Hi,



Hehe, no. The design was a quick adaption of an adapter meant to mount an action camera to the binoculars, using a bit of (notched) NATO rail.

This rail allows mounting a reflex sight on the binos, but I'll admit that I wasn't seriously planning to actually them this way - it was a bit of a joke:

View attachment 738505

The headrest broke in the corner where the vertical part meets the rail, and the failure was caused mainly by "de-lamination" of the layers of the 3D print ... this could have been prevented by rounding the corner a bit, by giving the print stronger walls (it had 0.8 mm thickness only), or by beefing up the internal structure (which filled only 5% of the internal volume).

So, the notches neither helped nor hindered the failure, and were pretty much unnecessary except that they allowed me to try out whether it makes any sense to aim the binoculars with the aid of a red dot. (Predictably, I found it doesn't.)

Regards,

Henning
Interesting concept! I can't think of why you want to aim a binocular either unless it was mounted to a rifle.
 

John Cantelo

Well-known member
A slight tangent but does the headrest when fitted sit flush with the body of the binoculars or does it sit a few mm proud (exposing the metal 'pegs')?
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi,

Interesting concept! I can't think of why you want to aim a binocular either unless it was mounted to a rifle.

I could have written "to point a binocular", I only used "to aim" to imply greater precision.

As pointing binoculars isn't particularly difficult even without aids, an great precision isn't actually required, my attempt wasn't really serious.

Regards,

Henning
 

Blincodave

Well-known member
My Head Rest arrived this morning and I've just been out for a few hours using it with my 8x42s. I must admit that I was sceptical but I've found that it makes a significant difference in minimising tremor and it also feels more comfortable. I'm in my late 60s and wear glasses. Of course this is all subjective but I think that purchasing from a dealer with a good returns policy to try one out is a 'no brainer' if you think one might work for you. Yes it is expensive but it is well engineered and does not look like an afterthought but is a natural fit for the binocular. I sold by Zeiss SFs to part fund these (and my 8x32 ELS are currently in the classifieds). Whilst the Swaro NL feel more comfortable in the hand than the SF, I found that the SF was better balanced and less prone to tremor in my hands. This device does the trick for me in making up that difference.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
My Head Rest arrived this morning and I've just been out for a few hours using it with my 8x42s. I must admit that I was sceptical but I've found that it makes a significant difference in minimising tremor and it also feels more comfortable. I'm in my late 60s and wear glasses. Of course this is all subjective but I think that purchasing from a dealer with a good returns policy to try one out is a 'no brainer' if you think one might work for you. Yes it is expensive but it is well engineered and does not look like an afterthought but is a natural fit for the binocular. I sold by Zeiss SFs to part fund these (and my 8x32 ELS are currently in the classifieds). Whilst the Swaro NL feel more comfortable in the hand than the SF, I found that the SF was better balanced and less prone to tremor in my hands. This device does the trick for me in making up that difference.
I feel the head rest helps on the NL 8x42 if you wear glasses but if you don't the head rest makes very little if any difference. It made no difference for me and I don't wear glasses. Your head shakes and those shakes are transferred to the head rest and to the binocular so there is no benefit at least at 8x. That is what I found. I returned my head rest. If I want a steady image I use my Fujinon 14x40 TSX IS binoculars.
 

John Cantelo

Well-known member
I've now had a forehead rest for a week and have found that it certainly makes a noticeable difference with 10x42 instruments. It means that I now find less shake with 10x so equipped than with 8x without the device. I also find it makes using binoculars one-handed viable freeing up the other hand for a sandwich, cup of coffee, note-taking, etc. As a new (but still occasional) user of distance glasses when birding I find the device makes an even greater positive difference. The only problem thus far is that the rest doesn't retract far enough for me and that a woolly hat can get in the way. In fact, the excellent ergonomics, the steadying head-rest and the exceptional FoV mean it's easy to forget that I'm using 10x binoculars rather than 8x. I suspect that for some it will make the 12x42 instruments viable for birding.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I've now had a forehead rest for a week and have found that it certainly makes a noticeable difference with 10x42 instruments. It means that I now find less shake with 10x so equipped than with 8x without the device. I also find it makes using binoculars one-handed viable freeing up the other hand for a sandwich, cup of coffee, note-taking, etc. As a new (but still occasional) user of distance glasses when birding I find the device makes an even greater positive difference. The only problem thus far is that the rest doesn't retract far enough for me and that a woolly hat can get in the way. In fact, the excellent ergonomics, the steadying head-rest and the exceptional FoV mean it's easy to forget that I'm using 10x binoculars rather than 8x. I suspect that for some it will make the 12x42 instruments viable for birding.
"I suspect that for some it will make the 12x42 instruments viable for birding"

Judging by the amount of shaking I was doing while using the head rest at 8x I don't think the 12x42 with head rest would ever make a viable birding binocular for me. I would say using the head rest without glasses resulted in about a 10% reduction in shake on the NL 8x42. Not enough to be worthwhile really.
 
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Rather than shell out almost £3k for the Swarovski binoculars to test the forehead rest, I opted to make such a rest, customised to the shape of my forehead, for my Zeiss 10x42 T*FL binoculars.

Pointing stability was then measured by strapping a Motorola G7 Power Android smartphone to the optics and using the SensorData application to read out the 3-axis rate gyro data from the embedded Bosch BMI160 MEMS Inertial Measurement Unit. The data was sampled at 200 Hz and exported to the LibreOffice Calc spreadsheet for analysis. Measurements were taken with and without the forehead rest in position. Two stances were adopted: holding the binoculars with the elbows supported on a table while sitting, as might be done in a hide; and also while standing without other support. These four measurement sets were taken in rapid succession to ensure a uniform level of observer capability. Each measurement lasted for about a minute, and had large startup and shutdown transients associated with picking up and setting down the binoculars. These transients were removed from the dataset before further processing.

The output of the smartphone app consists of angular rates of change with time, but the angle time series was needed to assess hand shake amplitude. This was derived by cumulative summing of the rates of change. The output angle time series showed the expected fluctuations due to hand shake, superimposed on an apparently linear gyro drift. This drift was fairly consistent between measurements, but differed significantly among the three axes, and was never more than 1 mr/s. A linear regression analysis allowed removal of the gyro drift, and the hand shake amplitude appeared as the standard error in the regressive fit. These standard errors were found for each of the three orthogonal axes for the four cases described above. These are tabulated below (1mr = ‘1 in 1000’ = 3.4 minutes of arc) with roll, pitch and yaw axes defined as usual.


Hand shake magnitude (milliradians)


Stance​
Roll​
Pitch​
Yaw​
Sitting with rest​
0.46​
0.54​
0.42​
Standing with rest​
1.83​
1.62​
1.67​
Sitting without rest​
0.45​
1.02​
0.66​
Standing without rest​
1.40​
1.44​
2.34​


It must be emphasised that is a moot point what can be read into these figures. The gyro drift might not be linear; even more to the point, holding binoculars still is mildly stressful, and performance degrades as tiredness sets in. The results were obtained by standard simple error analysis, with an assumption of a Gaussian error distribution, which may not be a good model, and the ‘error in the error’ cannot easily be found. Some appreciation of the latter could be obtained by multiple repeats of the measurement process, for which I lack the patience.

Comparing standing with sitting (elbows supported), it is evident, and unsurprising, that the pointing accuracy is improved in all axes by sitting. This improvement is about 3 - 4 times, with or without the forehead rest, except in yaw where it is a little less when standing. Comparing the performance with and without the forehead rest, it is seen that when sitting there is a substantial improvement of almost a factor of two in pitch with the rest in position. This might well be expected; however the improvement by about a factor of 1.5 in yaw is more surprising. When standing, the presence of the rest appears to mildly degrade performance in roll and pitch, but improve in yaw: as remarked above, caution should be applied to small changes.

In a separate analysis of the raw angular rate data using MATLAB, the gyro performance was checked by observing the noise floor spectrum while stationary and while rotated at 33.33 rpm. Its level was consistent with the specification of the device. The spectrum of the fluctuation rate revealed that most of the hand shake took place at low frequencies, below 15 Hz, as would be expected; more surprising (to the writer) there were clear spikes at 6.5, 9.8 and 10.9 Hz, which arise from natural hand tremor. This tremor was not apparent to the writer.

In summary, for this user:​

  • Pointing accuracy was roughly 1 milliradian​
  • About 3 times improvement in pointing accuracy resulted from sitting with elbows supported rather than standing​
  • Use of the forehead rest improved pointing accuracy in pitch by almost twice when sitting; this leads to all three axes having similar hand shake, a worthwhile improvement​
  • When standing it is questionable whether there is any benefit in using the forehead rest​
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Rather than shell out almost £3k for the Swarovski binoculars to test the forehead rest, I opted to make such a rest, customised to the shape of my forehead, for my Zeiss 10x42 T*FL binoculars.

Pointing stability was then measured by strapping a Motorola G7 Power Android smartphone to the optics and using the SensorData application to read out the 3-axis rate gyro data from the embedded Bosch BMI160 MEMS Inertial Measurement Unit. The data was sampled at 200 Hz and exported to the LibreOffice Calc spreadsheet for analysis. Measurements were taken with and without the forehead rest in position. Two stances were adopted: holding the binoculars with the elbows supported on a table while sitting, as might be done in a hide; and also while standing without other support. These four measurement sets were taken in rapid succession to ensure a uniform level of observer capability. Each measurement lasted for about a minute, and had large startup and shutdown transients associated with picking up and setting down the binoculars. These transients were removed from the dataset before further processing.

The output of the smartphone app consists of angular rates of change with time, but the angle time series was needed to assess hand shake amplitude. This was derived by cumulative summing of the rates of change. The output angle time series showed the expected fluctuations due to hand shake, superimposed on an apparently linear gyro drift. This drift was fairly consistent between measurements, but differed significantly among the three axes, and was never more than 1 mr/s. A linear regression analysis allowed removal of the gyro drift, and the hand shake amplitude appeared as the standard error in the regressive fit. These standard errors were found for each of the three orthogonal axes for the four cases described above. These are tabulated below (1mr = ‘1 in 1000’ = 3.4 minutes of arc) with roll, pitch and yaw axes defined as usual.


Hand shake magnitude (milliradians)


Stance​
Roll​
Pitch​
Yaw​
Sitting with rest​
0.46​
0.54​
0.42​
Standing with rest​
1.83​
1.62​
1.67​
Sitting without rest​
0.45​
1.02​
0.66​
Standing without rest​
1.40​
1.44​
2.34​


It must be emphasised that is a moot point what can be read into these figures. The gyro drift might not be linear; even more to the point, holding binoculars still is mildly stressful, and performance degrades as tiredness sets in. The results were obtained by standard simple error analysis, with an assumption of a Gaussian error distribution, which may not be a good model, and the ‘error in the error’ cannot easily be found. Some appreciation of the latter could be obtained by multiple repeats of the measurement process, for which I lack the patience.

Comparing standing with sitting (elbows supported), it is evident, and unsurprising, that the pointing accuracy is improved in all axes by sitting. This improvement is about 3 - 4 times, with or without the forehead rest, except in yaw where it is a little less when standing. Comparing the performance with and without the forehead rest, it is seen that when sitting there is a substantial improvement of almost a factor of two in pitch with the rest in position. This might well be expected; however the improvement by about a factor of 1.5 in yaw is more surprising. When standing, the presence of the rest appears to mildly degrade performance in roll and pitch, but improve in yaw: as remarked above, caution should be applied to small changes.

In a separate analysis of the raw angular rate data using MATLAB, the gyro performance was checked by observing the noise floor spectrum while stationary and while rotated at 33.33 rpm. Its level was consistent with the specification of the device. The spectrum of the fluctuation rate revealed that most of the hand shake took place at low frequencies, below 15 Hz, as would be expected; more surprising (to the writer) there were clear spikes at 6.5, 9.8 and 10.9 Hz, which arise from natural hand tremor. This tremor was not apparent to the writer.

In summary, for this user:​

  • Pointing accuracy was roughly 1 milliradian​
  • About 3 times improvement in pointing accuracy resulted from sitting with elbows supported rather than standing​
  • Use of the forehead rest improved pointing accuracy in pitch by almost twice when sitting; this leads to all three axes having similar hand shake, a worthwhile improvement​
  • When standing it is questionable whether there is any benefit in using the forehead rest​
Awesome testing! So your results show you might as well just sit down and support the binoculars with your elbows as use the headrest. Standing is when the forehead rest would be most beneficial, and it doesn't do squat then. So forget the forehead rest is a bust. When I tried one on my NL 8x42 I saw no improvement at all when I was standing or sitting. Are you sure the benefit you see why sitting and using the forehead rest was not just because you were sitting? How did you isolate the benefit of the forehead rest and sitting?
 
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