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EL 8.5x42 Mk1 vs new kids on the block (1 Viewer)

jonnyboyc

Well-known member
Hi,

I am a newbie on this forum and trying to find my way to buy a good pair of all round binos that will last my lifetime. (42 now, so another 40 years if lucky)

I have the opportunity to buy a set of EL 8.5x42 Mk 1 (2002) for £675.

Optically they are perfect condition, but the outer cover well worn.

Would these be considered good value compared to spending the same on brand new from Hawke/Vortex/Opticron, etc?

Has optics, coatings, ED glass etc moved on significantly since 2002, that makes these newer models the better buy?
 

dipped

Well-known member
Hmm - would an Opticron top of the range binocular with 30 year warranty be better? Swarovski would service it for a long time for sure.

Can you try others out to compare it to the Swarovski?
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Hi,

I am a newbie on this forum and trying to find my way to buy a good pair of all round binos that will last my lifetime. (42 now, so another 40 years if lucky)

I have the opportunity to buy a set of EL 8.5x42 Mk 1 (2002) for £675.

Optically they are perfect condition, but the outer cover well worn.

Would these be considered good value compared to spending the same on brand new from Hawke/Vortex/Opticron, etc?

Has optics, coatings, ED glass etc moved on significantly since 2002, that makes these newer models the better buy?
I think some new kids on the block could be a better value than the older EL that is getting a little long in the tooth especially one with a well-worn outer cover. I would take a look at a Nikon Monarch HG, Zeiss Conquest HD or Vortex Razor HD. I think any one of these would beat the older EL optically and you could have a new one for about the same amount of money sans well-worn outer cover. Compare the rankings on the 10x42 binoculars on Allbinos. The 1st generation EL is 13th place which isn't bad but the new kids are starting to eat the EL for lunch. There is no way I would pay almost $900.00 for a pair of 18-year-old EL when there are newer better binoculars on the market for the same price although if you sent them into Swarovski they would probably put new armour on them.

https://www.allbinos.com/allbinos_ranking-binoculars_ranking-10x42.html
 
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John Frink

Well-known member
Hi,

Would these be considered good value compared to spending the same on brand new from Hawke/Vortex/Opticron, etc?

I have one from 2003, and in my opinion it holds its own very well when compared with Leica UV, Zeiss FL and HT, and Nikon EDG. If the optics are clear and undamaged, a few scars and cosmetic blemishes don't mean a thing.
 

jonnyboyc

Well-known member
Thanks for the advice everyone. I have attached a couple of photos of them.
 

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mpeace

Well-known member
£675 for 1st gen ELs with pristine optics sounds like a good deal. They're normally around £900, but perhaps have dropped since the price for new versions have been lowered. I think they're still going to last longer than new bins for this price. If you're sure you want this format (8.5x42) go for it.
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
I have one from 2003, and in my opinion it holds its own very well when compared with Leica UV, Zeiss FL and HT, and Nikon EDG. If the optics are clear and undamaged, a few scars and cosmetic blemishes don't mean a thing.

Another vote for this. Also you can return them to be rearmoured at your convenience. Under £700 for an Alpha. A new Zeiss Conquest HD 8 x 42 is nearly a £1000, 30% more than what is being asked for.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Another vote for this. Also you can return them to be rearmoured at your convenience. Under £700 for an Alpha. A new Zeiss Conquest HD 8 x 42 is nearly a £1000, 30% more than what is being asked for.
Boy those Zeiss Conquest HD 8x42 are expensive in the UK. We can get a new Zeiss Conquest HD 8x42 on eBay in the US for £650 or $850. Also, a refurbished Nikon Monarch HG 8x42 can be purchased through Nikon for £520 or $680.00.
 
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jonnyboyc

Well-known member
Another vote for this. Also you can return them to be rearmoured at your convenience. Under £700 for an Alpha.

While it was an alpha back in 2002 when it was manufactured, my concern is that the only thing alpha about it in 2020 is the badge and warranty.

Unfortunately I live in a part of Northern Ireland that doesn't have any bino shops close by, so I am trying to figure this out online.

I currently have a set of 1995 SLC 8x30WB (Mk III upgraded to Mk IV) and a set of 2019 Opticron DBA VHD+ 10x42.

So also trying to factor in if the MK1 Els are going to be better than either of those......I assume at least for the SLC the answer would be yes, but the DBA VHD+, I don't know
 

etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
While it was an alpha back in 2002 when it was manufactured, my concern is that the only thing alpha about it in 2020 is the badge and warranty.

Unfortunately I live in a part of Northern Ireland that doesn't have any bino shops close by, so I am trying to figure this out online.

I currently have a set of 1995 SLC 8x30WB (Mk III upgraded to Mk IV) and a set of 2019 Opticron DBA VHD+ 10x42.

So also trying to factor in if the MK1 Els are going to be better than either of those......I assume at least for the SLC the answer would be yes, but the DBA VHD+, I don't know

Alpha is mostly mechanicals, imho. That plus a good warranty is an extraordinary combination. Don't dismiss it lightly, especially as a few percent more transmission will not transform your birding experience.

I think that there is minimal improvement possible in current day binoculars,
most suppliers are at the limits of classical optics performance.

There will be a big jump once we learn how to use meta materials fully, but those binoculars will not look like anything currently being sold.
There is a teaser writeup here on how Samsung hopes to use metamaterials to make super high resolution OLED displays:
https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/consumer-electronics/audiovideo/metasurface-oled-display

The game here is the same as in cameras, to make light behave as you would like it to, rather than as it does naturally. So picture taking and zoom will be minor expansions of the basic feature set. Sadly this is still ten years off, but the technology is already there.
So don't waste your money, you have a really good bit of current day kit and it will not get much better, despite the marketing hype.
 

PeterPS

MEMBER
Hi,

I am a newbie on this forum and trying to find my way to buy a good pair of all round binos that will last my lifetime. (42 now, so another 40 years if lucky)

I have the opportunity to buy a set of EL 8.5x42 Mk 1 (2002) for £675.

Optically they are perfect condition, but the outer cover well worn.

Would these be considered good value compared to spending the same on brand new from Hawke/Vortex/Opticron, etc?

Has optics, coatings, ED glass etc moved on significantly since 2002, that makes these newer models the better buy?

Does it come with a 10y or 30y warranty? If the latter then Swaro will re-armor and refurbish it for free, and you will have a new-like bino with excellent optics and....no rolling ball.
 

jonnyboyc

Well-known member
Does it come with a 10y or 30y warranty? If the latter then Swaro will re-armor and refurbish it for free, and you will have a new-like bino with excellent optics and....no rolling ball.

This EL was made in 2002 and belongs to the first generation of EL without HD lenses nor SWAROVISION coatings.

A worldwide warranty for defects in material and/or workmanship is guaranteed for 30 years from the date of fabrication.
 

jeffhosier

Well-known member
I've got a similar aged pair that I bought second hand a few years ago. I've never regretted it. Every now and then, I'd go into an optics shop, and try the latest and greatest from Zeiss, Swarovski and the like but I rarely if ever saw anything with a better view (apart from the Canon IS bins which I prefer these days) - let alone £1,000 better which is what it would have cost to change.

Do it - you won`t regret it!


Jeff
 

jonnyboyc

Well-known member
I've got a similar aged pair that I bought second hand a few years ago. I've never regretted it. Every now and then, I'd go into an optics shop, and try the latest and greatest from Zeiss, Swarovski and the like but I rarely if ever saw anything with a better view (apart from the Canon IS bins which I prefer these days) - let alone £1,000 better which is what it would have cost to change.

Do it - you won`t regret it!


Jeff

Do you ever compared them to the sub-£1000 category?

I get the feeling that for a lot of people a blind test with a £500, £1000, £1500 and £2k+ group of binos, would only lead to a lot of confusion.
 

Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
jonnyboyc, post 16,
The very first EL's were already very good and that did not change in 18 years. The first models however had a rather low focussing speed and it may be worthwile to check that and if you do not like it, it could be not your best choice. The focussing speed could be changed for free in the first years, but it may be good to check it on the sample you have in mind. Swarovski has an excellent service, so if you do have a need for the binocular to be serviced it will be no problem. As far as optical quality is concerned: this binocular can keep you happy the coming 40 years and that may be the time of retirement ..
Gijs van Ginkel
 

jonnyboyc

Well-known member
jonnyboyc, post 16,
The very first EL's were already very good and that did not change in 18 years. The first models however had a rather low focussing speed and it may be worthwile to check that and if you do not like it, it could be not your best choice. The focussing speed could be changed for free in the first years, but it may be good to check it on the sample you have in mind. Swarovski has an excellent service, so if you do have a need for the binocular to be serviced it will be no problem. As far as optical quality is concerned: this binocular can keep you happy the coming 40 years and that may be the time of retirement ..
Gijs van Ginkel

Thank you.

Do you think it is the best value purchase for £675?

Or is there better binos available for that amount?
 

Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
johnnyboyc, post 18,
675 pounds amount to around 1100 euros if my calculator is OK. Personally I find that too much for this binocular, around 800-900 euros would seem better to me aasuming that it is a private person who sells it..
Gijs van Ginkel
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
johnnyboyc, post 18,
675 pounds amount to around 1100 euros if my calculator is OK. Personally I find that too much for this binocular, around 800-900 euros would seem better to me aasuming that it is a private person who sells it..
Gijs van Ginkel

Really, my quick converter gave me 742 euros at today's exchange rate 1:1.10. Perhaps our clocks going back has scrambled my brain.
 

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