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Focuser smoothness on NL Pure? (1 Viewer)

moshc

Member
Hello all,

I recently purchased a 10x42 NL Pure. This is my first high end binocular. I noticed the focuser has a few scratchy or rough spots in the range. When focused near infinity it's very smooth and there are no issues but when focusing closer if it hits the spot where it's a tad rough I can feel it (a bit of stiction, etc). Sometimes it's very subtle, other times very noticeable - wondering if this is normal in other samples of the NL.

Have others with the NL found similar behavior or do they find theirs completely smooth end to end? I'm aware Swarovski had issues with smooth focusers in previous models because of the greaseless design but I thought NL focuser fixed these issues. The image on these is incredible but I have a week or so to decide if it's worth exchanging for another sample.

Is your NL focuser silky smooth through the entire range or are there some rough spots in the range? Sharing your experience with the NL focuser would be appreciated.

Thanks.
 
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jcnguyen09

Well-known member
I have 3 set of NL and each came with different focus behaviors. They are mot consistent at all. My NL 8x42 have somewhat looser gap to go counter clockwise and clockwise or verse....funny is that it's inconsistent ! Not happening all the time and it does not effect the focus.....I am thinking about sending it in but wait for a few months to see if it's getting worse! I recommend to request an exchange while you still can with a note to the vendor that make sure to check the focus before sending it out so you don't get the same problem again! I received the NL 10x32 with swapped, uneven eye cups. I requested the exchange from the vendor and asked them to check it before sending it out. The 2nd pair is perfect!
 

NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
Sometimes a new binocular just needs some breaking in to get smooth. When you are enjoying your easy chair, just
work the focuser all the way up and down many times.
Keep doing this for several days. I hope this helps, and let us know if it helped or not.

Jerry
 

b_reynolds_ak

Well-known member
I have tried two pairs of 10x42 NL’s and 2 pairs of 10x32’s. I was comparing directly to Zeiss 8x32 SF’s as far as focus is concerned. The Zeiss was smoother than any of them. The 42 mil objective NL’s both had really nasty stiction near infinity and again at about 15 yards. The first pair of 32’s I tried were better, but still had an annoying point just before infinity. This was especially apparent when comparing to the Zeiss. I finally tried one last pair of NL’s in 10x32 and they are nearly perfect. The focus was only very slightly less smooth than the SF’s. These are the ones I kept.
as far as the focused wearing in over time, one pair of 42’s I kept in my vehicle and while driving, would have them on my lap and continuously run the focus back and forth. So much so that my finger started to go numb over a couple days and several hours of moving the focuser. It did not make a single bit of difference in that time. I’m very happy with my 10x32’s now. So, if the focus on that particular model bothers you, I would recommend trying a different copy.
 

BabyDov

Well-known member
Supporter
United States
My 8x42 Nls had silky smooth focusing out of the box. Break-in should not be necessary and chances are, it won't help. I would return them if you can. Otherwise, Swarovski service should be able to fix them.
 

moshc

Member
Update:

I went to a store today and tried their demo 8x42 & 10x42 NL. Both had some slight roughness/scratchiness in a few parts of the rotation. It's easy to not notice this if you're just quickly moving from one end of the focus to the other, but if you slow down like you're fine focusing both of the models hit some slightly rougher parts in some of the travel. If you need to fine focus around that part of the focus range, there can be a bit of stiction - but if you're just passing through then it's not that noticeable.

Perhaps I'm just really sensitive to this and others not notice it - or bad luck that 3 out of 3 I tried see this same issue. I also tried a SLC there which had a much worse focuser with lots of stiction and a Leica Geovid 10x42 HD-R with a too-stiff focuser. My greased binocular at 1/10th the cost have a much better focuser feel than any of them, maybe I'm expecting too much of these alpha binocular focusers?
 
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moshc

Member
My 8x42 Nls had silky smooth focusing out of the box. Break-in should not be necessary and chances are, it won't help. I would return them if you can. Otherwise, Swarovski service should be able to fix them.
Slowly move focus from one end of travel to the other, is it always completely smooth the whole way without hitting any stiction or slight roughness in some parts?
 

moshc

Member
One interesting thing I found, moving the diopter adjustment all the way right or left creates different behavior in the 'scratchy points' in the focus range. On mine they are worse with the diopter all the way right (not that i'd ever use them like that). All the way left and the focuser is smooth almost the entire range. Anyone else notice this change of behavior?
 

moshc

Member
My NL 8x42 was perfect out of the box. The 8x32 had a « scratchy point » but it disappeared quickly.
Thanks, hopefully mine will simply disappear with use too. If you get a chance, try the diopter adjustment I mentioned in the post above and let me know if you get the same behavior as I noticed.
 

BabyDov

Well-known member
Supporter
United States
Slowly move focus from one end of travel to the other, is it always completely smooth the whole way without hitting any stiction or slight roughness in some parts?
Yes. The focusing is smooth throughout the entire range of travel. Shouldn't it be?
 

PeterPS

MEMBER
Thanks, hopefully mine will simply disappear with use too. If you get a chance, try the diopter adjustment I mentioned in the post above and let me know if you get the same behavior as I noticed.
I had an 8x42 and a 10x42: the focuser of the former was perfect, but the focuser of the latter had several stiction points and felt rough when changing directions. I hope the focuser of your NL will give in, if not exchange it with a better unit within the return period.
 

moshc

Member
I had an 8x42 and a 10x42: the focuser of the former was perfect, but the focuser of the latter had several stiction points and felt rough when changing directions. I hope the focuser of your NL will give in, if not exchange it with a better unit within the return period.

Thanks, it does seem to be wearing in a bit over the last few days. Given two display NL at the store (a 8x42 & 10x42) had similar slight focus stiction issues I also wonder if I'm also just too sensitive in noticing the slight roughness at points. I read Roger Vine's review on the NL where he said the focusing was smooth as a fine astro refractor so that was my expectation when I got my NL. I have a few astro refractors with Feathertouch focusers (essentially the smoothest focuser for telescopes) and that was sort of my benchmark. My NL is that smooth in most of the focus range but not all. For mine there are a few points in the middle of the range, and also near close focus. The focusing mechanisms in binoculars are a ton more complex mechanically than a telescope so maybe this effects how likely you're able to get a completely smooth one out of box.
 

RetroGrouch

Registered User
I have both the 8x42 and 12x42 NLs. When I first got the 8's, I noticed a bit of unevenness in the focus. It got better over time, but never as smooth as my Zeiss 8X32 SF or even Leica 7x35 Retrovid (which has a slower focus, but is exquisitely smooth... like the Leica camera lenses).

The unevenness is even more pronounced on my 12x42s, but is gradually improving. I'm sure it'll never be near as smooth as the Zeiss or Leica.

I never sent either back, as I figured I'm probably just more sensitive to it than most people. Didn't seem worth the trouble.
 

ZDHart

Well-known member
Supporter
As far as I am concerned, the smoothness, speed, and light-accuracy feel of the constantly-adjusted focus wheel is paramount. That is the primary user interface - and it is as constantly worked as the steering wheel of your vehicle.

I understand that NL Pure are extremely fine binoculars, but as such, and especially at the price!, the focuser should be exquisitely fine, ultra-precise, ultra-smooth, and light. And... totally free of rough spots.

I could overlook a minor rough spot if it disappears after a day or so of use. Beyond that - no excuse - return to seller for another pair.

Zeiss can do it (although they have many decades of experience designing focusers!). I expect as much from Swarovski for the price they ask, if they are to earn my NL Pure dollars (which they may, yet!)
 
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pm42

Well-known member
Thanks, hopefully mine will simply disappear with use too. If you get a chance, try the diopter adjustment I mentioned in the post above and let me know if you get the same behavior as I noticed.
I did but because everything is smooth now, it made no difference.
 

handwerk

Active member
The 10x42 NL's I had suffered the same focus wheel issue.
My EL 8.5-42 SV's are much better, and after many years of hard use my old Geovids still have the nicest focus function I've experienced.
 

ZDHart

Well-known member
Supporter
Does your SHIFT key occasionally lock on your keyboard?🤔
Interestingly, the shift key DOES occasionally lock, when I choose to place strong emphasis on a word. Good catch, Canip! I changed to italics for such emphasis; in hopes that might be more comfortable for you. ;)
 
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