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General Gear Anxiety with particular Swarovski NL 12x42 thoughts (2 Viewers)

PeterPS

MEMBER
Hi all, the Swarovski 12x42 NL is currently en route to yours truly. Will arrive on thursday it seems.
Will do a look-out (bino shoot out) between the heap of glass accumulated. I have a return window on the Swaro's and part of me (my wallet part) is hoping I will be slightly underwhelmed. The other part is hoping I will be thoroughly impressed.
Hi Henxxx,
I have seen your 10x32 and 15x56 on Blocket, I have never looked thru the Meoptas but the FL 10x32 is one of my favorite binos. Let us know if you prefer the NL 12x42. The finicky eye placement and the glare issue of the NLs were deal-breakers for me.
Peter
 

HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
Tom: I am not very keen on selling the 10x32FL, that is correct. It is my second pair, my first pair was sold to a close friend a few years ago and he is still thoroughly impressed with them. Ending up getting another pair in the end, and very happy I did. The thing that has complicated things for me is that I don't mind binoculars on a tripod - something I was opposed to before.

The Meopta 15x56 HD is such a joy to use on a tripod but they are unsuitable for me hand held and hence the "middle ground" departure to the Swaro NL 12x42 which I have a feeling I can hand hold and use on tripod to great effect. We'll see tomorrow!

And I will look into the 7x42 regardless of outcome but as you say, might take a while to find one.

PeterPS: Hej!
I did put all three binoculars on the market yesterday and the Victory 8x25 FL was sold quickly and on its way to the new owner. Together with some unrelated stuff that got sold in half a day I have recovered half of the cost of the new 12x42NL so now I feel I have some time to evaluate the NL (within the return period). The other two binoculars are on the market as a proactive move to see if there is any interest while I evaluate the 12x42 NL.
I would honestly not cry myself to sleep if I decide to keep the two and return the Swarovski but it would also leave me wanting for a lower power binocular in the long run. It would still be the cheap route.

If you can imagine the Meopta 15x56 is on the same level as the FL, for sharpness and lack of CA but eye relief with glasses is superior on the FL.
The odd thing is that the Meopta is slightly sharper at closer range which is surprising! For anyone without glasses the Meoptas are superb for this magnification.

I hear you on the finicky eye placement and that is one of the things I will look into for sure with Swarovski 12x NL. If they are on par with the 10x NL they will work great for me. If not - I'll return them.

A part of me would like to keep the Victory FL even if I go with the Swarovski NL - but the rational side of me says I should get a small outfit with a lot of use per unit. A friend is somewhat interested in the 10x32 FL and should he get them from me I can probably buy them back in the future.
The Meopta is actually the most impressive binocular in my set up - but since it is not very well known on the market and the 15x56 is perhaps not on top of most peoples wish list I might have to be patient while selling it. I also have a slight feeling that I might miss it if I sell it but with time and a lot of 12x use I think I can just let it go.

If the Meopta gets sold however I will hold on to the Zeiss 10x32FL for the time being and decide later, perhaps much later. It is still the best travelling option and a rugged little package so in a way I could justify keeping it even with the 12x NL. I could skip a lower power and keep the FL.

Like a few others in this thread I think life is too short to worry about cost - for a keeper. What would really be tedious is selling the Zeiss and the Meopta and come to the conclusion I made a mistake.
 
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SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Tom: I am not very keen on selling the 10x32FL, that is correct. It is my second pair, my first pair was sold to a close friend a few years ago and he is still thoroughly impressed with them. Ending up getting another pair in the end, and very happy I did. The thing that has complicated things for me is that I don't mind binoculars on a tripod - something I was opposed to before.

The Meopta 15x56 HD is such a joy to use on a tripod but they are unsuitable for me hand held and hence the "middle ground" departure to the Swaro NL 12x42 which I have a feeling I can hand hold and use on tripod to great effect. We'll see tomorrow!

And I will look into the 7x42 regardless of outcome but as you say, might take a while to find one.

PeterPS: Hej!
I did put all three binoculars on the market yesterday and the Victory 8x25 FL was sold quickly and on its way to the new owner. Together with some unrelated stuff that got sold in half a day I have recovered half of the cost of the new 12x42NL so now I feel I have some time to evaluate the NL (within the return period). The other two binoculars are on the market as a proactive move to see if there is any interest while I evaluate the 12x42 NL.
I would honestly not cry myself to sleep if I decide to keep the two and return the Swarovski but it would also leave me wanting for a lower power binocular in the long run. It would still be the cheap route.

If you can imagine the Meopta 15x56 is on the same level as the FL, for sharpness and lack of CA but eye relief with glasses is superior on the FL.
The odd thing is that the Meopta is slightly sharper at closer range which is surprising! For anyone without glasses the Meoptas are superb for this magnification.

I hear you on the finicky eye placement and that is one of the things I will look into for sure with Swarovski 12x NL. If they are on par with the 10x NL they will work great for me. If not - I'll return them.

A part of me would like to keep the Victory FL even if I go with the Swarovski NL - but the rational side of me says I should get a small outfit with a lot of use per unit. A friend is somewhat interested in the 10x32 FL and should he get them from me I can probably buy them back in the future.
The Meopta is actually the most impressive binocular in my set up - but since it is not very well known on the market and the 15x56 is perhaps not on top of most peoples wish list I might have to be patient while selling it. I also have a slight feeling that I might miss it if I sell it but with time and a lot of 12x use I think I can just let it go.

If the Meopta gets sold however I will hold on to the Zeiss 10x32FL for the time being and decide later, perhaps much later. It is still the best travelling option and a rugged little package so in a way I could justify keeping it even with the 12x NL. I could skip a lower power and keep the FL.

Like a few others in this thread I think life is too short to worry about cost - for a keeper. What would really be tedious is selling the Zeiss and the Meopta and come to the conclusion I made a mistake.
Good luck with your decisions, HenRun. Just don't act in haste while you are not fully decided! Tom
 

tenex

reality-based
It is my second pair, my first pair was sold to a close friend a few years ago... The Meopta 15x56 HD is such a joy to use on a tripod but they are unsuitable for me hand held... I did put all three binoculars on the market yesterday... A friend is somewhat interested in the 10x32 FL... The Meopta is actually the most impressive... I also have a slight feeling that I might miss it if I sell it but... What would really be tedious is selling the Zeiss and the Meopta and come to the conclusion I made a mistake.
I'm sorry all this fine glass continues to leave you so uncertain what you want, and second-guessing yourself. Good luck.
 

HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
I'm sorry all this fine glass continues to leave you so uncertain what you want, and second-guessing yourself. Good luck.

Yes, me too.

I feel I did omit some of my background which has led me to this slippery slope:
One of the reasons I am being so fuzzy about my binoculars is that age has starting to catch up with me, soon turning 50 and with a succesful LASIK eye surgery in the past after which I didn't need glasses at all for around ten to twelve years.

During this period I had no trouble glassing with moderately priced binoculars and pocket binoculars. The last couple of years I have more trouble with seeing up close so last year I got me some new glasses, progressive glasses. This of course makes binocular use more tedious and taking the glasses on and off while viewing is a chore.

This also coincides with me moving to a house outside of the city giving me daily glassing opportunities. So it reignited my interested in premium binoculars and slightly wiser from previous experiences I decided to start at the "top of the line" and work my way down instead of my usual "what is the best/cheapest compromise" approach. I have decided to buy "for life" if I can. The Zeiss 10x32FL was repurchased just prior to me getting new glasses and I bought them "for life" and they still work great with glasses. If they become redundant is another matter. "For life" means nothing if I end up not using them.

The Meopta I could not try before buy as it was a special order item over here. I am far from disappointed with it - quite the opposite - and had I started using contact lenses again I would have been happy on all accounts - except for being able to hand hold it which I didn't expect to anyway.

I am looking through it at the moment while waiting on the NL's to arrive and eye placement with glasses takes a little adjusting to. When everything align the whole image is available but the margin of head movement is small. Without glasses I can quite freely choose between eye cups all the way in (though slightly out is clearly better) or at the first extension stop where I can choose to perch my eye sockets on the eye cups and enjoy great viewing. Since we live on a slope with free field of view I can perch my eye sockets both on top or bottom depending on if I am looking down or slightly up. What I am saying is that the Meopta works with glasses fine, I just wish it was as good as without. Given time I will probably cave in to and accept the eye placement limitations with glasses if I keep the Meopta.

I am also very well aware of that my problems aren't "real problems", though it is quite expensive to rearrange the outfit to a "perfect pair" so any help and input is welcome. There are other things in life to spend money on too - some less rewarding but more pressing...

I have gotten some great responses and and an update is soon to come. I have sort of a planned day off (pushing papers to keep the books in order) so it is a good day and weekend to try to come to a conclusion. If the NL's don't convince me I will "give up" the effort of trying to scale down to two binoculars and run the 10x/15x indefinitely. If I do that you have helped me save quite a few pennies which could - or could not - go into a great pair of "bargin buy" lower power binoculars. That will be a different thread and story altogether if that happens and in that instance I already have a great head start thanks to the Birdforum community with the phenomenal reviews and reports on lower power binoculars.

Thanks again to everyone for the patience, input and thoughts!
 

HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
Hello all, the Swarovski 12x42 NL arrived an hour ago. 🙂

I have had a brief comparison with the Meopta 15x56 HD (my Zeiss 10x32FL is not at home at the moment).
Before I write anything I think I should spend a little time with the Swaroski and get some pictures in, if there is any interest.

While switching between the two on my tripod the rubber latch on the Leica Stabilite adapter broke :mad: so the Meopta can't be fully latched on to the adapter, the Swarovski - being so much slimmer - works in a pinch. The adapter is only three years old and the rubber gave up. Not happy with that on a $90 adapter.

I am wondering if the comparison/review is better off in a new thread or if this thread should keep going?
 

wllmspd

Well-known member
If you have a big view and keep the bigger bins on a tripod then why not look at larger angled astro binoculars (eg APM 70mm 45degree) with ultrawide eyepieces (egBaader morpheus). A two eyed spotting scope view. Not lightweight, but backpackable if needed.

peter
 

HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
Initial findings and comparisons in short form:

IMG_2713.jpg

SPECS AS PER SWAROVSKI:

12xMagnification
42 mm Effective objective lens diameter
3.5 mm Exit pupil diameter
18 mm Exit pupil distance
113 m/1000m Field of view
6.5 °Field of view degrees
6.5 °Field of view with eye glasses (degrees)
71 ° Field of view apparent
2.6 m Shortest focusing distance
± 4 dpt Diopter adjustment
5 dpt Diopter correction at ∞
91 % Light transmission
56-74 mm Pupil distance / IPD
22.4 Twilight factor acc. to ISO 14132-1

The S 12 NL is great in hands. Hand falls right into place with the focusing wheel.
Focus is supersmooth. As good as the best I have had or tried.
Focusing knob requires more turning than the Meopta 15x56 from near distance to far. I prefer the Meopta turning ratio.

Field of View is reminiscent (I have yet to compare the two) of the 10x32 FL - which again, is a 10x and has excellent field of view. Impressive.
CA control in the center is very good, almost excellent but with some strange effects, more of that later.
Peripheral CA is quite high, starting earlier than I would like.
Rolling ball effect is visible - some might find it too much. I usually don't notice it unless it is severe. I would not call it severe, but noticeable.
Eye relief is great. I can even pull out the eye cups one stop and see the whole image - with glasses! Well done Swarovski!

Eye placement without glasses was initially more troublesome/finicky. This was a negative surprise. Took getting used to and black outs/kidney beaning is more of a thing with the Swaro for me and not really a thing on the Meopta.

Sharpness/resolution/clarity is top notch - it sees what the Meopta 15x sees when it comes to smaller details at far, albeit smaller. See more below.

Close focus distance is good, perhaps not best in class for minimum distance but it is stunning for clarity and sharpness.
Merging the image at close range works really well and provides a stunning image. For a 12X this is stellar performance.

Handholding the 12X NL is not for me. Works better at close range but far objects become wobbly after a few sec. This is more my inability with 12X magnification but as a comparison I could hold the Meopta 15X as good/bad as the Swarovski so no winner in handholdability for either bino. I did try the forehead support thingy on the 10X Nl prior to ordering the 12X but thought it was not a major improvement so I opted out on it.

Not too many birds at the nearest feeder today but the few that flew into the image beforeu dusk were popping out on the Swarovski with natural colors and great clarity. As expected, still nice though.

Watching a clearing across the field, currently a wintry landscape, I notice excellent central sharpness, wide field of view and a "calm" image, easy on the eyes.

However looking around that generous wide view CA does pop up quite early and a little to close to the center for my liking.
Panning the image placing the point of interest in the center takes care of this but the point of having such a wide view is a little lost with the CA disturbing the view. Peripheral CA is high, but this is so close to the image border that staring at that part of the image feels unnatural.

At medium distances looking at "monochromatic" objects against a bright backdrop there is a slight halo around the object and a new phenomenon occurs if you are slightly moving your head laterally in either direction - as you often do when you are standing behind the binoculars for some time. We are talking a few mm in either direction.

I will dub this phenomenon "CA flashing" as it flares up in a flash until when you center again. If there is an actual word for it - let me know!
It is not a very nice CA green/magenta flashing but if you are steady and on a tripod you will rarely see this. I had never seen it with the Meopta before but could replicate the phenomenon with the Meopta thought the Meopta is not so sensitive to it and shows it to a much lesser degree.

For clarity and sharpness at far the Swarovski is excellent.
It is however not besting the Meopta, I would say it is more of a tie between the two which speaks more for the Meopta as it costs less than 2/3 of the Swarovski. On the other hand the Swarovski is a 12X keeping up with a 15X, for the most part, more on that below.

The light gathering capacity is not too far off from each other but my other torture test was a high voltage marker not too far from the house which is on a power line, a white flag with black print on it. At daytime it is easy to read with both binoculars despite the Meopta having a 3x magnification advantage the Swaro keeps up.

However later on when light levels drop that marker becomes increasingly hard to read with the Swarovski, to the point you can only see that it has lettering of some sort. With the Meopta it is still visible - and clearly so - with the marker standing out proud from the background. This is impressive from the Meopta. During the whole interval the Meopta was mounted after the Swaro and at a slight "disadvantage" but it was still doing the job better than the Swaro.

The Meopta will be compared in the following post, should I need to edit this one as I am literally spitballing it at the moment.

EDITED: spelling, reformatting and added a few sentences to make more sense out of the rambling...
 
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HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
So, the Meopta Meostar 15x56 HD B1 Plus, new, shipped from the Czech factory in Jan 2021.
Meopta specs:

Magnification 15 x
Objective Lens 56 mm
Field of view 74m // 221 (m/1000m // ft/1000yds)
Field of view 4.2 °
Eye relief 15 mm
Shortest focusing distance (m / ft) 4.3 // 14.1
Exit Pupil Diameter 3.3 (calculated at 3.7 but Meopta states 3.3)
Daylight Transmission 88 %
Interpupillary Distance 56/74 mm
Dioptric Correction ±3 dpt
Height (mm / in) 201 // 7.9
Width (mm / in) 142 // 5.6
Depth (mm / in) 62/ 2.4
Weight - without caps and strap (g / oz) 1220 / 43

It is chunky, that's a given. But hey, it is a 15x56 binocular.
It is very well made with softer but beefier rubber armor than the Swarovski and if feels like a quality build.

Rubber is a bit springy in parts where as the Swaro armor is rock solid - but also a little bit slippery in comparison.

Handholding it is not as comfortable as the Swaro for my hands - but the balance is good and the grip is great. It is good, not great. Larger hands would shift that score to better than good.

Focus knob is excellent, on par with the better ones out there, the NL is a tiny bit better. The NL focusing wheel is the best I have tried and puts my former Swaros and my current Zeiss to shame really. The Meopta 15x56 is exemplary in this regard too, with better focus travel when turning for me and up until the NL the best I have had.

Viewing with glasses is good, but not great. Well, sometimes it is great. Occasionally I get everything aligned and lack nothing but I keep bumping the glasses into the eye cups for the best possible view. In this regard the Swarovski is superior. By a wide margin. This is the number one pet peeve with the Meoptas for me.

Viewing without glasses the Meoptas are great and easy to manage. For me it is the first stop out on the eye cups and I am done. Or leave them in.
Strange as it may seem the Swarovskis are not as easy for me to set up without glasses as the Meopta.
Eye cup twist stops are better on the Meopta.

Field of view is more limited on the Meopta, the 15X is of course partly responsible for this. However the Meopta gives nothing away in terms of sheer resolution. CA control is slightly ahead of the Swarovski which is very impressive given the magnification difference - and price difference! The image is not as immersive as the Swarovski - but I would say that subject isolation is better on the Meopta.

If you are after extracting detail the Meoptas will give you a large enough image and gives a nice cut out of the world, so to speak. I have praised the CA control of the Meopta numerous times already but I have to say that looking at the same wintry scene as with the Swarovski the same CA pattern emerges: virtually zero center CA and gradually increasing towards the edges.

In both cases the CA was seen in nearby birch trees just outside the sweet spot. I will contest that the Meopta does better for two reasons: in neither case the CA is alarming but with the Meopta you are more likely to adjust your viewing than with the Swarovski to center the point of interest. These are two different imaging binoculars, the Meoptas are well optimized for the task - with perhaps other drawbacks - where as the Swarovski is an equally excellent binocular with several advantages; close range performance, field of view, weight and eye relief. It does not topple the Meopta for long range imaging though. For this reason alone I might hold onto the Meoptas. But there is a little more to tip the scales.

For close range viewing the Meopta is as sharp as at far range - however merging the tubes to a uniform image is not possible at the closer end of the range. Which is a pity - the way small birds fill up the image and stand out from the background at five or six metres away is stunning.
Probably goes with the territory for this type of binocular but it is a major advantage of the Swarovski which is a 12X with no problems at close range.

Panning the Meopta on a tripod head does not give me any rolling ball effect and it pans really well. I think of it as a 15X two eyed spotting scope. Compared to a spotting scope the viewing is very relaxed and does not tire my eyes out.

Had the binoculars had the same magnification I would be hard pressed crowning a winner but arguably the Swarovski would come out on top if that was the case - not factoring in the price though.

As it stands at the moment I will simply have to decide if I want to give up the extra reach and long range detail extraction of the Meopta 15x56 HD for a more relaxed viewing with glasses and a much improved close range experience with the Swarovski 12x NL.

I can live with the CA characteristics of the Swarovski but I also think at this price level it is not handled perfectly, detracting a bit from the overall experience in those instances where the terrain will expose the "weakness" of the CA correction.

I have no stray light comparisons as of yet, got the Swaros on a dull overcast day but overall contrast was good enough for both binoculars. I have very little straylight gazing done with the Meoptas but they have fared well, not as good as the Victory FL which are the best I've seen, so far.

As a conclusion I am very impressed by both binoculars. Considering how well the Meopta does optically I can't help but wonder what they will achieve with the B2 series? If it is better eye relief and slightly wider field of view I can see myself waiting on a Meostar 12x50 B2 instead of going for the Swarovski 12x42 NL.

The Swarovski 12x42 NL may very well be the very best 12X out there at the moment and it sure is very impressive. It might be the best pair of binoculars I have tried so far (bar the same series 10X NL) but I think there are options that might be on par for slightly less $$$ out there in the magnifications around or just below 12X. If I was in the market for a 10X, which I am not, I would look into the Zeiss SF myself.

Since this is my first online review, bar a few shorter comments in various threads, forgive me for lacking the correct EDIT. "terms" or "lingo".

I am aware that I left out a lot of technical details, so I went for a more subjective description of the two and I hope it is still useful for anyone in the market for any of the two. It is after all my first impression of the Swarovski 12X NL.

Techy details on the two binoculars can be added if someone is interested but this is also a comparison between two rather different, yet slightly similar, binoculars.

EDIT: edited for spleling and reformatted content for easier reading. Pictures to be added soon.
Edited some strange garble as well, touch typing is hampered by my Wacom touch pad...
 
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HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
Both Bino postings updated with specs.
Yesterday another weak point of the Swarovskis became apparent: eyepiece glare sensitivity. The eyepiece oculars are generously large but are easily affected by stray light. Indoors I found that even a ceiling light would cause glare - there is none on the Meopta standing in the same spot.
 
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HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
Just a few images. Maybe I can snag my friends phone adapter today and shoot some through the binoculars.
 

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14Goudvink

Well-known member
Sounds like you need to take a look at the latest version SLC 15x56 which has more eye relief than the Meopta. The Abbe Konig prisms are also very nice (bright and sparkling) and CA control is very good. As is its close focus view.

George
 

jan van daalen

Well-known member
Henrun,

The pics of your Meopta shows a different model than I am used to.
You have the new diopter/focus system but the armor is different.
How old is your bin?

Jan
 

HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
Hey George and Jan,
the bin is brand new, sent out from the factory in Jan 2021. It is fresh from the oven. :)
I have not seen the previous model in the flesh so I did not know the armor is different. Pictures I have seen before have had dots on the armor though this one has a "leather like" pattern. Less likely to collect dirt than the dot holes I guess.

Thank you for the heads up on the SLC, I will have to take a close look at it. If it solves the glasses problem there is a slight chance I will trade.
I honestly don't expect the SLC to be optically superior other than eye relief and field of view.

After getting my Zeiss 10x32 FL home today I have come to the conclusion that the Swarovski 12x42 NL is going back.

It is a bit better than the 10x32 FL with a similar field of view at 12X which is very nice. It also has a little more contrast in the very subdued overcast light I am comparing them in right now. The image in total is a little nicer on the Swarovski over the Zeiss - but the difference is not warranting twice the price. Also Zeiss has better CA control - this on a model version I think is from 2004/2005 and showing its age but still excellent.

Closer range focus on the Swaro is better too, visibly better imaging and perceived resolution and as good as I have seen regardless of brand and magnification. Excellent with glasses, even better than the Zeiss 10x32 FL which was my former benchmark.

Straylight hitting the back ocular does deteriorate the imaging performance which is a pity with the Swaro's. Neither the Meopta or the Zeiss have any issues with this in the exact same conditions.

The FL wins out for the following reasons: 10X is a little easier to hand hold and the FL has a quite wide field of view for a 10X.
It is also a true compact, short and a little stubby. It has no major disadvantages which is quite uncommon in the bino realm. It isn't the best at everything or perhaps not even at anything but it is so good in all aspects I can't think of anything better being more than a slight upgrade.
If the price difference was less I would trade up - but I get around 1/3 back on what I have to shell out on the 12X NL and it is not three times more valuable to me. Sure if we were talking 400 to 500$ going up to 1200 to 1500$, perhaps. But not at the Swaro price point.

As for the Meopta against the Swarovski there are a few things that speak for the Meopta: resolution at long distances and CA control is matching the Swarovski with a larger magnification. This is great performance for a 15X. I actually prefer the imaging at far with the Meopta, feels like zooming in and isolating the subject. I definitely don't get the same sense of subject "pop" or isolation against the background with the Zeiss at 10X or even the Swarovski at 12X. This alone makes it worth keeping the Meopta, permanently mounted on a tripod.

If I hadn't had the 10X and 15X well covered I would have gotten the Swarovski 12x50 or 42. Now I feel that it would be rewarding in a sense but simply not worth the cost of selling two first rate binoculars at a loss and replace them with a slightly better (in some aspects) single binocular that is one of the most expensive on the market.

Since I ended up spending no money in the process and actually sold off a few things I have the means to explore the 6.5 to 8.5 realm - which will be another story.

I will end this thread on my part here, feel free to comment on my decision and I will chime in if there is any more activity.
A big thank you to the members who have had a voice of reason - you really did help me out!
/ Henrik
 

PeterPS

MEMBER
Both Bino postings updated with specs.
Yesterday another weak point of the Swarovskis became apparent: eyepiece glare sensitivity. The eyepiece oculars are generously large but are easily affected by stray light. Indoors I found that even a ceiling light would cause glare - there is none on the Meopta standing in the same spot.
Henxxx,
You've started to see the light (pun intended): what you mentioned are reflections from the eye lenses caused by side light.
The resistance of the NL to glare caused by frontal light is worse, so wait for a sunny day in Stockholm and try to look thru your NL near the sun...
Peter
 
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HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
Peter, I had hoped Swarovski would have improved glare resistance. I have noticed it in the past with a pair I had before.
The NL's are boxed up and going back this weekend. Great binoculars but not great enough to replace what I have at the added cost.
 

PeterPS

MEMBER
Hey George and Jan,
the bin is brand new, sent out from the factory in Jan 2021. It is fresh from the oven. :)
I have not seen the previous model in the flesh so I did not know the armor is different. Pictures I have seen before have had dots on the armor though this one has a "leather like" pattern. Less likely to collect dirt than the dot holes I guess.

Thank you for the heads up on the SLC, I will have to take a close look at it. If it solves the glasses problem there is a slight chance I will trade.
I honestly don't expect the SLC to be optically superior other than eye relief and field of view.

After getting my Zeiss 10x32 FL home today I have come to the conclusion that the Swarovski 12x42 NL is going back.

It is a bit better than the 10x32 FL with a similar field of view at 12X which is very nice. It also has a little more contrast in the very subdued overcast light I am comparing them in right now. The image in total is a little nicer on the Swarovski over the Zeiss - but the difference is not warranting twice the price. Also Zeiss has better CA control - this on a model version I think is from 2004/2005 and showing its age but still excellent.

Closer range focus on the Swaro is better too, visibly better imaging and perceived resolution and as good as I have seen regardless of brand and magnification. Excellent with glasses, even better than the Zeiss 10x32 FL which was my former benchmark.

Straylight hitting the back ocular does deteriorate the imaging performance which is a pity with the Swaro's. Neither the Meopta or the Zeiss have any issues with this in the exact same conditions.

The FL wins out for the following reasons: 10X is a little easier to hand hold and the FL has a quite wide field of view for a 10X.
It is also a true compact, short and a little stubby. It has no major disadvantages which is quite uncommon in the bino realm. It isn't the best at everything or perhaps not even at anything but it is so good in all aspects I can't think of anything better being more than a slight upgrade.
If the price difference was less I would trade up - but I get around 1/3 back on what I have to shell out on the 12X NL and it is not three times more valuable to me. Sure if we were talking 400 to 500$ going up to 1200 to 1500$, perhaps. But not at the Swaro price point.

As for the Meopta against the Swarovski there are a few things that speak for the Meopta: resolution at long distances and CA control is matching the Swarovski with a larger magnification. This is great performance for a 15X. I actually prefer the imaging at far with the Meopta, feels like zooming in and isolating the subject. I definitely don't get the same sense of subject "pop" or isolation against the background with the Zeiss at 10X or even the Swarovski at 12X. This alone makes it worth keeping the Meopta, permanently mounted on a tripod.

If I hadn't had the 10X and 15X well covered I would have gotten the Swarovski 12x50 or 42. Now I feel that it would be rewarding in a sense but simply not worth the cost of selling two first rate binoculars at a loss and replace them with a slightly better (in some aspects) single binocular that is one of the most expensive on the market.

Since I ended up spending no money in the process and actually sold off a few things I have the means to explore the 6.5 to 8.5 realm - which will be another story.

I will end this thread on my part here, feel free to comment on my decision and I will chime in if there is any more activity.
A big thank you to the members who have had a voice of reason - you really did help me out!
/ Henrik
Henrik,
I am glad to see that you've made your mind very quickly and efficiently, imo the decision you've taken is quite sensible. My suggestion would be that you also have a look at Swaro 12x50, I am pretty sure that handheld the Swaro is better than your Meopta (but on a tripod the story could be different).
Peter
 

tenex

reality-based
The adapter is only three years old and the rubber gave up. Not happy with that on a $90 adapter.
You can buy a fine one for half that called BogPod, which was recommended by others here and I'm very happy with it. It easily accommodates large binos like your Meopta or SLC 56, about which more below.
Given time I will probably cave in to and accept the eye placement limitations with glasses if I keep the Meopta.
From other posts it sounds like you're actually having more trouble without glasses, but in any case this is something I haven't heard before (the Meopta being highly regarded here)... Regardless, you shouldn't have similar issues with SLC 56 which has a very easy view.
I could hold the Meopta 15X as good/bad as the [NL] so no winner in handholdability for either bino.
So stepping down to 12x solves no problem for you, and high-mag stability may be more a function of weight/balance and ease of view. On all these counts I think you would be well pleased with SLC 56. (Of course it will also help to follow the usual advice about keeping the elbows down etc.)
I honestly don't expect the SLC to be optically superior other than eye relief and field of view.
In light of all the above, I think you're in for a very pleasant surprise.
 

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