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Habicht 10x40 WGA Objective Covers (1 Viewer)

Sollas

Well-known member
Seeking a bit of advice on protective objective covers

I'm currently considering a pair of Habicht 10x40 WGA binoculars but I believe Swarovski don't provide objective covers with these models? Correct?

I maybe dream't it but I'm sure I seen somewhere on a previous BF thread some Habicht wga's with matching green flip down objective covers?

Is there such a thing available? If anyone can shed some light it would be very much appreciated.
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Hi Sollas,

Yes, Swarovski did make objective covers for the rubber armoured Habichts - a matching green cap with a body loop. However, they are no longer a listed item

They were offered to at least 2005, see page 51 from the catalogue
(the 99 page 7 mb catalogue in a choice of English, German or Russian can be downloaded from: http://www.hoferwaffen.com/images/optics/ )
But they seem to have been discontinued shortly after then

Maybe someone can suggest a suitable substitute?

- - - -

n.b. While some claim that the Traditional models have a magnesium body, I’ve never seen that mentioned by Swarovski
As can be seen, the Traditional is described as having a ‘Light . . . alloy housing’ (presumedly an aluminium alloy). In contrast, in the catalogue the magnesium body of the EL is mentioned twice


John
 

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Sollas

Well-known member
Hi John

Many thanks for taking the time to send this information, very helpful.

I'll maybe drop them a line out of curiosity as you never know, they may have an odd pair knocking about in a cupboard somewhere. Seems quite strange to offer premium bins like these without some sort of protective cover.

Regarding the magnesium, my guess would be they're still using an aluminium alloy as I'm sure they would otherwise make a point of mentioning this.

I'm often out in typical Scottish misty weather where sea spray etc can leave a residue on the objective lens so would be useful to have this option should it be available.


Regards
Sollas
 

Sollas

Well-known member
Thanks Dennis. They look a reasonable option if they fit. I’ll wait to see what Swarovski come back with.

Slightly of track I know but I’d be interested to know how you would rate the Habicht 10x40 wga against the Nikon 10x35 EII which seem an interesting alternative. I see that John has written about them in the past.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Thanks Dennis. They look a reasonable option if they fit. I’ll wait to see what Swarovski come back with.

Slightly of track I know but I’d be interested to know how you would rate the Habicht 10x40 wga against the Nikon 10x35 EII which seem an interesting alternative. I see that John has written about them in the past.
The Habicht 10x40 WGA is a little better optically IMO than the Nikon 10x35 EII probably because of the higher transmission and bigger aperture although the Nikon is a very good binocular. The Nikon 10x35 EII has a much easier smoother focuser and more comfortable normal sized eye cup's than the Habicht but it definitely is not as popular as the Nikon 8x30 EII.
 
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Sollas

Well-known member
Cheers for that. Swarovski have just come back and told me that the caps for the Habicht wga are indeed still available on request and have provided a part number so very useful indeed.

Is the focuser really that stiff of the Habicht 10x40 as some have mentioned? Can it really be that inconvenient?

Interesting on what you say about the Nikon 10x35 EII. I have the Nikon 8x32SE so I know just how smooth the focuser is. Plus the quality is second to none for the price I'd say.

I do really like the idea and look of the Habicht 10x40WGA but the Nikon 10x35 EII's do give pause for thought, particularly with significant price difference.

Decisions, decisions......
 

Patudo

Well-known member
I do really like the idea and look of the Habicht 10x40WGA but the Nikon 10x35 EII's do give pause for thought, particularly with significant price difference.

Weatherproofing is part of that difference in price - which, if your username refers to the location in the Outer Hebrides, might be an ever so slightly relevant issue...
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Hi Sollas,

In relation to the stiffness of the focuser . . .

As you seem to be aware, I have a great affection for the traditional Porro Habichts, and they are a great choice for a wide variety of general uses
However, they are fatally flawed for much birding - or any other activity - which requires the focuser to be either repeatedly or rapidly adjusted, including follow-focusing on moving objects

For the information of others, I’ve previously written in detail about the Habichts, describing various techniques to maximise their use,
including how to minimise difficulties with the focuser (see post #7) at: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=376504

And specifically regarding the 10x40, Roger Vine has as usual a highly informative review at: http://www.scopeviews.co.uk/Swaro10x40Habicht.htm


John
 

Canip

Well-known member
Maybe I am the only one, but I have no difficulties with focus stiffness of the 10x40.
If you have not used the Habicht for a while, the initial turns on the focus wheel are a bit stiff indeed. But during use, e.g. for birding, when you usually turn the focus every once in a while, I have no problem following even rapid bird movements which require swift adjustment of the focus.
Could the focuser be more comfortable? Absolutely. Is the stiffness a big issue? I don‘t think so.
Canip
 

Sollas

Well-known member
Hi Sollas,

In relation to the stiffness of the focuser . . .

As you seem to be aware, I have a great affection for the traditional Porro Habichts, and they are a great choice for a wide variety of general uses
However, they are fatally flawed for much birding - or any other activity - which requires the focuser to be either repeatedly or rapidly adjusted, including follow-focusing on moving objects

For the information of others, I’ve previously written in detail about the Habichts, describing various techniques to maximise their use,
including how to minimise difficulties with the focuser (see post #7) at: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=376504

And specifically regarding the 10x40, Roger Vine has as usual a highly informative review at: http://www.scopeviews.co.uk/Swaro10x40Habicht.htm


John

Many thanks for that John, very informative. The focusing aside I think the rest of the Habicht 10x40's attributes stand up pretty well. It's almost a privilege to be able to buy an old classic design that competes admirably against todays modern roofs. Talking value for money hard to beat I'd say.

I'm no shrinking violet so I'd like to think my fingers have the capacity to turn the focus wheel as and when required. This stiffness I can only imagine has not been an issue for Swarovski as the historic clientele for this binocular is mainly hunters?

I'm with you on the quality Porros in general. Roofs are the way the market has gone, many great bins for sure but often a disproportionate price premium which is not necessarily reflected in better optical quality than Porros from Nikon and Swarovski.

Cheers
 

Sollas

Well-known member
Maybe I am the only one, but I have no difficulties with focus stiffness of the 10x40.
If you have not used the Habicht for a while, the initial turns on the focus wheel are a bit stiff indeed. But during use, e.g. for birding, when you usually turn the focus every once in a while, I have no problem following even rapid bird movements which require swift adjustment of the focus.
Could the focuser be more comfortable? Absolutely. Is the stiffness a big issue? I don‘t think so.
Canip

Glad to hear this Canip. Do you think this is related to their "hunter" market which obviously don't require such a quick focus response?

However, at the back of my mind if the focusing did prove to be an issue I'm sure Swaro might be amenable in swapping them for the 10x42 SLC. But hopefully it won't get that far.
 

Canip

Well-known member
......Do you think this is related to their "hunter" market which obviously don't require such a quick focus response?

.....
......

I was under the impression that the focuser stiffness in the Habicht glasses is due to the technology (rolling membrane??) that Swarovski uses to make the bino fully waterproof (something that is not that easy on a porro with external central focus mechanism). The older Habicht models which were only splashproof had a much smoother focusing.
But I may be wrong.
 

Sollas

Well-known member
Sounds very plausible. Sort one problem and create another...... the greater of the 2 evils I guess.
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
In terms of the feel of the focuser, the non-airtight version of the Habicht (from 1948 to 1984) has a feel similar to that of many other external focus binoculars
e.g. as with my 1962 model

The 1984 airtight (and nitrogen filled) upgrade to the Habicht is immediately recognisable by the addition of the screws on the front bridge arms that cover the valve ports
It was made airtight by the expedient of fitting a rubber seal for each eyepiece assembly to move through when focusing
(for a detailed history of the various changes to the Habicht line, see the first table at: https://www.birdforum.net/showpost.php?p=3974081&postcount=6 )

Clay Taylor of SONA states that there are ‘ . . . double-waterproofing seals on the bridge.’ see post #12 at: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=102060
While this is somewhat unclear, from the closeup of the attached image there appears to be 1 seal per eyepiece assembly
i.e. the ring that’s recessed into the end of the tube into which the eyepiece assembly fits


Interestingly, my rubber armoured 8x30W from late 1999 has a much lighter focus action then my three more recent models from 2013 to 2017
It’s action is akin to that of my Nikon 8x30 EII - so perfectly acceptable for uses such as birding

And of further interest, Tobias Mennle notes in the review of his 2009 production 8x30W that ’I was not happy with the focusing,
but the Swarovski service fixed it perfectly and it is now a real joy to use. A bit more friction than the SE, especially on cold days.’
see around half way down the page under ‘Cons/ Stiff focus’ at: http://www.greatestbinoculars.com/a...vski/swarohabicht8x30w/swarohabicht8x30w.html

So it seems there is a way for the factory to adjust the degree of focuser effort (though perhaps with some compromise as to the degree of airtightness?)

- - - -

It's a tribute to Swarovski sense of heritage and continuity that they offer two lines of legacy items
Along with the Habicht binoculars, Swarovski also offers two draw tube telescopes: the fixed lens CTC 30x75; and the interchangeable lens CTS 85;
see the details at: https://aa.swarovskioptik.com/birding/ctc-cts-c210203

Both lines are dated but proven designs that use quality materials (especially including up-to-date coatings) and are produced to Swarovski’s usual high quality standards
Significantly they are not priced artificially high, so as to technically be available but so overpriced as to be effectively discontinued
And within their limitations both lines represent great value, especially when taking into account Swarovski’s generous after-sales service


John
 

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Sollas

Well-known member
Stellar response John. Much food for thought indeed.

The beautiful cross sectional diagram is almost justification in itself for acquiring the Habicht. The technology is there for all to see.

I never realised it’s the grease itself that makes the Nikon focused so smooth as opposed to the “dry” feel which I have with my Zeiss HT’s.

I think the aesthetics and ergonomics of the Habicht 10x40 tick the boxes for me. Plus I can get green end caps direct from Swarovski so al good I reckon.
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Hi Sollas,

A) Centre Focus Binoculars
As a generalisation, all traditional style external focus binoculars use grease on the central focuser shaft to smooth the action, along with both preventing binding and taking up any slack
And while the focuser shaft is greased, the eyepieces that slide back and forth in their housings are not
(and in relation to ‘all’, I’m sure as with most things there’ll be exceptions)

It’s only with the adoption of internal focusing, as commonly used on roof prism binoculars, that greaseless mechanisms become common
They are made possible by the mechanism being much better sealed from the external environment, a smaller mass of parts to be moved and the use of different alloys to prevent binding
See an attached image from Nikon


B) Individual Focus Binoculars
On traditional IF binoculars, the screw threaded eyepieces are greased. As the eyepieces don't simply slide back and forth, there’s much better protection of the internal optics from the external environment
e.g. a 1968 Swarovski catalogue in describing the advantage of IF, claims that ’ . . . even under extreme conditions penetration by damp and dust is almost wholly eliminated.’
See an image of an IF eyepiece assembly from: https://forum.ww2.ru/index.php?showtopic=1318913&page=11
IF/ external focus binoculars are of course long the standard for use under severe climatic conditions, including both military and maritime use

- - - -

Unsurprisingly not all greases are the same. I did an experiment some time ago by putting both my 8x30 Nikon EII and my current Habicht in the chiller part of a refrigerator for 20 minutes
When taken out, the Nikon’s focuser was effectively frozen solid (just barely moveable), while the Swarovski required only very slightly more effort than when at room temperature
- so perhaps of some use to you


John
 

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Sollas

Well-known member
Thanks for the reply John, I am being educated here in the fine artistry that lies behind good quality porros!

Apart from the tradition and the now modern internal focusing on roofs I don’t suppose there’s any real downsides to external focussing such as that found on the SE’s and the Habichts?
 

Patudo

Well-known member
The biggest historic downsides to external focusing have been (1) making it fully waterproof, and (2) the bellows action of the external focuser pumping outside air into and out of the eyepieces, which over time can result in hazing. I question the actual need for a fully waterproof binocular for most users, but there's no doubt that full waterproofing is a key selling point, and even the Nikon SE models couldn't offer this. Having said that, Swarovski have done it with the Habichts, and Kowa's YF and Opticron's HR WP porros are also claimed to be nitrogen-filled/waterproof, showing that porros can be made waterproof, or at least highly water resistant (I'm not sure I would stake my house on YFs being fully waterproof...) at a much lower price point. The hazing issue definitely manifests itself in older porros, but shouldn't be a problem with the modern Habicht.

Focus action - I've tried only one Habicht, an 8x30 demo model which may well have had its focuser better "broken in" than a new out of the box model. No complaints re the stiffness of its focus, and indeed even if it were stiffer, I wouldn't have minded. I like focus action to be on the stiff, and indeed slow, side. Admittedly, when I've been looking at birds in parks and other wooded areas the advantage of a light and fast focuser (eg. 8x32 FL) has become very apparent, but the focus action of the 8x30 I tried would have been fine for that.

I have some doubts as to the contention that porros are better optically than top-end modern roofs. The 8x30 Habicht I tried, while certainly the brightest 8x30 porro I've ever looked through, could not be said to outperform something like the 8x32 FL (I didn't compare it to a 8x32 EL SV, but doubt the 8x30 Habicht is equal to that). I've not tried the 10x40 - has anyone who has tried that against a 10x42 SLC with dielectric prisms care to comment? The price vs performance argument has more merit to it, especially if the limitations of older designs like the Habicht (short eye relief) are not an issue for the individual user.
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Habicht Focuser Fully Operational Below Freezing Point

ProudPapa56 comments on the operation of the focuser at temperatures down to 0 degrees F/ - 17 degrees C
see posts #14, 18 and 26 at: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=294887

His experience seems to be the same as mine was at cold temperatures above the freezing point (see post #17 above)
i.e. at most a very slight increase in the effort required to move the focuser
Considering Swarovski’s location in the Tyrol of Austria, the use of a grease appropriate to such conditions is not surprising


John
 
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