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Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.

Help me choose something in between my Zeiss pocket 8x25 and my SF 8x42. (1 Viewer)

mulligatawny owl

Well-known member
I'm looking for a 7 or 8x to slot in between these two for when one is too big and one is too small. The obvious answer might be an SF 8X32 but I wasn't that keen on a brief test ( possibly not enough eye relief) and I don't really want to spend that much either ( max maybe £1300)

Candidates so far are used EL SV 8x32 ( love the NL pure) - Nikon HG 8x42 ( very light for a 42) never tried one though, not sure about eye relief for glasses? - Used Leica Ultravid +7x42 ( maybe not that much weight saving over my SF but much more compact) - Opticron's new Aurora 8x42 ( wow! these are impressive for the price!) but again not a huge amount smaller and lighter than the SF. - Leica retrovid 7x35, really intrigued by these( never tried them) but I like lots of eye relief so maybe not enough?

Also more than open to much cheaper options, I don't mind compromising on FOV etc. as long as a bin is razor sharp or thereabouts and has good eye relief ( Conquest HD 8x32 for some reason doesn't work that well for me).

I'm a bit out of touch these days, any cheap, razor sharp, hidden gems with a cult following? I'm definitely up for saving some money as long as they are alpha killers!

Sorry for being so non specific!
 
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Mike Crawley

Emeritus President at Burnage Rugby Club
Supporter
England
My partner was extremely impressed with a pair of Zeiss Terra ED 8x32 which were on offer at about £320.
Depending on where you are in the U.K. you should be able to find somewhere to have a look through a pair.
 

mulligatawny owl

Well-known member
My partner was extremely impressed with a pair of Zeiss Terra ED 8x32 which were on offer at about £320.
Depending on where you are in the U.K. you should be able to find somewhere to have a look through a pair.
Thanks. For some reason I'd not considered these, they are light weight and the eye relief seems decent. I'll add them to my list to try.

My thinking is that if I'm going to spend £1300 or so then they have to be perfect, but if something like the Terra ED works well enough with my glasses and I can get a really sharp example ( sample variation and all that) then I'm happy and have saved some money.
For me binoculars have to be razor sharp though, that's one area I won't compromise.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I think since you have basically two alpha binoculars, you will be disappointed with a lesser glass like the HG or even the older EL 8x32. At $1800 USD you are close to the price of the newer small alpha's like the Zeiss SF 8x32 or Swarovski NL 8x32 and that is what I would get. You just might find it could replace both your Zeiss Victory 8x25 and Zeiss SF 8x42 because it is more portable than the bigger 8x42, and it performs way better than the smaller 8x25. Do you absolutely hate a 10x? It seems with having 2 different 8x binoculars it would make more sense to get a 10x when you need a little more reach, and the newer alpha 32 mm's have such a huge FOV you are really not missing out on anything that you would get with an 8x. Since you said you liked the NL, I would recommend the Swarovski NL 10x32. I think overall, it is one of the best birding glasses you can buy right now and if you look around you can get a like new one for about $2000 USD. The NL 10x32 is my favorite glass right now, so it is easy to recommend!
 

mulligatawny owl

Well-known member
Ooh, some good suggestions. Conquest HD 8x32 was my first thought actually when I decided to get something in between but I seem to really miss out on the full immersive field of view even though my glasses are fairly close fitting.

CL companion I'd forgotten about, I think I tried them a few years ago when I got the Zeiss 8x25 and preferred the Zeiss. If I could get one for a good price though I'd certainly consider it, I need to try them again. The little Zeiss are absolutely stunning optically but a little fiddly to use.

Opticron traveller could work, never tried them but specs look good, are they sharper than say a monarch 7 8x30 though?

A used EL SV 8x32 is my front runner so far.

Denco, good suggestions! I did try the NL10 x32 and it was really nice but ultimately preferred the 8. I find I always go off 10's in the long run, even though initially I might enjoy the extra reach. I did think about selling the little Zeiss to help fund an NL ( there are no used ones here) but I'd really miss the 8x25's, I just love them.
Do you feel the NL is much better than the EL SV? It's ages since I tried the EL SV 8x32 but I know I like them.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Ooh, some good suggestions. Conquest HD 8x32 was my first thought actually when I decided to get something in between but I seem to really miss out on the full immersive field of view even though my glasses are fairly close fitting.

CL companion I'd forgotten about, I think I tried them a few years ago when I got the Zeiss 8x25 and preferred the Zeiss. If I could get one for a good price though I'd certainly consider it, I need to try them again. The little Zeiss are absolutely stunning optically but a little fiddly to use.

Opticron traveller could work, never tried them but specs look good, are they sharper than say a monarch 7 8x30 though?

A used EL SV 8x32 is my front runner so far.

Denco, good suggestions! I did try the NL10 x32 and it was really nice but ultimately preferred the 8. I find I always go off 10's in the long run, even though initially I might enjoy the extra reach. I did think about selling the little Zeiss to help fund an NL ( there are no used ones here) but I'd really miss the 8x25's, I just love them.
Do you feel the NL is much better than the EL SV? It's ages since I tried the EL SV 8x32 but I know I like them.
Yes, the NL in both 8x32 and 10x32 formats are a definite upgrade to the EL SV 8x32 or 10x32. I would never spend $1500 for an EL 8x32 when you can get the NL 8x32 or SF 8x32 for around $2000 if you look around. I would go for an NL 8x32 or an SF 8x32 depending on which one you can get the best buy on. Either one is superb and as I said you might find it could replace your other two binoculars! The Swarovski CL 8x30 or Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 are deinitely downgrades from the binoculars you have.
 

mulligatawny owl

Well-known member
Yes, the NL in both 8x32 and 10x32 formats are a definite upgrade to the EL SV 8x32 or 10x32. I would never spend $1500 for an EL 8x32 when you can get the NL 8x32 or SF 8x32 for around $2000 if you look around. I would go for an NL 8x32 or an SF 8x32 depending on which one you can get the best buy on. Either one is superb and as I said you might find it could replace your other two binoculars! The Swarovski CL 8x30 or Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 are deinitely downgrades from the binoculars you have.
In some ways I don't mind a downgrade at all as long as it's really sharp and bright enough and at a good price that makes me think I've got a bargain. I have my two Zeiss's which I love. The big Zeiss can be a bit large to have round your neck on a long hot summer day tramping the woods and fields though, and the little Zeiss can be a bit fiddly and not the most relaxing thing to use.

I can get a used SF 8x32 for within budget, I'm tempted but I much preferred the NL in my brief test. I'm in no hurry so might just wait till I can afford one.

Now if only Nikon SE's were still available I'd be sorted!
 

dries1

Member
Get yourself a used SV 8X32 it has the eye relief. Saying that the NL or the SF is way better than the SV is total....
 

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[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Yep, a used SV is definitely at the top of my list so far, it's a bit lighter than the new NL too so that's a plus.
The big advantages I have noticed with the NL 8x32 over the older SV 8x32 are of course the much bigger FOV, they are more transparent, they are much better at handling glare, they have relaxed the field flattening a bit, so RB is less of a problem, there is less CA in fact there is almost no CA, the ergonomics are improved with the wasp waist design conforming to your fingers, and they are not as front heavy as the EL's with a much better balanced feel. The focuser is in a more natural position, and it is smoother and has even tension in both directions, which IMO is worth the difference in price by itself!. Well worth the $500 difference.
 
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[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
You know you like Zeiss and you get on well with them, so I would look for a Zeiss SF 8x32 for about $1800. You can find them in like new condition for that. The Zeiss SF 8x32 is IMO almost a perfect binocular and one of the best birding binoculars on the market. There is not much you can really criticize it for. Zeiss did a good job on it!
 

mulligatawny owl

Well-known member
You know you like Zeiss and you get on well with them, so I would look for a Zeiss SF 8x32 for about $1800. You can find them in like new condition for that. The Zeiss SF 8x32 is IMO almost a perfect binocular and one of the best birding binoculars on the market. There is not much you can really criticize it for. Zeiss did a good job on it!
I did do a short comparison outside a shop looking towards a park between a Zeiss SF 8x32, an NL 8 and 10 x32 and, as a bit of a wild card, an Opticron Aurora BGA VHD 8x42 ( small and light for a 42) . I was surprised that the Zeiss didn't work that well for me, there was a lot of glare intruding into the FOV, I assumed not enough eye relief for me, so I've pretty much ruled them out. The NLs were perfect in comparison. The Opticron was a real surprise too, seriously good view for £799 new, worked much better for me than the Zeiss and the image was right up there. Very tempting, but still a bit larger and heavier than I'd ideally like.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I did do a short comparison outside a shop looking towards a park between a Zeiss SF 8x32, an NL 8 and 10 x32 and, as a bit of a wild card, an Opticron Aurora BGA VHD 8x42 ( small and light for a 42) . I was surprised that the Zeiss didn't work that well for me, there was a lot of glare intruding into the FOV, I assumed not enough eye relief for me, so I've pretty much ruled them out. The NLs were perfect in comparison. The Opticron was a real surprise too, seriously good view for £799 new, worked much better for me than the Zeiss and the image was right up there. Very tempting, but still a bit larger and heavier than I'd ideally like.
I did do a short comparison outside a shop looking towards a park between a Zeiss SF 8x32, an NL 8 and 10 x32 and, as a bit of a wild card, an Opticron Aurora BGA VHD 8x42 ( small and light for a 42) . I was surprised that the Zeiss didn't work that well for me, there was a lot of glare intruding into the FOV, I assumed not enough eye relief for me, so I've pretty much ruled them out. The NLs were perfect in comparison. The Opticron was a real surprise too, seriously good view for £799 new, worked much better for me than the Zeiss and the image was right up there. Very tempting, but still a bit larger and heavier than I'd ideally like.
There have been a lot of positive comments on the Opticron Aurora BGA VHD 8x42. I have never tried one because Opticron are hard to get on this side of the pond. I am surprised the Zeiss SF 8x32 didn't work for you, but we are all different with different eyes, and it is always best to try the binocular yourself.
 

Rg548

Retired Somewhere
United Kingdom
I'm with Ratal on this one. CL 8x30b...... superb!!
Just today I was in a bino shop and looked through Kowa 8x33, Conquest 8x32, Habicht 8x30 and Swaro CL 8x30b.
Having been used to my CL 8x25's and Zeiss FL's.... as good as the Kowa and Conquest were, the step down was noticeable, which I was quite surprised about, having heard such rave reviews. I binned them out straight away. They are great for the money, but definately a step down.
However the CL 8x30b were very good, noticeable better than Kowa and conquest to my eyes.
The Habicht 8x30 were just sensational. These blew me away, the brightest of the bunch but ergonomically challenging..... but THAT view.... wow!!
 
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