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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 would love to try a Habicht 8x30, unfortunately no way the eye relief work work for me.

About the CL 8x30, I may well still look into that possibility as it happens. The EL I bought turned out to be completely out of whack, gave me terrible eyestrain and double vision so it went straight back to the shop.

The search continues...
 

Rg548

Retired Somewhere
United Kingdom
I would love to try a Habicht 8x30, unfortunately no way the eye relief work work for me.

About the CL 8x30, I may well still look into that possibility as it happens. The EL I bought turned out to be completely out of whack, gave me terrible eyestrain and double vision so it went straight back to the shop.

The search continues...
That's a shame. The shop MUST have been aware.
I really was impressed with the CL's..... I thought well worth the asking price(y)
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
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!!
The Habicht 8x30's are good, aren't they. Too bad they are so ergonomically challenging. The tight focuser and small eye cups are a deal killer for a lot of people. The CL 8x30's are good, but his choice of the 8x32 EL is considerable better for not a lot more money.
 

Richard D

what was that...
Supporter
United Kingdom
The Habicht 8x30's are good, aren't they. Too bad they are so ergonomically challenging. The tight focuser and small eye cups are a deal killer for a lot of people. The CL 8x30's are good, but his choice of the 8x32 EL is considerable better for not a lot more money.
I wouldn't let the slightly firm focus wheel put anyone off - unless it's radically different to the 10x40's it will loosen a lot. Yes it requires a tad more pressure than my CL 8x25's but the difference isn't really significant and it's smooth and even.

Eyecup wise I can't comment on the 8x30's - I've only used GA Habichts and they seem okay for most people who don't wear glasses, but I suspect the non-armoured cups will suit less people.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I wouldn't let the slightly firm focus wheel put anyone off - unless it's radically different to the 10x40's it will loosen a lot. Yes it requires a tad more pressure than my CL 8x25's but the difference isn't really significant and it's smooth and even.

Eyecup wise I can't comment on the 8x30's - I've only used GA Habichts and they seem okay for most people who don't wear glasses, but I suspect the non-armoured cups will suit less people.
A TAD more pressure! My fingers must be getting weak. I find the Habicht 8x30 W focuser requires more than a TAD more pressure than the CL 8x25. I almost had to use vise grips to focus my Habichts! I had many Habichts and used them extensively, and I never noticed the focuser loosening up any significant amount. They are ok for distant objects where you don't focus a lot, but they are difficult for fast moving birds where you are focusing a lot. The non-armoured cups on the Habicht 8x30 W are too small, and they go too far into your eye sockets, similar to many compact binoculars creating black-outs. You can replace them with the GA armored eye cups, but because they are green, they don't match the black body of the binocular very well. But I will say this about the Habichts. Every time I look through them, they WOW me with their bright, transparent view. You forget how good they are. The NL's give me a similar bright, transparent view with a bigger FOV and sharper edges, and the ergonomics are light years ahead of the Habichts for birding.
 

Richard D

what was that...
Supporter
United Kingdom
A TAD more pressure! My fingers must be getting weak. I find the Habicht 8x30 W focuser requires more than a TAD more pressure than the CL 8x25. I almost had to use vise grips to focus my Habichts! I had many Habichts and used them extensively, and I never noticed the focuser loosening up any significant amount. They are ok for distant objects where you don't focus a lot, but they are difficult for fast moving birds where you are focusing a lot. The non-armoured cups on the Habicht 8x30 W are too small, and they go too far into your eye sockets, similar to many compact binoculars creating black-outs. You can replace them with the GA armored eye cups, but because they are green, they don't match the black body of the binocular very well. But I will say this about the Habichts. Every time I look through them, they WOW me with their bright, transparent view. You forget how good they are. The NL's give me a similar bright, transparent view with a bigger FOV and sharper edges, and the ergonomics are light years ahead of the Habichts for birding.
It took a couple of months to loosen to where they are now, and they're still slightly stiffer than my CL's but whether teen years with East German porros strengthened my finger-tips or whether samples vary, but I honestly don't find the supposed stiffness a significant issue.

I've not tried the smaller NLs but spent half-hour with the 10x42s and was impressed - almost as bright as the Habichts if not quite as good despite those extra 2mm, certainly bright enough - the difference is barely perceptible. The weird waist design of the NLs meant they were pretty much as well balanced for holding steady as the Habichts, which I've found a rarity in bigger roofs. The eyecups are much better than the Habichts and whilst I don't have an issue with the Habichts FoV the extra width of the NLs was nice with edge sharpness very impressive. Central sharpness seemed pretty much a tie. The only real downside to the NLs (besides cost) is the image is great but very flat compared to the Habichts - perfectly fine for noting details, but for me not as pleasant and engaging. I've not used better roofs and in some ways they're definitely superior to the Habichts, but both pairs come with compromises and I wasn't tempted to swap.

Going back to the original poster's search it might be worth trying the Nikon EIIs - not weatherproof and supposedly not as bright or sharp as the 8x30 Habichts, but a lot of people love them.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
It took a couple of months to loosen to where they are now, and they're still slightly stiffer than my CL's but whether teen years with East German porros strengthened my finger-tips or whether samples vary, but I honestly don't find the supposed stiffness a significant issue.

I've not tried the smaller NLs but spent half-hour with the 10x42s and was impressed - almost as bright as the Habichts if not quite as good despite those extra 2mm, certainly bright enough - the difference is barely perceptible. The weird waist design of the NLs meant they were pretty much as well balanced for holding steady as the Habichts, which I've found a rarity in bigger roofs. The eyecups are much better than the Habichts and whilst I don't have an issue with the Habichts FoV the extra width of the NLs was nice with edge sharpness very impressive. Central sharpness seemed pretty much a tie. The only real downside to the NLs (besides cost) is the image is great but very flat compared to the Habichts - perfectly fine for noting details, but for me not as pleasant and engaging. I've not used better roofs and in some ways they're definitely superior to the Habichts, but both pairs come with compromises and I wasn't tempted to swap.

Going back to the original poster's search it might be worth trying the Nikon EIIs - not weatherproof and supposedly not as bright or sharp as the 8x30 Habichts, but a lot of people love them.
The Nikon EII 8x30 is the porro I use. It is not quite as bright as the Habicht 8x30W not having quite the transmission, but sharpness I am not so sure about! I don't care about weatherproof because I generally don't use it in wet weather. The EII is nice because of the huge FOV, and it is ergonomically better than the Habicht with an easier smoother focuser and bigger eye cups that fit most people's eye sockets better. It is also less expensive. I picked mine up for $400 new. I understand your liking the 3D of the Habicht, but Swarovski has relaxed the flat field design a little in the NL compared to the older EL, so it is a little more 3D than the EL. The impressive thing about the NL is the transparency, but I think the Habicht is very transparent also. That is one of its strong points. There is no doubt the Habichts are impressive optical performers, but you have to tolerate their idiosyncrasies.
 

mulligatawny owl

Well-known member
Going back to the original poster's search it might be worth trying the Nikon EIIs - not weatherproof and supposedly not as bright or sharp as the 8x30 Habichts, but a lot of people love them.

Not enough eye relief for me unfortunately, usable but not great at all, I love them otherwise.
 

PeterPS

MEMBER
Now if only Nikon SE's were still available I'd be sorted!
Memory check: didn't you own at least two pairs of SE 8x32? (one with the latest serial number 551xxx, and another I believe you bought from Sancho). I owned myself three pairs of SE 8x32---we tend to return to the binos that we liked when we cannot find something better. However, as Andy said, a pair of secondhand SV/FP 8x32 should be a better alternative these days, and definitely at about the same level as the best current offerings of NL and SF.
 

mulligatawny owl

Well-known member
Memory check: didn't you own at least two pairs of SE 8x32? (one with the latest serial number 551xxx, and another I believe you bought from Sancho). I owned myself three pairs of SE 8x32---we tend to return to the binos that we liked when we cannot find something better. However, as Andy said, a pair of secondhand SV/FP 8x32 should be a better alternative these days, and definitely at about the same level as the best current offerings of NL and SF.
Yep that was me back in my binoholic days! I'm a bit more sensible now I think, this is just a temporary relapse 🙄
I'm still on the lookout for a used SV/FP, the only thing I hate about the field pro is the strap system. In fact I have a theory that the used ones I bought and just sent back were out of alignment because the previous owner didn't fit the strap system properly and it let go on them and crashed to the floor!
 

mulligatawny owl

Well-known member
Unexpected update. I found an ex demo Nikon Monarch HG 8x42 online for £500. Seemed too good a deal to resist. Won't be quite as good as the Zeiss's I have I know, but that doesn't worry me too much as long as they are sub alpha good. Never tried them but in theory they are almost as light and compact as an 8x32.
Fingers crossed..
 

mulligatawny owl

Well-known member
Well, after a day or two with the Monarch HG 8X42 I can safely say I got a bargain for £500, it would be rude not to keep them!

I was a bit worried they wouldn't be as sharp as the Zeiss's, but I can't detect a difference handheld so far. They really remind me of my old SE's in fact, very sharp, with lovely deep contrast in the browns and greens. And they are really bright.

The edge softening takes a bit of getting used to after using the SF's, as does the stiff ( but smooth) focus.

All in all, very happy. They've fulfilled my original criteria of being, to my eyes, razor sharp and smaller and lighter than the SF's.
Plus, I've saved a bit of money 🙂
 

Ratal

Well-known member
Well, after a day or two with the Monarch HG 8X42 I can safely say I got a bargain for £500, it would be rude not to keep them!

I was a bit worried they wouldn't be as sharp as the Zeiss's, but I can't detect a difference handheld so far. They really remind me of my old SE's in fact, very sharp, with lovely deep contrast in the browns and greens. And they are really bright.

The edge softening takes a bit of getting used to after using the SF's, as does the stiff ( but smooth) focus.

All in all, very happy. They've fulfilled my original criteria of being, to my eyes, razor sharp and smaller and lighter than the SF's.
Plus, I've saved a bit of money 🙂

Always a winner when you get a result like that! Nicely done
 

mulligatawny owl

Well-known member
Really enjoying the HG's so far. They strike the perfect balance of being very impressive and not lacking at all when you are using them and yet also serving the purpose of reminding you anew how effortlessly transcendent and transparent the SF's are when you switch to using them!
 

mulligatawny owl

Well-known member
Sorry for dragging up this thread again but predictably enough for an 'ex' binoholic 🙄 the slight flaws in the Nikon Monarch HG 8x42 start to niggle over time and I find myself wondering if I should have just got the Swarovski EL SV 8x32?

The Nikon's are great, certainly for what I paid for them, but being spoiled by the perfection ( for me) of the 8x42 SF's I can't help but be troubled by the feeling of having to always hunt for the perfect focus ( they are extremely sharp but just a smidgen behind SF) , the slightly more noticeable CA, smaller sweet spot, occasionally annoying purple flaring and just very slightly not enough eye relief. Otherwise they really are very good!

There really doesn't seem to be many options for very high quality, small, light, long eye relief bins about. I know no one can answer this but myself, but I'll ask it anyway, will the Swaro 8x32 be that much better? ( can't quite stretch to the NL) Or will I find myself equally annoyed by glare for example on the EL SV? Maybe the perfect long eye relief 8x32 or very small 8x42 optical ( almost) equivalent to the 8x42 SF doesn't exist?
 

tenex

reality-based
Hmm, very high quality, small, light, long eye relief bins with a large sweet spot of extreme sharpness, negligable CA, and no flare... no, not so many options. Worth trying would be the 8x32 SF (I'm sure that's what Zeiss considers the "almost equivalent" of the 42) as well as EL or NL. (No one could guess whether glare will bother you on EL/NL, you'd have to try them yourself in typical use.)
 

mulligatawny owl

Well-known member
Hmm, very high quality, small, light, long eye relief bins with a large sweet spot of extreme sharpness, negligable CA, and no flare... no, not so many options. Worth trying would be the 8x32 SF (I'm sure that's what Zeiss considers the "almost equivalent" of the 42) as well as EL or NL. (No one could guess whether glare will bother you on EL/NL, you'd have to try them yourself in typical use.)
Yep, there's not many options! I've tried the SF x32 and the eye relief wasn't ideal, whereas the NL 8x32 was perfect , just a bit too expensive right now. I know the EL SV 8x32 has even more eye relief too. It seems to be the only option, just need to sell the HG now. I will miss them a little but my bins become an extension of body and soul practically so they have to be just right.

To be honest, the only two perfect for me bins out of countless ones I've owned have been Nikon SE's and the SF 8x42's.
 

ibramr

Well-known member
MW,

There are excellent opinions expressed here, and I doubt very much that I can really add something new. But if the process of finding a suitable pair between 8x25 and 8x42 is still on, perhaps it is a good idea to consider the Leica Ultravid 8x32 HD (preferably, the plus). I am almost confident that you will find many of its attributes very endearing.

And on a side note, I observed that you very briefly mentioned the UV 7x42 (also, preferably the Plus). I just want to share that this model (and the same goes to the Zeiss FL 7x42) is extremely enjoyable and, for various reasons, almost addictive. It quickly became the 1000 pound gorilla that it can not be ignored in determining the binocular de jour; and this is among other, optically speaking, very heavy weights too. Enjoy in good health.
 

mulligatawny owl

Well-known member
MW,

There are excellent opinions expressed here, and I doubt very much that I can really add something new. But if the process of finding a suitable pair between 8x25 and 8x42 is still on, perhaps it is a good idea to consider the Leica Ultravid 8x32 HD (preferably, the plus). I am almost confident that you will find many of its attributes very endearing.

And on a side note, I observed that you very briefly mentioned the UV 7x42 (also, preferably the Plus). I just want to share that this model (and the same goes to the Zeiss FL 7x42) is extremely enjoyable and, for various reasons, almost addictive. It quickly became the 1000 pound gorilla that it can not be ignored in determining the binocular de jour; and this is among other, optically speaking, very heavy weights too. Enjoy in good health.
Thanks for the suggestions 👍 Yep, the hunt is still on. Just sold the Nikon Monarch HG's so should have funds again soon.

I would love to try the Leica Ultravid hd +8x32 but I'm pretty sure the eye relief won't be enough.
I'm very tempted by the 7x42 UV+ but at the end of the day I think I'd be straying too much from my original purpose of a size and weight between the two, I know they are smaller and lighter than the SF but not that much.

One possible option other than the 32 EL SV is the Leica retrovid 7x35, I think I might order one to see how I like it before I settle on looking for the Swarovski.
 

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