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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.

I am thinking the new 32 mm alphas from Swarovski and Zeiss are the best birding binoculars you can buy right now. (1 Viewer)

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
After trying all the new 32 mm alphas from Swarovski and Zeiss, I am thinking they are the best birding binoculars you can buy. I have found 30 mm binoculars are in general kind of finicky for eye placement and a little dim in low light, whereas, 32 mm binoculars seem to be a bigger improvement than 2 mm of aperture would suggest. Most good 32 mm binoculars will kill the 30 mm binoculars in almost any situation. Yes, a 42 mm is brighter in low light than a 32 mm, and they have slightly easier eye placement, but it is not enough of a difference to carry the extra weight and bulk. So in my opinion a good 32 mm is the sweet spot for birding and if price is no object the new alpha 32's from Swarovski and Zeiss are the best you can buy. Take your pick of the SF 8x32, SF 10x32, NL 8x32 or NL 10x32. What is shocking is that the 10x32's are just as good as the 8x32's! In fact, they are better in the case of the NL because the NL 10x32 has a bigger AFOV than the NL 8x32 and I noticed no appreciable difference in ease of eye placement. All four of these binoculars are very close to perfect outside of a little glare. They are the best birding binoculars I have ever seen. It is just personal preference to choose the Zeiss or the Swarovski. I picked the Swarovski NL 10x32 because I like the optics slightly better. I feel the edges are a little sharper, and they are a little more transparent. I selected the NL 10x32 over the NL 8x32 because of the bigger AFOV and more wow factor. I don't think there are any better birding binoculars available right now than these four.
 

Ratal

Well-known member
I am going to have to agree with you on the 10x32 NL Pure.

I just handed back a pair after a weeks loan.

And now I have to save for my own set.

132 meters field of view on a 10x and lightweight? Yeah, a no brainer from me. Worth every penny for sure. Just one thing. I'll be taking* Edit for spellchecker abuse* the objective flaps right off. I hate them.

* Added - My Zeis 8x25 have been commandeered for use. My Opticron 8x42 Aurora are perfect cherry specimens, but the NL 10x32? Yeah, there is something extremely special in the view that I never found in the full sized offering. So save I shall.
 
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birdcat

Well-known member
Supporter
United States
132 meters field of view on a 10x and lightweight? Yeah, a no brainer from me. Worth every penny for sure. Just one thing. I'll be cutting the objective flaps right off. I hate them.
I have the 8x32 SF after owning an 8.5x42 EL for a bit, so I can't argue on the title of this one.

PS Not sure if you're exaggerating, but Swarovski gives you inserts to fill the gap if you opt to not use the integrated objective covers. No cutting required.
 

Ratal

Well-known member
I have the 8x32 SF after owning an 8.5x42 EL for a bit, so I can't argue on the title of this one.

PS Not sure if you're exaggerating, but Swarovski gives you inserts to fill the gap if you opt to not use the integrated objective covers. No cutting required.

Phone and fingers. Should be Taking them straight off. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. Duly corrected.
 

Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
Having tried many, I find that the Swarovski 8.5x42 EL SV immediately pre-FP (very late production with very smooth focus) on a vintage Op/Tech fashion-bino neoprene strap is the best birding bin (for me). Very solid operation, reasonably compact configuration, very easy view that is not sensitive to eye alignment, and quick but precise focus at birding distances. Water shedding coatings make irritating lens covers obsolete. I only wish it had variable-ratio focus for better birding+butterflying utility. Smaller bins don't have the same ease of view when darting eyes around the exit pupil when looking off-axis. Full-sized successors to the above model are comparatively bulky (due to strap lugs, or overall design in case of NL), are more restrictive of hand positioning (due to bulky strap lugs), have less-secure diopter control (NL), and don't shed water (NL, post 2020 EL), and so don't seem to me as well suited to fast-paced rough and tumble birding. Over the past few years, I've found that the 8.5x42 EL SV pre-FP plus a Zeiss 8x25 Victory are all I need for all types of birding and most butterflying. Toss in a Pentax 6.5x21 Papilio II and all types of butterflying are covered as well.

--AP
 
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Owene

Well-known member
Wales
I went with 10x32 Swarovski after trying the 4 size/magnification choices and they are lovely.

They’re the first alpha binoculars I’ve had which probably plays a part but the light weight and ergonomics are great and the extra zoom didn’t seem to cost too much Field of view in my comparison

I do find they need you to be a lot steadier than the 8x but the headrest thing sorts that
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Having tried many, I find that the Swarovski 8.5x42 EL SV immediately pre-FP (very late production with very smooth focus) on a vintage Op/Tech fashion-bino neoprene strap is the best birding bin (for me). Very solid operation, reasonably compact configuration, very easy view that is not sensitive to eye alignment, and quick but precise focus at birding distances. Water shedding coatings make irritating lens covers obsolete. I only wish it had variable-ratio focus for better birding+butterflying utility. Smaller bins don't have the same ease of view when darting eyes around the exit pupil when looking off-axis. Full-sized successors to the above model are comparatively bulky (due to strap lugs, or overall design in case of NL), are more restrictive of hand positioning (due to bulky strap lugs), have less-secure diopter control (NL), and don't shed water (NL, post 2020 EL), and so don't seem to me as well suited to fast-paced rough and tumble birding. Over the past few years, I've found that the 8.5x42 EL SV pre-FP plus a Zeiss 8x25 Victory are all I need for all types of birding and most butterflying. Toss in a Pentax 6.5x21 Papilio II and all types of butterflying are covered as well.

--AP
Have you tried any of the 32 mm alpha's? The ease of view is a lot better than the older 32 mm binoculars, like even the SV 8x32. The 8.5x42 EL SV is a good all-rounder. They are very easy to live with!
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I went with 10x32 Swarovski after trying the 4 size/magnification choices and they are lovely.

They’re the first alpha binoculars I’ve had which probably plays a part but the light weight and ergonomics are great and the extra zoom didn’t seem to cost too much Field of view in my comparison

I do find they need you to be a lot steadier than the 8x but the headrest thing sorts that
If you like a 32 mm for birding, it is hard not to like the newer 32 mm alpha's. They are the best 32 mm's.
 

Ratal

Well-known member
If you like a 32 mm for birding, it is hard not to like the newer 32 mm alpha's. They are the best 32 mm's.

I couldn't agree more. I did consider the Zeiss SF 10x32, but the Swaro NL 10x32 just had that magic to the image. Plus, and I admit this, I love the burned Orange. Totally unusual and really striking in the hand.

Oh, and on that note - Glare in the 8/10x42 drove me absolutely nuts. Didn't matter what i did. That is why my full sized bino is the Opticron Aurora. And I have no regrets at all.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I couldn't agree more. I did consider the Zeiss SF 10x32, but the Swaro NL 10x32 just had that magic to the image. Plus, and I admit this, I love the burned Orange. Totally unusual and really striking in the hand.

Oh, and on that note - Glare in the 8/10x42 drove me absolutely nuts. Didn't matter what i did. That is why my full sized bino is the Opticron Aurora. And I have no regrets at all.
I am glad you agree with me on glare in the bigger glass. It is funny the bigger apertures would have more glare than the smaller ones, but that is the way it was for me! It just depends on how the binocular fits your eye sockets and how your eyes work with them.
 

rodneyAB

Active member
United States
Perhaps I give too much weight to Exit Pupil. I like to start viewing thru the kitchen window before the sun shows. I use the NL8x32 but, the EL10x42 has an edge ever so slightly in early light. I do enjoy the 10x magnification. Due to spec sheet rather than actually trying a 10x32, I'd stick with my 8x32, and would probably choose a current 8x42 over a 10x32.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Perhaps I give too much weight to Exit Pupil. I like to start viewing thru the kitchen window before the sun shows. I use the NL8x32 but, the EL10x42 has an edge ever so slightly in early light. I do enjoy the 10x magnification. Due to spec sheet rather than actually trying a 10x32, I'd stick with my 8x32, and would probably choose a current 8x42 over a 10x32.
The new NL 10x32 and SF 10x32 surprised me. I usually don't like a 10x32 because of the small exit pupil, but Swarovski and Zeiss seemed to have worked their magic on these two. They really are incredible, and the eye placement is very easy, and they are very bright. The new SF 10x32 and NL 10x32 equalize the playing field between an 8x32 and a 10x32. The SF and NL 10x32 have as big of a FOV as most 8x32's, and the eye placement is just as easy, plus you have the extra reach and detail of a 10x. The only advantage an 8x32 has anymore is DOF, and really how much advantage is that in the real world? You still have to focus when you are on the bird, although you may see the background a little better with 8x than 10x, but really what difference does that make?
 
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dries1

Member
I have seen the transmission graph of the SF 8X32, I would surmise the 10X32 has a similar shape? It would not matter how nice the 10x32 is, the EP is too small for me. I wonder what the comparison of sales with 8X32 Vs 10X32 is.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I have seen the transmission graph of the SF 8X32, I would surmise the 10X32 has a similar shape? It would not matter how nice the 10x32 is, the EP is too small for me. I wonder what the comparison of sales with 8X32 Vs 10X32 is.
I know you like the big apertures for the comfort and easy eye placement of the big exit pupil. I did to, but these new 32 mm alphas are game changers. They are as comfortable as most 8x42's and as bright, which is hard to believe. You can have your cake and eat it too. I would bet the 10x32's are outselling the 8x32's once birders and hunters try them. I think hunters will find the SF or NL 10x32 can replace their Vortex Viper 10x42.
 

dries1

Member
Slow down Dennis, slow down. Do not pump too much, sounds like an advertisement for a NL 10X32. I have tried many 10X32s except the SF, and meah....only if there were no other glass available.
 
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jgraider

Well-known member
Slow down Dennis, slow down. Do not pump too much, sounds like an advertisement for a NL 10X32. I have tried many 10X32s except the SF, and meah....only if there were no other glass available.

Stand by......as per always, he will change his mind and have them for sale within a month.
 

cottonbase

Well-known member
For them to be game changers they'd need to be stabilised. They're not, hence they are basically out of date.

Hermann
They'll still be functioning long after any stabilisation electronics have failed.
Warranty on IS binoculars is typically 2 years, sometimes less.
10+ year warranties on IS binoculars would be game changing.

Anyway, stay on topic, this is about new 32 mm alphas from Swarovski and Zeiss, not about everything that isn't the new 32 mm alphas from Swarovski and Zeiss.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
For them to be game changers they'd need to be stabilised. They're not, hence they are basically out of date.

Hermann
I don't honestly see Swarovski or Zeiss ever bringing out a stabilized binocular. I don't think there is a market for it. Even though I agree there are definite advantages to IS, there are too many disadvantages with the current technology. There are still some artifacts, even with the best IS binoculars, and Swarovski and Zeiss are not going to bring out a less than optically perfect binocular with IS. Why should they? Swarovski has the leading market share by a huge margin, so why mess around with something unproven like IS when they don't need to. Hunter's don't use stabilized binoculars. If they are using higher magnification, they just use a tripod.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Slow down Dennis, slow down. Do not pump too much, sounds like an advertisement for a NL 10X32. I have tried many 10X32s except the SF, and meah....only if there were no other glass available.
Try the new alpha 32 mm's. They will make a believer out of you, and you might convert to 32 mm. My point is Swarovski and Zeiss have really improved 32 mm binoculars with the SF and NL to the point that I think for most birders they are the ideal size. They have closed the distance between a 32 mm and a 42 mm IMO.
 
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