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Impact of Subtle Changes (2 Viewers)

AlphaFan

Well-known member
United States
The confluence of several recent observations have me a bit concerned about possible upcoming unannounced product changes across the optics industry that may impact optical quality.

- In a few recent threads several members noted a subtle change in general view characteristics found in some newer binoculars - they referred to it as a kind of false brightness, excess whiteness or film effect. I share this observation.

- Swarovski is no longer using its SwaroClean coating in order to lessen environmental impact and be PFC-free.

- Personally received a survey from another major optics manufacturer mainly focused on customer reactions to them moving to more environmentally friendly materials In their products. Nothing wrong with that on the surface. However, what surprised me were questions about tradeoffs between environmental impacts and optical performance; and, the idea of the company signing on to adhering to materials approved by some international environmental impact certification body (sorry that I didn’t take screenshots or write the questions down).

So, does anyone know or have inside knowledge if manufacturers are substituting or are preparing to substitute proven optical materials, coatings, components, etc? I also realize that depending of the country of manufacture it may also be a legal mandate.
 

Patudo

Well-known member
- In a few recent threads several members noted a subtle change in general view characteristics found in some newer binoculars - they referred to it as a kind of false brightness, excess whiteness or film effect. I share this observation.

Several? I've only seen a couple of references, and none of these offered any specifics as to which newer binoculars they found to have "false brightness", or under what conditions. Maybe the individuals responsible could step forward and describe what they saw (which may not be what others see) in more detail...

I really wouldn't be surprised if there were those who considered the introduction of dielectric coatings to be a gimmick, or going back further, it's easy to imagine the same being said about phase-coating, and owners of single-coated binoculars claiming that multi-coatings resulted in an "artificially bright" image...

- Swarovski is no longer using its SwaroClean coating in order to lessen environmental impact and be PFC-free.

Gee... how did we ever get by without Swaroclean, Lotutec or Aquadura? Besides, some folks reckon those coatings get worn off over time anyway... (see link).

- Personally received a survey from another major optics manufacturer mainly focused on customer reactions to them moving to more environmentally friendly materials In their products. Nothing wrong with that on the surface. However, what surprised me were questions about tradeoffs between environmental impacts and optical performance; and, the idea of the company signing on to adhering to materials approved by some international environmental impact certification body (sorry that I didn’t take screenshots or write the questions down).

Seems to me like the old "lead vs eco-glass" debate redux? The funny thing is, reviewing some of those old threads, at least a couple of the most passionate defenders of leaded glass have switched to modern binoculars with glass manufactured in - gasp - a more eco-friendly manner...

So, does anyone know or have inside knowledge if manufacturers are substituting or are preparing to substitute proven optical materials, coatings, components, etc?

I certainly haven't. But never fear - as always on the internet, there's seldom any shortage of rhetoric and speculation to fill in any whatever gaps in knowledge, real or perceived, that may exist...
 

tenex

reality-based
There should be a suitable compound German word for the fear that something you might someday have wanted may not after all be available. Künftmangelangst?
 

dries1

Member
I think one has to spend much time with older models and new models of a specific glass to see the difference, others can comment, so be it. I have seen it.
 

tenex

reality-based
OK, joking aside, if the cry isn't PFC-free it's lead-free, arsenic-free, gluten-free, whatever, and as that customer survey indicates it's not necessary, just a fad... and optical performance will suffer. I do think it insane to compromise the quality of expensive instruments built to last a lifetime, which aren't even produced in sufficient quantity to have significant impact, in order to satisfy some quixotic desire to be a little kinder to an environment that 8 billion of us (soon enough to be 10) are rapidly destroying anyway -- and of course, to seem a better person than those who don't care so much! Such measures could be directed at more mass-produced and/or disposable items instead that could actually matter -- that is, drag this phase out a little longer and leave the earth in even worse shape when it finally ends, I'm afraid, though who knows what else might happen first... (was there room for this on the form?)
 
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AlphaFan

Well-known member
United States
OK, joking aside, if the cry isn't PFC-free it's lead-free, arsenic-free, gluten-free, whatever, and as that customer survey indicates it's not necessary, just a fad... and optical performance will suffer. I do think it insane to compromise the quality of expensive instruments built to last a lifetime, which aren't even produced in sufficient quantity to have significant impact, in order to satisfy some quixotic desire to be a little kinder to an environment that 8 billion of us (soon enough to be 10) are rapidly destroying anyway -- and of course, to seem a better person than those who don't care so much! Such measures could be directed at more mass-produced and/or disposable items instead that could actually matter -- that is, drag this phase out a little longer and leave the earth in even worse shape when it finally ends, I'm afraid, though who knows what else might happen first... (was there room for this on the form?)
Agree, and no there was certainly not room on the form. Didn’t walk away with the impression that consumer responses were really all that important. It was a Zeiss consumer survey - what concerned me about the questions was their trending left one with the impression that decisions had apparently already been made and efforts set in motion. Looked more like an effort to collect reactions in order to determine how (or if) changes would be announced or marketed. Just like Swarovski removing SwaroClean coatings from their products by the end of 2020. Didn’t see any press release and folks here apparently just recently found out about it. SwaroClean was important enough to be trademarked and heavily marketed by Swarovski. Now that SW thinks dropping it makes them look more socially responsible the company line is you didn’t really need it in the first place.

Have nothing against corporations attempting to curb practices severely detrimental to the environment. We‘ve all benefitted from incredible innovations created by manufacturers focused on achieving perfection in sports optics. It would be a shame if that was curbed or available features limited due to being supplanted by alternative corporate goals.
 
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NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
This seems to be mostly about water repellent coatings applied to the objective lenses. So, has anyone out there
compared the Swaro. NL to some of the Swaro. models that have Swaroclean ? That means actually testing the lenses
for the advantage of what it claims. I'm sure some on here have models of both.
I believe Swaroclean was introduced in 2005.

Jerry
 

AlphaFan

Well-known member
United States
This seems to be mostly about water repellent coatings applied to the objective lenses. So, has anyone out there
compared the Swaro. NL to some of the Swaro. models that have Swaroclean ? That means actually testing the lenses
for the advantage of what it claims. I'm sure some on here have models of both.
I believe Swaroclean was introduced in 2005.

Jerry
Coatings are just a symptom - not the condition.

Or did I somehow miss entries for binoculars with the most environmentally safe materials in the “wish list” thread.
 

ZDHart

Well-known member
Supporter
OK, joking aside, if the cry isn't PFC-free it's lead-free, arsenic-free, gluten-free, whatever, and as that customer survey indicates it's not necessary, just a fad... and optical performance will suffer. I do think it insane to compromise the quality of expensive instruments built to last a lifetime, which aren't even produced in sufficient quantity to have significant impact, in order to satisfy some quixotic desire to be a little kinder to an environment that 8 billion of us (soon enough to be 10) are rapidly destroying anyway -- and of course, to seem a better person than those who don't care so much! Such measures could be directed at more mass-produced and/or disposable items instead that could actually matter -- that is, drag this phase out a little longer and leave the earth in even worse shape when it finally ends, I'm afraid, though who knows what else might happen first... (was there room for this on the form?)
On this, we can agree.

When the next Chicxulub comes our way... all is returned to nature, for another billion years! We are but infinitesimal blips on an unimaginably vast horizon.
 

ZDHart

Well-known member
Supporter
It's like climate change... the climate on planet earth has cycled between ice ages and thaws many times. The earth has been emerging from the last ice age for many thousands of years. The earth's climate has continuously changed, back and forth, for billions of years. We can try to influence it, but ultimately, Mother Nature will prevail through her cycles. We are but dust in the wind!
 
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james holdsworth

Consulting Biologist
It's like climate change... the climate on planet earth has cycled between ice ages and thaws many times. The earth has been emerging from the last ice age for many thousands of years. The earth's climate has continuously changed, back and forth, for billions of years. We can try to influence it, but ultimately, Mother Nature will prevail through her cycles. We are but dust in the wind!
Dump unnaturally large amounts of garbage and poison in the soil and air and eventually you have to pay the piper. We are stripping this world bare, little by little…we are too many, too greedy and too selfish. Wild swings in temperatures and storms are the direct result of degraded ecosystems and a planet stressed to breaking.
 
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ZDHart

Well-known member
Supporter
Dump unnaturally large amounts of garbage and poison in the soil and air and eventually you have to pay the piper. We are stripping this world bare, little by little…we are too many, too greedy and too selfish. Wild swings in temperatures and storms are the direct result of degraded ecosystems and a planet stressed to breaking.
Yes. The world never stands still. Constant state of change for the planet, before us and after us. All things will pass.

Want to see the most dangerous animal on (for) the planet? Find a mirror.
 
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Patudo

Well-known member
SwaroClean was important enough to be trademarked and heavily marketed by Swarovski. Now that SW thinks dropping it makes them look more socially responsible the company line is you didn’t really need it in the first place.

Maybe we don't, frankly. How often have you felt that Swaroclean or similar coatings made a real difference in your ability to observe birds or other wildlife? Indeed, as the link I posted earlier asks, how much of the coating even remains after five or six years' use?

Have nothing against corporations attempting to curb practices severely detrimental to the environment. We‘ve all benefitted from incredible innovations created by manufacturers focused on achieving perfection in sports optics. It would be a shame if that was curbed or available features limited due to being supplanted by alternative corporate goals.

I know this is Birdforum Binoculars, so perfectly par for the course, but ... I wonder if all this anguished "concern" is, for want of a better expression, making a mountain out of a molehill. Binoculars now are materially better than 20 or 30 years ago, and if I were a betting man my money would be on the ones made in 20 years' time being better yet (though maybe perhaps not by the same margin a 10x42 SF is better than a 10x40 Dialyt - but then again, who knows?), as opposed to being "woke and worthless" as one of the posts above puts it. There may be the odd misstep along the way as new technology is understood and mastered, but that isn't a new thing (cf. the reported chromatic aberration issues in Zeiss's original Victorys). I don't see any reason why the trend in top tier optics should not continue to be upward - but I guess this is something we really need to return to in 20 years' time to see how things have shaken out?

I do know that if one despises Zeiss's and Swaro's pandering to eco-consciousness so much, binoculars can be obtained from a certain country in which very few ****s are given for either environmental standards or terms like "woke"...
 

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