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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

IN PRAISE OF THE SWAROVSKI 12X42 NL PURE (1 Viewer)

Swedpat

Well-known member
I seriously consider to get the 8x42 NL. But I am also interested in getting a 12x bino for use on monopod. According to what I have read so far about the 8x version the eye relief combined with the optimal eyepiece design makes it very good for eyeglasses despite the wide FOV. As we know, according to the physics of optics the eye relief becomes shorter when the focal ratio of the eyepiece decreases. So it should be obvious that ER is longest with the 8x version and shortest with 12x. I first want to try out the 8x version, though.
When it comes to steadiness it's very clear that 12x can never be as steady as 8x, unless the bino is mounted.
 

pm42

Well-known member
As we know, according to the physics of optics the eye relief becomes shorter when the focal ratio of the eyepiece decreases. So it should be obvious that ER is longest with the 8x version and shortest with 12x.

I do not know if it is obvious but this is not what the specs say. Nor does my experience as the owner of both the 8x42 & 12x42.

When it comes to steadiness it's very clear that 12x can never be as steady as 8x, unless the bino is mounted.
As above, it is "very clear" but not as much when you use them as the difference is not as big as expected.
 

Swedpat

Well-known member
I do not know if it is obvious but this is not what the specs say. Nor does my experience as the owner of both the 8x42 & 12x42.


As above, it is "very clear" but not as much when you use them as the difference is not as big as expected.

The manufacturer's specs are not to trust.
In several cases both Zeiss and Swarovski have stated the same ER for all models in a series, while there usually is a big difference. It's like they don't bother to actually measure it but think "ah, put the same value for all".
I would like to try out the NL models. According to what I read so far, NL 8x42 works better with eyeglasses than EL 8,5x42 despite wider AFOV. That means I should be satisfied with NL 8x42.
 

Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
Swedpat, post 43,
I can not confirm your statement. When we investigate Zeiss and Swarovski binoculars we measure the eye relief with an instrument designed for it and generally our data match the data of the makers very well, so I trust their specifications.
Gijs van Ginkel
 

Swedpat

Well-known member
Gijs,

I only tell according to my personal experience. When Zeiss claimed 17mm ER for both 8x32 and 7x42 something indicates it's wrong. It's pretty recently 8x32 became good for eyeglasses. And when 8x32 has smaller eyelens at the same time larger AFOV that in itself shows they cannot have same ER. And I have tried both. 7x42 was great with eyeglasses, while 8x32 was not sufficient.
And I have tried EL 8X32, 8,5X42 and 12x50. The EL 8x32(I think it's discontinued) is one of the best 8x32s for eyeglasses. As well 8x32 and 8,5x42 worked for me and I could see the entire FOV, even if I wanted to come 1-2mm closer for the perfect open view. Here the unnecessary high eyecup edges of EL wastes a bit of the ER.
But the ER of EL 12X50 was not even close to sufficient. So there is a significant difference in practice between some models despite the stated ER is the same.
 
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Swedpat

Well-known member
But we should trust what is "obvious to you"?
As I said, I own these binoculars but you seem to know better than everybody even without having tried them. Impressive.


You will never be satisfied as everybody lies and you know better :p

I have not claimed anything about NL models. Just assumed according to other's experience. So how can you mean I say I know better than those who own them?
 

jcnguyen09

Well-known member
As the owner of several NL and previous EL,my experience was that for the NL, Swarovski claimed 18 mm ER across the series and for me this is a very true statement! I wear glasses and I am satisfied and get the same good views on either 8x, 10x or 12x NL...However, I can't say it was true for the EL series though! It was ridiculous that Swarovski claimed 20 mm ER on most of EL and 19mm for EL 12x50... I think the problem was that Swarovski struggled to find the balance between the ER and black out sensitivity on the EL series and they ended up with a very thick and high profile eye cups that cut short the usable ER by 3-4mm. It's funny that SLC HD 15x56 with spec of 16mm ER, but I have no problem to see the entire good view because the eye cups were seamlessly built and flat edge to the surface of the eyepieces.
I also experienced that each of manufacturers have their own way to measure the ER, but most of the time, the measurements were consistent across the products from same manufacturer. Some exception, like Swarovski SLC, EL or NL. I think Swarovski learned from their mistake from the EL and did a much better job with the NL series. I can tell 18mm ER on the NL is a very true and the view is the same across the series, either 8x, 10x or 12x they all have the same view, same 18mm ER across the boards. This is just my own statement with my own experience! Hope it would help eyeglasses wearers like me with extreme sensitivity to the ER factors on the binoculars.
I also found that it is extreme difficult to find a bino with a perfect ER and perfect Views for eyeglass wearers like me. Example: Leica Noctivid has perfect 19mm ER but the FOV is narrowed and Not as relax as the NL 18mm close to perfect ER. Always have a trade off one way or another! Nothing is perfect!
 
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Swedpat

Well-known member
As the owner of several NL and previous EL,my experience was that for the NL, Swarovski claimed 18 mm ER across the series and for me this is a very true statement! I wear glasses and I am satisfied and get the same good views on either 8x, 10x or 12x NL...However, I can't say it was true for the EL series though! It was ridiculous that Swarovski claimed 20 mm ER on most of EL and 19mm for EL 12x50... I think the problem was that Swarovski struggled to find the balance between the ER and black out sensitivity on the EL series and they ended up with a very thick and high profile eye cups that cut short the usable ER by 3-4mm. It's funny that SLC HD 15x56 with spec of 16mm ER, but I have no problem to see the entire good view because the eye cups were seamlessly built and flat edge to the surface of the eyepieces.
I also experienced that each of manufacturers have their own way to measure the ER, but most of the time, the measurements were consistent across the products from same manufacturer. Some exception, like Swarovski SLC, EL or NL. I think Swarovski learned from their mistake from the EL and did a much better job with the NL series. I can tell 18mm ER on the NL is a very true and the view is the same across the series, either 8x, 10x or 12x they all have the same view, same 18mm ER across the boards. This is just my own statement with my own experience! Hope it would help eyeglasses wearers like me with extreme sensitivity to the ER factors on the binoculars.
I also found that it is extreme difficult to find a bino with a perfect ER and perfect Views for eyeglass wearers like me. Example: Leica Noctivid has perfect 19mm ER but the FOV is narrowed and Not as relax as the NL 18mm close to perfect ER. Always have a trade off one way or another! Nothing is perfect!

Thanks for the information! I am amazed about that Swarovski succed to make the same ER for the three different NLs.
I have tried a lot of binoculars during decades and have never seen any 12x model with remained ER of the lower powered models in the same series.
(Here I talk about different magnifications with same aperture, when the difference of magnification is achieved by different eyepiece focal length. A line of 7x35/8x40/10x50 is another thing when they share the very same eyepiece model and focal length).
12x50 always have had shorter ER than 10x50. 10x42 always shorter than 8x42. And so on.
I am very impressed about the new NLs!
And regarding EL 12X50: yes, I have seen stated 19mm ER as well as 20mm.

By the way: what is your experience of the useful ER of the NL models compared to some of ELs? Have you tried 8,5x42?
 
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jcnguyen09

Well-known member
Thanks for the information! I am amazed about that Swarovski succed to make the same ER for the three different NLs.
I have tried a lot of binoculars during decades and have never seen any 12x model with remained ER of the lower powered models in the same series.
Here I talk about different magnifications with same aperture, when the difference of magnification is achieved by different eyepiece focal length. A line of 7x35/8x40/10x50 is another thing when they use the very same eyepiece model.
12x50 always have had shorter ER than 10x50. 10x42 always shorter than 8x42. And so on.
I am very impressed about the new NLs!
And regarding EL 12X50: yes, I have seen stated 19mm ER as well as 20mm.

By the way: what is your experience of the useful ER of the NL models compared to some of ELs? Have you tried 8,5x42?
I owned several EL included 10x32, 8.5x42, 10&12x50, I replaced all by several NL, SF and NV. For me, the NL is a little bit better in every ways comparing to the EL. The ER is working better for me, better than the SF, a little short compared to the Noctivid but the view is more relax...similar feeling! I am still amazed that Swarovski can cut a 18mm ER on the NL with a grand huge FOV and AFOV....and either on the 8x or 12x I can see the entire FOV with an easy view with relaxation...a long shot, very difference comparing to the previous EL!
 

Swedpat

Well-known member
I owned several EL included 10x32, 8.5x42, 10&12x50, I replaced all by several NL, SF and NV. For me, the NL is a little bit better in every ways comparing to the EL. The ER is working better for me, better than the SF, a little short compared to the Noctivid but the view is more relax...similar feeling! I am still amazed that Swarovski can cut a 18mm ER on the NL with a grand huge FOV and AFOV....and either on the 8x or 12x I can see the entire FOV with an easy view with relaxation...a long shot, very difference comparing to the previous EL!

Interesting! When I tried 8,5x42 I could see the entire FOV with eyeglasses, but I felt that I would like to come 1-2mm closer for the real open view. The eyecups of EL should be possible to adjust to ~2mm lower level than they are.
And I can see at videos that the eyecups of NL are very low on the bottom position, allowing to make use of the most of the eye relief. Therefore 18mm, and maybe even 16mm ER is sufficient. With some other binoculars even 20mm is not sufficient because of a deeply recessed lens combined with high eyecup edge.
Fujinon 10x50 FMTR-SX is an example of that. It's a highly praised binocular(I think it's still one of the best 10x50s) with 20mm ER but measured to only 13mm useful ER. A bad design wasting at least 4-5mm of the ER. If I had not weared eyeglasses I had bought that bino many years ago.
 
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dries1

Member
The NL was built for the ever growing population who wear glasses, likewise the Noctivid. Since I do not wear glasses, and for those that also do not, the SVs in all models are just fine.
 

Kiwimac

Active member
Sooooo. The 12x42's arrived this morning.

My initial impressions of the non-viewing aspects:

  1. Lighter
  2. Ergonomics are better
  3. Surprisingly easy to hand hold even though the forehead rest is not yet with me
  4. Why did they change the strap from the nylon cords of the EL (which was excellent) to flat nylon tape (less excellent based on past experience)

And viewing (based on 2 hours or so in overcast conditions):

  1. The FOV is magnificent
  2. IPD and eyecup has been difficult to get right
  3. IQ is superb (see below)

Even with 12x the image is vast, edge to edge and immersive. However...oddly my 8.5x42 EL seems sharper and/or more contrasty and more saturated. I do not know if this is due to 8.5 v 12, greater field flattening or just what I am used to.

It's spring here and the land around us is a vast swathe of green grass with cows and sheep (and newborn lambs) all over. The greens seem more green in the EL - which may equally mean that the NL is more colour accurate and exaggerates the colour less. I need a better day really to assess that.

The extra reach is definitely the better answer for me; a Swamp Harrier cruised through looking for lunch and the view of him as he passed by was so much more detailed because I was seeing him that much 'closer'. I had no trouble tracking his flight. Incidentally, a couple of days ago I was looking at the same birds through my Leica Ultravid (non-HD) 10x32. The bird had an awful yellow glow against the sky!

I cannot for the life of me see why they went with flat nylon straps on the neck strap rather than the paracord on the EL. The cord does not twist up in the way the flat tape does so it seemed like a backwards step but perhaps they had their reasons.

I have also found that getting the IPD and eyecup distance correct a bit tricky. There is occasionally a sort of perceived shimmer or fuzziness sometimes in the centre of the fov when panning - it looks a bit like very faint vertical lines or reflection and shows most against a white overcast sky. I fitted the winged eyecups from my EL and that helped. However deciding how far to twist out the eyecups to avoid blackouts is not proving straightforward. Maximum out seems best though.

Overall, as a package, they are certainly a step up on the EL. The lessened flattening of the image is more pleasant and the ergonomics are better for sure.

I checked and I do get the same vertical ghosting in the EL.

I should perhaps mention too that I have had LASIK surgery and one eye is set to close focus, the other to far. Not sure if that would explain anything or not.

I'd be interested in any comment that anyone has who has tried NL and Zeiss SF. The Zeiss 10x42 would be the alternative that I would exchange these for.

I was slightly underwhelmed by these on first outing. Not that they are bad or anything - merely that they did not wow me as I was expecting would be the case.It was not a very good sunny sort of day and won't be until Friday, but the image seemed (and we all know how hard it is to describe these things!) just a little flat.
 
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Kiwimac

Active member
OK, so this morning was a bit sunnier so I took the glasses out for a second run.

Compared to my EL 8.5, the NL 12 definitely need a bit more light to come alive: they were much better with some reasonable sunshine. I can’t help but wonder if making them NL12x50 would have been better in some respects!

The comparison really shows how good the EL actually is: The NL could almost have been the “new EL” rather than a new tier. Indeed, an EL with the NL focusing (which is much nicer) would probably have been all the upgrade required for most people.

I cannot in all honesty say that the NL makes an instantly obvious case optically over the EL 8.5 simply in image quality terms; the wider FOV is nice but I could live without it. The EL is within spitting distance in terms of sharpness etc and you would probably need better eyes than mine to definitively identify a significant difference in that regard. Of course I am comparing 8.5 to 12 and that is not exactly apples to apples.

Ergonomically on balance the NL is better. Focus action is much nicer. The squashed barrels are comfortable although I never found the EL uncomfortable to hold really.

The extra magnification is definitely better for me. I live on a hill and can see miles and miles in front of the house, over farmland. Having that 12 power really lets you get out and about and see what is happening on the farms etc. as well as giving great views of the Swamp Harriers hunting on the slope of the hill.

New Zealand has no access to the countryside outside National Parks etc (for UK readers, there is no such thing here as a Public Footpath, Bridleway etc) so there is no way to go for a walk across the countryside outside the specifically defined Park areas. As a person who grew up in the UK, I find that quite hard - it is like living in a medieval fiefdom! Thus having the ability to reach into the view without trespassing is great.

I am not sure what the faint vertical ghosting I can see when panning is - I can see it in the EL as well. It is almost as if my eyes are refocusing on a reflection of something in the optical path, rather than something out in front of the binoculars as it were. Hard to describe. It seems absent when the binoculars are stationary or when panning slowly. Might be artifacts from my LASIK perhaps? I never noticed it in the EL but it is there.
 

Swedpat

Well-known member
Thanks for sharing, Kiwimac.
Yes, 12x42 has half the brightness than 8,5x42 so at least in dim conditions the image will be a bit less briliant.
I wonder about your perception of eye relief between them. Some said that all the models in NL Pure have same useable eye relief. And according to two users, NL Pure is even better with eyeglasses than EL 8,5x42.
This should mean even NL 12x42 is better with eyeglasses than EL 8,5x42. Have you tried with eyeglasses or sunglasses?
 
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Kiwimac

Active member
I have not, no. Even before LASIK when I wore glasses all the time, I never used them with binoculars. I simply found it too odd putting them against the surface of my glasses rather than my face.

Also, since glasses are invariably expensive, I was always terrified of scratching or marking the lenses. To be honest I cannot comprehend how anyone manages to use them like that!

I suppose it helps that my prescription was not particularly strong, possibly.

Do you have any suggestions as to what the vague 'lines' I can see when panning are?
 

rpg51

Well-known member
Supporter
I have not, no. Even before LASIK when I wore glasses all the time, I never used them with binoculars. I simply found it too odd putting them against the surface of my glasses rather than my face.

Also, since glasses are invariably expensive, I was always terrified of scratching or marking the lenses. To be honest I cannot comprehend how anyone manages to use them like that!

I suppose it helps that my prescription was not particularly strong, possibly.

Do you have any suggestions as to what the vague 'lines' I can see when panning are?

If, like me, you can't see worth crap without your glasses, you find a way to make it work.
 

Kiwimac

Active member
I used contacts then progressed to LASIK. Of course, not everyone can follow the same path. Disposable contacts worked well for me. I was working as a professional photographer at the time, and glasses and camera viewfinders were as annoying as glasses and bins. The contacts solved that issue well for me.
 

Swedpat

Well-known member
I have not, no. Even before LASIK when I wore glasses all the time, I never used them with binoculars. I simply found it too odd putting them against the surface of my glasses rather than my face.

Also, since glasses are invariably expensive, I was always terrified of scratching or marking the lenses. To be honest I cannot comprehend how anyone manages to use them like that!

I suppose it helps that my prescription was not particularly strong, possibly.

Do you have any suggestions as to what the vague 'lines' I can see when panning are?

I have been used to use binoculars with eyeglasses. The moment to take on and of the eyeglasses every time I change between naked eye and binoculars I find too complicated in the long run. And in some cases I lose the orientation or object if I cannot directly put the binocular to the eyes.
Therefore I ~20 years ago decided to only get eyeglass friendly binos and sold the models I then had.

I have no idea about the lines you mention.

But because I have no Swarovski dealer nearby I cannot try before buy.
And I don't stand to be curious for years about how I like NL Pure 8x42, so I just ordered it from my favorite dealer, with the opportunity to send it back if it will not meet my desires.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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