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Is 8x32 or 8x42 the best Birding format? (2 Viewers)

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Long debated is the topic of what format 8x32 or 8x42 is the best for birding. With the new Zeiss 8x42 SF's only being available in 8x42 I have been asking myself if I could ever go back to an 8x42. I REALLY appreciate the size and weight of the 8x32 and I don't think the light grasp advantage of the 8x42 is really that important for mostly daylight birding. I think the Exit Aperture of the 8x32 at 4mm is really comfortable and is optimum and I don't feel the bigger Exit Aperture of the 8x42 at 5mm is really that beneficial. Overall I feel the 8x32 is a better birding binocular. What do you think? Do you prefer an 8x32 or an 8x42 for birding? Your opinion could cost me $2500 if I decide I want the Zeiss SF so be careful!
 
Long debated is the topic of what format 8x32 or 8x42 is the best for birding. With the new Zeiss 8x42 SF's only being available in 8x42 I have been asking myself if I could ever go back to an 8x42. I REALLY appreciate the size and weight of the 8x32 and I don't think the light grasp advantage of the 8x42 is really that important for mostly daylight birding. I think the Exit Aperture of the 8x32 at 4mm is really comfortable and is optimum and I don't feel the bigger Exit Aperture of the 8x42 at 5mm is really that beneficial. Overall I feel the 8x32 is a better birding binocular. What do you think? Do you prefer an 8x32 or an 8x42 for birding? Your opinion could cost me $2500 if I decide I want the Zeiss SF so be careful!

Though I am no birder, I guess this question can be addressed in a rather general way: To most users, the 8x32 can do the job during 90% of the observation time. It falls short in certain, but rather rare situations.

The only question then is: Is it worth carrying 200g extra weight of the 8x42 for the remaining 10% of the observation time? That is a question you will have to answer for yourself.

Cheers,
Holger
 
It has to be whatever Dennis has, otherwise this becomes a ten page debate with Dennis making 90% of the posts, all in favour of a certain 8x32.....
 
Though I am no birder, I guess this question can be addressed in a rather general way: To most users, the 8x32 can do the job during 90% of the observation time. It falls short in certain, but rather rare situations.

The only question then is: Is it worth carrying 200g extra weight of the 8x42 for the remaining 10% of the observation time? That is a question you will have to answer for yourself.

Cheers,
Holger
So what you are saying is that because of climate, geography or time of day the 32mm will not perform ,as well as, the 42mm all the time. So if you are birding a lot at dusk or dawn you might want a 42mm. If you are birding under a forest canopy you might want a 42mm. But if you are birding in a sunny climate during the day most of the time then a 32mm might serve you just fine. Have you ever noticed a 42mm to be more comfortable to use because of it's bigger exit pupil? Maybe for all around bad and good conditions and if you could only have one binocular a 42mm would never let you down. I guess it depends on how you are going to bird with them.
 
OK, you wanted opinions; here are mine based on the Leica 8x42 I own.

Here are the reasons I like my recently purchased Leica 8x42 Ultravid Blackline binocular. It is the only quality 8x42 I own and it is the only one I considered buying for the reasons noted below and mostly because I like 7x42 binoculars better.

This particular Leica has a classy real leather exterior which along with being unusually good looking also contributes to its light weight of 25 ounces. It will be a fine binocular to pass down to one of my sons.

I purchased it as a Demo for under $1300.00 (about 1/2 of what the SF costs) from Camera Land and saved $600.00 off the full price while getting full warranty coverage on it which is another reason I like it. It was in pristine condition and looked like it had never been handled or even out of the box.

It doesn't have HD glass but for me it doesn't need it since I have no problems with CA and I'm happy that I didn't have to pay for that "improvement."

Ergonomically it fits me and I enjoy using it! That is very important. Eye relief is long enough for me and the eye cups are comfortable. I suffer no black outs using it. It controls glare as good as any binocular I own. Its FOV of 389' @ 1000 yards is wide enough for me. Although it doesn't have a flat field it has a very large "sweet spot" of probably 85% of the FOV tapering off to pincushioned edges. That is plenty for me--maybe not for you; but I don't care what you like in this respect or what your ideal is--please understand that! I'm only interested in my own satisfaction when using a binocular. You should have this attitude too.

Bob
 
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OK, you wanted opinions; here are mine based on the Leica 8x42 I own.

Here are the reasons I like my recently purchased Leica 8x42 Ultravid Blackline binocular. It is the only quality 8x42 I own and it is the only one I considered buying for the reasons noted below and mostly because I like 7x42 binoculars better.

This particular Leica has a classy real leather exterior which along with being unusually good looking also contributes to its light weight of 25 ounces. It will be a fine binocular to pass down to one of my sons.

I purchased it as a Demo for under $1300.00 (about 1/2 of what the SF costs) from Camera Land and saved $600.00 off the full price while getting full warranty coverage on it which is another reason I like it. It was in pristine condition and looked like it had never been handled or even out of the box.

It doesn't have HD glass but for me it doesn't need it since I have no problems with CA and I'm happy that I didn't have to pay for that "improvement."

Ergonomically it fits me and I enjoy using it! That is very important. Eye relief is long enough for me and the eye cups are comfortable. I suffer no black outs using it. It controls glare as good as any binocular I own. Its FOV of 389' @ 1000 yards is wide enough for me. Although it doesn't have a flat field it has a very large "sweet spot" of probably 85% of the FOV tapering off to pincushioned edges. That is plenty for me--maybe not for you; but I don't care what you like in this respect or what your ideal is--please understand that! I'm only interested in my own satisfaction when using a binocular. You should have this attitude too.

Bob
That is a very nice binocular for $1300. The nice thing about it is it only weighs 25 ounces and it is a 42mm. The disadvantage of a 42mm is size and weight and your Leica being small and light has overcome those weaknesses. If you could make a 42mm close to the size and weight of a 32mm everybody would have one. Why not. You have your cake and you can eat it to. The Zeiss 8x42 SF at 27.5 oz. is a little bit heavier but is supposed to be balanced better than most other binoculars. So maybe in a sense a light 42mm is the best of both worlds. Personally the FOV would bother me a little on your Leica though. When you are use to 420 feet it is hard to give up that 31 feet. I would imagine the bigger FOV of the Zeiss 8x42 SF versus my Swarovski 8x32 SV would be the biggest benefit of buying the Zeiss. A 25 foot larger FOV is a pretty big difference.
 
Having a bad night Bob ? :king:

That is plenty for me--maybe not for you; but I don't care what you like in this respect or what your ideal is--please understand that! I'm only interested in my own satisfaction when using a binocular. You should have this attitude too.
Bob
 
My #1 birder is a 40 oz 10x56 FL, hardly necessary but I just like the feeling of driving a big ol' Cadillac, but it naturally distorts my perspective. Not THAT, I mean my perspective of other binoculars. My 8x42 FL is my smallest binocular, and I do appreciate it's 27 oz weight and (relatively) quick handling.

My 8x30 is a Fujinon FMTR-SX. Weird huh. It is bigger than my 8x42 at 32 oz, most un sexy shaped, and unwieldy with individually focused eyepieces. I took it on one birding vacation four years ago, around the Yuma CA/Salton Sea area one Christmas, and had heck of a nice time with it. It just shows what you can do if you try I guess, and have no options. After that I gave up on it because it pretty much takes all I've got to bird with it, but not not not because I felt optically undergunned, and we went into dusk several days. Its image is just wow sharp.

So I know a little about what a 30/32 will do. One of these days I'm going to get a nice one. Dennis if you go for the SF maybe I'll be the flipee. But I think that will have to be because you're a binocular nut, not because you need a 42.

Ron
 
7x42 is the best format.

Any model I've tried in 8x32/42 the 42 always has the edge ( fov excepted ).

You prefer 32, you've written this many times, in my limited experience with two SF's and my unverrified opinion the SF is not sharp to the absolute edge ( your pet hate ), so why do you want one ?

Also you keep telling people to spend $2.5k on an alpha, but let's remind ourselves that you did not.

Are you afraid you no longer have the "best" ?
 
7x42 is the best format.

Any model I've tried in 8x32/42 the 42 always has the edge ( fov excepted ).

You prefer 32, you've written this many times, in my limited experience with two SF's and my unverrified opinion the SF is not sharp to the absolute edge ( your pet hate ), so why do you want one ?

Also you keep telling people to spend $2.5k on an alpha, but let's remind ourselves that you did not.

Are you afraid you no longer have the "best" ?
No, I just want some feedback on the Zeiss 8x42 SF and 42mm binoculars in general. You can't find one locally so I guess I should just buy one from Eagle Optics or a place that does easy returns and compare it to my Swarovki 8x32 SV. I would not keep them both if the Zeiss SF works better for me. I have no need for two alpha binoculars that do the same thing. The bigger FOV of the Zeiss and the fact that it would probably have better glare control and a faster focus intrigues me. But on the other hand I am not sure I wan't to carry 27.5 oz. all the time and a bigger binocular. I am trying to decide without actually trying one if the trade offs are worth it but I think it is impossible. I will probably just have to buy one since binoculars are such a personal thing anyway. The ER may not work for me or I may not like the ergonomics. It is hard to say. We need some more good reviews for people like me that are on the line about it.
 
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My #1 birder is a 40 oz 10x56 FL, hardly necessary but I just like the feeling of driving a big ol' Cadillac, but it naturally distorts my perspective. Not THAT, I mean my perspective of other binoculars. My 8x42 FL is my smallest binocular, and I do appreciate it's 27 oz weight and (relatively) quick handling.

My 8x30 is a Fujinon FMTR-SX. Weird huh. It is bigger than my 8x42 at 32 oz, most un sexy shaped, and unwieldy with individually focused eyepieces. I took it on one birding vacation four years ago, around the Yuma CA/Salton Sea area one Christmas, and had heck of a nice time with it. It just shows what you can do if you try I guess, and have no options. After that I gave up on it because it pretty much takes all I've got to bird with it, but not not not because I felt optically undergunned, and we went into dusk several days. Its image is just wow sharp.

So I know a little about what a 30/32 will do. One of these days I'm going to get a nice one. Dennis if you go for the SF maybe I'll be the flipee. But I think that will have to be because you're a binocular nut, not because you need a 42.

Ron
Those big 56mm FL's are great optically but man are they tanks. I had the 8x56 FL for awhile and I am still getting bills from the Chiropractor I think. I tried it because because Henry Link recommended it. The 8x42 FL is also a great binocular and a good overall choice. I had the Fujinon 8x30 and you are right in that it is sharp as a tack and built like a tank. Those are hard to find now. Brock had one for awhile and always liked it. Individual focus actually works pretty good doesn't it at a distance. I only want one good binocular but I want the BEST for me. If the Zeiss SF is the best I will buy it and dump the Swaro.
 
8x30 or 8x32 is what usually goes out in the hilly woods.
That or the precision flat-field 7x35s of yore (Kowa Prominar, Bushnell Custom, Scope/Custom Model 3010, etc).
8x40 seems to be sharper, but the bulk is so much less at 8x32. Most modern 8x32s are amazing.

If I really want something sharp and strong, a 10x50 with nice EP is the bee's knees,
with a haze filter to cross the distance. So, the 8x40s and 8x42s are a tad batter,
but they are kind of orphaned in a larger collection by the power and sharpness of 7x50s and 10x50s
on one side and compactness of 8x30s.

If I had one pair for everything, birds, yard and pond, fishers, coyotes, night stars,
beaches...that would be an 8x(40-42), (with NO bulky rubber).

I think you can only call one size "better" if you want to only own one size,
and then it's personal. Most of us would be pretty sad with only one pair for all
the days and moods.
 
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7x42 is the best format.

I totallly agree with that.

But choosing between 8x32 or 8x42 then the 42 gets my vote. Not for extra light gathering at dawn or dusk but because I find a larger exit pupil far more comfortable for my eyes.

Never tried an 8x56, however, due to the weight and usually narrower fov. Perhaps I should give them a go. Maybe I'm missing out.
 
I often / frequently bird for 7 ( +/- ) hours at a time and prefer my 8 x 42. There is something about the ""gripability" and, for seawatching in particular, the solidity of the larger size that I like. I do have a pair of 8 x 32 that I use in the summer, purely for the weight / size, as I also tend to carry entomological gear ( net, beating tray, collecting tubes and boxes etc. ).. If I had to choose between them it'd have to be the 42's every time.
 
(to CB)
That makes perfect sense, at 7 hours.
And the 8x32 when you carry stuff.
I hike some rugged little hills and ravines, today with ice patches,
to bird benches and boulders, and look for 10-20 minutes. 8x32 or 7x35 makes sense.


I'm wondering if 7x42 or 7x50 might be more relaxing if you go for hours.
 
I totallly agree with that.

But choosing between 8x32 or 8x42 then the 42 gets my vote. Not for extra light gathering at dawn or dusk but because I find a larger exit pupil far more comfortable for my eyes.

Never tried an 8x56, however, due to the weight and usually narrower fov. Perhaps I should give them a go. Maybe I'm missing out.
Try the Zeiss 8x56 FL. Heavy of course but really good optics. The big aperture gets rid of almost ALL glare because it never hits your eyes. You truly find the 42mm is more comfortable because of the bigger exit pupil?
 
(to CB)
That makes perfect sense, at 7 hours.
And the 8x32 when you carry stuff.
I hike some rugged little hills and ravines, today with ice patches,
to bird benches and boulders, and look for 10-20 minutes. 8x32 or 7x35 makes sense.


I'm wondering if 7x42 or 7x50 might be more relaxing if you go for hours.
The 7x42 and 7x50's are comfortable and bright. You put them up to your eyes and everything is just "BOOM" right there. 6mm of Exit Pupil filling light smashing into your eyeballs. They are as they say the "Real Deal". I had the Leica 7x42 BN's and the Fujinon 7x50 FMXT and the Fuji's are tack sharp and bright as all get out. The Leica 7x42 BN's are considerably better than the 8x32 BN's also meaning very good. Under less than ideal sunny conditions those 50mm apertures do work.
 
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