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Is it really worth buying an NL 8x42? (1 Viewer)

Gray C

Newbie birder
I have an 8x42 SLC, which I find to be fantastic

Is the expense really worth buying the NL? Is it really that much better that I spend another 2k plus?

Thoughts please?

I was really contemplating buying them but do I really need to? Are they that much better than what I already have?

I'm in my mid 60s and my eyesight is not "Alpha"

Lots of questions lol
 

NZbinodude

Well-known member
I think you know the answer. Deep down, what do want people to say? "Go for it", or "keep your SLC"?

I bought a 10x42 NL, and while it's an optically brilliant bino, the novelty has already worn off (it's been about 3 weeks). I think it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that an object will dramatically alter your quality of life, or that minute optical improvements will change the way you go about your birding/hunting/nature watching - whatever.

The NL's are good tools. But they're not magical 'wonder' instruments, either. If you've got the $$ and you feel that the extra features of the NL may contribute to your enjoyment, why not? But I don't think you'd be missing out on much by sticking with your SLC's.

At the end of the day, it's what you view through your binos that counts, isn't it? This forum has been a bit of a negative influence, because instead of enjoying whatever it is I'm looking at, I've been preoccupied with nitpicking the glass instead. And even the NL isn't immune to that. I've been picking holes in it all day long, and it sucks big time.

The grass is always greener. If you think the NL will cure that, then you're wrong.

If you find the SLC to be fantastic, then why change? If your answer to that is "but...." (etc) - then buy the NL's. :0)
 
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Gilmore Girl

Beth
Supporter
United States
I think you know the answer. Deep down, what do want people to say? "Go for it", or "keep your SLC"?

I bought a 10x42 NL, and while it's an optically brilliant bino, the novelty has already worn off (it's been about 3 weeks). I think it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that an object will dramatically alter your quality of life, or that minute optical improvements will change the way you go about your birding/hunting/nature watching - whatever.

The NL's are good tools. But they're not magical 'wonder' instruments, either. If you've got the $$ and you feel that the extra features of the NL may contribute to your enjoyment, why not? But I don't think you'd be missing out on much by sticking with your SLC's.

At the end of the day, it's what you view through your binos that counts, isn't it? This forum has been a bit of a negative influence, because instead of enjoying whatever it is I'm looking at, I've been preoccupied with nitpicking the glass instead. And even the NL isn't immune to that. I've been picking holes in it all day long, and it sucks big time.

The grass is always greener. If you think the NL will cure that, then you're wrong.

If you find the SLC to be fantastic, then why change? If your answer to that is "but...." (etc) - then buy the NL's. :0)

:t: lots of wisdom here
 

NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
I have an 8x42 SLC, which I find to be fantastic

Is the expense really worth buying the NL? Is it really that much better that I spend another 2k plus?

Thoughts please?

I was really contemplating buying them but do I really need to? Are they that much better than what I already have?

I'm in my mid 60s and my eyesight is not "Alpha"

Lots of questions lol

As mentioned above, I would wait a while, there is no rush needed to go
buy a new binocular.

You have a very good binocular, and if your eyesight is not up to it, you would have little to gain.

Jerry
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
I have an 8x42 SLC, which I find to be fantastic

Is the expense really worth buying the NL? Is it really that much better that I spend another 2k plus?

Thoughts please?

I was really contemplating buying them but do I really need to? Are they that much better than what I already have?

I'm in my mid 60s and my eyesight is not "Alpha"

Lots of questions lol
I think the only way of any validity for you is to compare them side by side in the viewing situations you usually find yourself in, or would like to see, hadn't thought of seeing, or had felt somehow limited in seeing before.

How do they perform relative to each other ?, and relative to how you'd like them to perform ? (sometimes we can't even really conceive of that until we see an example that makes us go Wow !)

In the end it comes down to - what do YOU see through both bins, How much do you like/(dislike) what YOU see, and what is that worth to you ?

How well do you know what you value most in a view ? Fit ? The centre? the edges ? Fov ? Ease of view ? CA handling ? Distortion profile ? Sweet spot ? Colour rendition ? Brightness ? Glare handling ? Something intangible ? What ? ..... Has what you value become limited by the binoculars at hand ? Is there a whole different world of possibilities waiting ? Or just tiny incremental improvements ? Or no practical discernable difference at all ?

There is enough info floating around here about colours (somewhat subjective) , brightness, cleanness, contrast, sharpness, CA and other distortion handling, and glare performance, etc to assess the view in different conditions - with YOUR eyes in the different states they find themselves in.

Looking at it in terms of engineering development - this is it for the next 5, maybe 10 years in practical differences ..... how does that affect the decision ? How confident are you that any bugs are ironed out of this product launch - or will there be minor upgrades ? Will they be distinct delineations in unit serial numbers - or possibly offered as an upgrade refurbishment ? Or will those minor nit improvements be saved for the next model cycle ?

Ultimately - how do you like the view ? How do you like the feel in the hand ? How is the steadiness ? and operation ? How do they perform in snap viewing, non-standard situations ? (Sod's law has it that you are most likely to only get a less than ideal fleeting glimpse of a Griffin, Dragon, Leprechaun, Fairy, or Sprite, etc ! :-O ) Can you see stuff with one that you can't see with the other ? - details, colours, making an id, etc ?

Is one just easier to throw up to the eyes ? Does one just fit your face/ eyes better ? What's the margin of error like ? Does one seem more pleasant to use ? What about the quality ? How does that feel ?

How do they make you feel ? Does one bring more pleasure than the other ? What are the feelings ? Are there regrets about NOT looking through a particular one ?

Consider your age, and your situation/values, and make YOUR choice from there.

One of them will speak to you ......

Be happy ! :)









Chosun :gh:
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I have an 8x42 SLC, which I find to be fantastic

Is the expense really worth buying the NL? Is it really that much better that I spend another 2k plus?

Thoughts please?

I was really contemplating buying them but do I really need to? Are they that much better than what I already have?

I'm in my mid 60s and my eyesight is not "Alpha"

Lots of questions lol
I think the NL is a big move up from the SLC and I don't think $2K is that much to own one of the best binoculars you can buy. If you wanted the best car money could buy it would probably cost a couple million dollars. Life is short and if you can afford an NL and you want one get it. The one thing the NL has over a lot of other binoculars and I notice this again and again when I compare it to other binoculars and other members have mentioned is transparency. It is just really clear is the only way I can describe it.
 
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pm42

Well-known member
Is the expense really worth buying the NL?

I cannot speak for you but I bought one to test it and expected to return it: I've never be crazy about "heavy" binoculars as I prefer the 8x32 format. And I have the excellent Zeiss SF 8x32 which I preferred to the praised Leica 7x42.

I will keep the NL Pure 8x42. The image gave me this "wow" effect I've never experienced since I bought a Trinovid more than 20 years ago, the handling is perfect making most of weight go away and the ergonomics, especially the accessories, is great.

What I do not like except the weight are the non-locking diopter controlr, the slilghly less butter smoother than Zeiss focuser, the need for precise eye-placement and a small rolling-ball effect.
I can live with this in exchange for a binocular that makes me want to look through them all the time, with great transparency, very neutral colors, immersion & 3D effect...

Of course, one can be happy with on the other excellent binoculars on the market and the NL Pure is indeed very expensive. So do not compare unless you are ready to take the chance to finally buy it.
 

Steve C

Well-known member
I can't speak from much experience with the NL, or the SLC for that matter. As I posted the other day an NL showed up in a local store. The first time I looked at it, there was quite a WOW factor. Each tine I've gone back in its been more like Wow, then wow. No doubt the NL is superb. The one here wears a price tag of $3,080. Their SV EL is tagged at $2,180. and the SLC is $1,599. I spent a fair bit of time on my third viewing in the store on the resolution chart on their wall. Bottom line is none of them could read any better on any part of the chart than any of the others. Granted I'd need some time with all three on a tripod and a fair bit of time with all of them together to define this further.

The NL has very different, and I'd say better, ergonomics. The NL has a wider fov and Swarovski did something with their color balance that makes the image appear brighter than the other two. However I'm of the mind that..."if it isn't broke, don't fix it". I can't see where any of the three will let you see something you can't with either of the other two.

If you have the money, then go for it. Otherwise, I'd say stay away from looking for something more than a slight increment better, stick with what you have.
 

jgraider

Well-known member
You won't see anything through the NL that you cannot see brilliantly with the SLC. I can afford one if I want, but $3k binos are beyond ridiculous personally.

NZbinodude summed it up very, very well IMO.
 

nzwild

Active member
I can't speak from much experience with the NL, or the SLC for that matter. As I posted the other day an NL showed up in a local store. The first time I looked at it, there was quite a WOW factor. Each tine I've gone back in its been more like Wow, then wow. No doubt the NL is superb. The one here wears a price tag of $3,080. Their SV EL is tagged at $2,180. and the SLC is $1,599. I spent a fair bit of time on my third viewing in the store on the resolution chart on their wall. Bottom line is none of them could read any better on any part of the chart than any of the others. Granted I'd need some time with all three on a tripod and a fair bit of time with all of them together to define this further.

The NL has very different, and I'd say better, ergonomics. The NL has a wider fov and Swarovski did something with their color balance that makes the image appear brighter than the other two. However I'm of the mind that..."if it isn't broke, don't fix it". I can't see where any of the three will let you see something you can't with either of the other two.

If you have the money, then go for it. Otherwise, I'd say stay away from looking for something more than a slight increment better, stick with what you have.

I have a 2019 pair of EL 8.5s. Every day I look through them I go WOWWW. 'Only' 396 FOV seems soo wide when I have them on a tripod with eyes well positioned. I make do with insane sharpness, resolution and unreal colours. Effortless viewing and unpicky, forgiving eyebox. I have become completely tuned in to the ergonomics. I hear there is not much between an EL and SLC.
Sometimes you just have to make do with something insanely good.
Definitely not a hurried decision
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
I think the NL is a big move up from the SLC and I don't think $2K is that much to own one of the best binoculars you can buy. If you wanted the best car money could buy it would probably cost a couple million dollars. Life is short and if you can afford an NL and you want one get it. The one thing the NL has over a lot of other binoculars and I notice this again and again when I compare it to other binoculars and other members have mentioned is transparency. It is just really clear is the only way I can describe it.
Dennis, just curious :cat:
Do the NL's come with an optical box ?
In direct comparison, are they more transparent than the 100% reflecting A-K prismed Zeiss HT ? The 100% reflecting Porro prismed Swarovski Habicht ? The 100% reflecting A-K prismed 56mm SLC-HD ?
Do they exhibit the 'clarity' that only those 100% reflecting prism bins have ?

Have you been working out lately Dennis ? How are you carrying those NL's out in the field ?





Chosun :gh:
 
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PeterPS

MEMBER
I think you know the answer. Deep down, what do want people to say? "Go for it", or "keep your SLC"?

I bought a 10x42 NL, and while it's an optically brilliant bino, the novelty has already worn off (it's been about 3 weeks). I think it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that an object will dramatically alter your quality of life, or that minute optical improvements will change the way you go about your birding/hunting/nature watching - whatever.

The NL's are good tools. But they're not magical 'wonder' instruments, either. If you've got the $$ and you feel that the extra features of the NL may contribute to your enjoyment, why not? But I don't think you'd be missing out on much by sticking with your SLC's.

At the end of the day, it's what you view through your binos that counts, isn't it? This forum has been a bit of a negative influence, because instead of enjoying whatever it is I'm looking at, I've been preoccupied with nitpicking the glass instead. And even the NL isn't immune to that. I've been picking holes in it all day long, and it sucks big time.

The grass is always greener. If you think the NL will cure that, then you're wrong.

If you find the SLC to be fantastic, then why change? If your answer to that is "but...." (etc) - then buy the NL's. :0)

Lots of good comments and wisdom! I have returned an NL 10x42, not a keeper for me. Now I am in the process of trying ("nitpicking"...) the NL 8x42, a better glass for me but definitely not without its own problems, so we'll see how it goes.
 

PeterPS

MEMBER
I think the NL is a big move up from the SLC and I don't think $2K is that much to own one of the best binoculars you can buy. If you wanted the best car money could buy it would probably cost a couple million dollars. Life is short and if you can afford an NL and you want one get it. The one thing the NL has over a lot of other binoculars and I notice this again and again when I compare it to other binoculars and other members have mentioned is transparency. It is just really clear is the only way I can describe it.

Where did you find an NL for 2K? It should be 3K and in fact here around is more like 3.3K (with tax)....
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Dennis, just curious :cat:
Do the NL's come with an optical box ?
In direct comparison, are they more transparent than the 100% reflecting A-K prismed Zeiss HT ? The 100% reflecting Porro prismed Swarovski Habicht ? The 100% reflecting A-K prismed 56mm SLC-HD ?
Do they exhibit the 'clarity' that only those 100% reflecting prism bins have ?

Have you been working out lately Dennis ? How are you carrying those NL's out in the field ?





Chosun :gh:
Those are superb questions, Chosun! I don't believe the NL has an optical box as far as I know. I have had the Zeiss HT, many Swarovski Habicht's and the 56mm SLC-HD in a 8x56 and I would say these AK prism binoculars even though they are 100% reflecting and are probably transmitting higher than the 91% of the NL the NL appears more transparent. Like Steve said above Swarovski did something with the NL color balance to make the NL appear brighter. Of those three you mention I would say the 8x56 SLC-HD is the most transparent followed by the Habicht and then the HT. The 8x56 SLC-HD is transparent primarily because the optical aberrations never reach your eyes instead passing by the field stop because of the big exit pupil and probably partly due to the AK prism. The Habicht is transparent because of the simplicity of the porro prism design and it is 100% reflecting as you say but really I am not sure what Swarovski did on the NL to make it so transparent with an SP prism but it is. Chosun, you are correct in that those three binoculars compare the closest with the NL in transparency and it is a hard phenomenon to quantify. The NL shows more glare than the SLC-HD 8x56 but I would have to side by side them to tell which one is more transparent. That would be a good question to ask Henry Link since he has the Zeiss 8x56 FL and now the 8x42 NL. Which one does he think is more transparent and aberration free. I know the Zeiss 8x56 FL will show less glare than the NL 8x42 because I had one but I am not sure about transparency. As far as the NL being heavy I am like Steve above in that Swarovski has taken the ergonomics of the NL to the next level with the slimmed down optical tubes. It is weird but the NL does not feel or look as big as it really is. It looks and feels like a 32 mm in the hand because of the slimmer tubes although you can feel the density of it. I really like the ergonomics of the NL. It kind of just falls into your hands and you feel one with the binocular instead of the binocular feeling like a separate entity. Making those tubes tapered like they did was a bigger deal than some people think. It made a big difference in the ergonomics of the binocular.
 
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[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Lots of good comments and wisdom! I have returned an NL 10x42, not a keeper for me. Now I am in the process of trying ("nitpicking"...) the NL 8x42, a better glass for me but definitely not without its own problems, so we'll see how it goes.
Let us know how you feel about the NL 8x42.
 

PeterPS

MEMBER
What I do not like except the weight are the non-locking diopter controlr, the slilghly less butter smoother than Zeiss focuser, the need for precise eye-placement and a small rolling-ball effect.
I prefer the SV/FP diopter, but the NL's is fine as it stays put. Regarding RB in the 8x, to my eyes it is less than I expected (and panning is quite comfortable), despite the fact that there is AMD. But I agree with you about the focuser and especially about the need for very precise eye placement. The NL 8x are very bright and have excellent/natural colors, but there is always glare at the bottom of the image---the wide FoV (which is their main advantage over other binos) helps you avoid the glare, but if you dart your eyes around you'll see it. The NLs inherited the armor, the strap attachments and the integrated obj lens caps from the FPs, and I am not fond of them but admittedly this is a minor aspect.
 
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Ries

Well-known member
If you have money to spend like water and like having the newest and best, sure it's a great device and betters the slc. Your birding skills won't improve by it, and you won't have more birding luck. If the 2k extra is a lot for you (as it is for many if not most, I could eat a year from it) you can easily let the itch wear off and keep enjoying your fantastic slc. It will show and find you all the same birds with already really high optic quality.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I prefer the SV/FP diopter, but the NL's is fine as it stays put. Regarding RB in the 8x, to my eyes it is less than I expected (and panning is quite comfortable), despite the fact that there is AMD. But I agree with you about the focuser and especially about the need for very precise eye placement. The NL 8x are very bright and have excellent/natural colors, but there is always glare at the bottom of the image---the wide FoV (which is their main advantage over other binos) helps you avoid the glare, but if you dart your eyes around you'll see it. The NLs inherited the armor, the strap attachments and the integrated obj lens caps from the FPs, and I am not fond of them but admittedly this is a minor aspect.
I think I prefer the diopter on the NL because I never like pulling the cap up on the diopter like on the EL. I agree that RB is less than expected and precise eye placement is necessary with the NL and the eye cups have to be just right and the focuser isn't quite as smooth as the Zeiss. Your right about the NL having great natural colors and there is glare at the bottom of the image in a lot of situations but it is tolerable but I think besides the wide FOV the transparency is another big advantage the NL has over other binos. I think the armor is fine and the integrated objective caps work well and I don't have a problem with the FP strap attachments but I did use the adaptors and installed my own Vero Vellini strap instead of the Swaro strap.
 
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Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
...... That would be a good question to ask Henry Link since he has the Zeiss 8x56 FL and now the 8x42 NL. Which one does he think is more transparent and aberration free. I know the Zeiss 8x56 FL will show less glare than the NL 8x42 because I had one but I am not sure about transparency. As far as the NL being heavy I am like Steve above in that Swarovski has taken the ergonomics of the NL to the next level with the slimmed down optical tubes. It is weird but the NL does not feel or look as big as it really is. It looks and feels like a 32 mm in the hand because of the slimmer tubes although you can feel the density of it. I really like the ergonomics of the NL. It kind of just falls into your hands and you feel one with the binocular instead of the binocular feeling like a separate entity. Making those tubes tapered like they did was a bigger deal than some people think. It made a big difference in the ergonomics of the binocular.
I'm sure Henry will include that in his upcoming test since that is his reference binocular.

Did you see the colour charts on the translated link I posted in the NL thread ? The whole Swaro family looks very similar to me on those charts - doesn't seem to be more than a bee's whatsit ! in it .....

The transmission chart looks like it should have great colour characteristics - very neutral, but with good saturation at either end of the spectrum. Looks to be an incremental improvement only in that regard over the SV.

I can tell that the NL is going to be rock like with low polar moments of inertia (a bit like the old Zen Prime HD) ..... I was more getting at how do you carry it ? Hanging around your neck by the neckstrap ? In the pouch ? Using a harness ? Just in the hand ? Transport around in a rucksack ? Or other ? (like one of those baby carrying slings that go over your shoulder). Good feel and balance in the hand is one thing while actually viewing - but that weight doesn't go away when moving around /transporting via shanks pony .........








Chosun :gh:
 

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