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Is it really worth buying an NL 8x42? (2 Viewers)

SeldomPerched

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)

Sound advice. The NLs will be on sale for some time to come so you could safely sit out the lust period and you might find as you are continuing to enjoy your fantastic SLCs that in a short while you wonder why you ever were that keen on the new release. I have to say I was invited to try an NL in a shop a month or more back but like you I love the SLC and haven't changed my mind about that since buying it back in the late spring.

I will say the NL I tried was ergonomically brilliant but so to me is the SLC - very much so.

All the best,

Tom
 

Hermann

Well-known member
There's much less difference in performance between to binoculars around the £1,000 - £1,500 mark (and even less) and top models like the NLs than many are prepared to admit.

Absolutely right.

I doubt very much that with a new pair of top Alphas you'll see anymore or have a very significant difference in birding experience than with a good solid instrument at a fraction of the cost.

Again absolutely right.

I often use old binoculars, like e.g. a Leica 8x32 BA. Mine was made in 1993, so it's "ancient", a dinosaur so to speak. Are the new binoculars "nicer"? Yes, in some ways at least. Do I see less detail with the Leica? NO. Do I "lose" IDs when I use the Leica? Not really, except perhaps because modern wideangle binoculars make it easier to scan the sky or wide open spaces.

Hermann
 

dwever

Registered User
Supporter
The incremental differences at the top end are very small so buying them is something that needs to be weighed up carefully.

I could have agreed with the statement prior to the release of the NL. The sum of the NL’s improvements arguably represent the next generation in binoculars. More than incremental. Glad to finally have had an overwhelmingly clear and easy buying decision at the high end.
 
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elkcub

Silicon Valley, California
United States
Gray C.,

Here’s some advice which to my surprise hasn’t been mentioned yet, while it is the most reasonable, logical, sound, cheap and satisfying I can think of.

Keep your SLC (it’s a great instrument) and look out for binoculars that are real additions to what you already have. Don’t look for more of the same or a tiny bit better performance but think of binoculars with different character.

This way you will become the owner of more than one binocular, which can be rather nice. Especially when they complement each other instead of being in competition. Especially when this strategy is so pleasing to your wallet. Note that you won’t chase after the latest and greatest but are able to shop for laid off, used, discounted models. Imagine that after a couple of years you will have three binoculars, all different, all useful, all pleasing to you. My prediction is that together, with all their different strong points, this small collection can easily hold their own against the Swarovski Nl Pure you once lusted for.

Why would you aim for one, great, state-of-the art piece of optical engineering, while we all know that it’s only top-of-the-heap for a couple of years, that it’s not perfect, that it has its strong points as well as its weak points, that it’s a compromise like all others? Why would we search for a binocular that ‘ticks all boxes’?

This is a rather strange idea, full of irony. Take note of the remarkably emotional reports, the great enthusiasm in these quarters for Swarovski’s Pure binocular. Made by members who often own several binoculars already and suddenly have seen the light: there’s only One. Monotheism, a sad perspective.

Renze

Hi Renze,

It's been a while but again our thoughts and values align. :t:

Truth be told, if I don't like a binocular it gets returned or sold, — immediately! If it's a "keeper" it gets used, or retained strictly as a collector's item, like various Swift 804s. I don't routinely use collectors items.

So, although my keepers have been increased now and again, primarily to satisfy various task requirements, I've never actually replaced one that's doing a great job for me, such as the 8x42 SLC-HD.

As a behavioral scientist I'm always reminded that every binocular, of whatever design, must be adapted to by the user so that they function harmoniously in performing a task. This learned and often unconscious adaptation is what makes any device useful, but sometimes the adaptation also presents an impediment for adapting to a new and different design, particularly if one has to unlearn the prior behavior. An good example of this would be two binoculars that only differ in their focusing direction.

I hope all is going well for you and your family.
Stay safe,

Ed
 

nzwild

Active member
Sound advice. The NLs will be on sale for some time to come so you could safely sit out the lust period and you might find as you are continuing to enjoy your fantastic SLCs that in a short while you wonder why you ever were that keen on the new release. I have to say I was invited to try an NL in a shop a month or more back but like you I love the SLC and haven't changed my mind about that since buying it back in the late spring.

I will say the NL I tried was ergonomically brilliant but so to me is the SLC - very much so.

All the best,

Tom

The lusting after new product that will 'change your life' is the best part of the whole experience. If you lust for something for years it may even add to the experience when you finally buy it. In the mean time the new product may even get more fine tuned and 'de-glared' or a new 8x42CL might come out with 92% transmission that weighs less than a NL.
 

WimDel

Active member
For me it’s all about the immersive viewing experience. Be there like there’s no glass between you and your subject. Apparent fov is important to me. I have looked through most recent alpha models and to me there is none that matches the immersivity of the NL. Then on top of that you get an unparalleled crisp image with perfect neutral colors and contrast and eye-bleeding sharpness. And on top of that you get an ergonomic shape making your hands melt together with the binoculars. I don’t need a collection of binoculars, I just need one perfect binocular, and this one comes pretty close. I suggest you just try them out...
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
For me it’s all about the immersive viewing experience. Be there like there’s no glass between you and your subject. Apparent fov is important to me. I have looked through most recent alpha models and to me there is none that matches the immersivity of the NL. Then on top of that you get an unparalleled crisp image with perfect neutral colors and contrast and eye-bleeding sharpness. And on top of that you get an ergonomic shape making your hands melt together with the binoculars. I don’t need a collection of binoculars, I just need one perfect binocular, and this one comes pretty close. I suggest you just try them out...
Good description of the NL.
 

Patudo

Well-known member
Ultimately - as has already been pointed out by quite a few folks here (so much for Birdforum being full of people keen on spending your money...) only you can judge, ideally by side by side viewing, whether the price of the NL is worth whatever improvement you perceive. Given that you've mentioned in previous threads that you've found little difference between your 8x42 SLC and the 8.5x42 (presume a SV/Fieldpro rather than the pre-Swarovision EL) and that you've lost your vision in your left eye, plus you're in your mid-sixties and not a 20-year old outdoorsman like NZwild, I suspect not - but it's something you can only really know by trying both yourself. Good luck whichever way you decide to go.

There were some really interesting points brought up by other replies too! ...

If it's a "keeper" it gets used, or retained strictly as a collector's item, like various Swift 804s. I don't routinely use collectors items.

Each to his own, of course... but the strongest reason for owning my older binoculars is that the experience of using them is so enjoyable. I don't use them when conditions or viewing situations don't suit them (ie. not on grim UK autumn and winter days with occasional precipitation), but there's a pleasure and wonder in going out on a fine day, bringing something like my 10x50 to my eyes and following a bird with it. I love that time of the year when the temperature and light allow those fine old porros to strut their stuff, and when the time comes to put them away every autumn it's always with reluctance, tempered with the memory of the days I've spent with them.

Yes but when the holiday is over, it's gone for ever except in your memories. The NLs will always be there for you lol

I'm one of those who does my birding close to home - the vast majority of my birding is 25 to maybe 40 minutes away. Although there are some trips I'd like to make someday (Eleonora's falcons in the Mediterranean islands, and urban goshawks in Berlin), in general I consider the birding I do interesting enough that I have little interest in birding-specific holidays. Because of that, and because following distant raptors is demanding, my birding-related spending has mostly gone on quality binoculars that perform at the level I need for the 95+% of my birding that happens near me. But, on the other hand, I've thoroughly enjoyed birding on those occasions I've been abroad. There are some really interesting birds to be seen not too far from the UK (Spain, Portugal etc.) and I can absolutely see why many folks would much rather have memories of spectacular birds that can only be seen abroad than the latest and greatest in optics.

Of course the issue is currently moot - and will be for a good long time, I suspect - given that the Chinese virus has made most of us local birders!
 
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temmie

Well-known member
I couldn't disagree more. There's much less difference in performance between to binoculars around the £1,000 - £1,500 mark (and even less) and top models like the NLs than many are prepared to admit. I doubt very much that with a new pair of top Alphas you'll see anymore or have a very significant difference in birding experience than with a good solid instrument at a fraction of the cost.
I totally agree with this. Maybe I was a little vague: For me the SLC is a very fine binocular (I think that's stating the obivous). So anyone that has an SLC, isn't missing out on much (if anything) at all with regards to birdwatching, unless you are feel you use the SLC to the limit and feel like something is lacking (which would surprise me).
So my advice is to allow some time to really use the SLC to the full, to get the best possible impression of what you are currently birding with, and to get a better idea IF you are missing something when using the SLC.


The incremental differences at the top end are very small so buying them is something that needs to be weighed up carefully. In such a situation canvassing the opinion of others who have used the NLs for a while is worthwhile and can help you make a decision. For many, could be new bins vs a new birding experience.

I honestly don't know what you are trying to say here (in bold), it seems contradictory:
if you have to rely on other people to point out a 'very small' difference that you don't notice (until someone points it out), it shows that the difference is not only 'very small', but most likely negligible, and that for a difference in price of >1000 euro.
If that difference is 'very small', it's not likely to be 'a new birding experience for many'.

--------------------------------------------------------
If it would really be a new birding experience, the difference is not 'very small' but more likely 'significant'. The easiest way to find out is test them yourself. I have looked through SLC's and NL's. What is that worth to the opening poster? My eyes are different, my usage is different etc. I value different qualities of binoculars. It has been said on this forum ad nauseam: don't rely on the opinion of others when it's about picking one very good binocular over another. Try them out yourself. Asking for advice on a forum to 'upgrade' from an SLC to an NL seems a bad idea to me. If you are in the league of SLC, you should know for yourself what to expect (and what not) of this 'upgrade'.
 
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bockos

Well-known member
For me it’s all about the immersive viewing experience. Be there like there’s no glass between you and your subject. Apparent fov is important to me. I have looked through most recent alpha models and to me there is none that matches the immersivity of the NL. Then on top of that you get an unparalleled crisp image with perfect neutral colors and contrast and eye-bleeding sharpness. And on top of that you get an ergonomic shape making your hands melt together with the binoculars. I don’t need a collection of binoculars, I just need one perfect binocular, and this one comes pretty close. I suggest you just try them out...

I agree 100% with you. If a person wants something, he finds a way to achieve it .... if he doesn't want it, he finds a reason not to do it ... And the two binoculars: Swarovski NL Pure 8x42 and Swarovski NL Pure 10x42 will be a very good collection!
 
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lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
How much does 'birding' mean to you? Is it your job? Do you do it all the time etc...or are you the kind of guy that birds casually most of the time and in many cases has to use the guide book to figure things out. .... Determine your need and move from there. Don't be fooled by the latest and greatest in anything, whether a car, a lawn mower or a pair of bins. Know what 'you want'....and decide accordingly. Don't let someone market it to you (a person or a company)...
 

tenex

reality-based
Antarctica
I honestly don't know what you are trying to say here (in bold), it seems contradictory... If that difference is 'very small', it's not likely to be 'a new birding experience for many'.
Since John hasn't replied yet, I'm going to guess that he was alluding to the commonly presented choice between paying substantially more for an only slightly better bino (in his opinion anyway), versus spending the money on nice birding trip(s).
 

Maljunulo

Well-known member
It all depends on whether or not your eyesight will permit you to see the difference in optical performance.

(saving field of view, which you will see almost no matter how bad your eyesight)
 

John Cantelo

Well-known member
Since John hasn't replied yet, I'm going to guess that he was alluding to the commonly presented choice between paying substantially more for an only slightly better bino (in his opinion anyway), versus spending the money on nice birding trip(s).

Apologies, I missed the earlier comment. Your clarification hits it on the nail. Ultimately, it will always be a personal judgement whether an instrument is only a marginal or substantial improvement on rival binoculars. However, given how good the ELs are it would be remarkable if the NLs were really that much better in terms of brightness, sharpness, fringing, etc. However, where the improvement is both marked and obvious is in the FoV - for some this could be sufficient difference to justify the additional cost but for others may not be so critical.
 

Tobias Mennle

Well-known member
The 8x42 SLC is a stunning glass and it surpasses all other available as new 8x42s I have tried in its lovely, very deep rendering of space. It drags you right into the scene, in that sense it is more transparent than the competition. It is together with the Leica UVHD+ the only alpha 8x42 now that features a classic curved field but with excellent aberration control (probably much better than the Leica). It has the bright glow of an AK prism glass due to excellent micro contrast, brightness and clever contrast boost by skewed transmission curve. I prefer it very much over both my Noctivid and the EDG for most situations. Ease of view of the SLC is absolutely high end Swarovski.

It flares badly though in strong backlight, and the focus throw is way to long (1.6 revolutions from 3m to infinity, compared to 0.8 in the Nocti). Swarovski again was very uncaring about internal blackening and flare reduction. It would be great if they would upgrade the SLC again to where it came from.

As far as I understand the NL is field flattened, that's a turn off for bird watching. I bet with the NL you lose the real deep space in your images, no matter how sharp, saturated, contrasty etc etc the image is. You surely do with Swarovision, and EDG.
 

Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
Chosun, post 20,
If you want to look at the NL transmission spectrum in comparison with the spctra of other binoculars, look at the WEB- site of House of Outdoor, I have posted a test there of the NL8x42 and the Victory SF 8x32 in comparison with other top quality binoculars, John robers has already referred to it in a separate post (the test is in Enlgish.)
Gijs van Ginkel
 

Sagittarius

Well-known member
I looked at a 10x42 NL at Cabelas and thought they were fantastic.
I noticed the huge FOV and clarity right away.
I will probably get the 12x42 NL since I have the 10x42 HT.
Don't really need the NL since my HTs are just fine but can't stand not owning the latest and greatest.

I never once thought the Zeiss SF was worth buying over my HT but the NL is.
I do believe Zeiss will top the NL in the future and I will have to lay down the NL and go Zeiss again when they do.
If it's the best and it's there, I have to have it!
It's the American way and always will be. :)
 

42za

Well-known member
I looked at a 10x42 NL at Cabelas and thought they were fantastic.
I noticed the huge FOV and clarity right away.
I will probably get the 12x42 NL since I have the 10x42 HT.
Don't really need the NL since my HTs are just fine but can't stand not owning the latest and greatest.

I never once thought the Zeiss SF was worth buying over my HT but the NL is.
I do believe Zeiss will top the NL in the future and I will have to lay down the NL and go Zeiss again when they do.
If it's the best and it's there, I have to have it!
It's the American way and always will be. :)

Enjoy :)

I must definitely be the lone eccentric here as I am perfectly satisfied with my "obsolete" binoculars.

:) :) :)

Cheers.
 

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