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Just got my Zeiss FL 8x32 (1 Viewer)

kristoffer

Used Register
I like the size of the FL. They fit my hands very good. I have quite large hands but I still find them to fit my hands perfectly. I also like how the open bridge ED2 feels in the hands, but not the focuser. But if it is smooth, then the ED2 will be a far better birding bin. I will send my ED2 to service, and hopefully get a smooth focuser at the same time.

My 7x36 ED2 has very smooth focus. I have emailed them before I placed my order. They confirmed all the current 7x36 have the glare fix. How do you like the size of 8x32 FL? I tried it a couple of times and still cannot get used to its small size.
 

NWBirder

Just Need One More Pair
I too like the 8x32 FL but I finally got a Zen 8x43 ED2 over the weekend and the Zen really is sharper. Let's say it splits the difference between the FL and the 8x32 SE.

Here's what else I've noticed:

Brightness: the Zeiss is amazingly close considering the difference in objectives.
Contrast: the Zen has the edge here. Really, really nice.
Color: the Zeiss may be a bit cool for some, but the Zen is warm and tending toward yellow. The SE and Pentax ED are also a bit warm, but not yellow like the Zen. If you want neutrality, you probably can't beat a Zeiss or Leica. I haven't looked through a Swaro in a couple years so I can't comment on that. My guess is they're very neutral these days.
CA: the Zeiss may have a small edge here, nothing dramatic. They are both superb.
DOF/3D: Zen is deeper, and the Zeiss always seems flat compared to other roofs.
Pincushion: I mention this only because in the Zen it intrudes a bit. Quite noticable, even close to on-axis. The Zeiss has it as well, but it doesn't intrude as much.
Focus: No comparison. The Zen is slow and (so far) stiff. My biggest beef in fact. The Zeiss is a birder's focus if ever there was. Fast, light, precise. A real treat in close quarters.
Accessories: Zeiss wins. Everything works. Personally I think the strap is more than a 20oz. bin needs, especially the heavy neoprene. I also prefer an everready case that slips off in the field, but the Zeiss case is super quality. The Zen objective caps are, of course, no good. The strap is long and rather shoddy. The hard case is nice but I doubt you can easily stow the strap in it. Cost cutting on Zen's part, but excusable.

Overall, Zen wins in the optics department: sharpness and contrast really stand out. An amazing achievement at the price. The Zeiss takes everything else. In all, two great bins with different strengths. It'll be interesting to see which makes it in the field with me more often. Something tells me weight/size will play a role.
Also, I'm already thinking of warblers and the thought of chasing them with the Zen's ponderous focus is daunting.
Mark

You just opened up a can of worms there. How can a $400 binoculars beat a $2000 in sharpness department? o:)

I am not surprised. It is not strictly apple to orange comparison. 32mm FL vs larger 43mm ZEN. I am sure the 42mm FL will have slight uphand over 43mm ZEN. I have both 7x36 ED2 and 10x43 ED2. Both have superior resolution. Handling is good for me too. For the price I paid, they are well worthy the money spent.
 

Nessus

Well-known member
I use my 8x32 FL a lot and they are great but lately I've been thinking of selling both them and the Conquests and getting the 7x42 FL. It's pretty small, much smaller then the 8x42 and 10x42. I think I might be better off with slightly less magnification for a fairly big jump in brightness. Besides I bring my conquests 12x45 with me most days so the magnification on the lower pair is almost irrelevant.
 

Kammerdiner

Well-known member
You just opened up a can of worms there. How can a $400 binoculars beat a $2000 in sharpness department? o:)

I am not surprised. It is not strictly apple to orange comparison. 32mm FL vs larger 43mm ZEN. I am sure the 42mm FL will have slight uphand over 43mm ZEN. I have both 7x36 ED2 and 10x43 ED2. Both have superior resolution. Handling is good for me too. For the price I paid, they are well worthy the money spent.

Yes, the objective size may have something to do with it. But I've had the Zen and the FL out together a couple times this week and I'll stand by the original assessment: the Zen has a slight edge in resolution.

In fact, I suspect it might hold it's own against an 8x42 FL as well. Anybody have both to compare? Even more, I'll go out on a limb and say that the Zen resolution might be as good as any current roof out there. Strong words? Try it and see. I'd love to hear the results.

On a tripod, here's the order I put my bins in in terms of resolution: 8x32 SE, 8x43 ED2, 8x32 FL, and, a bit further down, Pentax 8x32 ED. This was an indoor test looking at drapery fabric at maybe 25 feet. Sounds silly, but resolving fabric weave is a lot like resolving feathers--without the inconvenience of a flighty subject.

Mark
 

Fireform

Well-known member
That sounds about right. The 42mm FLs I had had a little bit better resolution than the 32mm FLs and were significantly brighter, a smidge brighter than the 7x36 Zens even. I think that objectively they had slightly better sharpness than the Zens, but the contrast of the Zens pulled them almost even. The center field performance of the Zens is very impressive.

The only real beef I have with the Zens now is the focussing is still too stiff for my taste, even in the tropics. I can get used to it, but I don't want to. Using Zeiss and Nikon focusing knobs has spoiled me. I'm habituated to focusing my SEs with both index fingers in tandem so they really aren't that slow for me.
 

John M Robinson

Well-known member
The focus on both of my SEs is one of my favorite things about them. Actually for me, view, ergonomics and velvety focus are what separate them from the competition. I did notice that in really cold weather the SE lubrication gets stiff and makes them hard to focus, that's where that dry Leica focus comes into play. The Leica is just ok in general warm weather use, but it doesn't degrade in cold weather, which is the design compromise they intended.

I'm looking forward to trying a Zeiss 8x32FL, I'm still looking for that Zeiss that really impresses me. The larger Zeiss don't blow me away, they are good but for some reason I don't connect with them the way I do with the SEs, Leica or Swaro.

John
 

Colin

Axeman (Retired)
England
When I was trying the Zeiss 8 x 32s, I was not very happy with the eye cups. When they were up, I could not seem to see the whole field of view. I could almost use them well with the cups fully down even though I do not wear spectacles. However, when I discovered that there is a half way position for the eye cups, that did the trick. At that time, I was a bit disappointed as in all other repects, they were brilliant. Having found this other cup position, I have bought them and I have to say that they are probably equal best bins that I have ever bought.
 

John Dracon

John Dracon
Just an observation. When comparing quality binoculars against each other, I do believe individual eyes see ever so slightly differently. We make the assumption that binocular A is better than binocular B because A is rated siuperior by the experts. And then we try B and say, methinks I can see better with this one. The variable at play is not the binocular itself (it could be) but rather the user and in particular his or her eyes. Blood sugar fluctuations can affect visual acuity. So can fatigue, age, etc. I believe it is an incorrect assumption to make that the human factor is as much of a constant as the instrument itself. I believe in the opposite. I wear corrective eye glasses by necessity. Over the years experience has demonstrated that my optimum resolution is impaired by plastic lens, even though the instruments reading the correction say there is no difference between glass and plastic lens. Assuming collimation factors are not in play, binocular B just may be preferable to Mark. I have an old pair of Bushnell IF 8x40 single coated binoculars with a suiperior field and very "comfortable" to use on my eyes. Why, I don't know. It just is. Detail easily matches my Zeiss 8x32 FL. John
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
When I was trying the Zeiss 8 x 32s, I was not very happy with the eye cups. When they were up, I could not seem to see the whole field of view. I could almost use them well with the cups fully down even though I do not wear spectacles. However, when I discovered that there is a half way position for the eye cups, that did the trick. At that time, I was a bit disappointed as in all other repects, they were brilliant. Having found this other cup position, I have bought them and I have to say that they are probably equal best bins that I have ever bought.

Exactly. That realization mirrors my conclusion! That mid-position on the eyecups is perfect for me also. Makes them the best binoculars out there for me too.
 

Kammerdiner

Well-known member
Just an observation. When comparing quality binoculars against each other, I do believe individual eyes see ever so slightly differently. We make the assumption that binocular A is better than binocular B because A is rated siuperior by the experts. And then we try B and say, methinks I can see better with this one. The variable at play is not the binocular itself (it could be) but rather the user and in particular his or her eyes. Blood sugar fluctuations can affect visual acuity. So can fatigue, age, etc. I believe it is an incorrect assumption to make that the human factor is as much of a constant as the instrument itself. I believe in the opposite. I wear corrective eye glasses by necessity. Over the years experience has demonstrated that my optimum resolution is impaired by plastic lens, even though the instruments reading the correction say there is no difference between glass and plastic lens. Assuming collimation factors are not in play, binocular B just may be preferable to Mark. I have an old pair of Bushnell IF 8x40 single coated binoculars with a suiperior field and very "comfortable" to use on my eyes. Why, I don't know. It just is. Detail easily matches my Zeiss 8x32 FL. John

Agreed! I suspect there are variables that can't be quantified because they involve the interaction of bin and user. Since the users are variable, the results are variable. Here, for instance, is a quirk that makes no sense to me at all: floaters seem to interfere with the view through the Zeiss 8x32 FL more than my other bins. The floaters are more noticable, get in the way more. Why? Who the heck knows. Is it the bins or is it me? Or is it just some weird juxtaposition of both?

Mark
 

KorHaan

Well-known member
Agreed! I suspect there are variables that can't be quantified because they involve the interaction of bin and user. Since the users are variable, the results are variable. Here, for instance, is a quirk that makes no sense to me at all: floaters seem to interfere with the view through the Zeiss 8x32 FL more than my other bins. The floaters are more noticable, get in the way more. Why? Who the heck knows. Is it the bins or is it me? Or is it just some weird juxtaposition of both?

Mark

Floaters?

You mean the little dust particles drifting on your cornea?

Ronald
 

kristoffer

Used Register
I really disagree. A bad bin will always be a bad bin. Lots of CA, reflections, unsharp, not flat field etc. Bad optics wont be better because you wear glasses or is fatigued.

Just an observation. When comparing quality binoculars against each other, I do believe individual eyes see ever so slightly differently. We make the assumption that binocular A is better than binocular B because A is rated siuperior by the experts. And then we try B and say, methinks I can see better with this one. The variable at play is not the binocular itself (it could be) but rather the user and in particular his or her eyes. Blood sugar fluctuations can affect visual acuity. So can fatigue, age, etc. I believe it is an incorrect assumption to make that the human factor is as much of a constant as the instrument itself. I believe in the opposite. I wear corrective eye glasses by necessity. Over the years experience has demonstrated that my optimum resolution is impaired by plastic lens, even though the instruments reading the correction say there is no difference between glass and plastic lens. Assuming collimation factors are not in play, binocular B just may be preferable to Mark. I have an old pair of Bushnell IF 8x40 single coated binoculars with a suiperior field and very "comfortable" to use on my eyes. Why, I don't know. It just is. Detail easily matches my Zeiss 8x32 FL. John
 

Kammerdiner

Well-known member
When comparing quality binoculars against each other . . .

That's the key, Kristoffer: quality. In fact I assume we're basically talking about the best available. At the alpha level (and I don't really limit that to the big three these days) personal preferences, idiosyncracies, intangibles, and perhaps even subtle and largely unexplained interactions between instrument and user, do play a role. Some swear by Swaro, others lust for Leica, still others have a zest for Zeiss (or Zen for that matter). C'est la vie, if you ask me.

Ronald: floaters are bits of detritus in the vitreous humor of the eye that cast shadows on the retina. They float around your view and for some reason when I use the Zeiss they seem to be more prominent. There's probably a reason for that, but darned if I know what it could be.

Mark
 

kristoffer

Used Register
Well, I had some problems to see a Bushnell IF 8x40 single coated bin as a alpha, or alphaish, so I thought we did not talk about quality ;)

That's the key, Kristoffer: quality. In fact I assume we're basically talking about the best available. At the alpha level (and I don't really limit that to the big three these days) personal preferences, idiosyncracies, intangibles, and perhaps even subtle and largely unexplained interactions between instrument and user, do play a role. Some swear by Swaro, others lust for Leica, still others have a zest for Zeiss (or Zen for that matter). C'est la vie, if you ask me.

Ronald: floaters are bits of detritus in the vitreous humor of the eye that cast shadows on the retina. They float around your view and for some reason when I use the Zeiss they seem to be more prominent. There's probably a reason for that, but darned if I know what it could be.

Mark
 

John Dracon

John Dracon
Kristoffer - My aside about the Bushnell 8x40 IF binocular matching the detail of the Zeiss FL 8x32 refers to the resolving of detail in the black and white USAF 1951 optical chart when comparing binoculars. Perhaps the extra 8 mm of objective lens contributes to its resolution. I too have the Zeiss Fl 8x32 plus other so-called alpha binoculars. I wouldn't have purchased my Zeiss if I thought the Bushnell 8x40 matched it in all respects. It doesn't. But for my eyes the single coated Bushnell 8x40 is a dandy. I have an old Zeiss 7x50 (circa 1936) binocular in my collection. No coatings whatsoever, but nonetheless very usable for me. Sorry if I sound a bit defensive, but there is old quality that is quality. Have you ever looked through a Bushnell 8x40 IF binocular model called the featherlight? John
 

kristoffer

Used Register
No, I have not. I´m sure they are good bins too. It just sounded kinda unbelievable that an old single coated bin could match the resolution. But I guess good old optics resolve almost as good as new. The evolution last ten years perhaps advanced more on other aspects of optics.


Sorry if I sound a bit defensive, but there is old quality that is quality. Have you ever looked through a Bushnell 8x40 IF binocular model called the featherlight? John
 

henry link

Well-known member
Binoculars have had "better than eyesight" resolution for a long time, even uncoated ones. If the magnification is boosted high enough even pretty poor or defective binoculars can usually resolve smaller elements on the USAF chart than the eye can see at the binocular's normal magnification.
 
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kristoffer

Used Register
Well it was stated that personal taste or preferences could make any bin as good as the best. Even if the random bin resolve as good, there are 20 more variables to take into account.
 
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