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Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.

Moving up the $$$$ chain and glass (1 Viewer)

avidopticguy

Active member
So here is a question for the forum GOers here regarding moving up the money chain in the optics world and performance. Needless to say we have all expirenced the diminishing returns on price vs performance.

Has anyone had an experience where they purchased more expensive optics (excluding used/sale) and taken a step backwards in optical performance (of couse excluding personal preferences and ergonomics)?

Every time I have paid more the optical performance has been better. Of course there have been times I have opted for a less costly model at a sacrifice of optical performance for personal preference or ergonomics.

I ask because I am about to purchase a compact set of binos and I have narrowed my pick down to 3 all at different price points (because the 3 different price points met met my ergonomic requirements weight, size, magnification, etc....).

The 3 are :

Monarch M7 8x30 - $475
Zeiss Victory Pocket 8x25 - $820
Swaro CL B 8x30 - $1100

I am soon to try all these first hand.

The reason for my question is, form other user's accounts of the 3 mentioned, it seems that the Zeiss victory pocket 8x25 optically out performs the Swaro CL B 8x30 at $300 less (of course not in brightness but sharpness and CA and other aspects).

Thoughts?
 

Ratal

Well-known member
I had the Swaro CL and 8x25 Zeiss side by side.

I kept the Zeiss. A stellar performer in such a small package - A true 'take everywhere and know you have premium optics to hand' type of tool.
 

Rg548

Retired Somewhere
United Kingdom
I'm a huge fan of the Swaro 8x30, I think for the money it's a serious performer.
I ended up with the Swaro CL 8x25, due to the smaller package, which I also prefer to the Zeiss 8x25, but as an all round package, optically they are both superb.
These compliment my 10x42's.
But in answer to your question, my advice would be the CL 8x30's.
But we're all different arent we.
Good luck.
 

Ratal

Well-known member
I Should add a clarifier here - I was not looking to have a one and done set when I searched for a lightweight binocular. I needed something that fitted to a pouch pocket and were absolutely unobtrusive.
 

avidopticguy

Active member
Looks like it is going to come down to personal preference and ergonomics. I was only able to try out the 10x30 swaro cl b in hand and it seemed to have more CA than I would like, but the ergonomics were fantastic. I will see how the 8x30 handles CA.

It is funny, I can post all day long and get advice and input. Once I have the opportunity to compare the binos in hand side by side I can make a decision within minutes. Only if there were more available locally.
 

edwincjones

Well-known member
I am glad that I got the zeiss terra 8x25 instead of the more expensive compacts.
I am now not that impressed by the compacts compared to the 32mms
and for me, the terra is "good enough". Maybe I would have been happier
with the premium compacts but I doubt it.
My plan was to get the terra and if I really liked and used them more,
then get a higher end model later.

edj
 

Gdavis248

Well-known member
United States
Looks like it is going to come down to personal preference and ergonomics. I was only able to try out the 10x30 swaro cl b in hand and it seemed to have more CA than I would like, but the ergonomics were fantastic. I will see how the 8x30 handles CA.

It is funny, I can post all day long and get advice and input. Once I have the opportunity to compare the binos in hand side by side I can make a decision within minutes. Only if there were more available locally.

This is how I've felt ever since I got into binoculars over the last couple years! Just simply not enough places near me to look at the ones I'm interested in in-person! Super frustrating. I recently got a pair of Swarovski EL's, my first "alpha" glass. They are phenomenal, no doubt! But...I wasn't able to compare them side by side with any competitor!! So I'm always left wondering how the other Zeiss and Leica's may look and mayyyybe I would like those better?!?! It's what keeps me up at night :LOL:
 

mwhogue

Well Known Member
This is how I've felt ever since I got into binoculars over the last couple years! Just simply not enough places near me to look at the ones I'm interested in in-person! Super frustrating. I recently got a pair of Swarovski EL's, my first "alpha" glass. They are phenomenal, no doubt! But...I wasn't able to compare them side by side with any competitor!! So I'm always left wondering how the other Zeiss and Leica's may look and mayyyybe I would like those better?!?! It's what keeps me up at night :LOL:

No worries mate. In high end bins I have SW SV EL, Zeiss T FL, Leica UV HD+ and Nikon EDG II. I have briefly tried Zeiss SF and Leica NV both excellent slightly maybe even somewhat better in some ways but thought they were not worth the price of upgrading given what I already have. As you find the Els phenomenal, it's unlikely you would find that a different high end glass would be meaningfully better for you. For me owning, using and comparing different bins increases my enjoyment of all of them. So my 2 cents: Use and enjoy your Els and sleep well.

Mike
 

Gdavis248

Well-known member
United States
No worries mate. In high end bins I have SW SV EL, Zeiss T FL, Leica UV HD+ and Nikon EDG II. I have briefly tried Zeiss SF and Leica NV both excellent slightly maybe even somewhat better in some ways but thought they were not worth the price of upgrading given what I already have. As you find the Els phenomenal, it's unlikely you would find that a different high end glass would be meaningfully better for you. For me owning, using and comparing different bins increases my enjoyment of all of them. So my 2 cents: Use and enjoy your Els and sleep well.

Mike

Thank You! They really are a joy to use. Price tag is steep but I pick them up at least once a day just to have a look outside (never know what you might see) and I really do get a lot of enjoyment out of them. To me, that makes them worth it.

To be fair, I also have a pair of Kowa BD II XD's (primarily for my wife now) and they are great! But I can absolutely tell a difference when you go side by side with the Swaro's. But for most people I'm sure a $500 binocular is more than enough.
 

mwhogue

Well Known Member
I am glad that I got the zeiss terra 8x25 instead of the more expensive compacts.
I am now not that impressed by the compacts compared to the 32mms
and for me, the terra is "good enough". Maybe I would have been happier
with the premium compacts but I doubt it.
My plan was to get the terra and if I really liked and used them more,
then get a higher end model later.

edj

Ed,

As a pocket nerd, I agree that the Terra 8x25 is a great choice for a one and done pocket in the price range. The only thing to consider for anyone reading with interest is that pockets of equal or superior optical quality with a significantly wider FOV than the Terra may prompt someone to use them more. For example if someone has the Terra but winds up not using them all that often, they may find the VP or the Curio worth the additional cost in terms of both increased enjoyment and use.

Mike
 

avidopticguy

Active member
Selection without the ability to try is super frustrating.

So, I received the Swaro CL B 8x30s. It was low light and late when I got home, but man!!! the CA was a lot better controlled than the 10x30 counterpart and definitely passed my initial test (my tolerance level for CA). I will try again today in more harsh lighting. The CA was more apparent when the view was not in focus and cleared up to a much much lower level (negligible) with the view in focus at the center. There is more edge CA than the center but it is like at 30% FOV not 50% like my monarch HG 8x42s. The CA control is no at the level of my Zeiss SF 8x42 (I can almost never find it even in the harshest viewing conditions), however In terms of sharpness, theses hands down out preform the Monarch M7 8x30s (at center and even more so towards the edge) and I feel are on the level of my SF 8x42s. Comparing the M7 to the Cl B side by side the M7 has a larger FOV. In addition, I find that my eyes are very relaxed viewing thought the CL Bs both with my glasses and even more so without them.

The CL Bs has received a lot of critical remarks regarding the "poor" diopter design, some have even went as far as to call it a joke. Although not the best, I have not found it cumbersome or hard to use at all. I would have never thought twice about it functionally other than being a unique design. In fact the diopter dial it has been really smooth, predictable and has many locking positions. I personally think it is an unobtrusive and sleek design. I was able to set it while viewing (I will admit, a little tricky and not as simple as traditional design) without much issue (I do have skinny fingers). So I think calling it a "joke" is a little harsh. In addition, I am a user that will switch diopter settings back and forth often depending on if I have my glasses on or off. On all my binos I know what my glasses off setting is, so I don't have to re-set while viewing. I did the same for these.

For a compact set of bions this is just about as large as I would want to go but it is sooo worth it for the view. I still want to compare these again the victory pocket 8x25. That may change my mind, however, as of now I am content.

I will probably write a post on the M7 vs CL vs Ziess VP - as these are the main compact single hinge contenders (along with HG 8x30, but I won't have that one).
 

wdc

Well-known member
Supporter
United States
If you don't wear glasses, the Monarch 8x30 may be all you need, and the price is right, however the 8x25 SF Victory Pocket has served me well on long hikes, packtrips, and when I'm out painting, due to its pocketable size and weight. I own both the 8x25 Zeiss and the Swaro 8x30, and use the Zeiss more, just because of it's smaller size. It gets the nod for that, and also delivers a fine view, even with glasses. My only negative criticism is that I sometimes knock the diopter off its detent setting when pulling it out of the bag, or my shirt pocket. It is easily repositioned to the right setting.

No knock on the Swaro, but the 8x30 format is splitting the difference between 8x25 and 8x32. If I'm choosing, I find I'm going towards 8x32, or 7x35, rather than 8x30 if I'm headed out to bird, (and don't have a 10x42 at hand...). ;-)

Conversely, if I'm looking to carry a binocular out in nature for a long distance, a bin smaller than 8x30 is generally more appropriate for my needs. But its a pretty subjective issue, frankly. I do keep an 8x30 in the car, because that format easily fits in the center storage.

Cheers,

Bill
 

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wdc

Well-known member
Supporter
United States
This is how I've felt ever since I got into binoculars over the last couple years! Just simply not enough places near me to look at the ones I'm interested in in-person! Super frustrating. I recently got a pair of Swarovski EL's, my first "alpha" glass. They are phenomenal, no doubt! But...I wasn't able to compare them side by side with any competitor!! So I'm always left wondering how the other Zeiss and Leica's may look and mayyyybe I would like those better?!?! It's what keeps me up at night :LOL:
I have been there, and consequently have amassed a modest collection of bins over the last 5 years. It can be a rather compelling habit. However, while I endeavor to keep them all in rotation, I find that I use them based on physical size and magnification desires and needs rather than the brand. So there's a little advice: Try different formats and sizes AND different brands. If you're curious about the 'other' alpha, try it in a different size or format than what you've already got. Slightly more practical.....

Above all: enjoy.

-Bill
 

Gdavis248

Well-known member
United States
I have been there, and consequently have amassed a modest collection of bins over the last 5 years. It can be a rather compelling habit. However, while I endeavor to keep them all in rotation, I find that I use them based on physical size and magnification desires and needs rather than the brand. So there's a little advice: Try different formats and sizes AND different brands. If you're curious about the 'other' alpha, try it in a different size or format than what you've already got. Slightly more practical.....

Above all: enjoy.

-Bill

That's a great idea! I currently use 8x42 since I find 10x42 a little too shaky. But it certainly would be nice to have a 10x42 when I know I'm going to have some longer distances to check out, plus I just ordered a tripod which would be super helpful with the 10x.

I'm also super curious about a 8x32. I'm in intrigued by the smaller size and weight but my only hesitation is the fact I'm a glasses wearer. I worry about eye relief and/or exit pupil size. But I've actually never tried a 8x32 so I really have no idea how much of a difference it would be.
 

wdc

Well-known member
Supporter
United States
But I've actually never tried a 8x32 so I really have no idea how much of a difference it would be.
In daylight, I don't think you'd notice any difference between a 32 and 42 mm in terms of use, be it brightness and/or the smaller exit pupil. At least that is my experience. Both the 8x32 Swaros - (EL and NL) have enough eye relief for my glasses. The Zeiss SF32 is just a tad shy for me, but still a great binocular. Leica Retrovid 7x35 works fine, as does the Trinovid HD 8x32. Among glasses wearers on this forum, I've found I need more ER than some of the others who've commented on that issue (chill6x6, Troubador). It might be my prescription or the frames, or both. You need to try for yourself.

-Bill
 

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