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My Quest for the Perfect 8x32 (1 Viewer)

[email protected]

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I didn't include Porro design. I have had the Bushnell and Swift Audubon (might be the same), and I did love them and still have both pairs. I find them not as easy for travel purposes. I feel they do have advantages but are not in my radar now. I am not familiar with the Kowa YF, Yosemite. I do think that at the cheaper price point they are, they are actually better quality and durability than that same price point for roofs. Not sure why? Do you feel they are made better or just not as expensive to make for good quality?

Torview....I have decided to keep the Nikon 8x30HG as well as the Meostar 8x32. I love them both.
The porro's are not as expensive to make as a good roof. Much simpler design.
 

[email protected]

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I enjoy these threads which reveal how differently we rate the binoculars on offer. I had the Meopta for a couple of years, I persevered with it because I really liked it when trying it in a store, ultimately I did`nt like that there was no objective tubes to hold, the eye cups were way too small for my sockets, it had poor stray light control and a yellowish cast.

I liked the CLFPro initially but it did`nt work well for me so it got sold as well.

I can`t say I find the Kowa overpriced, in fact given its magnesium body, four XD lenses and excellent build I`m surprised it does`nt cost more. Apart from the 32mm SF I`v owned or tried everything else and find the Kowa is my perfect 30mm binocular.

Imans I`ll be interested to read your final decision as I can`t think of a model you`v not listed.
I tried a Kowa Genesis 8x33 and I have to agree with you. One of the best overall 32mm binocular's out there for the price. I think they improved the optic's in the last year or so because I find the edges much sharper. I can't find anything wrong with it.
 
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[email protected]

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"In my testing of the near $1000 price point, the most overpriced of the lot; the Swaro CL, had the worst edging issue in my eyes."

You must have had a defective Swarovski 8x30 CL!

Quote's from Allbino's on the Swarovski 8x30 CL
"Flat field of view, pin-sharp practically to the very edge."


Quote's from Allbino's on the Nikon HG 8x30
"Unfortunately the FIELD FLATTENER inscription on the casing of the binoculars seems to be just a joke of the producer. On the edge of the field there is a really huge blurry area, practically as big as the one you see on the edge of the Monarch 7 8x30, a device three times cheaper, without any field flattener. It is an obvious slip-up."

Also, you can buy a Swarovski CL 8x30 on Ebay from the UK and the warranty is still honored by Swarovski for $950.00 shipped which is almost the same price as the Nikon HG 8x30.
 

lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
"In my testing of the near $1000 price point, the most overpriced of the lot; the Swaro CL, had the worst edging issue in my eyes."

You must have had a defective Swarovski 8x30 CL!

Quote's from Allbino's on the Swarovski 8x30 CL
"Flat field of view, pin-sharp practically to the very edge."


Quote's from Allbino's on the Nikon HG 8x30
"Unfortunately the FIELD FLATTENER inscription on the casing of the binoculars seems to be just a joke of the producer. On the edge of the field there is a really huge blurry area, practically as big as the one you see on the edge of the Monarch 7 8x30, a device three times cheaper, without any field flattener. It is an obvious slip-up."

Also, you can buy a Swarovski CL 8x30 on Ebay from the UK and the warranty is still honored by Swarovski for $950.00 shipped which is almost the same price as the Nikon HG 8x30.

Yeah, I saw Allbinos...and that is what I was expecting for both the CL and the HG. But I have the opposite. Maybe my eyes, maybe the product...who knows?

What I do know is that the HG for my copy has a close focus of 5' 5" or 1.67 meters while the Swaro wasn't double that but certainly not a number I was comfortable with. The HG had a large FOV (435 feet or 132 meters) while the Swaro's is close to 10 feet or 3.3 meters. When I am out birding and want to move between minor birding distances...5 - 30 meters, the Swaro takes an extra finger placement to get into focus. Little things like that adds up. Even if I can get the Swaro for less $, ...those three things bug me about it. Again, I have been a Swaro man with the SLC, the ATS, so I do like the brand, but just not that particular product.

I went birding today and when I opened up the car, there was an insect right where my feet were on the ground. The HG saw the insect, the Swaro? I would have had to move to be back seat. I like the Swaro, really wanted to make it work, but for my criteria, it wasn't doing it. Swaro needs to update their product.
 
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Torview

Registered User
Supporter
I tried a Kowa Genesis 8x33 and I have to agree with you. One of the best overall 32mm binocular's out there. I think they improved the optic's in the last year or so because I find the edges much sharper. I can't find anything wrong with it.

Dennis you surprise me, literally just last month on my Genesis thread you proclaimed the Genesis to have "some of the softest edges I have seen outside of low end MIC binocular's"

Did you try it recently ?
 

[email protected]

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Dennis you surprise me, literally just last month on my Genesis thread you proclaimed the Genesis to have "some of the softest edges I have seen outside of low end MIC binocular's"

Did you try it recently ?
Yes, I have a friend that has a new one and I tried it and I was impressed with it. The edges seemed much sharper than when I tried one a while back. Maybe Kowa made some improvement's through the years.
 

[email protected]

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Yeah, I saw Allbinos...and that is what I was expecting for both the CL and the HG. But I have the opposite. Maybe my eyes, maybe the product...who knows?

What I do know is that the HG for my copy has a close focus of 5' 5" or 1.67 meters while the Swaro wasn't double that but certainly not a number I was comfortable with. The HG had a large FOV (435 feet or 132 meters) while the Swaro's is close to 10 feet or 3.3 meters. When I am out birding and want to move between minor birding distances...5 - 30 meters, the Swaro takes an extra finger placement to get into focus. Little things like that adds up. Even if I can get the Swaro for less $, ...those three things bug me about it. Again, I have been a Swaro man with the SLC, the ATS, so I do like the brand, but just not that particular product.

I went birding today and when I opened up the car, there was an insect right where my feet were on the ground. The HG saw the insect, the Swaro? I would have had to move to be back seat. I like the Swaro, really wanted to make it work, but for my criteria, it wasn't doing it. Swaro needs to update their product.
Interesting that you thought the Nikon HG 8x30 has sharper edges than the Swarovski CL 8x30. I have had them both and IMO the Swarovski has much sharper edges in agreement with Allbino's. I do agree the Swarovski CL 8x30 is not the perfect bug or butterfly binocular if that is your thing because of it's 9.8 foot close focus. I don't look at bug's too much and for my birding 9.8 feet is fine. One other thing I like about the CL over the HG is the contrast. The little CL has excellent contrast and it is a little better than the HG and it is a little better than even the bigger Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32. It seem's like a lot of times contrast is the thing that separates the mid-priced binocular's from the alpha's for some reason. Maybe coating's? Your thread is interesting because I think we are all searching for the perfect 8x32 binocular. The 8x32 /8x30 is probably the sweet spot for a birding binocular you are going to carry all day. Nice and light yet it doesn't give up much to an 8x42.
 
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lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
Interesting that you thought the Nikon HG 8x30 has sharper edges than the Swarovski CL 8x30. I have had them both and IMO the Swarovski has much sharper edges in agreement with Allbino's.

Let's just suppose I have a real good copy of the Nikon and obviously with the close focus being 5.5 instead of 6.6, it leans that way. I also feel that ALLBINO's did a pretty solid job of 'dinging' the Nikon but was pretty lenient on the Swaro.

But given this 'edge' thing. If the Nikon HG has a FOV of 435 feet and has a bit of blurriness on the edges, ....when compared to the Swaro that has a FOV of 390 feet, but it must have some edge blurriness, the actual FOV is still much greater in the Nikon. Right? But ALLBINOS's barely takes any points off Swaro for having such a low FOV and actually takes points off of Nikon as well even though they have a large FOV. Makes no sense

To test the sharpness / edge, I will be about 30 yards away from a horizontal row of bricks. I aim each binocular at the same mid-point and can see how far down either way the sharpness holds. Looking at my notes, I can see I was a bit off in my comment as I do have the Nikon and Swaro being about equal,....but I also have both being beat in sharpness to the edges by my Meostar. So I will give you this. The Swaro and Nikon HG are about equal. I am not accepting what ALLBINOs is stating.

To my eyes as I move out to lengthier distances, I feel the sharpness still belongs to the Nikon over the Swaro but who knows, it was close.

I have heard reports of the Swaro having a close focus better than what is listed (down into the 7-8 feet range), but not nearly that of either the Nikon or the Meostar by 2+ feet min. (into the 5 1/2 foot range). Funny that ALLBINo's only has Close Focus accounting for a total of 2 possible points. If close focus was taken into account more than ALLBINO's elects to do, the Nikon would be closer in points.

In practical birding situations such as focusing on a bird at 5 yards and then moving out to 15-20 yards, I saw a noticeable increase in the 'turn of the focus wheel' as I moved out to focus on more distance objects. The Swaro needed that extra little movement of the finger to turn another x degrees. This is one aspect that is not rated by ALLBINOS but is an important aspect to birding. Now ALLBINOS does look at Focus as a category and even though Swaro's is 560 degrees to turn and Nikon was 390, Swaro gets all points while Nikon looses. Not sure on this score.

I think that people actually have to take a look at the Nikon with their own eyes and let that be the judge.
 
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[email protected]

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Actually the Swarovki CL 8x30 has a bigger FOV than the Nikon HG 8x30 if you just count the sweetspot or the % of the FOV that is sharp. Allbino's say's that on the Swarovski CL 8x30 blur occurs in a distance of 92.5% ± 3% from the field of view center and on the Nikon HG 8x30 blur occurs in a distance of 74% ± 4% from the field of view center. The CL has a FOV of 396 feet so the sweet spot is 366 feet and on the Nikon HG 8x30 the FOV is 435 feet so the sweet spot is only 321 feet. So the CL has a much larger sweet spot or area that is sharp. You could say you can pick up bird's in the fuzzy edges of the HG and detect motion but it is not sharp in that area and you would have to move the bird to the center of the FOV to ID it. Your right a faster focus can be beneficial when birding but it can cause you to pass the focus point also if it is too fast. Focus speed is personal preference and not really something you can rate.

https://www.allbinos.com/331-binoculars_review-Nikon_Monarch_HG_8x30.html
https://www.allbinos.com/330-binoculars_review-Swarovski_CL_Companion_8x30_B.html
 
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[email protected]

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According to Holgermetlitz.de..... (http://www.holgermerlitz.de/old_vs_new/cl_hg_8x30.html)... It leans towards the Nikon HG over the Swaro CL.

Either way, pretty close.
I read Holger's review and it is good and it is in line with Allbino's review but he doesn't judge as many criteria nor is it as thorough as Allbino's review. He doesn't rate important criteria like astigmatism and coma which are areas that the Cl has a distinct advantage over the HG. Although he does talk about it in his star testing of the two binocular's. Holger's review diasgree's with Allbino's review , as far as, pincushion distortion. Holger say's they are about equal and both low but Allbino's gives the CL a 10 for distortion and the HG a 5 for distortion. Allbino's test for pincushion distortion so they should agree closer than they did. Pincushion distortion is not always a bad thing because it is a design decision to reduce AMD distortion or rolling ball when panning. In the end you have to decide for yourself which criteria are more important to you. If you like a bigger FOV with softer edges and a smaller sweet spot go for the HG and if you like a smaller FOV with tack sharp edges and a bigger sweet spot go for the CL. I found it interesting when Holger talked about stray light in the HG.

"Stray light: The Monarch HG is suffering a side-pupil (Fig. 2, right panel, to the left just outside the exit pupil) which causes stray-light contamination in some situations, notably during twilight or on fairly dark, gloomy days, when the eye-pupils are expanded and easily getting in contact with the side-pupil. If under such conditions the binocular is panning, then flashes of whiteout are sometimes disturbing the view. I suspect that this side pupil is generated inside the prism (it appears to be identical with a problem found inside the 8x32 EL WB by Swarovski). The 8x30 CL Companion shows a superior stray light resistance and performs rather well in difficult light situations."

I think the cause of this could be what Allbino's talked about in their review.

"Another slip-up in the Monarch HG: the blackening near the prisms. At this price point we expect perfection – everything should be dark, matt and excellently baffled – meanwhile here some parts shine, resembling interiors of models several times cheaper. As a result the area close to exit pupils is too bright and the performance against bright light leaves a bit to be desired."
 
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mfunnell

Registered Confuser
Looking at my notes, I can see I was a bit off in my comment as I do have the Nikon and Swaro being about equal,....but I also have both being beat in sharpness to the edges by my Meostar. So I will give you this. The Swaro and Nikon HG are about equal. I am not accepting what ALLBINOs is stating.
I think one thing we have to be careful of here is not getting so caught up in the minutiae of binocular comparisons (OK, I know, then what are we here for?) that we lose, ahem, sight of the purpose of all this. This afternoon, I was taking a break from work and standing on my balcony with a cup of coffee when a bird flew into a nearby tree.

I grabbed my nearest bins (which happened to be the Kenko version of the 8x32 Sightron SII 'Blue Sky'). I was able to figure out what the bird (a ho-hum Noisy Miner) was eating (grubs under some dead leaves). An Australian Raven then flew up and I observed him (it was a him) for a while - until a female Satin Bowerbird arrived in a different tree so I switched targets. She flew off, and landed a fair way away, so I switched to some 10x35 EIIs (also quickest to hand) for greater magnification. I then watched some Sulphur Crested Cockatoos and Rainbow Lorikeets fly past before going back to work (|=(|).

Not once did I think "I should grab better binoculars" while doing this. Both bins were more than "good enough" and gave me a really enjoyable look at the birds I saw. Neither bins are my 'best' (the Kenkos more 'low-end' than the Nikons) but both gave very satisfying views and were more than good enough for the task. Absent physical factors, either could easily be "main" (or only) binoculars for most but we obsessives.
I think that people actually have to take a look at the Nikon with their own eyes and let that be the judge.
And not just be the judge, but figure out just how "good enough" really is good enough. (That will vary by individual too.)

...Mike

P.S. and full disclosure: I'm no purist. If I had found a view as good as the Kenko/Sightron in a physically smaller package (mostly, in their case, length) and at a similar or only somewhat higher price-point, I would have stopped pursuing a 'perfect 8x32'. But I didn't, and in 20:20 hindsight I'd have saved myself some money and skull-sweat if I'd just bought my 8x32 FLs up front. But I didn't know that until I knew it. :-O
 
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[email protected]

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The point should be made that the "Perfect 8x32" may be perfect for somebody else but not for you. You have to find the perfect binocular that suits you and how you use it.
 
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lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
I think one thing we have to be careful of here is not getting so caught up in the minutiae of binocular comparisons (OK, I know, then what are we here for?) that we lose, ahem, sight of the purpose of all this. This afternoon, I was taking a break from work and standing on my balcony with a cup of coffee when a bird flew into a nearby tree.

I grabbed my nearest bins (which happened to be the Kenko version of the 8x32 Sightron SII 'Blue Sky'). I was able to figure out what the bird (a ho-hum Noisy Miner) was eating (grubs under some dead leaves). An Australian Raven then flew up and I observed him (it was a him) for a while - until a female Satin Bowerbird arrived in a different tree so I switched targets. She flew off, and landed a fair way away, so I switched to some 10x35 EIIs (also quickest to hand) for greater magnification. I then watched some Sulphur Crested Cockatoos and Rainbow Lorikeets fly past before going back to work (|=(|).


Not once did I think "I should grab better binoculars" while doing this. Both bins were more than "good enough" and gave me a really enjoyable look at the birds I saw. Neither bins are my 'best' (the Kenkos more 'low-end' than the Nikons) but both gave very satisfying views and were more than good enough for the task. Absent physical factors, either could easily be "main" (or only) binoculars for most but we obsessives.

And not just be the judge, but figure out just how "good enough" really is good enough. (That will vary by individual too.)

...Mike

P.S. and full disclosure: I'm no purist. If I had found a view as good as the Kenko/Sightron in a physically smaller package (mostly, in their case, length) and at a similar or only somewhat higher price-point, I would have stopped pursuing a 'perfect 8x32'. But I didn't, and in 20:20 hindsight I'd have saved myself some money and skull-sweat if I'd just bought my 8x32 FLs up front. But I didn't know that until I knew it. :-O

Mike...so correct.... But at the moment I was in need of a pair of binoculars and when I get to the point I actually want to buy something, I go a bit anal in the process of looking at everything, the stats, trying them out etc... I started with a list of things I wanted based upon 'how I bird'...(see first posting).

Many times the specification itself might rule out any one binocular but more importantly, I found I have to test-drive the binoculars in a birding situation and arrive at some sort of conclusion based upon that.
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
Enjoyed your thoughts on these binoculars Jim!

I am a little intrigued but eh GPO and especially the MHG.

I'm kinda surprised you didn't take to the Conquest HD 8X32 more. I weighed mine yesterday and it weighs straight up 220z. Still kinda heavy for an 8X32 but not so bad. The Conquest HD is probably my second favorite 8X32 after the SV. Seriously. I could use it all day every day. Only issue I've had with it was stiff eyecups which broke in just fine. Other than that, an excellent performer.

The B.1 is hard to beat. Optics are just great. Mine was a Cabela's model that really had zero issues others than tight ER. I liked it overall better than the FL 8X32 I had at the same time. My brother liked both and no eyeglasses so he has them now!

I think you probably kept the best two!
 

mfunnell

Registered Confuser
....when I get to the point I actually want to buy something, I go a bit anal in the process of looking at everything, the stats, trying them out etc...
For good and for ill I have a tendency to do much the same. I try not to get so caught up in the process that I lose sight of my objective - and sometimes I manage to control that |:S|

...Mike
 

Pinewood

New York correspondent
United States
Hello,

After evaluating specifications, I go by the totality of the glass. If it fits my hand, provides a pleasing image with no annoyances, I get it.

My 8x32 is a Zeiss FL, which I have had for about fifteen years. If it were not for the pandemic, it would be on sale pending the arrival of the Zeiss 8x32 SF.

Stay safe,
Arthur :hi:
 

lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
The point should be made that the "Perfect 8x32" may be perfect for somebody else but not for you. You have to find the perfect binocular that suits you and how you use it.

This is the key. As I said, my wife looked at one pair of bins and went 'wow' and I look at another and say 'wow'. Goes to show you our eyes are different. It is important to look at the specs, but also look at how you bird, how the binocular fits and simply enjoy it. The point is to enjoy nature around you.

Mike said:
For good and for ill I have a tendency to do much the same. I try not to get so caught up in the process that I lose sight of my objective - and sometimes I manage to control that.

At least this time I didn't do my usual matrix:) When I use a matrix and assign value to any given category etc. I usually end up so frustrated that everything looks appealing. This time I simply journaled and arrived at what works for me!
 
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b-lilja

Well-known member
Yeah, I'm with Chuck. Don't underestimate the Zeiss Conquest HDs. They are awesome. Sharp, beefy, well made, awesome design aesthetics, handle super well. What do you mean due for an update? Classic all the way.
 

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