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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

My Quest for the Perfect 8x32 (1 Viewer)

eitanaltman

Well-known member
The “felt at home” comment is spot on. That’s exactly how I felt about the Meostar 8x32, I can nitpick a few flaws but it felt like an old friend the moment I held it.
 

Paskman

Registered User
Supporter
I agree and although the FL8x32 is undeniably superior I sold mine and kept the Conquest HD 8x32, with which I felt at home the moment I picked it up. I had a lot of respect for the FL but I love the Conquest.

Lee
It's funny isn't it. I've been following these threads on 8x30/32s very closely. I had assumed that the 8x32 FP world be the best all round binocular for me (although I am also aiming to get a pair of 7x42 UV+s). However I bought as a "stop gap" a pair of CL 8x30s. I now know that I do not need the FPs, the CLs meet my needs perfectly; a lightweight, razor sharp, pair of binoculars that fit my, small, hands perfectly. Most of my birding is carried out as part of my walking in my local area. The FPs would give me no extra benefits. I considered the HGs, but for me the Swarovski's ergonomics far outweighed anything the Nikons had to offer. So for me the CLs are the perfect 8x 30/32 binoculars. For someone else they wouldn't be.It goes to show that there is no such thing as a perfect binocular, only a perfect binocular for you as an individual.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
It's funny isn't it. I've been following these threads on 8x30/32s very closely. I had assumed that the 8x32 FP world be the best all round binocular for me (although I am also aiming to get a pair of 7x42 UV+s). However I bought as a "stop gap" a pair of CL 8x30s. I now know that I do not need the FPs, the CLs meet my needs perfectly; a lightweight, razor sharp, pair of binoculars that fit my, small, hands perfectly. Most of my birding is carried out as part of my walking in my local area. The FPs would give me no extra benefits. I considered the HGs, but for me the Swarovski's ergonomics far outweighed anything the Nikons had to offer. So for me the CLs are the perfect 8x 30/32 binoculars. For someone else they wouldn't be.It goes to show that there is no such thing as a perfect binocular, only a perfect binocular for you as an individual.
I agree with you on the CL's. I think they are the best 8x30's you can buy and funny thing is they don't show glare like the 8x32 EL's. Like you say a lot nicer to carry and use with their smaller size and weight. There is a lot of difference between 17oz. for the CL and 22 oz. for the EL. The FP strap isn't as bad on the CL's as the EL's. At least the CL has a STRAP instead of a cord. The part I hate about the FP strap is the cord on the EL and the excess length just hang's down and dangle's around.
 
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[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
The new 8x32SF may be the "bees knees", but the Swaro 8x32SV will still outsell it 10:1.
They don't even have any Zeiss binocular's in Colorado at Sportsman's Warehouse, Cabela's, Scheel's or Bass Pro outside of a few Terra at Sportsman's Warehouse and Cabela's and a few SF's at Scheel's. Huge case of Swarovski for the high end and huge case of Nikon's for the medium and low end. And they are almost all 10x. Hardly any 8x. That's it.
 
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18000bph

Well-known member
They don't even have any Zeiss binocular's in Colorado at Sportsman's Warehouse, Cabela's, Scheel's or Bass Pro outside of a few Terra' at Sportsman's Warehouse and Cabela's and a few SF's at Scheel's. Huge case of Swarovski for the high end and huge case of Nikon's for the medium and low end. And they are almost all 10x. Hardly any 8x. That's it.

Cabela's sales folks out my way all push Vortex hard. I'm not sure if the staff just really like the brand or if there is some sort of incentive.
 

lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
We have a small shop connected to the Cape May Birding Observatory here where they have most bins common to birding. But they are closed and not sure when they will re-open. I would love to go in there and actually compare multiple 'side=by-side'... Up to this point I have compared them but never against the same lot, so I have had to eye-ball it based from my notes etc...... I am still in that process but I can say that the Nikon HG is solid, and I will now look more closely at the CL. The Meostar is already in my hands as my wife loves them.... Even in my notes, the HG and CL were close. But if I can somehow find a way to compare side by side, it will help and I would suggest everyone else do the same. While difficult to do, try not to evaluate just by looking in at the store against a wall, try not to evaluate based upon clinical results or just stats, but find someway to take them outside and actually bird with them. After all, it is a lot of dollars or Euro's or the like.....
 
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[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Cabela's sales folks out my way all push Vortex hard. I'm not sure if the staff just really like the brand or if there is some sort of incentive.
I know it. Every time I start to look at Swarovski's at Cabela's the salesman steer's me to Vortex's. Last time he said "Now here is the binocular you should be buying. Half the price of those Swarovski's and REALLY they perform just as well."
 

Paskman

Registered User
Supporter
The FP strap isn't as bad on the CL's as the EL's. At least the CL has a STRAP instead of a cord. The part I hate about the FP strap is the cord on the EL and the excess length just hang's down and dangle's around.

I bought the Urban Jungle pack with mine, I like the case, however I hated the strap. So I contacted Swarovski and Feathers, my local optics seller in there UK. Between them they obtained for me one of the straps off of the the Wild Nature pack. I had to pay for it, but it was less than I would have had to pay for the EL FP Comfort strap. So I now have the best of both worlds.

I did have another thought about the Swarovski's v some of their competition that doesn't often get mention, but which can be important to less well off buyers, such as me; and that is residuals. When it comes to the time when I want to change or upgrade my binoculars, I know that they will keep their value better than the non "big three" brands. The fact is that no matter how good the opposition, people look at brand names and pay more for certain ones, because they know what they are getting. It's the same across the board; cars, clothes, you name it. Look at binoculars on a certain well known website.
 
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lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
I know it. Every time I start to look at Swarovski's at Cabela's the salesman steer's me to Vortex's. Last time he said "Now here is the binocular you should be buying. Half the price of those Swarovski's and REALLY they perform just as well."

I have had the same issue with Cabela's...any state I have been in. A pitch they make to sell the most products I suppose.

As Paskman stated:
When it comes to the time when I want to change or upgrade my binoculars, I know that they (Swarovski)will keep their value better than the non "big three" brands.

Total agreement....and to be honest, I do resell my bins from time to time, so this is a reason to look at Swarovski.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I bought the Urban Jungle pack with mine, ASI live the case, however I hated the strap. So I contacted Swarovski and Feathers, my local optics seller in there UK. Between them they obtained for me one of the straps off of the the Wild Nature pack. I had to pay for it, but it was less than I would have had to pay for the EL FP Comfort strap. So I now have the best of both worlds.

I did have another thought about the Swarovski's v some of their competition that doesn't often get mention, but which can be important to less well off buyers, such as me; and that is residuals. When it comes to the time when I want to change or upgrade my binoculars, I know that they will keep their value better than the non "big three" brands. The fact is that no matter how good the opposition, people look at brand names and pay more for certain ones, because they know what they are getting. It's the same across the board; cars, clothes, you name it. Look at binoculars on a certain well known website.
Your absolutely correct. I have bought and sold a lot of binocular's and the resale on Swarovski's is always the best and they sell the quickest. Nikon EDG's are great binocular's but they have poor resale value.
 
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[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I have had the same issue with Cabela's...any state I have been in. A pitch they make to sell the most products I suppose.

As Paskman stated:
When it comes to the time when I want to change or upgrade my binoculars, I know that they (Swarovski)will keep their value better than the non "big three" brands.

Total agreement....and to be honest, I do resell my bins from time to time, so this is a reason to look at Swarovski.
Cabela's probably push the Vortex's because they are made by Kamakura and they have a lot more profit margin than Swarovski's. Kamakura probably makes a binocular for $200.00 for Vortex that they sell for $1000.00 at Cabela's so Cabela's makes more money on every Vortex they sell. There isn't as much profit margin on Swarovski's.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
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Kevin Conville

yardbirder
A couple of things I’ll point out about the Nikon HGs:
Though the list price on the 8x30s are $949, they are often discounted considerably.
As an example LL Bean has periodic sales where they offer 20%off and include these bins. I bought a pair of the 8x30s for under $800. Many (most?) of the other bins are rarely, if ever, reduced.

Although I agree with most of your assessment of the 8x30 HG, I found them to exhibit ghost images and glare under certain circumstances. They were also slow to sharply focus, for me. Still a very nice bin, especially for an $800 price.

Last, and I get that we’re talking 8x30/32s here, but have you tried a pair of 8x42 HGs?
They are barely more than typical 8x32s in both size and weight. In my opinion they are far superior to the smaller HGs optically. I’ve had both and still have the larger version. In fact they are my preferred birding bin. Really an awesome bin in my opinion.
 

giosblue

Well-known member
Cabela's probably push the Vortex's because they are made by Kamakura and they have a lot more profit margin than Swarovski's. Kamakura probably makes a binocular for $200.00 for Vortex that they sell for $1000.00 at Cabela's so Cabela's makes more money on every Vortex they sell. There isn't as much profit margin on Swarovski's.

I don't how much profit Swarovski makes on their bins. I reckon they make a fair margin on their tripod adapter.

Over £120, that's a lot of money for a tripod adapter.
Is there something really special about it I'm missing?

Rom
 
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marcsantacurz

Well-known member
When I was looking for 8x32, maybe 2 years ago, I tried a lot of models. I am usually taking some bins with me when going to photograph birds either in the morning or in the evening, so glare and ghosts are pretty common conditions. I do not wear glasses for distance vision, but my eyes are a bit difficult to fit and I need a longer eye cups extension to avoid blackouts. Wider eye cups are also a plus.

I started with the $400 range. I liked the Minox BL 8x33 the best, but it focuses the opposite direction I am used to. Between the Conquest HD and Kowa, I chose the Kowa. I think the Conquest is a bit sharper in the center, but the Kowa was more comfortable for me and I think it controls ghosts and flares better. I like the fatter eye cups on the Kowa. On the Conquest, I had to get the extended eye cups. It was a hard choice, as they are both excellent. The Conquest do focus faster than the Kowa. They both have 1.5m close focus, which comes in around my limit so I can see things at my feet.

I did not try the CL. It's close in price to the Kowa, so maybe I should give them a shot sometime. Perhaps I could compare the most recent Kowa to the CL. Mine are about years old, so I wonder if they have changed in that time.

I was not ready to spend the $ for EL or T*FL or (now) SF glass for the 8x32s. I did try the Trinovid HD, but they did not fit me at all well.

Marc
 

lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
Although only 8x30, could the Swarovski Habicht 8X30 be a good candidate? better than the CL Companion?

I have seen these on eBay from time to time....not a bad price. They are a bit bigger though. The close focus is not any better than the CL and the focus is slower than many. Still a nice bin with that 3D view..

Yes, you can buy the HG for 13% off now at Sports Optics in USA and I have not seen the LL Bean 20% off, but either way, that takes the argument away about the HG being over-priced.

I was thinking the other day, stats 'be known' and experiences of having them in my hand are there as well; what would be the deciding factor between the HG and CL? ....a price reduction in either. Frankly some of the optical issues with the HG are simply not noticed while birding in the field (practical usage of as opposed to clinical trials of), but the CL would need more experimenting with to see how the close focus 'is or is not' an issue / as well as slowness in focus.
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
I never got along with the CL the few times I've tried it, always felt "too small" to me, the barrels are very slender and the eyecups are too small for my eye sockets so I struggled to find a good eye position. Perhaps if I used them for an extended period I'd find the sweet spot and they would become more comfortable. But they always struck me as binoculars designed for women (no offense dudes!) as the would probably be super nice to handle with small hands due to the very light weight and and slender barrels.

I also found the Monarch 8x30 to be a bit "too small", which has made me loathe to try the 8x30 HG, especially since I'm so happy with the Meostars.

Curiously, the Meostar 8x32 has very similar eyecups (thin and tapered) but I was able to find a good position balancing them on the upper ridge of my brow. It would be easier if the eyecups were a bit fatter and extended a bit farther, IMO they are too short for the full eye relief.

In terms of handling I find the Meostar to be more ergonomic with the "fatter" barrels giving more room to grab, and as I said elsewhere I think the thumb grooves + focus knob are in exactly the right position.

That said most of my experience is with the older CL, which I found optically quite unimpressive for the price in terms of sharpness + FOV. The newer CL, which I tried briefly a few months ago, is a clear step up optically and did not lag too far behind the 8x32 SV in brightness/sharpness based on my quick comparison.

I still thought the eyecups were a bit too small, but I would give the new CL a shot if I found them used for the right price. Either I get used to the ergonomics and learn to love them, or I resell them since Swaro always sells! :D

But I still think I'd prefer the Meostars for the more comfortable hold and much wider FOV, and I don't really care about a few oz with binoculars this small, anything below 23-24oz is light enough for me. Frankly I think the bit of extra heft in the Meostars makes them easier to hold steady when scanning vs a ~17-18oz bin. If you put SwaroBright coatings on the Meostar 8x32, it would be just about perfection IMO.

But if someone wants the BEST optics in the SMALLEST package that still handles better than a 20/25mm subcompact, and doesn't want to splurge on an Ultravid 32, the Swaro CL and the Monarch HG are the king of the hill IMO depending on your priorities.
 
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lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
I think my final thinking on this evolves around the Meostar 8x32 and 10x32. The Meostar (Meopta brand) just doesn't promote their products too heavily like Swaro and Zeiss, even Nikon. But the glass....is great. The price is great. Now might be the time to act upon the Meostars while there is a change in the line-up with the Men-air and updated Meostars sometime down the road.

While the Nikon HG is great....the Swaro perhaps greater.... they change, they give us 'new and improved' etc...flashy adds and video etc...the Meostar just plugs along.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
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