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New SLC 8x42 Review by Tobias Mennle (1 Viewer)

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Tobias recently commented highly favourable of a current production 8x42 SLC,
at: https://www.birdforum.net/threads/is-it-really-worth-buying-an-nl-8x42.395875/page-4#post-4103441

Following on from this, he has just added a detailed review on his site at: http://www.greatestbinoculars.com/index.html
And he has also subsequently updated both his review of the Leica 8x42 Noctivid, along with his comparison review of various 8x42 models

Interestingly, Tobias' overall impression of a current production 8x42 SLC is similar to that of mnich,
see at: https://www.birdforum.net/threads/an-evaluation-of-the-nl’s-performance-from-poland.396651/
(This link does not seem to want to work. However, it is the first link in the 'Similar Threads' list at the bottom of this page!)


John
 
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Renze de Vries

Well-known member
Tobias,

Congratulations for the dedication and considerable effort to publish the SLC review and make serious work of the revision of the Leica Noctivid article. As published initially I felt it was a disgrace. This Noctivid review is considerably more balanced and objective. Thanks. I will come up with some questions later.
Renze
 

dries1

Member
"It´s heartbreaking. Really. Finally, even a Leica binocular´s images have become flat and boring. Brave new world."

Maybe the eyes of Tobias have changed.

Andy W.
 

pm42

Well-known member
"It´s heartbreaking. Really. Finally, even a Leica binocular´s images have become flat and boring. Brave new world."

Maybe the eyes of Tobias have changed.

It does not like flat-field binoculars. That's its right but it seems to me that a lot of people used Swaro flat-field EL for years without complaining.
He also says:

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.

I'm not an expert like him but I owned the Leica UVHD 7x42 he praises and whilst excellent, I never found the image better or significantly deeper than the NL 8x42.
But I'm sensitive to CA and the Leica was clearly behind. So as usual, it is a matter of personal preference because all the alphas offer something special.
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Thank you for the great review of the SLC 8x42 WB, Tobias. As you know I got to use one all through the spring and summer lockdown and after a rapid exchange of the first one (bought unseen over the phone) was very happy with the second one (delivered by courier who also took back the first one, all within under 24 hours of phoning the dealer).

The easy view, the colour rendition, excellent contrast and detailed deep blacks and not least the compact size and lightweight but sturdy build overcame any thoughts about whether it was a beauty contest winner. It's a beaut to handle though as you say the long focus turning isn't to everybody's taste but I don't mind that - yet.

Thanks for the mention at the end too.

All best wishes,

Tom
 

Patudo

Well-known member
I can't say I agree with every opinion/perception of Tobias's, but by god he takes some wonderful photos. The one with the binoculars on the outdoor table, with the autumn leaves around them, ought to warm the heart of every optics geek.
 

NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
It does not like flat-field binoculars. That's its right but it seems to me that a lot of people used Swaro flat-field EL for years without complaining.
He also says:



I'm not an expert like him but I owned the Leica UVHD 7x42 he praises and whilst excellent, I never found the image better or significantly deeper than the NL 8x42.
But I'm sensitive to CA and the Leica was clearly behind. So as usual, it is a matter of personal preference because all the alphas offer something special.

I think you are the right track, Tobias likes to review binoculars, but as far as being an expert, he is an expert in his own opinion.

So, that means we all have our own opinion on what images we like through binoculars.

Jerry
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
I can't say I agree with every opinion/perception of Tobias's, but by god he takes some wonderful photos. The one with the binoculars on the outdoor table, with the autumn leaves around them, ought to warm the heart of every optics geek.
And have you seen how appealing he has made the greens of the Swaro 8.5 in his review of that a few years back?
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Tobias's reviews are just his own opinions just like most reviews, but they are interesting to read. He doesn't like flat field binoculars but a lot of people do. When you get to the alpha level of binoculars it comes down to personal preference. The only reviews that you can really use to compare binoculars are those that contain some objective testing like Allbinos. Saying the most sought after lenses in the photography and cinematography world are not flat field has nothing to with modern binocular design. More and more of the newer alpha binoculars are flat field like the NL and nearly flat field like the SF and Noctivid because that is what the buyers want and that is what sells.
 
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tenex

reality-based
I've wondered for some time what this "3D effect" is that Tobias attributes to field curvature, rather than stereopsis. Apparently it doesn't concern the relationship of foreground and background objects, but of central vs peripheral objects and how that influences the overall sense of space in the view? I have to say I don't tend to think about this very much, and wonder whether it gets back to discussions of how much time one spends looking around at different parts of the field while holding the bino steady, vs moving it. (I notice there's a tripod in his article)

I'm curious about numerous reports of "rough focuser" in SLC 42, as one doesn't hear that about the 56s (mine have been butter smooth from day one). And I don't think the dinosaur skin is ugly at all; I quite like it, and the color, a bit cooler than EL green.
 
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[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I think you hit the nail on the head with Tobias "3D effect." Flat field binoculars are flat and a binocular like the SLC with more field curvature gives the view more of a "3D effect" but it is not the same as the "3D effect" you would get from say a porro prism binocular which is more stereopsis. I have had quite a few SLC 42s with rough focusers but the two 56 mm SLCs I have had had butter smooth focusers like yours. It is an SLC 42 problem. If you do a search on rough focusers on the SLC 42 you will find numerous threads from the past. ELs generally have better focusers than an SLC 42 also. If you buy an SLC 42 mm check the focuser before buying. I like the armour on the SL also. Better color, and it seems tougher than the EL armour.
 
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SeldomPerched

Well-known member
I've wondered for some time what this "3D effect" is that Tobias attributes to field curvature, rather than stereopsis. Apparently it doesn't concern the relationship of foreground and background objects, but of central vs peripheral objects and how that influences the overall sense of space in the view? I have to say I don't tend to think about this very much, and wonder whether it gets back to discussions of how much time one spends looking around at different parts of the field while holding the bino steady, vs moving it. (I notice there's a tripod in his article)

I'm curious about numerous reports of "rough focuser" in SLC 42, as one doesn't hear that about the 56s (mine have been butter smooth from day one). And I don't think the dinosaur skin is ugly at all; I quite like it, and the color, a bit cooler than EL green.
Having mentioned the exchange of my own first example of a 2020 SLC 8x42 for a second one (see post no.5 above) an explanation may be in order.

The focusers on the three SLC 42s I have tried (10x42 kept, 1xt 8x42 returned & then 2nd 8x42 kept) have all been a bit tough not rough. They take a bit more effort to turn, with only the one returned being unacceptable to me. I have not noticed any inconsistency as you move from one end of the focus to the other, but these 42s have a long focus throw and need a lot of turning and perhaps that combined with needing a bit more effort is the cause of the reports you have read. Just my suggestion; it may be more than that. The ELs and other top makes of bin are easier to turn -- I have never seen the big gun SLCs -- but in practice I can't say I even notice the SLC focusing process now when out and viewing, which for me is a sign that all is well. Just a slightly different 'driving experience' though others may be reporting more than that.
 

GLOBETROTTER

Well-known member
I think Tobias's opinion is very valid and as a filmaker he knows very well what he's talking about.
There has to be a very strong reason why Hundred Million Dollar Hollywood movies are being shot again with old Zeiss, Cooke and Panavision lenses.
Nobody wants to use flat glass anymore to tell stories, they lack a lot about spatial separation and character.
Swarovski makes flat glass because they sell it very well, zeiss and leica have different philosophy, their binoculars like SF and noctivid have now bigger sweet spot but they are not flat glass sharp to the edge.
 

Jessie-66

Germany
Can humans judge "flat field" meaningfully at all, or is it a squishy marketing term? The edge blur of binoculars is mainly caused by 2 aberrations: astigmatism and field curvature. With field flattener lenses the field curvature is reduced. With a few tests and sensibly chosen observation objects, I can assess the edge blur, even estimate it numerically and thus reasonably objectively (comprehensible to third parties) in relation to the radius of the field of view (percent). I would prefer that we leave marketing terms on advertising flyers and talk about really observable and comprehensibly describable things. I am aware that a few people have noticed, reported, a "poster effect" on modern binoculars with highly corrected field curvature.

An auditor/reviewer better sticks to facts (objective) that can be published in a comprehensible way: Edge blur or sharpness in percent and not "flat field". Whoever has a tripod, which a frequently publishing reviewer should have, is welcome to describe the imaging of stars in a comprehensible way.
 
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dries1

Member
In comparing the SV/NL, Noctivid and the EDG. I observe more spatial separation of objects (on-axis) say at 100 meters with the EDG/Noctivid than with the NL/SV. As Henry Link has stated designs of flat fields are different from each manufacturer. What I do notice, what I think Eitan has mentioned, is the strong compression of objects on-axis with the SV, also observed in the NL.(No spatial separation of objects foreground/background on-axis). Objects appear to be compressed together.

Andy W.
 

b-lilja

Well-known member
For those of you with SLC 8x42s, how is veiling glare? It was the deal killer for me with the ELs and NLs (not that the NLs were ever on the table due to cost).
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I think Tobias's opinion is very valid and as a filmaker he knows very well what he's talking about.
There has to be a very strong reason why Hundred Million Dollar Hollywood movies are being shot again with old Zeiss, Cooke and Panavision lenses.
Nobody wants to use flat glass anymore to tell stories, they lack a lot about spatial separation and character.
Swarovski makes flat glass because they sell it very well, zeiss and leica have different philosophy, their binoculars like SF and noctivid have now bigger sweet spot but they are not flat glass sharp to the edge.
Binoculars are NOT movies! Apples and Oranges.
 

b-lilja

Well-known member
I personally don't mind the flat field on the ELs. It's a trade off I'd willingly make for the amazing crispness of view. The glare is the deal killer for me.
 

b-lilja

Well-known member
I really appreciate Tobias' website, what a labor of love and passion (notice no ads?). Thoughtful, well written, by someone who professionally uses optics every day. Wonderful perspective. Gospel? Of course not, nothing is, especially in the realm of subjective experience.
 

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