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Next new binoculars - 8x32 - but which ones?? (1 Viewer)

Steve Babbs

Well-known member
I love my FL 8 x 32. Very light and compact, great optics. I think aftercare a non issue. I'm sure you'll get a used pair: many birders are obsessed with getting the latest thing.
 

oetzi

Well-known member
"Now I have a yearning for something lighter and more compact for travelling..." and with this it pays to to have a look at pictures of binos and compare them size-wise. After this, start to check them for optics, ease-of--view etc. The odd centimeter more or less makes a lot of a difference and some models, like the EL 8x32*, are simply to big to be called "compact". Pre-selecting is, imo, the way to go.
*I like to use mine, but for portability I will always prefer my Kowa Genesis 8x33. It falls as much below my "compact comfort threshold" as the EL 8x32 exceeds it.
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
I'm interested an all the bins you mention, eitanaltman, and have had a look through both the Genesus and Meostar in the past, as well as the Conquest but the 8x42. The latter in 8x32 will always be interesting for me for insects; its nimble focus clearly doesn't do it for some but could be useful for me in that respect. I liked the heft and overall finish of the Genesis - a very attractive binocular. But the Victory FL remains a mystery but one that has a high reputation.
I forgot you mention fast focus above -- if that's a priority, the Genesis and Conquest HD have much faster focus than the Meostar. Not that the latter has a slow focus, but Meopta seems to be geared more towards hunters and as such tends to have a somewhat slower than average focus travel, whereas the Genesis and especially the Conquest HD are among the fastest focus knobs out there.

Note that the Genesis and Conquest HD are both about the same size and weight, the photo below shows five 32's I had at one point for comparison. You can see the EDG in the middle is quite large for a 32mm, the Conquest and Genesis are about the same size, and the Ultravid is considerably more compact than even the Swaro CL. The Conquest is slightly heavier than the Genesis, I weighed it at ~620g naked and the Genesis at ~600g. The Zeiss 8x32 FL is closer in size to the Leica, just a bit "fatter" but nearly as short.

1613591865961.png
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I love the SF 8x32 so far as well but it's not really a compact binocular. I view it as a replacement for the 8x42 size, honestly, but will keep a more compact bin (in my case a Monarch HG 8x30) as well that can fit in a pocket or go on a bike or whatnot.

I'm not certain I'd be worried about the FL line running out of spares just yet, it's only been discontinued for about a year, maybe a bit less? And there are still a good number of recent (last few years) copies for sale. It's an excellent bin and definitely much more compact than the SF. The Meostar and the Conquest would be the others I would hone in on from your list, along with perhaps suggesting the Swaro CL 8x30 or Nikon Monarch HG 8x30 - both are remarkably compact but handle and function about like an 8x32 (exit pupil is only .25mm smaller). It seems that glasses wearers have fewer complaints with eye placement and with eye cups with these two small bins and with the Meostar. So then it's just a case of eye relief, which should be sufficient unless you have particularly large or forward set glasses.
I never had a 8x30 that could hold a candle to a 8x32. You have to really want smaller size and less weight to carry an 8x30 because you give up a lot in eye placement comfort and low light performance.
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
I never had a 8x30 that could hold a candle to a 8x32. You have to really want smaller size and less weight to carry an 8x30 because you give up a lot in eye placement comfort and low light performance.

I find little difference in eye placement and low light performance. (The math is simple here - 12% difference in light gathering - (30/32)^2, and the same small difference in exit pupil). The differences between alpha 8x32's and the MHG/CL are more in absolute quality than in objective size, IMHO. But each person interacts with binoculars differently, so of course personal fit to every binocular is key. I have no problems using nor prejudices against small binoculars. Dennis, it seems you generally have problems with small eye cups and as well are lately on a big binocular crusade, which is totally fine.

I could take my 8x30 MHGs on an international birding trip as my only bin. There are exceedingly few occasions where they will limit my ability to ID a bird. However, given that I have an 8x32 SF, an 8x42 SF, and a 10x42 SV, I wouldn't choose to take only the MHG. I will happily take my SF 8x32 as the only bin on my next trip. The difference here is absolute quality, not exit pupil or light gathering. And for use around town, a walk in the woods, a visit to the local reserve, a binocular tucked into my coat pocket on the train, etc, I don't feel any need for a larger or better bin than the MHG. But again, to each their own. My goal is to bird a lot and enjoy it. Rambling discussions here on BF are just that... :)

Cheers all!
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I find little difference in eye placement and low light performance. (The math is simple here - 12% difference in light gathering - (30/32)^2, and the same small difference in exit pupil). The differences between alpha 8x32's and the MHG/CL are more in absolute quality than in objective size, IMHO. But each person interacts with binoculars differently, so of course personal fit to every binocular is key. I have no problems using nor prejudices against small binoculars. Dennis, it seems you generally have problems with small eye cups and as well are lately on a big binocular crusade, which is totally fine.

I could take my 8x30 MHGs on an international birding trip as my only bin. There are exceedingly few occasions where they will limit my ability to ID a bird. However, given that I have an 8x32 SF, an 8x42 SF, and a 10x42 SV, I wouldn't choose to take only the MHG. I will happily take my SF 8x32 as the only bin on my next trip. The difference here is absolute quality, not exit pupil or light gathering. And for use around town, a walk in the woods, a visit to the local reserve, a binocular tucked into my coat pocket on the train, etc, I don't feel any need for a larger or better bin than the MHG. But again, to each their own. My goal is to bird a lot and enjoy it. Rambling discussions here on BF are just that... :)

Cheers all!
That is quite a complement of the MHG 8x30 given the choice of binoculars you have. Impressive collection. MHG 8x30 compared to the SF 8x32. What is your take on those two?
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
That is quite a complement of the MHG 8x30 given the choice of binoculars you have. Impressive collection. MHG 8x30 compared to the SF 8x32. What is your take on those two?

I want to gather more experience with the SF 8x32 before trying to offer any really founded opinions but so far it impresses me as better in every way other than size, compared to my MHG 8x30. It SEEMS, thus far, the best birding binocular I've ever used, edging out the 42mm SF.

However, the reality is that an 8x30 MHG or CL, or an 8x32 Conquest ought to be amply sufficient as a birding binocular for most people. I'm enough of an engineer / tech dork at heart that I like/admire binoculars, and I seek out the ones that I like the best. But I don't kid myself that they make me a better birder or that I see more. If I were exclusively birding deserts or shorelines and had my choice of alpha 8x bins vs my choice of mid tier 10x bins, I would take a mid tier 10x without a second thought. The magnification difference is more significant, to me, than anything else there.

About 8 yrs ago I was without good bins for a few weeks and used a pair of perhaps 2000-2005 vintage Eagle Optic Rangers (pre ED) intensively (all day every day). This is a quality level that was notably inferior - less sharpness, less contrast, more CA. It was harder to see details on distant birds in harsh lighting. But among current mid tier and up bins, it is kind of hair splitting. It's a fun diversion to talk about these things here when it's cold outside and I'm looking for ways to procrastinate.
 

Richard Scott

Well-known member
I want to gather more experience with the SF 8x32 before trying to offer any really founded opinions but so far it impresses me as better in every way other than size, compared to my MHG 8x30. It SEEMS, thus far, the best birding binocular I've ever used, edging out the 42mm SF.

However, the reality is that an 8x30 MHG or CL, or an 8x32 Conquest ought to be amply sufficient as a birding binocular for most people. I'm enough of an engineer / tech dork at heart that I like/admire binoculars, and I seek out the ones that I like the best. But I don't kid myself that they make me a better birder or that I see more. If I were exclusively birding deserts or shorelines and had my choice of alpha 8x bins vs my choice of mid tier 10x bins, I would take a mid tier 10x without a second thought. The magnification difference is more significant, to me, than anything else there.

About 8 yrs ago I was without good bins for a few weeks and used a pair of perhaps 2000-2005 vintage Eagle Optic Rangers (pre ED) intensively (all day every day). This is a quality level that was notably inferior - less sharpness, less contrast, more CA. It was harder to see details on distant birds in harsh lighting. But among current mid tier and up bins, it is kind of hair splitting. It's a fun diversion to talk about these things here when it's cold outside and I'm looking for ways to procrastinate.
I tried a pair of SF32 recently and they were optically outstanding. The main negative for me was the eyecups. They were comfortable enough but when twisting them up and down I thought the intermediate positions weren't obvious. What are they like on yours?
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
I tried a pair of SF32 recently and they were optically outstanding. The main negative for me was the eyecups. They were comfortable enough but when twisting them up and down I thought the intermediate positions weren't obvious. What are they like on yours?
This is correct but the fact is I have spent many hours with these out in the field and the eyecups have been absolutely reliable in the position I set them. I believe Chuck on here said the same.
Lee
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
I almost always use the bins with the eye cups down. When I do raise them occasionally, it's all the way out. I've just fiddled a bit and I would say that what Lee says sounds pretty likely... they don't click as place as positively as some others, but they don't feel like they'll collapse either. The only bin I've had, that suffered from collapsing eyecups, was a Nikon Monarch 7 8x42.

Cheers,
Josh
 

oetzi

Well-known member
If there is real need for a "compact" bino, without taking a small pocket one, then there should be an emphasizing of dimensions and weight. Otherwise, why bother buying one? As much as the best bino doesn't make one a better birder does the more compact bino make one to carry it more often and without second thought, which is the main purpose of a bino = using it.
 

Julian61

Well-known member
More thanks and all these comments make this decision a little clearer but much better informed. Two things stand out for me. The first is what most of you have either said and, if not, surely believe: you have to see the view yourself before deciding. The number of contradictory ideas is just proof of how different all our pairs of eyes are. The other point is the main reason I'm going to buy a second pair: portability. They have to be compact otherwise I may as well stick with my larger 8x42 sfs. I use those everyday and 5 years on from buying them they still have that 'wow' factor for me. I hear so many complaints about the build quality but I've never found it to interfere with my birding experience in any way. But they are bulky. So when we have freedom to wander around shops and fairs again I'll be looking at, probably, two products: Kowa Genesis and Conquest. If I can get hold of some Victory Fls, those too. In the intervening months I'll look at pictures, read reviews and deposit latest thoughts and feelings here - all part of the pleasure!
 

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