• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

NL Optical Construction (1 Viewer)

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Arek at Allbinos has uploaded 2 x-rays showing the optical construction of the NL 8x42. The x-rays were provided by 3mnich and show both a front and rear view,
and can be found at: https://www.allbinos.com/282-news-Optical_construction_of_Swarovski_NL_Pure_binoculars.html

As can be seen, the pattern of the optical construction is the same as that of the EL Swarovision
i.e. both have the same number of lenses, in the same general configuration - though the lenses differ in detail (especially the field flattener lenses) *
There are 10 lenses in 7 groups:
- an objective of 4 lenses in 3 groups (1, 2 + 1 focusing)
- an eyepiece of 6 lenses in 4 groups (2, 1, 2, 1) with the first 2 lenses providing the field flattening function

The image shows how the Schmidt-Pechan prism pairs are rotated 90 degrees on their main optical axis to enable the reduced waist of the external body

The x-ray also shows the main detail of the focuser mechanism, in particular the use of angled rods to move the focuser lenses
The mechanism seems to incorporate some elements from the original EL (see the differing designs of the EL SV and the EL)
(and for more images of the construction of the EL and EL SV also see: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=375673 )


John


* the NL specification sheet indicates that the it has 24 optical elements, so 12 per side, which means 10 lenses per side
go to Downloads at: https://aa.swarovskioptik.com/birding/nl-pure-c21011201/nl-pure-8x42-p5598795


Other image sources:
- Image #2 of the EL SV is from a 2018 visit to the Swarovski factory by Park Cameras at: https://blog.parkcameras.com/2018/05/exploring-swarovski-optiks-binoculars-spotting-scopes.html
- Image #5 of the EL is from the design software firm SolidWorks at: https://www.pressebox.de/pressemitt...ski-Optik-entstehen-in-SolidWorks/boxid/63252
 

Attachments

  • NL 8x42.jpg
    NL 8x42.jpg
    116.4 KB · Views: 186
  • EL x42.jpg
    EL x42.jpg
    123.5 KB · Views: 174
  • EL SV x42.jpg
    EL SV x42.jpg
    202.9 KB · Views: 89
  • EL (pre SV) x42.jpg
    EL (pre SV) x42.jpg
    147 KB · Views: 83
  • x42 EL (pre SV).jpg
    x42 EL (pre SV).jpg
    261.6 KB · Views: 114
Last edited:

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Thanks John ! (and Arek) :t:

I asked about the 'angled rods' earlier in other threads - but no-one wanted to play with me :-C

Do you think they have a type of ball joint or pins at one or either end ?

Looks like a pretty refined chassis too, with some reasonably sizeable lenses - not too much opportunity to reduce a whole lot of weight out of that .....

As a speculative observation, does the hawk logo showing up on x-ray mean that it is real gold ?! :)







Chosun :gh:
 
Last edited:

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Hi CJ,

Yes, I do think that there's articulation at both ends of the rod
And especially with the connection between the focus lens and the rod, the angle between the two must change as the lens moves back and forth

For the mechanism to work, ‘the rod’ would need to be a telescoping assembly verses a fixed length moving backward and forward

Contrast the necessary complexity of the construction, to the simplicity that's possible when a solid rod is housed in the bridge area, as with the Nikon HGL


John
 

Attachments

  • Nikon HGL.jpg
    Nikon HGL.jpg
    243.5 KB · Views: 113
Last edited:

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Hi CJ,

Yes, I do think that there's articulation at both ends of the rod
And especially with the connection between the focus lens and the rod, the angle between the two must change as the lens moves back and forth

For the mechanism to work, ‘the rod’ would need to be a telescoping assembly verses a fixed length moving backward and forward


John

Hi John,

Yes, thanks, they were my thoughts too based on the kinematics.
There does look to be a type of telescoping design - pretty complex stuff. I thought instead they may have accepted (or even utilised) some variable rate to the focusing ratio .... probably the physical available space in the chassis was the main concern and constraint.

With so many moving parts and tolerances, it will be interesting how folks find the focusing precision as more production units populate the field. Also interesting to see how this holds up over time with regard to precision, and any hysteresis .....

It was this type of x-ray /cutaway information that originally saw me hooked on the bino section of BF :) - thanks again :t:








Chosun :gh:
 

Omid

Well-known member
United States
Hello John,

Thank you very much for posting these internal images. So, a key innovation in the new NL model is the abandonment of the complex articulating-rod focuser mechanism used in the EL models in favor of the more traditional linear-motion mechanism. Another key innovation is rotating the prism housing to create the hour-glass shape.

Did I count all the innovations correctly or there are more?

-Omid
 

Swissboy

Sempach, Switzerland
Supporter
Switzerland
Hello John,

Thank you very much for posting these internal images. So, a key innovation in the new NL model is the abandonment of the complex articulating-rod focuser mechanism used in the EL models in favor of the more traditional linear-motion mechanism. Another key innovation is rotating the prism housing to create the hour-glass shape.

Did I count all the innovations correctly or there are more?

-Omid

Hi Omid,

from the text and the X-rays, it is the opposite way around regarding the focuser rods!
 

Omid

Well-known member
United States
Hi Omid,

from the text and the X-rays, it is the opposite way around regarding the focuser rods!

Hi Swissboy!

What John's referring to by "angled rods" is not the same as what I called "articulating-rod" in my post above. John is referring to the long rods that are positioned along the main body of the binoculars and are attached to the focusing lens. I was referring to the short rods that connect the central focusing wheel to said long rods.

In some of the EL models (the two rightmost images posted by John), this short rod is articulated (tilts as the focus wheel is turned) rather than moving linearly along the body of the binoculars. This is necessary because the rear hinges that connect the focusing wheel to the main body are too short to allow for any substantial linear movement of this rod.

In the NL design, the central hinge is long enough to allow linear motion of said short rod. So, the complex articulating mechanism of the EL model is not necessary.


Sincerely,
-Omid
 
Last edited:

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Hi Omid and Robert,

I’ve been otherwise occupied for the past day or so, and so slow to reply . . .

Unfortunately there are only a limited number of images of the EL and EL SV focusing mechanisms, and none are all that clear as to how they work
(most cutaway images show the optics to lesser or greater degree, but little about the focusing)

I’ve attached some more images from the 2009 patent for the EL SV (a copy is at post #10 at: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=375673 ) *
- firstly the EL, and
- then the EL SV


As best as I can tell from the various images that I’ve posted . . .

A) The original EL
The sequence seems to be:
- the rotation of the focus knob, is converted into a short forward and rearward motion of an arm that contacts the focus rod, and
- that motion is then converted to rotate the focus rod, and the rod's rotation moves a sliding tube that houses the focusing lens


B) The EL SV
Is simplified:
- the rotation of the focus knob rotates a connecting arm, that in turn rotates the focus rod, and
- the focus rod rotation then moves the sliding tube containing the focusing lens


* For those interested, there are 17 figures: 15 show various aspects of the EL SV, and; figures 13 and 16 show the EL focusing mechanism and optics
However, in terms of the explanation in the text, the patent is an international one with the main text in German, and unsurprisingly Google Translate does not deal well with technical text

The US version of the 1999 patent for the EL can be found in post #9 at the above link, it has 4 figures, 3 of which are of the detail in the focus knob

And as the EL Range was developed at the same time as the EL SV, I presume that it has the same focusing mechanism (there’s no seperate patent for the EL Range’s focuser)

- - - -

In relation to the NL’s focus rod assembly, it seems to function like a shock absorber on a motor bike - with an inner and outer portion moving in relation to each other:

• One end has a stationary location on the bike frame (the focuser end), and the other end has a moving location on the wheel (the focusing lens assembly), and

• Both ends pivot as the shock absorber opens and closes, with the angle of the assembly altering in relation to both the attachment points

Though the NL’s focus rod assembly lengthens and shortens by rotation of the rear/ inner component, rather than by simply sliding against spring resistance


John
 

Attachments

  • EL Focuser.jpg
    EL Focuser.jpg
    93 KB · Views: 45
  • EL SV focuser.jpg
    EL SV focuser.jpg
    109 KB · Views: 42

Albertabirder

Active member
Just wanted to chime in on this thread, I have the NL12x42 and comparing with EL10x42(age?10?) & EL10x42SV(1 1/2 yr old) I will keep this to the focusing mechanism....the EL has a bit of play in either direction, as well a slight different resistance in either direction, when grasping the wheel and trying to move it up and down (gently) there is a slight bit of play, now this might be due to age and use. In the ELSV there is seems to be still an ever so slight bit of play in either direction only....In the NL none of the above, now they are brand new so grain of salt needs to be applied here, but given that the focus wheel is the most used part, one might give consideration to more reliability to the NL over time being that the focus wheel is in my opinion is designed better given it is more securely attached in the hinge assembly (no chance for play at all) with a hefty price tag this might be a consideration when purchasing the ELSV vs NL's?
 

tenex

reality-based
The x-ray also shows the main detail of the focuser mechanism, in particular the use of angled rods to move the focuser lenses
This is disappointing to me. I thought Swarovski was reverting to simpler mechanical construction (like the SLC) after the overly complex focusing mechanism required by the EL's peculiar shape... but in fact they've just done the same thing all over again. I would have much preferred an NL without the wasp waist, at lower cost. Then again, they do seem to be having some market success making distinctive looking products.
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Hi Tenex,

I too am a fan of mechanical simplicity (and it's one of several reasons why the traditional full length bridge/ hinge as on the Leica Ultravid appeals to me)
However, as you indicate, the combination of both an abbreviated bridge and the tapered shape of the NL imposes necessary limitations

Compare it to the Zeiss solution for a reduced length bridge - but no body taper - as used on the the HT (and presumedly also on the SF)

While the HT has a much shorter bridge than the SLC, it's still noticeably longer than that of the EL SV, as can be seen in a comparison photo from Tobias
at: http://www.greatestbinoculars.com/allpages/reviews/shootouts/shootoutpremier8x42s/8x42shootout.html

And for further comparison:
- the exterior and interior of the NL paired together, and
- the NL and the EL FieldPro, from: https://www.gohunt.com/read/skills/just-released-swarovski-nl-pure-binocular-line#gs.h2mpf1
(while they are the same length and presumedly have a similar balance point, in terms of hand positioning the EL's focuser essentially ends where the NL's begins)


John
 

Attachments

  • Zeiss HT Focuser.jpg
    Zeiss HT Focuser.jpg
    96.9 KB · Views: 49
  • Zeiss SF & HT vs Swarovski EL SV & SLC.jpg
    Zeiss SF & HT vs Swarovski EL SV & SLC.jpg
    120.6 KB · Views: 46
  • NL Focuser.jpg
    NL Focuser.jpg
    180.3 KB · Views: 40
  • NL vs EL FP.jpg
    NL vs EL FP.jpg
    134.6 KB · Views: 34
Last edited:

Omid

Well-known member
United States
Hi John,

Thank you for your additional explanation. It is not exactly clear from the x-ray picture how the NL focusing system works but if it still retains the articulating joint of the EL-style focusing mechanism, then it would be a disappointment. Like you and tenex, I too am a fan of mechanical simplicity specially for a product that is to be used in the field.

I was astounded by the complexity of the EL's focusing mechanism as depicted in the mechanical drawing you had posted (copied here in my post too). Such complexity should not be necessary is a "binoculars". Somethings has gone wrong here.. There MUST be a much simpler solution.

The mechanical designers at Swarovski seem to have graduated from the "High Complication" department of a Swiss watch making academy so they love complexity (which somehow signals mechanical excellence, as in making a complex Swiss watch with tourbillon movement). The mechanical turrets of their [failed] X5 riflescope line is another example of extreme complexity.

-Omid
 

Attachments

  • Swarovski_Turret.jpg
    Swarovski_Turret.jpg
    103.5 KB · Views: 57
  • Swarovski_Focus.jpg
    Swarovski_Focus.jpg
    261.6 KB · Views: 42
Last edited:

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Hi John,

Thank you for your additional explanation. It is not exactly clear from the x-ray picture how the NL focusing system works but if it still retains the articulating joint of the EL-style focusing mechanism, then it would be a disappointment. Like you and tenex, I too am a fan of mechanical simplicity specially for a product that is to be used in the field.

I was astounded by the complexity of the EL's focusing mechanism as depicted in the mechanical drawing you had posted (copied here in my post too). Such complexity should not be necessary is a "binoculars". Somethings has gone wrong here.. There MUST be a much simpler solution.

The mechanical designers at Swarovski seem to have graduated from the "High Complication" department of a Swiss watch making academy so they love complexity (which somehow signals mechanical excellence, as in making a complex Swiss watch with tourbillon movement). The mechanical turrets of their [failed] X5 riflescope line is another example of extreme complexity.

-Omid
"I was astounded by the complexity of the EL's focusing mechanism as depicted in the mechanical drawing you had posted (copied here in my post too). Such complexity should not be necessary is a "binoculars". Something's has gone wrong here. There MUST be a much simpler solution."

We already have members on Bird Forum telling Swarovski how to design their optics and now we have members telling them how to design their mechanics! When will it end? We have a lot of armchair optical and mechanical engineers on Bird Forum that is for sure. Good thing Swarovski doesn't read this stuff!
 
Last edited:

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
This is disappointing to me. I thought Swarovski was reverting to simpler mechanical construction (like the SLC) after the overly complex focusing mechanism required by the EL's peculiar shape... but in fact they've just done the same thing all over again. I would have much preferred an NL without the wasp waist, at lower cost. Then again, they do seem to be having some market success making distinctive looking products.
" I would have much preferred an NL without the wasp waist, at lower cost."

Have you tried a new NL? The wasp waist as you call it makes a HUGE difference in comfort and ergonomics. it is one of the best ideas to come along in years in binocular design.
 
Last edited:

jan van daalen

Well-known member
"I was astounded by the complexity of the EL's focusing mechanism as depicted in the mechanical drawing you had posted (copied here in my post too). Such complexity should not be necessary is a "binoculars". Something's has gone wrong here. There MUST be a much simpler solution."

We already have members on Bird Forum telling Swarovski how to design their optics and now we have members telling them how to design their mechanics! When will it end? We have a lot of armchair optical and mechanical engineers on Bird Forum that is for sure.

.......and we have a member who claimed A-brands are dead..........B :)

Jan
 

james holdsworth

Consulting Biologist
" I would have much preferred an NL without the wasp waist, at lower cost."

Have you tried a new NL? The wasp waist as you call it makes a HUGE difference in comfort and ergonomics. it is one of the best ideas to come along in years in binocular design.

Everything Swarovski comes up with doesn’t have to be interpreted as a reinvention of the wheel...
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top