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NL Pure 'problems'. (2 Viewers)

NZbinodude

Well-known member
My 10x42 NL is already experiencing its' fair share of issues. Swaro will likely sort it out for me, but I'm writing this as a heads-up to others.

The focusser started to develop some slight (almost imperceptible) stickiness a few days ago, and yesterday, after rinsing the binos under a cold tap, the focusser got very stiff to turn. It's almost like water got into the focusing mechanism and jammed it.

I checked the binos this morning, and the focusser felt dry and gritty and it got 'stuck' a few times, whereby I couldn't turn it at all.

About two weeks ago, I also had an issue with one of the eye cups - it became far stiffer to turn than the other. Swaro NZ promptly sorted me out with a new pair of eye cups, and sent me a 'care package' containing some cleaning gear, a hat and some promotional material. So I have no qualms with their service. If only their binos were as meticulous...

The eye cup design on the swaro NL (probs similar to the EL and SLC?) isn't that great in my opinion. The 'two part' design is susceptible to getting gunked up with debris, and when that happens, the eye cups will likely fail unless you clean them.

I've had a love hate relationship with the NL. Initially, it was a bit finnicky to become attuned to (requires a bit of fiddling around to get the optimum eye relief and glare control etc). Just as I was beginning to accept them and enjoy the optics, it's now failing mechanically.

To make matters worse, they worked perfectly when I got them. The problems with the eye cup and (now) the focusser, developed gradually (even though I never got them wet or dirty). How are you meant to know if you've got a cherry or lemon sample, if there are no indications to begin with? The gradual decline in functional integrity has eroded my trust in the NL's.

Please keep in mind that I've only had them for about a month, and they haven't seen any serious field use in that time. I've babied them.

I might ruffle some feathers with this following comment, but honestly, most of the expensive roof prism binos on the market aren't what they're cracked out to be. They're a case of the emperors new clothes. Take something simple which 'did the job' (i.e porro prism binos) and re-engineer them to be as complicated as possible. And for what? They look better in glossy magazines?

My late grandfather's Zeiss 6x30 porros are worn and battered. Yet, after 60 years, they still function like a swiss watch. The eye cups are smooth as silk to turn, and the hinge tension is perfect. This is despite any servicing.

What use is brilliant glass if a binocular fails mechanically? Binoculars are mechanical instruments (excluding image stabilized and range-finding varieties) intended for field use. If you're paying $3000 USD+ for a pair of binoculars, you would expect mechanical perfection.

In summary, the NL's are a great example of an optical company's 'art', but they're over-engineered, fragile instruments, which aren't designed for serious use.

It's quite ironic that Swaro includes a bar of soap and a brush with every binocular. That's the level of babying these instruments seem to require. And even then - as I have experienced - rinsing them under a tap presents the risk of the focusser jamming up.

I'll be demanding a full refund or replacement, and afterwards, I'll be switching to a porro prism bino and calling it a day. Likely a Habicht 10x40 GA.
 
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[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Sorry to hear you are having trouble with you NL 10x42. Please let us know what Swarovski says about your problems and how they rectify it. I am sure they will stand behind their product. They usually do. I hope we are not going to experience teething problems with the NL like we did with the SF and EDG when they were introduced. Sometimes a new product like this can take a while to get the bugs out of it. My NL 8x42 has been fine mechanically so far and optically brilliant. It could be yours is just an isolated case and you got a lemon. Time will tell.
 

eronald

Well-known member
Sorry to hear you are having trouble with you NL 10x42. Please let us know what Swarovski says about your problems and how they rectify it. I am sure they will stand behind their product. They usually do. I hope we are not going to experience teething problems with the NL like we did with the SF and EDG when they were introduced. Sometimes a new product like this can take a while to get the bugs out of it. My NL 8x42 has been fine mechanically so far and optically brilliant. It could be yours is just an isolated case and you got a lemon. Time will tell.

By the time they sort it out, another unbelievable $5K glass will raise its head above the parapet ...

Edmund
 

dries1

Member
By the time they sort it out, another unbelievable $5K glass will raise its head above the parapet ...

Edmund

Yes Edmund, the glass is getting quite pricy these days, is it not. The WX was a specialty glass made for an anniversary occasion for Nikon - so yes it is expensive, but in a class by it self.
I guess we will all see what future premium glass coming out will break the NL price, . :storm::storm::storm:

Andy W.
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
NZBinodude - I know what you are saying about some of the older finer precision instruments - then again some of those are full of fungus by now, or have subjected your eyeballs to a lifetime of radiation etc, so thank goodness for progress !

Swarovski has a reputation for pretty good build quality - perhaps it would have been more appropriate to wait and see what action Swarovski can take for you. They engineered it - I'm sure it's not beyond their abilities to service it. You should at least find out their opinion to see if the unit is performing within the range of spec.

Most other reports that I have read say that the focuser is nice and smooth which is encouraging - most of the (non-NL) ones I have tried just felt alright (rare ones good), with a minority feeling like a horse cart rumbling along a Roman cobblestone road. This is a design tradeoff for this greaseless design which will function with a similar feel whether it is +50°C or way below zero. This is a deliberate design choice by Swarovski and they view it as an admirable feature.

Mostly the switch from Porros to Roofs has been about ergonomics - that and wide fields is something that birders have been demanding.







Chosun :gh:
 

NZbinodude

Well-known member
I view binoculars the same way I view knives, rifles or cheese graters: something that just works. A piece of survival equipment that you could take with you into the bush, and use on a day to day basis as a hermit living in a permanent state of solitude (for example).

Reliability means more to me than a wide FOV and ergonomics. But I suppose the market gets what it wants...

"You should at least find out their opinion to see if the unit is performing within the range of spec." I'm pretty sure a focusing knob that will not even move isn't 'up to spec'.

The focusser on my NL's 'was' nice and smooth too. I wrote about it in my initial reviews. Then, at some point, it started to go down hill.
 
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Mask of Porro

Active member
I might ruffle some feathers with this following comment, but honestly, most of the expensive roof prism binos on the market aren't what they're cracked out to be. They're a case of the emperors new clothes. Take something simple which 'did the job' (i.e porro prism binos) and re-engineer them to be as complicated as possible. And for what? They look better in glossy magazines?


I'll be demanding a full refund or replacement, and afterwards, I'll be switching to a porro prism bino and calling it a day. Likely a Habicht 10x40 GA.

I've come to the same conclusion. I like simple Porro's. For all the advancement in technology in roof design it seems that it still isn't enough to overcome the inherent disadvantages of roof's vs Porro's. Phase correction, less reflections etc.

"Nothing is so simple that it can't be overcomplicated by man"
 

nzwild

Active member
Sorry to hear about your focus issues. New products (especially complex new products) virtually always have teething problems that typically show once a product is in use. Unfortunately as an 'early adopter' you are a member of the testing team.
Companies that innovate also take significant risks (cost of recalls, etc). Its how the company manages that problem that is the true test.
Thanks for sharing the ups and downs.
 

dwever

Registered User
Supporter
Wow that is massively disappointing. I do not completely buy the teething problems argument on $3K glass as far as distinguishing between teething and incomplete R&D. R&D should be completed prior to release not after.

My Zeiss Victory RF’s were bought last year just after re-design. They have been flawless whilst taking the abuse of Alaskan backcountry. Same problem-free experience with Leica Noctivids I bought just after release. And apparently my Zeiss Marines are going to outlive me.
 
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nzwild

Active member
Yep - Gutting, and in NZ binodudes case, this would have been even worse if it happened 'out the back' on a week-away trip, hence the loss of confidence.
 
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John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Hi NZbinodude,

Although I’ve no idea if it’s the cause of your focuser problem . . .

The way that the NL’s focus wheel is semi-enclosed - not only both at its front and rear - but also on both sides,
has previously struck me as creating a variety of spaces where dust, grit and other matter could be trapped
(one wonders what consideration was given to this potential 'dirt catcher' aspect during development and testing?)

See some images from: https://www.cacciamagazine.it/swarovski-nl-pure-8x42-la-prova-del-nuovo-binocolo/
n.b. the numbering indicates that the particular 8x42 dates from April (the 14th week) of this year (90 + 1930), and it is the 47th production unit
(a new serial numbering pattern has since been introduced in September, see at: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=394392 )


John
 

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PeterPS

MEMBER
NZbinodude,

I have bought both the NL 10x42 and 8x42, and really wanted to like them but neither was a keeper for me. The list of minor things that I disliked about them is not short, admittedly most are minor and a matter of taste and I don't intend to bore you with them, but a few are more important: the focuser had stiction issues almost every time when I reversed the direction from CW to CCW; more important it was rather difficult (in fact for me it was impossible) to find the "sweet spot" of the eyecups to avoid both glare and blackouts-----and this was the deal breaker. I communicated both problems to Swaro Absam, they said "thank you very much" but I doubt they'll be able to do anything about the glare issue, which seems to be a compromise of the design.

Peter
 

PeterPS

MEMBER
I think I will put my NL on eBay before it starts self-destructing and people get wind of it...

I was pretty sure yours will end up on ebay sooner or later, after the initial excitement wears out....we were all (at least I was) hoping that the NLs are problem free and as close to a perfect design as possible---while they're not issue free and they're not for everyone, I am sure that many people will enjoy them (which is the case of every design).
 

PeterPS

MEMBER
Hi NZbinodude,

Although I’ve no idea if it’s the cause of your focuser problem . . .

The way that the NL’s focus wheel is semi-enclosed - not only both at its front and rear - but also on both sides,
has previously struck me as creating a variety of spaces where dust, grit and other matter could be trapped
(one wonders what consideration was given to this potential 'dirt catcher' aspect during development and testing?)

See some images from: https://www.cacciamagazine.it/swarovski-nl-pure-8x42-la-prova-del-nuovo-binocolo/
n.b. the numbering indicates that the particular 8x42 dates from April (the 14th week) of this year (90 + 1930), and it is the 47th production unit
(a new serial numbering pattern has since been introduced in September, see at: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=394392 )


John

The first 2 digits of the SNs of my NLs were 10, so they were recent units made after Sept 1st when Swaro switched to the new SN style.
 

NZbinodude

Well-known member
Hi NZbinodude,

Although I’ve no idea if it’s the cause of your focuser problem . . .

The way that the NL’s focus wheel is semi-enclosed - not only both at its front and rear - but also on both sides,
has previously struck me as creating a variety of spaces where dust, grit and other matter could be trapped
(one wonders what consideration was given to this potential 'dirt catcher' aspect during development and testing?)

See some images from: https://www.cacciamagazine.it/swarovski-nl-pure-8x42-la-prova-del-nuovo-binocolo/
n.b. the numbering indicates that the particular 8x42 dates from April (the 14th week) of this year (90 + 1930), and it is the 47th production unit
(a new serial numbering pattern has since been introduced in September, see at: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=394392 )


John

Hi John,

Interesting stuff. I certainly didn't get any debris stuck in my NL's focusser, but this may have become a problem down the line. We can only speculate.
 
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NZbinodude

Well-known member
Wow that is massively disappointing. I do not completely buy the teething problems argument on $3K glass as far as distinguishing between teething and incomplete R&D. R&D should be completed prior to release not after.

My Zeiss Victory RF’s were bought last year just after re-design. They have been flawless whilst taking the abuse of Alaskan backcountry. Same problem-free experience with Leica Noctivids I bought just after release. And apparently my Zeiss Marines are going to outlive me.


Yep, I agree.
 

NZbinodude

Well-known member
Sorry to hear about your focus issues. New products (especially complex new products) virtually always have teething problems that typically show once a product is in use. Unfortunately as an 'early adopter' you are a member of the testing team.
Companies that innovate also take significant risks (cost of recalls, etc). Its how the company manages that problem that is the true test.
Thanks for sharing the ups and downs.

I reckon you should just hang onto your 8.5x42 EL's mate. :) They've been around for yonks, and assuming you've got the Field Pro model, it's the most refined and complete version of the EL there is.

If I could do it again I'd stay away from the NL's. As you say, they just haven't been around long enough for a general consensus to be made of their long-term performance.

And yeah, if this had happened in the middle of a trip, it would have been a real kick in the guts.
 
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NZbinodude

Well-known member
I've come to the same conclusion. I like simple Porro's. For all the advancement in technology in roof design it seems that it still isn't enough to overcome the inherent disadvantages of roof's vs Porro's. Phase correction, less reflections etc.

"Nothing is so simple that it can't be overcomplicated by man"

Great quote. Very true.
 

WimDel

Active member
That is rather disturbing to read...so far no issues with the focuser of my NL 10x, have them for two weeks now. I did read in a dutch review of the NL about a grain of sand being stuck in the focusing mechanism of a NL 8x, causing it to become stiff to turn...(link) I agree about the critical eye placement, it takes some time to fine tune. Sweet spot for me is two clicks down, plus using the Swaro winged eyecups and the FRP.
 

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