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

NL32 vs SF32 (and a few others) (2 Viewers)

Maljunulo

Well-known member
I don't mean to sound entirely unsympathetic, but expectations (or concepts of fairness?) seem to have inflated oddly in recent years in all areas of life, and some recalibration might be in order.
A thorough, efficient, and determined search for"defects" will invariably find one or more.
 

wdc

Well-known member
What a thoughtful and thorough report, Bill.

Regarding users not plagued by glare: I suspect that most simply don't often use binoculars in such trying conditions, for a variety of reasons. They don't want to get too close to the sun, can't see a target to observe in the first place, wouldn't enjoy the washed out and backlit view they'd get even if the bins didn't further compromise it, and so on.

Regarding eyeglasses: they tend to sit angled a bit from vertical, so pressing binoculars fully up against them (however natural the impulse) must tilt the barrels down, creating an optical alignment problem. Oddly enough, in recent years I became aware that I have a slight tendency to do that myself for some reason even without glasses, and have learned to correct for it.

Regarding eye relief: from a non-eyeglass point of view it can seem that manufacturers (except Leica) are already going to extremes to accommodate demands from glasses wearers, thereby (with all the compromises involved in optical design) imposing costs in performance, mass, and/or price on everyone else. Sometimes they don't even get the eyecups deep enough for the superfluous ER, and if they do, one has a tunnel-vision experience despite a decent FOV. The binoculars I grew up with in the 1960s had so little ER that my eyelashes generally oiled the oculars; holding the 15x60 close enough for viewing required actual effort. I don't know how much of its field my father, who already needed glasses then, could have seen (I never thought to ask!) but he never complained, nor did I think to; we just enjoyed using them. And today people complain about a field stop not looking quite sharp. I don't mean to sound entirely unsympathetic, but expectations (or concepts of fairness?) seem to have inflated oddly in recent years in all areas of life, and some recalibration might be in order.
Tenex,
Thanks for your comments. Much appreciated.

Regarding my glare test, I absolutely agree that it is extreme, but looking at a shadow while pointing in the direction of a bright light source is bound to happen at some point, even if briefly. The real value of the test is simply that it exposes that behavior clearly for the user, and one can then test different binoculars to see the differences in response to that type of condition. In less extreme conditions of viewing I think its safe to assume that the binoculars will still exhibit the same behavior, but at a lower level. At what threshold it makes one binocular's behavior indistinguishable from another I can't say.

Regarding my ongoing carping about eye relief, I know I'm in the minority on this issue, and have read numerous comments on this forum over the years that reflect similar points of view as yours. I get it. No one really wants 'tyranny', whether it is of the majority, or minority, wouldn't you say? As I mentioned in my post, non-eyeglass wearers have most of the entire history of binocular production at their disposal.

I do complain about this issue because I've experienced the disparity in performance and usability time and again, from my perspective. Now, when I see some manufacturers provide usable eye relief, along with wide fields, etc. I welcome it. I don't welcome the cost of it, but performance and usability, yes.

Take the Zeiss Conquest HD issue I brought up. Zeiss made up for the shortcoming of that design (for the non-eyeglass wearers) by producing longer eyecups, and gave them away. That's a manufacturer responding to a need of the majority.

Its not at all clear to me yet whether any of the big 3 are consciously thinking about eyeglass wearers as a significant clientele, but perhaps they are. If any of them want to address an aging population of users that more and more often may require eyeglasses, and keep furnishing them usable equipment, I'm all for it. I'm 65, and appreciate that I can go birding for another 3 decades or so, with binoculars that will work wonderfully for my needs.

When you say your father could not see the entire field of his binoculars and didn't complain about it, that sounds to me like cultural and social constraint operating from another era that has no bearing on this topic. Are you telling me that he wouldn't have gotten greater pleasure from them if he could have seen the entire field of view? You're basically arguing to accept the status quo, or the 'tyranny of the majority' in terms of optical design and manufacturing of that time.

That's why I'm advocating approaches like replaceable eyecups that increase usable eye relief for those that need it. Instead of a One size fits all approach, why not consider a component based system that can be modified by the user a little more than is currently available? If Zeiss could do it for the 'majority', why not for the 'minority' so to speak.

Interestingly the new 8x32 SF has more eye relief than its 8x42 counterpart, yet I can't see the whole FOV in it. How does that work? Conversely, the NL 8x32 has less eye relief than the EL 8x32 its replacing, and I can see the whole field. I really don't think the industry is skewing heavily towards those wearing eyeglasses per se, but I believe they (primarily Swarovski and Zeiss) keep pushing performance envelopes overall, and currently this is leading towards larger, heavier, and more costly binoculars from some quarters.

I appreciate your input on this issue.

Cheers,

Bill
 
Last edited:

Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
tenex, post 19,
I am one of those (frequent) users of the NL Pure 8x42 and NL Pure 8x32 and I have tried all circumstances mentioned here that could cause glare and asking around: I am not the only one. I do not have eyeglasses and I use the eyecups fully out.
Gijs van Ginkel
 

tenex

reality-based
Its not at all clear to me yet whether any of the big 3 are consciously thinking about eyeglass wearers as a significant clientele, but perhaps they are.
I think it's quite obvious that they do, and have for some time. No one without eyeglasses needs more than about 12mm ER, yet even some Leicas go up to 19mm now, and other manufacturers to 23mm. There seems little justification for feeling neglected... although having said that, one feels what one feels, and can wonder why. (Hmm, my post could suggest that I'm now feeling neglected.)
When you say your father could not see the entire field of his binoculars and didn't complain about it, that sounds to me like cultural and social constraint operating from another era that has no bearing on this topic. Are you telling me that he wouldn't have gotten greater pleasure from them if he could have seen the entire field of view?
No, I'm wishing that our era had not so completely left "cultural and social constraint" behind, as it can be quite useful, living in an imperfect world. But that's really too large an issue for this thread.
Interestingly the new 8x32 SF has more eye relief than its 8x42 counterpart, yet I can't see the whole FOV in it. How does that work? Conversely, the NL 8x32 has less eye relief than the EL 8x32 its replacing, and I can see the whole field.
I'd like to hear that explained myself. Obviously eye relief is not the whole story, though often taken to be.
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Thanks James. I had plenty of good role models on the forum to learn from. ;-)

Regarding the demise of the HT, I just took a look at the interview Gerhard Dobler gave to Lee awhile ago about the development of the SF...

In it he talks about the design goals being a wide field, improved balance to make it easier to hold it up longer, and a relatively fast focus. Out of those three, I expect the balance issue might be what drove them to change the optical path and prism arrangement. I did also check the focus speed of my 8x42 SF, utilizing the same parameters as I did in my review,
~6 ft. to 1.25 miles, and it is 330° (!), less than a full turn, which is second only to the Conquest HD in my test. I wonder what it would be for the HT.

-Bill
The odd thing for me — though I have much less birding experience — is that the HT 8x42 struck me as a very nicely-balanced binocular (as well as having that great AK brightness and transmission and superb focus snap) with the focus wheel falling nicely to position.

The only reasons why I have just recently sold mine are that I also have a very good FL 7x42, which to my eyes is a wider angle HT with very little else to differentiate it, and also because I was falling into the trap of having too much and not being any happier or better off for it. I do remember Lee posting that maybe the reds came over a bit stronger in the HT than in the FL.

Interesting (but I sort of understand why) that the modern Zeiss offerings are bigger even though they no longer have the AK prisms.

Tom
 

Torview

Registered User
Supporter
The odd thing for me — though I have much less birding experience — is that the HT 8x42 struck me as a very nicely-balanced binocular (as well as having that great AK brightness and transmission and superb focus snap) with the focus wheel falling nicely to position.

The only reasons why I have just recently sold mine are that I also have a very good FL 7x42, which to my eyes is a wider angle HT with very little else to differentiate it, and also because I was falling into the trap of having too much and not being any happier or better off for it. I do remember Lee posting that maybe the reds came over a bit stronger in the HT than in the FL.

Interesting (but I sort of understand why) that the modern Zeiss offerings are bigger even though they no longer have the AK prisms.

Tom
I`ve just recently acquired a 7x42FL, the transmission and brightness of those AK prisms is superb, really enjoying comparing it to my 8x42SF.
 

Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
The Zeiss 7x42 FL was for a long time one of the best binoculars we have investigated, it became almost a standard. I still do not understand why Ziss stopped making the excellent HT's.
Gijs van Ginkel
 

mwhogue

Well Known Member
Supporter
I`ve just recently acquired a 7x42FL, the transmission and brightness of those AK prisms is superb, really enjoying comparing it to my 8x42SF.

Torview,

Seeking reinforcement here. The only thing standing between me and shelling out for an SF/NL 8 or 10, 32 or 42 is my FL 7x42. So I look forward to your comparative evaluation of the SF 8x42 vs FL 7x42 if and when you are inclined.

Mike
 

Robert Moore

Well-known member
The FL is is nice but but I just did not like the way reds looked in it. For me the HT does a better job. That’s just my opinion, to each his own. If I didn’t already have an HT I would have bought that one on Astromart.
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
I`ve just recently acquired a 7x42FL, the transmission and brightness of those AK prisms is superb, really enjoying comparing it to my 8x42SF.
Well done on your 7x42, Torview; good to hear you are enjoying them. Like Mike I'd be interested to hear your comparison. Have you got a green one or a black one (mine's black but I have a small non-AK x32 FL in green)? I know Canip puts his FL top of the heap among 7x42s.

Tom
 
Last edited:

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
The FL is is nice but but I just did not like the way reds looked in it. For me the HT does a better job. That’s just my opinion, to each his own. If I didn’t already have an HT I would have bought that one on Astromart.
I know what you mean, Robert; I thought I saw the difference last year just looking at a garden robin. And though I recently sold mine I know the HT is a special glass.

Tom
 

Torview

Registered User
Supporter
Torview,

Seeking reinforcement here. The only thing standing between me and shelling out for an SF/NL 8 or 10, 32 or 42 is my FL 7x42. So I look forward to your comparative evaluation of the SF 8x42 vs FL 7x42 if and when you are inclined.

Mike
Hi Mike and Tom,

I will post my thoughts once I`ve had a decent spell comparing them, I feel very lucky to have chanced on them, I saw them turn up at UK dealer and grabbed them pdq.
Very, very clean example (black armour Tom) they have been well looked after and are mint minus to me.

John.
Well done on your 7x42, Torview; good to hear you are enjoying them. Like Mike I'd be interested to hear your comparison. Have you got a green one or a black one (mine's black but I have a small non-AK x32 FL in green)? I know Canip puts his FL top of the heap among 7x42s.

Tom
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
It really does make me wish that manufacturers, or an aftermarket supplier, could produce a set of ultra low profile replacement eye cups for their products. As Zeiss did to address the issue with the Conquest eyecups being too short for some, they could certainly try producing eyecups to improve upon the opposite problem. The NL's are about the lowest I've ever seen, and certainly help me, as the stated eye relief is 2mm LESS than the EL, yet the entire field is still visible. Usable eye relief on the SF32 and the Nikon MHG could be easily increased in this fashion.

Bill
Zeiss did produce slightly longer eyecups for Conquest but I can understand the difficulties the bino brands face when making decisions about eyecups dimensions. What I am referring to here is that we have probably all seen folks with eyes that are sunken within their sockets while at the other extremes there are folks with eyes that bulge forward. Most of us fall in between these two extremes but it does mean that it is hard for the brands to know where any individual's eyes will end up in relation to the eye relief point and probably there will always be some folks who's eyes end up slightly off from the ideal position, no matter what size of the eyecup. And then there are the folks (like me) with spectacles having different frames, different thicknesses of lenses, different position of the specs on their nose etc etc. Gives me a headache just thinking about all the variables.

Lee
 

wdc

Well-known member
Lee, Post 34,
I'm pretty sure the designers and manufacturers work pretty hard to split the difference in eyecup specs. to achieve a binocular that accommodates the widest swath of the binocular consuming public. I'm merely suggesting that they might offer optional low profile eyecups for those that need a few more mm's.

Given Swarovski's recent problem with fogging eyepieces on the NL, I won't be surprised if they try to resolve that issue with a new eyecup.

-Bill
 

dries1

Member
Question, just curious.

How many actual viewers have a problem with condensation with the NL eyecups out of the total amount of viewers of the NL?
 

rpg51

Well-known member
Supporter
I have no problem with condensation - I have NL 8x42. Of course, if the glass is cold and you exhale warm moist breath on the glass you will get condensation on the glass. No more or less than any other binos.
 
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 Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Users who are viewing this thread

Top