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One 8x3x to rule them all (1 Viewer)

Hello everyone! Lately I've had a lumbago acuta that has prevented me from going surfski paddling, so revitalising the birding seems the obvious route to go.
My youngest son left college for university in another city, so there's a new world of freedom to explore. Maybe 2023 will be my Big Year.
As you may know, I nowadays only do eco-birding, which, in my interpretation, means staying clear from any motors including public transportation. There's not many more species I've only seen while moving about with a car. Four are so rare that it's not feasible to expect to see them anymore in my life, only two are left. Then, obviously, I have quite a few species that I must blush when admitting they're not yet on my list.

Anyhow, days are getting shorter rapidly here in the north and we're approaching the autumnal equinox. Since I work until 6 pm, I need to get out immediately after work to get a couple of hours of light. The idea of storing a birding backpack at work is old, and I'm reviving it but thinking of what to actually put in it.
Tonight, it was the Meostar 8x32 and the Zen-Ray 7x43 along with the Nikon ED50A 27x and a monopod.
This is, by the way, my current collection: Revisiting BF - Current binocular collection
The sun got further and further towards the horizon and I swapped between the two binoculars, unable to find any brightness difference. I rode the bike home and continued the test with the same result. Just after the sun was down, I thought I may have seen a tiny advantage for the 7x43.

Looking at my current collection, there's no 10x in it. Many years ago, I found that there was no practical difference in detail rendition between the 10x32 FL and the Nikon 8x30 E II, which turned my world around. All 10x left my house, including my old man's Classic Dialyt 10x40 that I left to my older son.
The 12x50 is another beast. The step up is sufficient to justify owning and carrying two classes of binoculars: 7/8x and 12x. The Meostar is actually easy to hold steady.

So, here goes: Earlier I found out that a 10x made no sense. Now it seems that exit pupils above 4 or maybe 5 millimeters also make no sense for me. I won't sell the EDG 7x42, arguably the world's best binocular, but it appears to be redundant.
All this leaves me in a strange situation where I was prepared to buy a 10x42 or 10x50 for my store-at-work backpack, but might very well just go with the little Meostar, and, if planning succeeds, sometimes also the big Meostar. There won't be a 10x, and I can't afford the NL Pure 12x42 especially as the big Meostar is so good.

But... [honoring the thread title]
Neither of my three 8x30/8x32 is perfect :( The E II has the most exquisite image, The Kite Lynx is quite close but a lot more handy, and the Meostar is very rugged and has that strange thing I call big PFOV (actual FOV less than either of the two 8x30, but it almost disappears when eyecups are down, and it's the only one I can use with glasses), but the image hue isn't quite satisfactory.

I'd be willing to spend a fair amount of money on one fantastic 8x3x that combines the treats of these three (although the wonderful porro 3D must be sacrificed). But I can't seem to find the 8x3x to rule them all. The Monarch HG and the CL Companion don't seem to offer enough qualities above, say, the Kite, to justify spending about €1000.
Obviously, this a first world problem. I'd probably not throw out one of my current midsizers anyway, even if I found the Grail. So, as so often before, this is only a constructed problem and faked agony. Unless someone points out the best-ever midsizer that mysteriously went under my radar, I actually gravitate towards the updated Meostar. Everything else being the same, but it had the hue corrected, I'd not look back. Looking forward to see your replies and debate.

//L
For me that 8x32 that rules them all is the now discontinued Zeiss FL 8x32: wide field of view, light, no chromatic aberration, robust, great eyecups, etc. But, it is now discontinued.

The Leica UV HD+ 8x32 is great and even lighter. It is even (very slightly) better than the FL regarding its superb resistance to flare and contrast. Focusing is also easier (the image snaps more into focus, due to less astigmatism at the periphery), the sweet spot very large. The field of view is however slightly smaller (which does not matter much to me), and the eye relief is shorter, so that it might be a little hard to use with glasses -- you need to try.

The Zeiss SF 8x32 is supposedly absolutely great, except that it's physically larger, which would be an issue for me, but seems to be fine with most people. I don't have it so I cannot offer my personal comparison.

I would take a look at those two, and decide whether to live with slightly short eye relief of the Leica UV, or put up with the longer form factor of the Zeiss SF. My vote, of course, would be for the Leica UV, also because they are smaller and lighter for traveling and packing; they not only "rule" other 8x32 but made obsolete also my 8x25s, except when mountain biking, as I do not find much consequential difference in weight and size between packing an 8x25 or the Leica UV 8x32.
 
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Is money no object? Another vote for the 8x32 SF, I just spent time with them at the bird store and they were my favorite of the SF line and also all the Swaro's. A little sharper to the edge and less false color than the 8x42 SF's. I like the body and focuser better than Swaro. My only qualm would be the 90% transmission, would like to see that higher.

I actually like the larger size of the SF's versus the SFL and Swaro CL's, they seemed more comfortable to handle and view through.
 
Luca, I had the 10x32 FL and in many ways it was awesome, but in the end its washed-out and pale colours, together with the find that the E II 8x30 allowed me to see the same detail level, made me sell it to fund the EDG. Maybe the newer Zeiss have better colours?
The Leica isn't the obvious choice for me, aside from the eye relief I'm inclined to believe it's not hugely better than the Meostar B1.1.
It's a big step above the new breed of 8x30's and could be interesting as long as I'm using contact lenses.

Maljunolo, how we feel about complexity is of less importance than how we manage it. One binocular means no complexity and a few trade-offs. Owning several binoculars means the same as recognising the world is manifold and multi-dimensional, and adds some complexity.

Scott98, money is certainly an object. I'm sure the SF could show me everything there is to see even in deep dusk. Uncertain about its colours though. And the size, well, although I have big hands I prefer small bins if they can be made small (that said, the Meostar 12x50 HD is fantastic to hold, very comfortable and very little shake).
But despite the subpar transmission, I'd rather go with an 8x32 EDG if I could accept such a large instrument. And saving about €1000 wouldn't be a bad thing either. Edit: price difference not quite that steep, but it seems unavailable everywhere anyway.
//L
 
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Maljunolo, how we feel about complexity is of less importance than how we manage it. One binocular means no complexity and a few trade-offs. Owning several binoculars means the same as recognising the world is manifold and multi-dimensional, and adds some complexity.
//L
Absolutely, but my point was that some dislike complexity, and try to minimize it, whereas others embrace it and seem to seek it out.
 
Lars (I hope I remembered your name correctly)

Since you like the EII for all other respects except for it not working with your eyeglasses, how about making a pair of corrector lenses with your prescription for mounting within its rubber eyecups? I recently posted about such a lens made for my Canons, to correct for the astigmatism that messes up the image for my left eye. It works much better than I dared hope for, and solves all the problems of finicky eye placement, insufficient eye-relief, smudging eyeglasses and uneven image sharpness (with progressives) that using regular eyeglasses involve.

- Kimmo
 
Hi Kimmo, yes you remembered correctly :) In fact, the contact lenses I use almost always perform flawlessly. And before that, I actually made a pair of very snugly-fitting spectacles for use with the E II. They work like a charm , but make me feel a bit queasy because I flattened the horisontal angle of the frame's front to zero.

The idea of corrector lenses combined with the binocular is indeed innovative, but not so helpful unless one's spectacle powers are low and/or the binoculars are for stationary use like a balcony, because the specs must be removed before looking through the bin.
It can certainly be done but I don't think it's a major leap forward, and I use sunglasses while using my contacts and moving about.

On a side note, I took out my collection this afternoon and must say all models shine. None of them have ceased to amaze me, but the E II is formidable apart from minor blackout issues.
Above all, the difference between it and the roof pack is that an outstanding roof may deliver a view thats comparable to an 8K screen.
Very impressive, but along comes the outstanding porro and says "Hold my beer..." ... and shows reality.
 
As a matter of fact, while sorely tempted to continue my journey to the perfect binoculars collection, I must again be honest to myself and accept that I'm for all practical purposes already there. Must tame my Wanderlust :ROFLMAO:

Can't decide upon which of my current three 8x30/8x32 I like the best, or why.
But the Meostar really feels like the faithful companion that's almost a part of myself. E II described above. The little Kite is a clever synthesis between the two, but in the end it's just another, different set of advantages and shortcomings, the total does not reach higher than the two others.

Temptations pop up all the time, for example I could get a Prominar 10,5x44 as new for a very fair price.
Instead, I have ordered the Svbony 406P 80 mm ED scope. Now, if it's a cherry, it's then entirely possible to have two base camps: Home and work, without serious logistics mishaps. And with a low-power eyepiece, it will cover what the Kowa also possibly could have.

//L
 
However, you should give Monarch HG 8x30 another chance. It has a much larger Eye relief than the Leica Ultravid 8x32, and it has an even smaller volume and larger field of view than this Leica. It has a visual field of view very close to E II, but more easy to look through Monarch HG 8x30 than E II with glasses. The reproduction of the white color is natural and has vivid and pleasant colors. Also, has a very good resolution! The resolution of the M HG 8X30 is a little better even than Zeiss Victory 8x25 resolution, but slightly below Nikon EII resolution. I really like the design: simple and elegant! Nikon HG 8x30 dissection
The only disadvantage for me would be that in certain conditions, sometimes glare appears (but there are other new 8x32 binoculars, much more expensive, and much more voluminous that have the same problem of glare and the world is happy with them).
 
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Luca, I had the 10x32 FL and in many ways it was awesome, but in the end its washed-out and pale colours, together with the find that the E II 8x30 allowed me to see the same detail level, made me sell it to fund the EDG. Maybe the newer Zeiss have better colours?
The Leica isn't the obvious choice for me, aside from the eye relief I'm inclined to believe it's not hugely better than the Meostar B1.1.
It's a big step above the new breed of 8x30's and could be interesting as long as I'm using contact lenses.
[...]
My (late model) Zeiss 8x32 FL has good color. It becomes a bit washed out when the objective lens is slightly dirty, and I mention this because, somehow, I find the Zeiss lenses a bit harder to get perfectly clean than the Leica ones. The Leica lenses seem to repel water better, and when I clean them, they get perfectly clear at the first try every time.

I clean lenses by first rinsing them, to remove any solid debris, then gently passing a finger lathered in soap over them (diluted dish soap works well), then rinsing again, then using the edges of a paper towel to touch the few remaining water droplets and absorbing them. The Zeiss lenses often retain a bit of halo from the soap, and I need to pass the cleaning cloth as the final step; the Leica lenses do not need this.
 
My (late model) Zeiss 8x32 FL has good color. It becomes a bit washed out when the objective lens is slightly dirty, and I mention this because, somehow, I find the Zeiss lenses a bit harder to get perfectly clean than the Leica ones. The Leica lenses seem to repel water better, and when I clean them, they get perfectly clear at the first try every time.

I clean lenses by first rinsing them, to remove any solid debris, then gently passing a finger lathered in soap over them (diluted dish soap works well), then rinsing again, then using the edges of a paper towel to touch the few remaining water droplets and absorbing them. The Zeiss lenses often retain a bit of halo from the soap, and I need to pass the cleaning cloth as the final step; the Leica lenses do not need this.
Recommend NOT using paper towels which can have abrasive fibers. If not using optics specific cleaning cloths/wipes, use a well-worn old cotton t-shirt or handkerchief ;-)

paper towels abrasive to lenses
 
Recommend NOT using paper towels which can have abrasive fibers. If not using optics specific cleaning cloths/wipes, use a well-worn old cotton t-shirt or handkerchief ;-)

paper towels abrasive to lenses
I do not use paper towels to rub the lens. I use their corners to touch the water droplets and absorb them. I use neither paper towels nor cloth for my lenses, just water and soap.
 
I do not use paper towels to rub the lens. I use their corners to touch the water droplets and absorb them. I use neither paper towels nor cloth for my lenses, just water and soap.
Soap contains acids and all kinds of artificial stuff, not recommended...
 
It depends on the soap - some are basically just fat (mainly vegetable based) and lye (Sodium Hydroxide). In the UK, at least, ingredients should be listed.
"One soap to rule them all" :)

I actually am partial for Marseille soap, which I buy from my French importer. Not even kidding. Well, I buy mostly wine from that importer, but that's a detail :)
 
My (late model) Zeiss 8x32 FL has good color. It becomes a bit washed out when the objective lens is slightly dirty, and I mention this because, somehow, I find the Zeiss lenses a bit harder to get perfectly clean than the Leica ones. The Leica lenses seem to repel water better, and when I clean them, they get perfectly clear at the first try every time.

I clean lenses by first rinsing them, to remove any solid debris, then gently passing a finger lathered in soap over them (diluted dish soap works well), then rinsing again, then using the edges of a paper towel to touch the few remaining water droplets and absorbing them. The Zeiss lenses often retain a bit of halo from the soap, and I need to pass the cleaning cloth as the final step; the Leica lenses do not need this.
Usually my binoculars are clean, and I assessed the colours of the FL and the old Nikon HGL thoroughly many years ago. The HG was more to my liking but quite a bit "too much" a punch and not really bright as the FL.
Agree partially to your finding re objectives cleanliness though. Brought the little Meostar and the Zen-Ray the other day and was appalled to see how superior the chin bin was in backlight. That is, until I discovered the Meopta was rather dusty :ROFLMAO:
 
However, you should give Monarch HG 8x30 another chance. It has a much larger Eye relief than the Leica Ultravid 8x32, and it has an even smaller volume and larger field of view than this Leica. It has a visual field of view very close to E II, but more easy to look through Monarch HG 8x30 than E II with glasses. The reproduction of the white color is natural and has vivid and pleasant colors. Also, has a very good resolution! The resolution of the M HG 8X30 is a little better even than Zeiss Victory 8x25 resolution, but slightly below Nikon EII resolution. I really like the design: simple and elegant! Nikon HG 8x30 dissection
The only disadvantage for me would be that in certain conditions, sometimes glare appears (but there are other new 8x32 binoculars, much more expensive, and much more voluminous that have the same problem of glare and the world is happy with them).
While Allbino's reviews shouldn't be taken for gospel, they have a largely standardised method that should ensure that, at minimum, closely related binoculars could be compared with some degree of precision. They had high hopes after reviewing the 10x42, but the 8x30's price-performance ratio didn't impress them.

If you compare the individual ratings, you find a striking similarity with the original Monarch 7.
And the rumours about the original Kite Lynx HD claimed it had slightly better glass than its twin, the Monarch 7.
It also has a FOV of 151 m, which is just barely perceptably smaller than the E II's 154 m.

This is exactly what I meant with the €1000 expense. The Monarch HG is clearly better in some respects and may allow me to use spectacles, but as a whole it's just another one that brings nothing new to the table. And it's sad, because I had really high hopes for it.
The 42 mm MHG's seem very close to, and partially better the EDG in some respects. The 30 mm MHG only seem to be half a notch above the Lynx, and I'd expect the M7 to be even closer to the MHG, but without the Kite's ginormous FOV.

//L

Edit: OK, it brings something to the table as it's actually better than the Kite and the E II. But it has drawbacks compared to the Meostar, and in particular I'm thinking about ruggedness. While MHG and Meostar B1 Plus are very different animals, it would be nice with a head-to-head comparison.
 
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Maybe you should wait for a new Meostar version to come out. The Cabela version looks to be discontinued which may be an indication that a new one is coming soon.
 
The B2 has been in the works for a while, then Covid hit so it could be a while. In fact I have not heard anything about it. The B1.1 Plus is a very nice glass in 8X32 and am thinking of adding the 10X42 or even trying out the 8X42.
 
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