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QC Issues Victory SF (1 Viewer)

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
B) Field Curvature
i.e. does the sharpness of focus on an object change, depending on the object’s location in the FOV?

Spherical optics typically project a curved image for viewing, rather than a flat one. This is known as Petzval field curvature, see at: Petzval field curvature - Wikipedia
n.b. while a 2 dimensional representation of the projected image is shown as a curve, in 3 dimensional space the image forms part of a spherical surface.

The first image shows the application to photography, with a flat sensor/ film surface. Moving away from the centre of the optical axis, the focus curve is increasingly in front of the flat surface, and so the image is increasingly out of focus. And although this is less of a problem where a receptor is also curved in a similar manner - such as the interior surface of the human eye - the problem still remains.

The second image shows that with more complex optics, as is common with many modern photographic lenses, the projected image may take on flatter but more complex characteristics *

In practice, as with geometric distortion, there are also varying degrees of field curvature/ field flatness. In addition, an increasing deterioration of sharpness towards the edge of the FOV, is often a combination of both focus variation and astigmatism. The difference being:
• the first can be corrected by refocusing (though with a consequent loss of central focus), but;
• the second cannot.

Roger Vine routinely addresses these considerations in his binocular reviews (and usually also image distortion), under the heading 'Flat field?'. They can be found at: Binocular Reviews

Field flatness may be an advantage for certain uses e.g. especially astronomy, or where a binocular is mainly used from a tripod. However, for many other uses it does not offer a significant advantage, and with hand-held use there is a natural tendency to position an object of interest in the centre of the FOV. So for many users the choice of a flat field of view is as much personal preference as practical advantage.


* This presumedly can be related to the complex optics of the Swarovski EL SV eyepiece - where at least early on - there was the presence of an area of reduced sharpness aka the 'Absam Ring' e.g. see the first post at: Distortion Characteristics of Three Swarovision Models

- - - -
Traditionally, binoculars have had more simple eyepieces compared to other optics, including many telescopes and camera lenses. Consequently, even well after WWII, binocular optics often exhibited significant degrees of field curvature.

As indicated, Swarovski introduction the flat field EL Swarovision in 2010, which led to the proliferation of similar featured binoculars from other manufacturers. However, there are also much earlier examples.

In the mid 1980’s Nikon launched the 8x40 DCF roof prism (with the SE Porro prism following in 1995), see a cross-section image of the DCF in post #37 by Henry at: Flat Field technology: the hows, the why's, the consequences
And a set of images of eyepieces of other early examples can be found in posts #35 and 36 also by Henry at: Field flattener binoculars
As can be seen from the images, flat field optics typically require more complex eyepieces.


Finally, circling back to my opening comments . . .
The distinction between geometric distortion and field flatness - as described by Swarovski in its own literature (both immediately following the introduction of the EL SV, and continuing to now) - would not be clear to many casual readers.


John


Images from:
1st & 2nd: What is Field Curvature?
3rd and 4th from 2011 Swarovski Optik catalogue
5th from 2012 EL Swarovision brochure
6th from 2021 EL Legend brochure
 

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champ412

Member
United Kingdom
Champ, With regard to the latter, I read the situation a little differently. If you step back and think on the several Holger articles we've attached here, plus Henry's writings, you may see it to. No binocular can perfectly serve everyone. Some people see these aberrations some do not. Rolling balls, pincushions, even glare can exist for SOME people, with SOME binocular optical designs. I for one, dont see any of these. I'm not alone. One of the larger points I tried to get Henry to talk to, is how many people actually see these. He prefers to speak to how and why, eloquently enough, but not how often.

For Swarovski, if you hang around for awhile and read various comments, some from Jan at House of Outdoor, (a very cool large outdoor and optics shop in the Netherlands), as well as individual compliments/reviews, and look at the reported successful sales history, you should walk away with the impression that Swaro's designs, to include the EL and newer NLs probably make more people happy than not. And probably make more people happy than the other 2 main best bino brands. This stuff is kind of everywhere just not to be found in a centralized single thread. There's bits and pieces of kudos for Swaro in reviews, and commentary constantly.

People on BF, following human nature like to complain. Several have commented on this negative commenting trend here, especially for whatever reason, maybe virus fatigue, lately. There seems a concentration of folks who experience these aberrations while the majority of Swaro customers are out birding and hunting. If true, and I suspect it is, you can see why coming here and reading a bit can lead to skewed view of what is what, if not for how many.

As you are noticing, its also true the effects we're discussing and the one you experience exist in many binoculars, top brands and models. Again, think of the Holger and Henry writings. These effects are present as the result of optical designer CHOICE, when they are trying to put forward a model they hope pleases the most people. That you see rolling balls is unfortunate. That means the combo of Swarovski's EL design and your eye/brain combo are not compatible. Thats kind of the end of it. As Ive been trying to write, its not a design flaw for Swaro. Its the way their design choice and you meet up.

From your above quote, this is not an issue. Hopefully you can see this?

Your search for an SLC is very interesting. Have you seen and studied Tobias Menle's very cool website? greatestbinoculars: Swarovski SLC W B 8x42 Tobias has been critical of Swaros design choices for quite a while. If you read around his website you can pick up on his perspective, what he likes better, and why. Last year he did a kind of about face when re-discovering the SLC, now loves it and explains why it works for him when the EL did not. I fear his experience is more related to the flat field and an esthetic quality he does not like about those. We know from Henry's writing here Flat Field does not cause rolling ball or pin cushion. Hopefully we have that straight now. But maybe, independent of no FF, the SLC has optical design choices that also work for those who do see one or the other of those 2 aberrations? If those work for you, that'd be cool and leads to another intriguing conversation. We wanna know.

John Roberts often leads a discussion. He and we are trying to divine what Swarovski is up to with their latest design choices. They've dropped and added several models in the last short while, with no real strategic explanation of why, and or where they're going, (not that they owe us one). We in the meantime are having fun guessing. The irony is, what if, all along, in addition to the success of the EL, now being supplanted by the NL, (both as excellent as they were/are haven't been able to please everyone), they did have a model that could work for others, left out. Hiding in plain sight was a binocular design that did please other folks, (potentially you), that they already have in the line, (SLC), and now are apparently walking away from... That would be a duh! moment indeed.

We are curious.
Thanks Tom,

Appreciate the link to the review it does look promising. I agree that forums do attract a level of negativity but I like to think you often have to have some negativity to make people aware / motivated to find a solution :)

With regards to

“That means the combo of Swarovski's EL design and your eye/brain combo are not compatible. Thats kind of the end of it. As Ive been trying to write, its not a design flaw for Swaro. Its the way their design choice and you meet up.”

As an engineer myself, if I were to design an application or a webpage or anything aimed at commercial sale that everyone loved but then I only made it work on 50% of the worlds computers, I would not only have created a poorly designed application but I would have also from a business perspective also immediately crippled sales potential. This would have been a design choice yes, but a poor one from an engineering and also from a marketing perspective. You would (hopefully) as a company receive praise from the 50% that could use it, but the other 50% would damage your reputation and as a brand you would lose a lot of followers. Your obvious aim is to make a product that can be used my as many people as possible and is affordable (or eventually is in the case of expensive products) to as many as possible to maximise your sales.

And it seems to like Swarovski's approach is either :

”Hey the markup on our binoculars is so high, so we can live with a reduction of sales based on the 50% (or whatever the real percentage is) that are ok with our current design”

Or possibly

“We are out of ideas, we have no real ideas left in the bucket to try so out of sheer desperation we are trying the until now discounted design concepts which come with minimal benefits and negative side effects“

The risk that they have not mitigated against and in fact have magnified by removing the SLC range, is the company could be perceived as raising the middle finger to those who do not fit with their recent system. Given that brand loyalty seems to be key in the binocular world that will inevitably hurt their sales revenue.

Like you say it’s interesting to see what they will do next :)
 

pm42

Well-known member
I only made it work on 50% of the worlds computers
You seem to think that computers and brain/eyes are the same.
BTW, if you manage to design an application that works on every computer, including the ones with very old operating system, the servers without a graphic interface and that is still convenient for the vast majority of users, let me know.

You also make the assumption that 50% of the potential users cannot stand Swaro flat field but sales figures prove the contrary.

If you seem so confident you understand how to do business better than they do as implied by you last sentences, I would advise you to start your own binocular brand because being both an engineer and a marketing expert will guarantee you a huge success.
 

Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
The production of the SLC's did not stop, they are now produced under another brand name, a brand that is part of the Swarovski business organisation, so I do not quite understand the excitement. And if you ask me: the Kahles SLC's are probably still completely made in Absam, since all equipment and knowledge for the SLC's is there.
Gijs van Ginkel
 

jan van daalen

Well-known member
Hi Champ,

I don't think that any company that follows the customer approach/corporate culture as you described will survive for long.
Zeiss went for the three layer concept. They outsourced the production of their budget optics to China, their middle class to Japan (as did Leica with their two layer concept) and their top line Made in Germany, just to reach as much as customers as possible.
One could argue that Swarovski also has a two layer concept (CL line versus ELSV, NLPure and Habicht line) but they don't outsource to a OEM Far East in order to be capable to keep control of the sample variation in own hands I assume.
The SLC line is currently re-branded as a Kahles product.
It's only for a month now that Swarovski's production capacity is bigger compared to worldwide demand for Swarovski optics which only means that the waiting list is getting shorter and their is still no stock for direct delivery.
For a brand that acts according to your evaluation, not a bad result.
Or could it be that you are a bit mistaken?

Jan
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
Your obvious aim is to make a product that can be used my as many people as possible and is affordable (or eventually is in the case of expensive products) to as many as possible to maximise your sales. Utter rubbish, look at Rolls Royce autos, a niche market for only the wealthy.

The risk that they have not mitigated against and in fact have magnified by removing the SLC range, is the company could be perceived as raising the middle finger to those who do not fit with their recent system. Given that brand loyalty seems to be key in the binocular world that will inevitably hurt their sales revenue. I have changed alpha brands as a new model comes out that has an edge over the competition,; it may be marginal on occasion. Swarovski Optik is financially and ethically in a healthy position and remains a family controlled business
 
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GrampaTom

Well-known member
United States
As an engineer myself, if I were to design an application or a webpage or anything aimed at commercial sale that everyone loved but then I only made it work on 50% of the worlds computers, I would not only have created a poorly designed application but I would have also from a business perspective also immediately crippled sales potential. This would have been a design choice yes, but a poor one from an engineering and also from a marketing perspective. You would (hopefully) as a company receive praise from the 50% that could use it, but the other 50% would damage your reputation and as a brand you would lose a lot of followers. Your obvious aim is to make a product that can be used my as many people as possible and is affordable (or eventually is in the case of expensive products) to as many as possible to maximise your sales.

And it seems to like Swarovski's approach is either :

”Hey the markup on our binoculars is so high, so we can live with a reduction of sales based on the 50% (or whatever the real percentage is) that are ok with our current design”

Or possibly

“We are out of ideas, we have no real ideas left in the bucket to try so out of sheer desperation we are trying the until now discounted design concepts which come with minimal benefits and negative side effects“
Whew! Really?
 

james holdsworth

Consulting Biologist
Maybe the assumption is that most buyers are optically savvy when it comes to binoculars. I would say this is definitely not the case, more like maybe 5% really know anything about what they’re using. When it comes to rolling ball or some other optical aberration most users would be completely oblivious… And even if they saw it they would have no idea if it was normal or not.

I would think Swarovski know very well that whatever design choice or compromise they use, only a tiny fraction of users will notice or be bothered.
 

tenex

reality-based
I have also spoken to Swarovski who are also well aware of the issue but seem keen to push on using the same approach presumably aiming to reduce the effect with newer models.
Indeed, they seem to have succeeded. With the NLs people continue to express the same aesthetic preferences for or against flat-field designs, but I haven't heard complaints about rolling-ball panning. Good luck finding those SLCs though; I think they are/were the optimal classic design.
 

GrampaTom

Well-known member
United States
I would think Swarovski know very well that whatever design choice or compromise they use, only a tiny fraction of users will notice or be bothered.
I wonder...
Or will actually experience it.

Seems like those who notice, notice, they make no bones about it.

Hard to imagine Swaro success cynically dependent on people not noticing.

Am jonesing, if anyone is noticing, for what that number might be.
 

champ412

Member
United Kingdom
Uh oh I disagreed with someone everyone is getting upset :ROFLMAO:

To simplify this even further for those getting confused, you as a business ultimately aim to build a product which matches the requirements you are given from the customer. If you fail to do that your business will lose customers / profits and if you keep doing so companies will eventually fail. I really can't see how anyone can disagree with that statement. The specific requirement from your customers or potential customers in this case are

I want a non-rolling ball binoculars

Simply by ignoring that requirement and continuing to build a product which does not satisfy that requirement will mean you are losing customers who put forward that requirement. It really is that simple.

I am not saying Swarovski are about to close down and to be clear I am addressing Swarovski not its subsidiary companies. I am fully aware that they have pushed the product over to another company that was outside the scope of this discussion.

"Your obvious aim is to make a product that can be used my as many people as possible and is affordable (or eventually in the case of expensive products) to as many as possible to maximise your sales. Utter rubbish, look at Rolls Royce autos, a niche market for only the wealthy."

You have missed the text in the quote within the brackets which covers niche expensive products example you have highlighted. An example of what Swarovski have done in the car market would be only manufacturing 3 door cars and ignoring 5 door cars which would be more favourable for families when you know that families consider your make of car and are part of your userbase.

pm42

Your post is full of incorrect assumptions. I used figures I did as an example. If you re-read my post I state "(whatever the percentage is)" indicating I do not know the percentage. However equally no one on this forum does either so I picked the middle ground of 50%.

"You seem to think that computers and brain/eyes are the same." Never said that anywhere that's an assumption you are making.

I used the computing example to demonstrate a simple point. If you want to get technical, old school GUI applications are not as popular as they once were as the vast majority of development these days is web based which side steps the whole issue of OS compatibility. However to address your point regarding OS based GUI applications they are generally made for both Mac and PC these days where as if you go back 20 years it would just be Windows based. Regarding non-gui applications with the introduction of WSL there are huge amounts of GUI-less applications that now run across all OS.
 

dries1

Member
I think James is onto something with the 5%. From what I have seen, many with $$ in their pocket get what the other guy has, it has to be a Swarovski. They (Swarovski) spend I am sure, an inordinate amount of dollars on marketing. I would think much more than the others to promote sport optics.
 

dorubird

Well-known member
Romania
Binoculars are like wines! Some like certain wines, others like other varieties! Champ412 acted wisely and "tasted" SV EL "wine" and came to the conclusion that he did not like it due to the excessive "tannin" of the globe effect, and he shared these conclusions with us! I did not notice this "aroma" of globe effect in SV EL "wine" but I understand very well that others may be more sensitive to this globe effect on binoculars. It does not mean that SV EL "wine" is not a top quality wine, but only that some do not like it. It is ok !! I could "drink" SV EL "wine" very well with great great pleasure! But...also I tasted other "wines" that, for other reasons, I like them more, they are more to my taste ! It's about of our taste differences, and that's why it's good that we have so many good variants of binoculars to choose from, variants capable of satisfying our varied tastes. It is very simple, because we are not equal in preferences and appreciations. That's why were "bottled wines" like SV EL, SLC, Habicht, NL, SF, HT, Ultravid, Noctivid, EDG, EII, SE etc
 
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champ412

Member
United Kingdom
Hi Champ,

Does it occur to you when everybody disagrees with you, maybe just maybe it's because..........

Jan
Hi Jan,

It generally happens when these people who are normally inside a community of some kind (like a forum) have been living in an echo chamber for too long and are frightened when something different is said to them. It scares them.

Champ
 
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Ed T

Member
United States
You could save money by purchasing the SF 10x42 instead of the NL 10x42, but it all depends of what are you looking for.

I found the Swarovski NL 10x42 to feel very light due to its ergonomic design. I haven’t noticed any rolling effect. And, if you are looking for a large FOV, nothing beats the Swaro NL binos. I found the view to be very immersive with the NL 10x42. However, I found some disturbing chromatic aberrations, that some experts in this forum believe are between their comfort zone.

Nothing wrong with the SF 10x42. It was my second choice. Great glass and outstanding ergonomic design. Excellent binos, but less FOV than the NLs.

Once that you go over US $1,000, you enter the twilight zone of diminishing returns. If you get an alpha, you don’t get 3X better binoculars, not even 2X.

You could consider the Kowa Genesis 10x44. Except for the FOV, you’ll hardly notice any difference to the alphas. But at half the price tag, you could save lots of money towards another toy.
 

champ412

Member
United Kingdom
You could save money by purchasing the SF 10x42 instead of the NL 10x42, but it all depends of what are you looking for.

I found the Swarovski NL 10x42 to feel very light due to its ergonomic design. I haven’t noticed any rolling effect. And, if you are looking for a large FOV, nothing beats the Swaro NL binos. I found the view to be very immersive with the NL 10x42. However, I found some disturbing chromatic aberrations, that some experts in this forum believe are between their comfort zone.

Nothing wrong with the SF 10x42. It was my second choice. Great glass and outstanding ergonomic design. Excellent binos, but less FOV than the NLs.

Once that you go over US $1,000, you enter the twilight zone of diminishing returns. If you get an alpha, you don’t get 3X better binoculars, not even 2X.

You could consider the Kowa Genesis 10x44. Except for the FOV, you’ll hardly notice any difference to the alphas. But at half the price tag, you could save lots of money towards another toy.
Thanks Ed, Agreed once you reach a certain price point you are spending a lot for the last bit of extra quality. The NL's are definitely at the price point £2400 here in the UK where I would definitely have to see them in person before OK'ing a transaction of that size :). I did hear that the rb effect was significantly reduced on the NL's. I think I could live with some distortion of that type just not as strong as it is in the ELs.
 

Patudo

Well-known member
Having read the last couple of pages with a certain amount of amusement, I feel compelled to offer the opinion that however small the percentage of people that experience "rolling ball" severely enough to find it off-putting may be, it matters not at all if you happen to be one of those unfortunate folks. Fortunately there are plenty of alternative choices out there that will still represent a very significant upgrade from a £250 binocular.

I respect those who understand all the technical concepts that have been brought up over the last several posts, but (fortunately) it isn't necessary to be able to understand and explain distortion, flat field, astigmatism etc. in order to select a binocular that works for you. Just get your hands on as many good ones as you can, ideally for a reasonable amount of time, in conditions that approximate those under which the binocular will be used - your eyes and hands will find the one that suits you best.

Enjoy your journey - it should be a lot of fun!
 
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 Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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