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SLC 7x42 arriving today (1 Viewer)

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Within the next 4 or 5 hours my secondhand but pristine SLC 7x42 Neu should be arriving, courtesy of a Birdforum member.

It will be interesting to use these binoculars that have had very favourable reports, judging from earlier reviews and information posted on here recently, especially as I was spoilt yesterday by a local dealer giving me a surprise quick trial of the new NL 8x42. That NL made a great impression on me not least for the very easy and shakefree handling and what I thought was perfect definition and colour to my taste in the conditions at the time.

Being a great fan of 'sevens', however, I find it exciting to get such a well reviewed glass as the SLC 7x42 for only 25% of the price of a new NL 'eight'. My slight worry will be the weight compared with the usual suspects from L, N and CZ - and of course the great ergonomics of the NL but I think it will not be a great drawback.

It has often puzzled me how sometimes a bit of weight helps get a steadier hold - e.g. compare with tiny fiddly pocket bins like the Leica Trinovid 8x20 but sometimes makes it harder as with the much bigger CZ 8x56 Victory FL. You just can't have everything.

Tom

If anyone is interested I'll post my findings in as thorough a manner as possible but as others have documented the SLC 7x42 well enough in the past, please give me an idea if it will really be of any use or interest.
 
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Ries

Well-known member
Netherlands
I remember the weight of 10x Meostar (with its almost padded armour) helped me hold that almost as steady as Nikon mhg 8x...for a rrtain stretch of time. On longer duration muscle fatigue did become a factor.

Good luck with your 7x42 Slc! Looking forward hearing about it, had one on my wishlist as well but that's sold already knot yours)
 

CharleyBird

Well-known member
Tom,

I'm interested as the central image is reported as being excellent. Also about any glare/flare which is my pet dislike in binoculars.

As Richard says, it's a matter of weightier binoculars producing greater inertia which dampens shake. But only to the time when it becomes tiring to hold them.

Regards
 

Tringa45

Well-known member
Europe
Well, Tom, I think it might be a tick better than my pre-Neu (2003 built) 7x42 SLC, so you are to be congratulated and I commiserate with the seller, who I think is going to have his regrets.

John
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Hello everyone ~ Richard, CharleyBird, John, and Gray,

Good to see your comments. I haven't replied till now as unusually large amounts of computer and TV work plus late hours have left my eyes very tired.. I gave up on trying the SLC 7 out yesterday when it wasn't going well. It was me not the binos, I hasten to add, as I also checked how I got on with my 'mother of all amazing bins', the Zeiss 7x42 Dialyt BGA and even that gave me a fuzzy view, most unusually. So early to bed and wait a day or two and hopefully normal service will be resumed.

Gray, I can say straightaway the minimum focus distance is further away than even with the modern SLC 8x42 (just discontinued) and also the 7 feels less compact and quite a bit heavier. It has a kind of military ruggedness to it and in particular the dioptre control is really good: easy to adjust and yet very unlikely to come adrift in action. You depress the button and turn it to the next click stop and let go. No pulling out the focus wheel etc which always makes me feel you will disturb the position before the adjustment is complete.

Glare / flare - I reserve judgement till suitably rested and I can test more methodically. The eyecups come out a good way but without click stops. In practice you just twist and make sure both are lined up at equal height. Hold is good, which is a help with a heavyish instrument.

Back to you all soon - realistically early next week. Thanks for your questions and interest.

Tom
 
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SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Today for the first time I had a chance to try out more than just briefly the recently arrived Swarovski SLC 7x42 Neu, bought from another Birdforum member, Boogieshrew.

First of all I'd like to express my appreciation for the thorough way the bins had been packed together with original box and all the contents, all cocooned against impact within a larger box with even amounts of polystyrene chips on to protect all six surfaces of the inner carton. Additionally the bins themselves were in excellent cosmetic and mechanical condition, as good as they could possibly be, given that they had obviously not just lain unused since first purchase in April 2013.

To be honest, apart from being tired, feeling the strain (incl. eye-strain) and being busy over the last few days, I also as a result felt a bit doubtful on first holding the 7x42 whether it would be right for me after all, and I didn't feel like venturing opinions on here till in the right mind and with time to try and appreciate the bins in a more upbeat mood.

I am happy to say that after some viewing at different times of today, in between other commitments, the 7x42 Neu has left me with a very positive feeling, which I shall try to relay in this post. It has to be stated right away that the more I try to compare bins the harder I find it and the more I see that any limitations in making comparisons are as much due to my own eye capabilities as any design shortcomings. Additionally the whole business of comparison is something I increasingly dislike for the reason that having more than one pair of binoculars is something to enjoy, whereas too much analysis, in my case anyway, leads to finding fault with most or all of them and then where is the enjoyment?

Back to the bins in question:

1. They are not light. I either own or have use of four other 7x42s: L UVHD+, N EDG, Z Dialyt BGAT*P* and Z Victory T*FL. The SLC is the heaviest and I notice it. On the other hand they have a feeling of comfort and solidity that is very reassuring. This is a bin I'd prefer where possible to use with some additional stabilization for my arms but they are fine for me at least for shorter spells of viewing. To me the hold is perfect. The typical SLC cut outs underneath the barrels are not in the ideal place for me but as they are cut outs rather than ridges that doesn't matter and I can hold them securely and very comfortably without any need to fiddle about to find the best hold. The feel of the armouring is very confidence-inspiring. So are the other sevens, all in different ways, but the SLC has that solid rugged heft that suggests engineering perfection with no short cuts. How the weight will affect my thinking as time goes by it's too early to tell but just picking this 7x42 up puts a smile on my face because there is absolutely nothing in the slightest bit flimsy about any of it: eyecups, dioptre control, straps, external finish.

2. As with the five other Swaros I have had a chance to use or buy in the last two years the view gives me the assurance of spot-on alignment. Pincushion or flat-field: I don't sway too much for or against either but what does matter is that the collimation should be good (obviously). Call me naive but that doesn't seem something to worry about with most Swaros and that is a big bonus, compared against my as yet limited experience with binoculars in general. Focusing the SLC is like getting a click in the eyes as you get to the point of sharp focus.

3. I have already mentioned the dioptre setting in an earlier post but for completeness will mention again that to me it was a system I hadn't seen before, and I thought it was superior to other methods. You press in the dial, which is housed behind the focuser i.e. nearer to your face. No pulling out the focuser and maybe dislodging its position. When you press in the dial you turn it a short way till you feel it meet the next setting point and let go. it is very easy to operate while keeping your eyes to the eyepieces. I normally get in a state about this process with other bins but this was supremely easy and I was satisfied I had the right setting within a minute or two. I can't see that it could be accidentally dislodged either.

4. The view. I don't wear glasses for viewing though I do for normal living. Typically I will only need to raise the eyecups a short way - 1/4" at the most in order to keep a full view without blackouts or other interference. My point of contact between face and eyecups is the eyebrow, not inside the hollows round the eyes. The same goes for this SLC. I can see the whole image circle and the black region outside clearly at this setting though I hardly ever make a point of trying to do observation far out to the edges. The large central sweetspot appears excellent and because of just being content that the outer field is all visible rather than examining that area too closely I have to admit that any Absam ring or other deterioration further out escapes my notice. The view feels very comfortable and satisfying, and as mentioned there is that feeling of supremely accurate focusing alignment between the two barrels or tubes.

5. The focuser. As with the controls of a car that you adapt to, most makes seem to have their differences when it comes to focusers. This SLC has a consistent feel to the focuser; in this case nothing like as easy a turn as an EDG but I only noticed that when consciously ticking off points to report on; just using the bins I might not have noticed as there is no rough patch. You just need to work a bit harder with this one and it might be to do with the age of the unit, if the bins have been unused for a while. In my opinion there is nothing needing service attention; I just note it resists a bit more than some, and consistently.

6. Chromatic aberration. I didn't notice any but it's not something that's on my radar generally. Either I'm undiscerning or I'm blessed, but my guess, judging by the weight of this glass, is that Swarovski made a big effort to make this a birder's dream glass optically speaking. Perhaps someone can comment further on this.

7. Flare / glare / reflections. I notice a very slight flare centrally in the image from time to time. It feels like just a hint of haze or reduction in contrast. This needs more looking at before I can say what prompts it. Trying the bins out at different times of day meant that 50% of my viewing had the sun in the front 180 degrees and I would truthfully say that in comparison the Leica UVHD+ is in my experience a lot more troublesome with the sun anywhere in front of my left or right. Dusk was a case in point: with the SLC after sunset I did not notice anything like the amount of glare or reflections that was evident from the UVHD+ or my old Zeiss Dialyt BGAT*P*. (The sun had set in front of me, not behind.)

8. Colour. My feeling is that as with the Leica and Nikon colours are warm. Not the same though. Swarovski SLC a bit yellower, more golden (I think - hard to tell because the lighting at each viewing was quite changeable so consistency in colour evaluation was tricky); Leica and Nikon redder. Certainly warmer than modern EL SV / FP with their slightly bluish slant.

9. 'Sharpness' (resolution and contrast). I find this very hard to comment on. As said, the accuracy of assembly and adjustment leaves no feeling of disappointment. So far, apparent freedom from obvious glare helps an impression of good contrast and resolution. I suspect the Leica might appear better in glare-free circumstances but what I think might not tie in with others' findings. To me as explained earlier I'm not looking for a winner, just to know if I'm happy with the results. And the answer to that, within the limitations of really just one day of viewing at regular intervals, is yes, I'm very happy.

10. There are many things not addressed here. If you are interested to know more, perhaps in a none too expert comparison with another of the big name 7x42s, please ask.

Tom
 
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CharleyBird

Well-known member
Seconded, thank you.
It would be interesting to hear again once you've become familiar with using them, say in a month or so, and which 7x42 is your favourite pick up.

I see that In-Focus are currently offering a mint pair of SLC 7x42, though it is not clear what vintage they are.
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Good review. Thank you

Thank you, Gray. You asked earlier how the 7x42 SLC compared with the 8x42 SLC and at this point I'd just make these observations, also bringing in here and there some other 7x42s for your and others' general interest:

- The 8 is lighter and feels a bit more compact.
- The 7 and 8 feel different but equally 'right' in the hand with a sort of muscular sturdiness.
- The 7 focuser is more even but not a one finger touch; you need to be firm. I am also happy with the 8 focuser but there would be many who would say it was rough. I've got used to it and its action doesn't spoil anything for me, whereas the first one I had went back for being a bit worse (and was replaced within 24 hours by delivery).
- The 8 image feels more detailed but as far as I can tell only because it is at higher magnification. I don't find 7 and 8 very similar in any bins despite being close numerically.
- Both 7 and 8 are without close focus ability; by comparison the Dialyt BGATP is worse. Nikon EDG and Zeiss T*FL are much better for close focus, with Leica somewhere in between.
- I was already raving over the way the 8 does colour and contrast, with strong but detailed blacks. More practice is needed with the 7 to evaluate colour properly. I'd say Nikon, Leica, Sw SLC are all on the warm side.
- Apart from the weight I really appreciate the 7 for its easy view. As a camera user, old style with film as well as digital, I find the ease of view in the viewfinder to be one of the most important features of the instrument, and looking through this 7x42 SLC is as easy as with a Leica (and in my use, doesn't provoke those Leica crescent-shaped flares).
- If I had to give up one of my sevens, at present it wouldn't be this one. But it is a bit heavy to take out all day for a hike - if it had to be a 7x42 for that I wouldn't go for the SLC or the EDG. I appreciate though that there are more serious birders who have happily used the 7x42 SLC day in day out for years.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 
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SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Seconded, thank you.
It would be interesting to hear again once you've become familiar with using them, say in a month or so, and which 7x42 is your favourite pick up.

I see that In-Focus are currently offering a mint pair of SLC 7x42, though it is not clear what vintage they are.

That's a good suggestion and I'll be happy to take you up on it a bit further down the line, but deciding on a favourite is against my house rules - as with children!

Tom
 

jremmons

Wildlife Biologist
I've been using the 7x42 SLC recently somewhat regularly and directly comparing it with the 8.5x42 EL SV FP ; the SLC really holds its own in a lot of aspects.

In terms of glare and focus speed, I prefer the SLC. The EL SV FP is brighter and slightly (and I do mean slightly) more color neutral. The EL SV of course has that truly flat field, whereas the SLC has a very well corrected, "normally distorted" image. I suffer no blackouts with the EL SV, but do have occasionally blackouts when using the SLC. Chromatic Aberration is controlled very well in both, slightly better in the EL SV - but not as good as in the FL. Contrast is fantastic in both the SLC and the EL SV, though maybe slightly better in the EL SV. The SLC NEU is bulky and heavy, but actually I really like the feel "in hand"; the ergonomics of the EL SV are just fine as well and it is a bit lighter around the neck.

Overall, the SLC NEU is much better than I'd have expected, given its age. In particular, its handling of glare and well corrected field are impressive; it is also among the most color neutral binoculars I've seen. Given the dearth of 7x options on the market, I'd highly recommend anyone who can put up it with the weight to look for one if interested in 7x binoculars.

Justin
 

Gray C

Newbie birder
The weight of the 7x SLC can be alleviated quite a lot by the use of a harness. I currently use a Rick Young harness with my 8x42 SLCs and I barely notice them because the weight is evenly distributed across my chest.
 
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SeldomPerched

Well-known member
I've been using the 7x42 SLC recently somewhat regularly and directly comparing it with the 8.5x42 EL SV FP ; the SLC really holds its own in a lot of aspects.

In terms of glare and focus speed, I prefer the SLC. The EL SV FP is brighter and slightly (and I do mean slightly) more color neutral. The EL SV of course has that truly flat field, whereas the SLC has a very well corrected, "normally distorted" image. I suffer no blackouts with the EL SV, but do have occasionally blackouts when using the SLC. Chromatic Aberration is controlled very well in both, slightly better in the EL SV - but not as good as in the FL. Contrast is fantastic in both the SLC and the EL SV, though maybe slightly better in the EL SV. The SLC NEU is bulky and heavy, but actually I really like the feel "in hand"; the ergonomics of the EL SV are just fine as well and it is a bit lighter around the neck.

Overall, the SLC NEU is much better than I'd have expected, given its age. In particular, its handling of glare and well corrected field are impressive; it is also among the most color neutral binoculars I've seen. Given the dearth of 7x options on the market, I'd highly recommend anyone who can put up it with the weight to look for one if interested in 7x binoculars.

Justin

Nice to read this, Justin. It took me a few days to bond with the 7x42 SLC neu, but having used it a bit more over the following days as well as the EL SV you mention over a longer period of time, my impressions are much the same. The only thing I'd differ over, and only slightly, is to do with the colour: to my eyes the difference is just a bit greater between the SLC and the EL. I like both. Like you I also find the heft and solidity of the SLC reassuring. My unit has been exceptionally well looked after by its previous owner. There are no operating aspects that strike me as cons either. Glare freedom is a major bonus for me.

Tom
 
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chill6x6

Well-known member
The weight of the 7x SLC can be alleviated quite a lot by the use of a harness. I currently use a Rick Young harness with my 8x42 SLCs and I barely notice them because the weight is evenly distributed across my chest.

Absolutely!
 

Gray C

Newbie birder
Not many Brits use the RY harness. It's very simple but very effective.
 
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jremmons

Wildlife Biologist
The weight of the 7x SLC can be alleviated quite a lot by the use of a harness. I currently use a Rick Young harness with my 8x42 SLCs and I barely notice them because the weight is evenly distributed across my chest.

Yep, I pretty much throw the RYO harness on all of my binoculars nowadays. I like the ease of converting it between a harness, strap, bandolier, etc. I need to buy some extra clips actually.

Justin
 

jremmons

Wildlife Biologist
Nice to read this, Justin. It took me a few days to bond with the 7x42 SLC neu, but having used it a bit more over the following days as well as the EL SV you mention over a longer period of time, my impressions are much the same. The only thing I'd differ over, and only slightly, is to do with the colour: to my eyes the difference is just a bit greater between the SLC and the EL. I like both. Like you I also find the heft and solidity of the SLC reassuring. My unit has been exceptionally well looked after by its previous owner. There are no operating aspects that strike me as cons either. Glare freedom is a major bonus for me.

Tom
Interesting that we find color a bit different, but it could just be due to differences in our eyes. Reading through old reviews of the SLC Neu series, it seems many people actually considered them one of the most color neutral binos of the time (transmission graphs seem to corroborate). I definitely can see a (slight) increase in brightness from the SV, and also a trend towards more neutral colors, but I've always found the SV the most color neutral of the alphas I've owned or used.
The reduction in glare compared to the SV FP is probably their biggest selling point, in my mind. It seems almost all current alphas maybe save the EDG show glare, so it is interesting how an older model (and I believe the Trinovid BN can also be thrown in that camp) is so much superior in this aspect.


Justin
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Interesting that we find color a bit different, but it could just be due to differences in our eyes. Reading through old reviews of the SLC Neu series, it seems many people actually considered them one of the most color neutral binos of the time (transmission graphs seem to corroborate). I definitely can see a (slight) increase in brightness from the SV, and also a trend towards more neutral colors, but I've always found the SV the most color neutral of the alphas I've owned or used.
The reduction in glare compared to the SV FP is probably their biggest selling point, in my mind. It seems almost all current alphas maybe save the EDG show glare, so it is interesting how an older model (and I believe the Trinovid BN can also be thrown in that camp) is so much superior in this aspect.


Justin

Glare. Yesterday I 'wasted' valuable working time going through my 7s and 8s to test for glare, looking at woodwork, bushes, birds and trees all at about 25 yards distance, and taking a break every so often to feel refreshed.

Even with the sun pretty much behind and with me standing indoors a few steps back from a fully open window so that no stray light came in from behind me I have to admit that everything was affected by glare to some extent, even my 7x42 EDG which is reputed for its freedom from glare. It was all very disheartening and made me feel that everything I used was lacking in the necessary quality.

Today conditions to my taste were perfect: i.e. fully overcast with light rain adding some zing to leaves in particular. Cloud meant that the colours in reality were already cooler and fresher than in warm sunlight. The SLC and the EL Field Pro gave me the most satisfying views imaginable. My eyes seemed thankful for more subdued and even, more than adequately bright lighting, and a decent night's sleep. Alongside I tried other glass but what was noticeable was that a certain Mr Z.HT was giving me a bit of outer circumference distraction, as if the astigmatic area was flaring slightly. Apart from that the view was as impressive as from the Swaros. I don't feel I could adjudicate between them for central area resolution especially at age sixty but the colour of the Swarovskis was to my taste cool and natural, with the EL the cooler of the two (and the whole view relaxing and sort of thirst-quenching). Hard to say which I preferred; this was a case of being glad to have the luxury of choice. The Z by the way had beautiful colours too but I always feel the reds are a bit diluted, not that there is anything about that to spoil the enjoyment of the view once I am keyed in to the look.

My point among these various ramblings is that I wonder whether actually in the majority of cases glare is overdebated and is just a fact of life when the sun is around. The 8x32 EL that gets a bad name for this. But I see a different sort of glare in the FL too; someone described it as milk, and it affects the entire image. And in other glass also: 42s from the Teutonic makes and even (not very much but it is there) that Nikon EDG alluded to above. But on an overcast rainy day they all sing, and the Swarovskis - even the SLCs - do it well even from very close to the edge. I should add that the objectives are clean on all.

Tom
 
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mbb

Well-known member
I definitely can see a (slight) increase in brightness from the SV, and also a trend towards more neutral colors, but I've always found the SV the most color neutral of the alphas I've owned or used.
The reduction in glare compared to the SV FP is probably their biggest selling point, in my mind. It seems almost all current alphas maybe save the EDG show glare, so it is interesting how an older model (and I believe the Trinovid BN can also be thrown in that camp) is so much superior in this aspect.

Glare. Yesterday I 'wasted' valuable working time going through my 7s and 8s to test for glare, looking at woodwork, bushes, birds and trees all at about 25 yards distance, and taking a break every so often to feel refreshed.

Even with the sun pretty much behind and with me standing indoors a few steps back from a fully open window so that no stray light came in from behind me I have to admit that everything was affected by glare to some extent, even my 7x42 EDG which is reputed for its freedom from glare. It was all very disheartening and made me feel that everything I used was lacking in the necessary quality.

Today conditions to my taste were perfect: i.e. fully overcast with light rain adding some zing to leaves in particular. Cloud meant that the colours in reality were already cooler and fresher than in warm sunlight. The SLC and the EL Field Pro gave me the most satisfying views imaginable. My eyes seemed thankful for more subdued and even, more than adequately bright lighting, and a decent night's sleep. Alongside I tried other glass but what was noticeable was that a certain Mr Z.HT was giving me a bit of outer circumference distraction, as if the astigmatic area was flaring slightly. Apart from that the view was as impressive as from the Swaros. I don't feel I could adjudicate between them for central area resolution especially at age sixty but the colour of the Swarovskis was to my taste cool and natural, with the EL the cooler of the two (and the whole view relaxing and sort of thirst-quenching). Hard to say which I preferred; this was a case of being glad to have the luxury of choice. The Z by the way had beautiful colours too but I always feel the reds are a bit diluted, not that there is anything about that to spoil the enjoyment of the view once I am keyed in to the look.

My point among these various ramblings is that I wonder whether actually in the majority of cases glare is overdebated and is just a fact of life when the sun is around. The 8x32 EL that gets a bad name for this. But I see a different sort of glare in the FL too; someone described it as milk, and it affects the entire image. And in other glass also: 42s from the Teutonic makes and even (not very much but it is there) that Nikon EDG alluded to above. But on an overcast rainy day they all sing, and the Swarovskis - even the SLCs - do it well even from very close to the edge. I should add that the objectives are clean on all.

Tom

Your experiences with both the SLC New 7x42 and the SV 8,5x42 are very interesting. I am looking for some binoculars to complement my Ultravid 8x32 HD (which would remain my main day time binoculars), specifically for low-light use, and have been considering either 7x42-options as well as a second-hand SV 8,5x42 if I can save a bit more/longer. (Most 50mm binoculars seem too heavy for me, at 1200g or more.). However, I doubt about the 8,5x42 (exit pupil approx. 5mm) being enough of a brightness upgrade compared to the 8x32 (exit pupil 4mm) to complement it, as opposed to a 7x42 (exit pupil 6mm). But now I'm reading that you notice the SV 8,5x42 being a bit brighter, which of course becomes confusing for me :unsure:

Gijs van Ginkel's measurements reported on the HouseOfOutdoor-website confirm that the SV has approximately 2 to 3% higher transmission values. Thus I guess the SV should indeed be a (very?) little bit brighter during daytime, when your eye pupils are smaller than 5mm anyway.
I was wondering now if you have had the chance to compare the two binoculars in darker hours, pas sunset, when it really gets (very) dark. Would you still prefer the SV at that time considering brightness?

Your reports about the better handling of difficult light (less glare) of the SLC is also very interesting, as glare/veiling is something that can really annoy me when birding.
 

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