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Swarovski Habicht 7x42 dissection (1 Viewer)

dorubird

Well-known member
Romania
History
Those interested in optics know that the first Swarovski binoculars appeared in 1935, in 6x30 format. Then the optical department of the Swarovski company (Swarovski Optik KG) was established in 1949. This series of Habicht binoculars has been manufactured since 1949. The mechanics and optical formula are practically the same and with the same specifications. However, with the passage of time, the glass, the coating and the materials were improved and refined. There are many versions of Habicht 7x42 that have improved over the years until today. If the models from 1949 had about 50% light transmission, the versions from the last few years have the coating and glass taken to the heights of mastery, letting 96% of the light to pass through. Even at the extreme ends of the visual spectrum, more than 90%-95% of the light passes through.
Here we can find interesting binoculars test and compare, where we can find valuable information related to the light transmission of many binoculars:




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Mechanics, finishes, design
The binoculars weigh 640g without accessories, and feel very dense in the hands, announcing a very robust and resistant mechanism. It has an aluminum/magnesium alloy structure. It is filled with inert gas, being resistant to immersion in water up to 4m. The design is classic, keeping exactly the lines of the Habicht series since its beginnings, being covered with a beautiful black leather. The only negative finishes exception is the inscriptions on the prism covers, which on the new versions are painted instead of engraved! But the mechanics and construction have been preserved from the times when things were manufactured to last as long as possible, for generations. PERFECT




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Ergonomics. It has a bit bony architecture shape for me, but it feels good in the hands, creating that pleasure of holding a quality, classic and very robust instrument. It gives me the impression of a weapon mechanism! GOOD




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The dioptre adjustment and the interpupillary distance adjustment move firmly and precisely requiring a bit of force (useful thing to stay as they are set). PERFECT
The eye relief is very poor at only 14mm. But with the glasses, I can see at the limit the entire visual field. GOOD
Friends of mine, who don't wear glasses, have had problems with rubber cups that are too small in diameter and press on the eyeball. It also requires careful positioning of the eyepieces for a flawless image. POOR




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The focus also moves with difficulty, which is advantageous only for static observations of astronomy, but not exactly ideal for birding. It has a bit more than one rotation from infinity to 3.1 meter GOOD




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The objective has a very nice coating of olive color with a very slight purple hint. The porro prisms are golden coated!
At certain angles you get the amazing impression that the lenses do not have glass!! It is very clean inside with matte black walls without strong reflections




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The eyepieces have the same olive color coating, being made of 3 lenses in two groups (Kellner).
These simple eyepieces are what give the spartan personality of these binoculars!





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Contrast, Resolution, Brightness, Color Reproduction
The binoculars excel with a very high contrast (the highest I've encountered in binoculars). It has even higher contrast than the Nikon E2, which is already a binocular with a very high contrast. PERFECT
The resolution is also fantastic, surpassing many 8x binoculars. The resolution extends to about 90% of the FOV, the stars being point-shaped and extremely sparkling! PERFECT
The light transmission is immense...96%. The simple optics made up of porro prisms and only 5 lenses (a group of two lenses at the objective and three lenses in two groups at the eyepiece) also contribute to this amazing transmission. Of course, glass and the "alien" Swarovski coating are added to these. It is a binocular with dusk and night applications. It is very useful in astronomy, especially when observing nebulae spread over very large surfaces, which require large exit pupils and binoculars with the highest possible transmission. PERFECT
The color rendering is impeccable. Practically any binoculars compared to it will have a slight tint of color!!! The transmission graph is maintained above 90% on all wavelengths. PERFECT
All these four optical qualities give the image a clarity with an amazing sparkle of details.




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Chromatic aberrations are very well managed, appearing very discreetly only on the edges. GOOD
The geometric distortion is very small only on the edges. GOOD
It has a fairly good resistance to light during the day. But at night, in certain situations, when the pupil of the eye dilates, the presence of strong light sources near the FOV (lantern, moon, etc.) can cause a reflection on the edge of the FOV. GOOD
The field of view is not great: only 6.5 degrees resulting in an AFOV of 46 degrees. This is the great optical sacrifice! But I will learn, in time, not to annoy me that anymore! POOR




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Conclusions
Basically, when the old format, with its exemplary and robust mechanics, meets top modern optics, new Habicht is born!
Habicht 7x42 is a benchmark of binoculars when it comes to contrast, brightness and color reproduction. And the resolution is the best on 7x class tested by me.
It is not a binocular for beginners, because it has a very strong personality. It reminds me of orthoscopic astronomical eyepieces! It is a curiosity of optics and mechanics! You might hate him at the first meeting! Personally, I really like this Habicht because it is a spartan binocular due to its extremely simple optical construction and by sacrificing the visual field, but precisely these sacrifices achieves this unique unreal mixture of contrast/brightness/resolution.
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Nices as always, dorubird. Such "tactile" pictures, makes you want to extend your arm, grab it directly from the screen and go birding.

Timeless beauty. I've always been amazed by how can a company that clearly has an eye for detail (from design to packaging) market such "tasteless" features as the huge and out of place "SWAROVSKI" name on the bridge axis and the cheap looking inscriptions on the plates. In such a classic and understated design is just a small disgrace. I had a modern 2018 8x30 and the design was just mind-blowing (the fake leather, the mechanical bits, the overall feeling of a perfectly polished tool, understated and perfect) that these two minor details came as a shock. I can only assume that Swarovski thinks (not without reason) that their customers want to their binoculars to be perceived as status symbols. Otherwise, I can't for the love of mine understand how a designer can accept the huge name on the bridge, really. If you take photoshop and erase it and simply place it on one of the plates where "Habicht" or "7x42" are written it would be so much nicer.
 

Paultricounty

Well-known member
United States
Nices as always, dorubird. Such "tactile" pictures, makes you want to extend your arm, grab it directly from the screen and go birding.

Timeless beauty. I've always been amazed by how can a company that clearly has an eye for detail (from design to packaging) market such "tasteless" features as the huge and out of place "SWAROVSKI" name on the bridge axis and the cheap looking inscriptions on the plates. In such a classic and understated design is just a small disgrace. I had a modern 2018 8x30 and the design was just mind-blowing (the fake leather, the mechanical bits, the overall feeling of a perfectly polished tool, understated and perfect) that these two minor details came as a shock. I can only assume that Swarovski thinks (not without reason) that their customers want to their binoculars to be perceived as status symbols. Otherwise, I can't for the love of mine understand how a designer can accept the huge name on the bridge, really. If you take photoshop and erase it and simply place it on one of the plates where "Habicht" or "7x42" are written it would be so much nicer.
Lol, good thing appearances are subjective, otherwise you would’ve hurt my feelings for liking the swaro logo on the center post. 😉
 

Rg548

Retired Somewhere
United Kingdom
Fantastic write up and great pictures.
😍😍😍

I actually like the Swarovski centre post logo, but sadly not the other logos.
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Lol, good thing appearances are subjective, otherwise you would’ve hurt my feelings for liking the swaro logo on the center post. 😉
Hahaha, my most sincere apologies if I did hurt anyone's feelings ;) I consider the design of the Habicht (or the EII for that matter), such a mature design, such a function over form design (which results in beautiful and iconic forms) that those huge letters capitalised seem to me out of place. But I see it's just me :D :D I mean, with the lovely and understated image of the raptor I personally find that there's enough branding. In fact, I find the old models (before the "SWAROVSKI" visual crime) much more elegant and appealing. But it's nice that we all have different tastes.
 

Paultricounty

Well-known member
United States
Hahaha, my most sincere apologies if I did hurt anyone's feelings ;) I consider the design of the Habicht (or the EII for that matter), such a mature design, such a function over form design (which results in beautiful and iconic forms) that those huge letters capitalised seem to me out of place. But I see it's just me :D :D I mean, with the lovely and understated image of the raptor I personally find that there's enough branding. In fact, I find the old models (before the "SWAROVSKI" visual crime) much more elegant and appealing. But it's nice that we all have different tastes.
✌🏼😁, you know I was kidding around. It’s not near as bad if somebody called that raptor Chinese plastic and rubber 🤪

Paul
 

dorubird

Well-known member
Romania
Thank you all for the appreciations!
Another important aspect is that such classic design binoculars will age beautifully over time, acquiring a beautiful patina. A pair of binoculars completely covered in armor will never have this nice patina!
 

William Lewis

Wishing birdwatching paid the bills.
United Kingdom
They're a top glass those habichts. Took a lot in the shape of the SLC 8x56 hd to find anything meaningfully better and even then I still miss the light weight, greater depth of field and easier handling from time to time, one of the best binoculars i've used for birds in the wing, mainly due to the easy eye positioning, great depth of field and wieldy handling, lack of fov is outweighed for me by the handling and depth of field so I very rarely missed a bird with them.

The only real downsides I experienced was the tendency to mist up the eye pieces in damp/cold conditions - I don't wear glasses.

The real highlights for me with them is the sparkle you get from high transmission and rugged build (especially with the ga).

When the weather turns more "Camp-able" I'll miss them even more I suspect as I'm not going to enjoy the slc's quite as much when I'm wild camping and walking out in the sticks with a hefty pack.
 

dorubird

Well-known member
Romania
We have to give Habicht some time to like him. It is not the binoculars that satisfy you from the first use. I noticed a paradoxical thing about these binoculars: the limitation of the field of view in a paradoxical way is really starting to please me! The small AFOV makes it very easy to look at the edges, in a single glance, without moving your head in front of the eyepieces. The image is framed in a perfectly delimited sharp black fieldstop. This clearly outlined frame gives the binoculars a special charm. Naturally, I also like binoculars with a large AFOV. But if the conditions are met regarding the fieldstop clearly defined and easy to look at the edges, I noticed a special pleasure even with binoculars with a small AFOV.
Another paradox is the constructive simplicity, which makes me appreciate these binoculars more and more, because it gives me a pleasant impression of what is strictly necessary.
Last but not least, the very uniform transmission over the entire visual spectrum gives very accurate and natural colors. It is the binocular with the most true-to-life colors. But it seems that sometimes I miss the colors of the other binoculars with uneven light transmission, where red and yellow are a little more saturated than in reality, giving the image a little extra appeal, even if artificially. 7x42 Habicht.jpg habicht.jpg
 

Will K

Too well-known member
United Kingdom
As someone whose entire interest in binos was sparked by the NL's wide AFOV and progressive ergonomics, I can only muster limited enthusiasm for the Habichts.

I guess I'm a bit of a philistine for not seeing the appeal of some 'classic' binos, but maybe that will come later. I'm very curious to try them myself and see what I'm missing.
 

Paultricounty

Well-known member
United States
We have to give Habicht some time to like him. It is not the binoculars that satisfy you from the first use. I noticed a paradoxical thing about these binoculars: the limitation of the field of view in a paradoxical way is really starting to please me! The small AFOV makes it very easy to look at the edges, in a single glance, without moving your head in front of the eyepieces. The image is framed in a perfectly delimited sharp black fieldstop. This clearly outlined frame gives the binoculars a special charm. Naturally, I also like binoculars with a large AFOV. But if the conditions are met regarding the fieldstop clearly defined and easy to look at the edges, I noticed a special pleasure even with binoculars with a small AFOV.
Another paradox is the constructive simplicity, which makes me appreciate these binoculars more and more, because it gives me a pleasant impression of what is strictly necessary.
Last but not least, the very uniform transmission over the entire visual spectrum gives very accurate and natural colors. It is the binocular with the most true-to-life colors. But it seems that sometimes I miss the colors of the other binoculars with uneven light transmission, where red and yellow are a little more saturated than in reality, giving the image a little extra appeal, even if artificially. View attachment 1490740 View attachment 1490741
Very well said. With all the talk about tunnel vision with these Habicht’s, can easily persuade somebody not to try them. They have their own unique charm because of that well framed and blackened field edge. I can understand that if somebody is enjoying a Widefield Binocular and it’s handed to someone these can instantly turns you off. But after you spend time and learn to appreciate that image circle and the great natural color and sharp image , you fall in love with these. Even after spending the last few hours with vintage high quality 7x35 wide field binoculars of over 11° , Im still amazed every time I look through the Habicht.
 

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Hermann

Well-known member
We have to give Habicht some time to like him. [snip] The small AFOV makes it very easy to look at the edges, in a single glance, without moving your head in front of the eyepieces. The image is framed in a perfectly delimited sharp black fieldstop. This clearly outlined frame gives the binoculars a special charm.
Perfect summary. I don't really miss a larger field of view with the 7x42 because the image is perfectly framed and "very even".
Last but not least, the very uniform transmission over the entire visual spectrum gives very accurate and natural colors. It is the binocular with the most true-to-life colors.
Yep. Best colour reproduction of any binocular I know. That combined with the very high contrast and transmission makes the image quite unique.
But it seems that sometimes I miss the colors of the other binoculars with uneven light transmission, where red and yellow are a little more saturated than in reality, giving the image a little extra appeal, even if artificially.
I don't. When I switch to a binocular with more saturated colours (like e.g. the Nikon SE) after using the Habicht for a while I always notice how much I prefer the more natural colours of the Habicht.

Hermann
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
The Habicht 7x42 is a unique iconic binocular and I have had one about three times. I always end up selling it, even though I understand the love.

THE GOOD
. The build quality is beautiful. The transmission is amazing, and it is one of the brightest binoculars I have ever looked through, with excellent natural colors and superb contrast. Like Dorubird says, the image is perfectly framed and very brightly illuminated, giving it a unique and special image. It is almost like the FOV is illuminated with a backlight. The Habicht 7x42 is also very light for a 7x42 also making it a good binocular to carry long distances.

THE BAD. The FOV is probably one of the most tunnel like full size binoculars I have ever looked through. It is too bad it is not a tad wider. It makes it a poor birding binocular because of the extremely narrow FOV and the edges are not tack sharp like the Swarovski NL roofs. The next problem area is the focuser that is way too tight. I don't mean it is a little tight like some roofs are, I mean you need a pair of vise-grips to turn it unless you have the finger strength of a Mountain Gorilla. The tight focuser also makes it a poor binocular for birding, when even with 7x you do have to focus sometimes. The next area of misery on the Habicht are the eye cups. If you don't wear glasses, forget using them without floating them in front of your face to avoid black-outs. They are hard as rocks and way too small for a normal person's eye sockets, unless you are a retired Munchkin from The Wizard of Oz. You almost have to trade them for the GA version of eye cups or use other alternatives, which are larger to get any kind of relief and to avoid black-outs.

THE UGLY. For these reasons I don't think the Habicht 7x42 is as good of a birding binocular as an alpha roof like the SF 8x32 or NL 8x32, but it is a lot less expensive at about $1000. I think the Habicht 7x42 would be good for what it was designed for. Hunting in the high mountainous alps at dusk and dawn. It is light and easy to carry and has amazing low light transmission. Even though I have criticized the Habicht 7x42, I am not saying I don't love it for what it is. If you have a collection of binoculars it is so unique it would be nice to have in your collection, but if you can have only one binocular for birding the Habicht 7x42 would not be my first choice. The Habicht 7x42 is what it is! It certainly isn't for everybody!
 
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