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Swarovski Habicht 7x42 GA (1 Viewer)

Loud Green Man

Well-known member
Hi

I’m considering purchasing a pair (new) to replace my 30-year old Zeiss safari bins and would appreciate your thoughts, ideally born of use/handling of a pair please.

I fully get these are optically far from state-of-art and will not have the best glass or coatings but they look rugged, are green and frankly I have no idea what alternatives are available at the price point.

Thank you

LGM
 

Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
Loud Green Man,
The new 7x42 GA are fully state-of-the-art porro binoculars: very bright image, small FOV, waterproof, excellent quality but rather different from the newest roof prism binoculars. They have optimal coatings and very good optical glass. But you better try one before buying one. The swedish army used a version with individual focusing and if the soldiers ran out of ammunition they could hit the enemy behind the ears with their 7x42 to win the battle.
Gijs van Ginkel
 

Hermann

Well-known member
I did a review of the Habicht 7x42 years ago: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=286547.

I use mine quite a lot despite the small field of view. The optics are definitely state of the art. In fact, I have never seen any other binocular with such a clear, bright view. No colour cast, no glare at all. If you can live with its quirks there isn't anything else that comes even close to it at its price point. Since I wrote that review I also got the rubber-armoured version for really rough use in the field.

BTW, your Zeiss Safari doesn't have modern coatings and no phase coating. Optically the Habicht will kill it.

Hermann
 

Loud Green Man

Well-known member
Thanks for that. Not overly worried about the small field of view as not intended for birding. To replace the very badly scratched ocular lenses on the Ziess will cost at least £250 so better to invest in something brighter and that doesn’t require each eyepiece to be refocused every 5 minutes - my eyes are old but weren’t when I purchased them!

LGM
 

Pinewood

New York correspondent
United States
Hello,

Earlier models, and maybe current ones, have rubber eye cups, which when turned down, may suddenly pop up.
If you never wear eyeglasses, that would be no problem.

Stay safe,
Arthur :hi:
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
The 7x42 Habichts GA are one of the brightest binoculars out there if not these brightest, and they are very light for a 42 mm, but they have a very narrow tunnel like FOV, a VERY stiff focuser and small uncomfortable eye cups that aren't long enough for the eye relief so you have to use the MOSFET technique or rest them on your brow to avoid black outs. I would suggest you try them before you buy them. They are definitely not for everybody!
 

Hermann

Well-known member
The 7x42 Habichts GA ... have small uncomfortable eye cups that aren't long enough for the eye relief so you have to use the MOSFET technique or rest them on your brow to avoid black outs.

This is NOT correct. The green eyecups are fine. The black ones for the leatherette models are not.

Hermann
 

Mask of Porro

Active member
I bought a pair a few months ago and I couldn't be happier. the image is spectacularly sharp and bright, are rugged and will outlast you. As mentioned, you could subdue your enemy with them.
the depth of field is such that I find myself not using the focuser much beyond 50m. as a hunting bino they are perfect for me. the stiffer focuser stays where I leave it and I like it that stiff.

Buy with confidence that you will be acquiring a wonderful bino
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
A few additional observations . . .

Eye Relief
The nominal ER of the 7x42 is 14 mm, which seems accurate. It’s more than adequate for those who don’t wear spectacles but may be a deal breaker for those who do
So as usual, if you do wear glasses: if at all possible try before you buy *


Eyecups & Handling
With the eyecups, the combination of the small diameter and short extended length, means that they often ‘float’ in front of the eyes, making positioning difficult
This is a problem for most with the smaller leatherette ones (33 mm diameter), and for some with the larger RA ones (39 mm)
However, while the RA eyecups are similar in diameter to those on many x42 roof prism models, they lack the broad rounded edges typical on roof prism eyecups

Regardless of the model, my personal preference with all the Habichts is to use the hold I’ve previously described in detail in posts #6 and 7
at: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=376504
It’s:
- more comfortable, as there is increased contact between the eyecups/ fingers and the face
- more consistent in positioning, as it provides 3 point contact (both index fingers and the rear thumb)
- more stable, as it provides a more secure ‘weld’ of the binocular to the face, and
- compatible with my preferred focusing technique described in the posts


* Second-hand Choices
Habichts are not routinely stocked by Swarovski dealers, so it may not be possible to try before buying
However, there are also second-hand options as I’ve outlined previously in posts #1 and 2 at: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=391231
And due to Swarovski’s numbering practices you can accurately date a model and it’s features


Enhanced Stereo Effect
An unmentioned general advantage of Porros prism binoculars over roof prism ones, is the enhanced 3D image at close to medium distance - out to at least 50 m -
due to the significantly greater spacing of the objectives
In this regard, the view through my 7x42 Habicht is more pleasing than that of either my Leica Ultravid HD or my Zeiss Victory FL


John
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Hi NZbinodude (post #9),

All three models have the same listed transmission, see my comments at: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=391080

And all three models are subjectively as bright in use, when directly comparing one to another in daylight

Of course there are the complications of differing magnification, and different exit pupil sizes, especially in very low light conditions

And the 7x42 has the advantage of much better control of veiling glare in difficult viewing conditions,
see both Hermann's and my observations in the first link in my previous post


John
 
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NZbinodude

Well-known member
Hi NZbinodude (post #9),

All three models have the same listed transmission, see my comments at: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=391080

And all three models are subjectively as bright in use, when directly comparing one to another in daylight

Of course there are the complications of differing magnification, and different exit pupil sizes, especially in very low light conditions

And the 7x42 has the advantage of much better control of veiling glare in difficult viewing conditions,
see both Hermann's and my observations in the first link in my previous post


John

Cheers John.

I remember reading one of PHA's posts, in which he claimed that a new production 10x40 Habicht with the latest coatings etc, had better glare control than the best roofs - including the Zeiss HT.

If the 7x42 is yet another step above that, then it must mean veiling glare is almost impossible to induce in that model.

Might have to pick up a 7x42 instead of the 10x40, but the 10x magnification would be very handy in the mountains.
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Hi NZbd,

While I have great affection for the Habichts, and get great enjoyment from them, they’re not for everyone, and they're not for every use
As I’ve previously indicated “Ultimately, they are a 'heart rather than head' choice":


. . .

The Traditionals are very acceptable for general outdoor use, as they have stunning on axis resolution
Among other things, this encourages looking around a setting just to enjoy the quality of the detail that can be discerned

Their increased 3D effect (greater objective separation compared to roof prisms), is also appreciable out to at least 50 meters, and adds significantly to the quality of the experience

They also have great charm compared to sameness of many current roof prism designs - their retro appeal, proven design and quality and solidness of construction
. . .

And compared to other alpha class products they are a bargain
. . .

However, the 2 biggest counts against their use . . . are:
- the stiffness of the focuser (pre-focusing minimises but does not eliminate the issue compared to the internal focusers on modern roof prisms), and
- the restricted minimum focusing distances (nominally between 3 and 4 metres, however the view is strained for many at the minimum)

Also, glare control control can be an issue
And for many spectacle users, the limited eye relief is unacceptable

Ultimately, they are a 'heart rather than head' choice


For those so inclined, my recommendations would be:

- firstly the 8x30 W (generally the most usable and adaptable, lightest and most compact, BUT potential glare problems)

- then the 10x40 W (superior magnification, better glare control, BUT requiring good holding technique, or the use of rested positions to maximise the magnification potential)

- finally the 7x42 (near state of the art glare control, the stability of 7x compared to 8x for unsupported use, BUT severely restricted Field of View)
. . .

John
 

Mask of Porro

Active member
NZbinodude- my 7x42's shows some glare in extreme circumstances but they are very good. Don't think that glare doesn't exist with them because it does. I wouldn't hesitate with the 10x's. They would be ideal for alpine hunting. I plan on getting a 10x myself for that purpose. Hopefully I can travel to NZ sometime and get back into those mountains.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Is the 7x42 model significantly brighter than the 10x40 model?
When I had the Habicht 7x42 and the 10x40 I would compare them in different lighting and I always noticed the 7x42 was brighter than the 10x40. The Habicht 7x42 is one of the brightest binoculars I have ever used outside of maybe the Swarovski SLC 8x56. It is almost like there is a built-in illuminator in it. That is the best thing about it and the 3D view. As far as ergonomics and birding use it leaves a lot to be desired. It is made more for hunting where you don't have to do a lot of close up focusing. With its stiff focuser it is difficult to constantly focus quickly and the narrow FOV makes it difficult to follow fast moving birds.
 
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Mask of Porro

Active member
What Dennis said I agree with. They are great for hunting. The stiff focuser is a non issue because beyond 50m I don't need to use it.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
What Dennis said I agree with. They are great for hunting. The stiff focuser is a non issue because beyond 50m I don't need to use it.
I really believe Swarovski made the Habicht 10x40 and 7x42 for hunting in low light conditions in the mountains where you are hiking a lot. They are light, bright, tough and the 3D view helps you spot animlas in the trees. I know I spotted a Grizzly Bear in Yellowstone National Park in tall timber from 1/2 mile away with my Habicht 10x40 W. For birding give me a 8x42 NL.
 
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NZbinodude

Well-known member
hunting was a thing in Europe before birding? i mean the habichts have been around since 1947

That's pretty extraordinary, aye? A product surviving that long.

Swarovski have produced a million different models of roof prism binos (many of them having faded into obscurity) yet the Habicht porro continues trucking on, and remains virtually unchanged.

It's pretty much the Land Cruiser of binos. If it breaks down, just whip out a crowbar and fix it on the spot. :king:
 

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