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Swarovski NL 8x42 - First Impressions (33 Viewers)

Canip

Well-known member
I take the liberty to open a new thread here, as I plan to subject the NL to a detailed test and comparison with the EL SV, the SF and possibly other premium glasses soon after its launch on the market and hope that other forum members will share their impressions as well.

Initially, however, this is only a micro review, because I could only look at the NL 8x42 at the Swarovski representative for about fifteen minutes and compare it with my EL SV.

GENERAL

One can certainly argue about the design, also about the return to the "normal" central hinge (I personally never saw any particular advantage in the open hinge concept). The glass appears even more valuable than the EL SV, the finish of the inspected specimen was impressive; haptics and grip appear perfect, the balance and ergonomics excellent, the NL therefore seems lighter than the EL SV at first (which is not the case).
The NL appears compact, almost delicate, fits well into my hand with its unusual “dent” in the tubes, the EL SV in contrast appears almost like a “block” next to it.

MECHANICS

Everything is flawless, the hinge adjustment is pleasantly medium-stiff, the eyecups correspond in shape, size and function to those of the EL SV, but have 6 positions (with 4 intermediate clickstops). The diopter adjustment is now activated neither by pulling out the focusing wheel, nor by pushing it in as on the new CL, nor on the right tube, but by means of a separate slide underneath the focusing button. You can find that great or not so great, but it works well and precisely. No locking mechanism, but an unintentional adjustment seems unlikely due to the chosen placement of the slide.

The pleasant surprise for me was the focus mechnaism – no more different adjustment force between left and right rotation as with my EL SV, and no jerk or noise, but a rather smooth and very precise action on the large, new focusing wheel which has been placed forward between the tubes..

I have not tried the newly available forehead support; it can be easily and quickly mounted and removed, but I have my own method of stabilizing.

OPTICS

I'd better not say anything about the close focus limit here when I look at the discussions that are already going on in various forums.

According to Swarovski, the eye relief is only 18mm instead of 20mm in the EL SV, but I was able to see the edge of the field of view easily and effortlessly wearing my usual varifocal glasses (which I usually take off when observing), and I was able to see the entire field of view with them.

The image characteristics of the NL made a good impression to me in the short time available, very similar to the EL SV - bright, clear, sharp and high-contrast, relatively "cool" image, hardly any CA, little distortion for my eyes and still practically no noteworthy globe effect (Holger Merlitz did predict this correctly). The edge sharpness is good, it seemed to me to be quite comparable to the EL SV despite the larger FOV, but this will have to be verified further. I could not test for stray light.

The field of view (9.1 degrees = 159m) is noticeably larger than that of the EL SV (7.6 degrees = 133m), but somehow I had imagined it would appear even larger than when I looked through it, but the observation conditions in the city were anything but ideal. The comparison between the 159m of the NL and the 148m of the SF will certainly be interesting. The larger width gives the impression of a slightly higher magnification, so I almost thought that the 8x NL and my 8.5x EL SV had the same magnification.

CONCLUSION AFTER 15 MINUTES

Great glass! At first glance, the NL impressed me very positively; the improvements and enhancement over the EL SV are unmistakable, and Swarovski has shown that they will not simply leave the field to the competition. But only with more detailed tests and comparisons will I allow myself an assessment whether Swarovski is currently ahead of the pack with the NL in the premium glass sector; it seems possible. But the almost 900 Francs mark-up (Swiss prices) over the EL SV is no small matter.

To be cont'd.
Canip
 

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Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
This morning I got the opportunity in the shop of Jan van Daalen to handle the new NL 10x42 and NL12x42 in comparison with an EL-SV, a Swarovsk representative brought the along for a short inspection.
Very short conclusion: I was impressed by the improvement of the NL over the EL-SV: excellent and brilliant image quality, no noticable distortions. It surprised me that the image quality was even better than that of the EL-SV: brighter and sharp to the very edge without any noticable distortions.
Handling was very good, the balance is a dream and the dent just after the eyepieces makes for a very steady and easy handling. Despite its weight it seems lighter than the EL-SV although the is actually not the case when measured on a balance. The strap is improved as well as the bag, also a good decision by Swarovski.
The diopter is located at the focussing wheel and very good accessible and the turning resistance is so, that you don ot change its position by accident.
Measured close focus was in my hands 1,8 m

I also tried the head support on the 12xNL and a bit to my surprise it is a real asset, since image stablity increases quite a bit.
The prices are high, but I expect that a lot of customers with EL's will try to exchange it for one of the NL's.
Swarovski desginers and binocular builders deserve compliments for this excellent piece of equipment.
Gijs van Ginkel
 

temmie

Well-known member
How loose (or tight) is that diopter? I can see it easily (inadvertently) moving with that little bit sticking out. Does it have a zero position that you feel when turning the diopter?

Does it have a flat field?

What is the close focus (how close could you focus in practice)? edit: I see Gijs wrote it down as 1.8m (for him).

Regarding the ergonomics: it appears the focus wheel has moved a lot towards the centre of the binocular, just where the tubes get smallest. A totally different grip and handling it seems, compared to most binoculars, and certainly a big difference compared to the EL.
 
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Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
temmie, aswers to your questions:
-1- it has a flat field
-2- Jan and I both measured it and Jan came to 1,9 m, I found 1,8m
-3- The diopter ring is fairly tight and does not move inadvertently. Moreover the position is so that it is very well accessible, but due to the small stick on it it can be moved easily also during observations, so you do not have to take it from your eyes. It has a zero position and you can feel it, it has a little click.
Gijs van Ginkel
 

Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
Oh I forgot to mention the handling comfort: in my hands it feels even better than the EL (a lot better actually, to my surprise).
Gijs van Ginkel
 

jan van daalen

Well-known member
Hi Canip,

Great write up:t:
What to add?
I'll just write my experience on the 10 and 12x.

Taking the NL in my hand it feels extremely comfy like a pistol grip. Where the SV felt elegant, it now feels bulky compared to the NL. Carrying it in one hand is a unique "sensation", something no other bin has caused so far. The pistol grip is completely responsible for that. It is oval where the hand is positioned.
The rubber on the eye cups of the NL is 2 to 3 mm flatter, compared to those in the SV, making it for spectacle wearers possible to come closer to the eye lens. These are also possible to fit into the SV.
The head rest works! Period. No question about that. Personally I didn't use the eyecups anymore but just used the head rest. Much more comfy and steadier.
No worries about the 12x factor. It is steady as a rock with the head rest.

The balance is like the SF. Because of the extra weight it feels more steady and sturdier built (Sorry Zeiss, read carefully. I write "feels sturdier built") compared to the SF.
Being sensible for the Rolling Ball, I checked for it but it wasn't there for me anymore.
At the very edge the straight vertical lines bend slightly inwards. I could see no sign of CA but this morning we had Dutch weather (rain) so that was no surprise.

Compared to the SV, the same view through the NL makes the SV dull.
IMHO the NL is a serious step up in contrast. Black is deep black and looking at tree leaves it seems they pop up in my view. I always joked about the 3D sensation of the Noctivid but I've "seen the Light" now. Holy Poly, this view is a different ball game.

Gijs was here also and the close focus for me was 1.9 meters and for his 70+ age eyes it was 1.8 meters but he is a black belt Judo so that must explain it.

The turn a round of the focus knob is 1.6.

Do I have a negative point to make?
Yes one.
Carrying the bin, my fingertips touch a nasty edge/rim where the armoring is glued together. Something what even doesn't occur at the cheapest chin bin:-C

I've been told by Swarovski that the investment for the realization of the NL was 30 million Euro's.

One off topic remark:
From ## 902748841 (this week) the ELSV's 10x42 are 3,3 meters.
As long there is stock the 8.5's are original.
Jan
 
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Gilmore Girl

Beth
Supporter
United States
Canip,

You said "the NL appears compact". How is this possible ? Did you mean in comparison to the
EL or in general ? Looks like the same size as the EL in your photo.
It's a relatively large bino. I've seen some photos online of the NL
in peoples hands and it looks quite big to me.
 
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jgraider

Well-known member
Great report guys, and thanks for posting your first hand thoughts. You are now going to send the BF crowd into a frenzy !!! If they weren't already! Gotta admit it got me to thinking about getting one as well.
 

NY_Birder

Well-known member
Hi Canip,

Great write up:t:
What to add?
I'll just write my experience on the 10 and 12x.

Taking the NL in my hand it feels extremely comfy like a pistol grip. Where the SV felt elegant, it now feels bulky compared to the NL. Carrying it in one hand is a unique "sensation", something no other bin has caused so far. The pistol grip is completely responsible for that. It is oval where the hand is positioned.
The rubber on the eye cups of the NL is 2 to 3 mm flatter, compared to those in the SV, making it for spectacle wearers possible to come closer to the eye lens. These are also possible to fit into the SV.
The head rest works! Period. No question about that. Personally I didn't use the eyecups anymore but just used the head rest. Much more comfy and steadier.
No worries about the 12x factor. It is steady as a rock with the head rest.

The balance is like the SF. Because of the extra weight it feels more steady and sturdier built (Sorry Zeiss, read carefully. I write "feels sturdier built") compared to the SF.
Being sensible for the Rolling Ball, I checked for it but it wasn't there for me anymore.
At the very edge the straight vertical lines bend slightly inwards. I could see no sign of CA but this morning we had Dutch weather (rain) so that was no surprise.

Compared to the SV, the same view through the NL makes the SV dull.
IMHO the NL is a serious step up in contrast. Black is deep black and looking at tree leaves it seems they pop up in my view. I always joked about the 3D sensation of the Noctivid but I've "seen the Light" now. Holy Poly, this view is a different ball game.

Gijs was here also and the close focus for me was 1.9 meters and for his 70+ age eyes it was 1.8 meters but he is a black belt Judo so that must explain it.

The turn a round of the focus knob is 1.6.

Do I have a negative point to make?
Yes one.
Carrying the bin, my fingertips touch a nasty edge/rim where the armoring is glued together. Something what even doesn't occur at the cheapest chin bin:-C

I've been told by Swarovski that the investment for the realization of the NL was 30 million Euro's.

One off topic remark:
From ## 902748841 (this week) the ELSV's 10x42 are 3,3 meters.
As long there is stock the 8.5's are original.
Jan

Would you be able to compare the NL 12x42 to the Zeiss SF 10x42?
 

temmie

Well-known member
Do I have a negative point to make?
Yes one.
Carrying the bin, my fingertips touch a nasty edge/rim where the armoring is glued together. Something what even doesn't occur at the cheapest chin bin:-C

I suppose that edge / rim is what you see in the picture and will wear a bit so it becomes smoother?
 

RobMorane

Well-known member
Thank You very much for your reports Canip, Gijs and Jan.
If you find them good, they are good, no question asked.

But do we really need Binos that good?
What I mean is, what a EL owner (or even a Zeiss Conquest) is going to miss from a bird with his/her "inferior" Binos?
There always will be people with enough money to pay for the Best of the Best, but do we really need it?
It really looks like a marketing race, like with photography since digital.
Let's be honest, Binos are just tools...
Nothing else.
 

henry link

Well-known member
Very short conclusion: I was impressed by the improvement of the NL over the EL-SV: excellent and brilliant image quality, no noticable distortions. It surprised me that the image quality was even better than that of the EL-SV: brighter and sharp to the very edge without any noticable distortions.

Being sensible for the Rolling Ball, I checked for it but it wasn't there for me anymore.
At the very edge the straight vertical lines bend slightly inwards.

Compared to the SV, the same view through the NL makes the SV dull.
IMHO the NL is a serious step up in contrast. Black is deep black and looking at tree leaves it seems they pop up in my view. I always joked about the 3D sensation of the Noctivid but I've "seen the Light" now. Holy Poly, this view is a different ball game.

Thanks Canip, Gijs, and Jan. All the talk about better handling and bigger FOV made me sleepy, but now you have my attention. IMO high end binoculars have continued to have image quality right in the field center well below what is possible due to too high aberrations and incomplete baffling. That's what has kept me from replacing my old 8x56 FL for the last 13 years. A 42mm binocular with center field image quality at least as good of the big FL is the only thing that would attract me. Forgive me if I'm still skeptical enough not to pre-order an NL, but I'll certainly be seeking one out to test.

Jan, when you say that straight vertical lines at the field edge "bend slightly inward" do you mean the top and bottom of the lines bend toward the center as in barrel distortion?

Henry
 

ClarkWGriswold

Carpe Carpum
Staff member
Supporter
Wales
Thank You very much for your reports Canip, Gijs and Jan.
If you find them good, they are good, no question asked.

But do we really need Binos that good?
What I mean is, what a EL owner (or even a Zeiss Conquest) is going to miss from a bird with his/her "inferior" Binos?
There always will be people with enough money to pay for the Best of the Best, but do we really need it?
It really looks like a marketing race, like with photography since digital.
Let's be honest, Binos are just tools...
Nothing else.

I think you’ve just highlighted the difference between a need and a want Rob. I need a car for my job. I want an Ariel Nomad. I have a Skoda. ;)

Rich
 

jan van daalen

Well-known member
Would you be able to compare the NL 12x42 to the Zeiss SF 10x42?

I did.
To bring things in perspective; when the SF came out I felt that model slimmer and lighter compared to the SV. Both feel now like a "bulky brick" compared to the NL because of its pistol grip.
In color contrast, the closest that comes to the NL is the Noctivid IMHO. Black is pure black and the contrast is absurd high. Canip describes it as cool and I can agree with that.
On 10 meters distance we have the box of the Harpia stay on case which, as it turns out viewed through a bin, is made of white painted vertical waved carton with grey shadow sides caused by the indoor lights. The difference in contrast (the "waves" pop up) and difference in black/white color between the NL and all others is significant in favor for the NL.
The 12x NL is as steady as the 10x SF and with the head rest the view is more relaxed. This is something that is hard to explain and has to be experienced by each individual.

In short, before september 2020 the choice for the customer was between the SF, NV and ELSV in the top segment. This is still the case, but there is a new kid on the block which is now sitting on top of the hill.

Jan
 

jan van daalen

Well-known member
Thanks Canip, Gijs, and Jan. All the talk about better handling and bigger FOV made me sleepy, but now you have my attention. IMO high end binoculars have continued to have image quality right in the field center well below what is possible due to too high aberrations and incomplete baffling. That's what has kept me from replacing my old 8x56 FL for the last 13 years. A 42mm binocular with center field image quality at least as good of the big FL is the only thing that would attract me. Forgive me if I'm still skeptical enough not to pre-order an NL, but I'll certainly be seeking one out to test.

Jan, when you say that straight vertical lines at the field edge "bend slightly inward" do you mean the top and bottom of the lines bend toward the center as in barrel distortion?

Henry

Hi Henry,

Regarding your last question, yes that's correct.

If you can't find one out to test, just let me know and when you decide to keep we'll let Dennis howl like a wolf at full moonB :)
Only 10%......loooooooser!!

Jan
 

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