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Swarovski NL 8x42 - First Impressions (1 Viewer)

Hi Canip,

Here I was thinking I had successfully tip toed around making any definite statement beyond something like "the very best are better". Perhaps I should add that "the very worst are worse". ;)

Henry
 
„Not state of the art“?

I think that’s way overstating any minor imperfections!!

That's an overstatement of the overstatement :D

Perhaps it's a language barrier issue, but "not state of the art" means "not the very best in the world". Or "good but not great".

Saying something is "not the best in the world" at a given feature isn't exactly a harsh criticism. In fact it's pretty gentle as critiques go on this forum.

Are people going to be upset every time someone says they are not perfect in every way? Because it's going to be a long ride if so :smoke:
 
And let’s not unintentionally collaborate here to set an impossibly high bar for Swarovski, their marketing Dept. not withstanding.

I know there's a lot of love for Swarovski on this forum. However, if a binocular in that price range isn't state of the art in one very important department that needs to be said clearly and openly. And yes, there are quite a few binoculars with excellent - state of the art! - glare resistance. I'm personally a lot more worried about glare resistance than about some seams in the armour.

I'm very much looking forward to Henry's thoughts once he had the time to look at the NL in detail.

Hermann
 
... and for those who experience ill effects from "rolling ball" the distortion follows the mustache pattern of pincushion gradually increasing out to about 70% of the FOV, then quickly reversing until there is no pincushion and very high angular magnification distortion near the edge. I'll put up photos in the review.

It seems like this is the modern trend for wide field binoculars. I've noticed this pattern slight pincushion in the middle reversing to high AMD at the edges on (just naming some binoculars I've owned recently) the Kowa Genesis 10x33, Kowa BDII 6.5x32, Nikon Monarch HG 8x42, and to a lesser extent the Nikon EDG 10x32 and Zeiss Conquest HD 10x32. I also have a Leica UVHD 8x32 which has zero AMD, just pincushion and slight field curvature, so I have a frame of comparison.

Is this just an "easier" way of achieving a wide FOV with a reasonably sized ocular? It feels almost like "cheating" in a way, advertising a wider TFOV but then underperforming in AFOV because the extra FOV is just squeezed into the edges.

Of those I've owned above, the EDG in my estimation has the best overall "balance" of distortion where the field feels natural while panning. The Kowas showed the most AMD / compression and felt the least natural panning.

One thing which seems to be a differentiator in how "natural" the looks appears is point at which the "compression" starts (which is I assume where the transition / inflection between pincushion and AMD begins?). For example, when doing the test of moving a small circular object from the center towards the edge of the FOV, the Kowas showed visible compression/deformation very early, it was visible under 50% from the center axis. And the compression at the edges is quite severe. The EDG on the other hand has slight pincushion but significantly less compression until you reach the other 10-20% of the FOV.

The degree to which the compression encroaches into the center of the FOV appears to me, based on my recent experience with these models, to be highly correlated with the visibility of "rolling ball" when panning. The worst offenders give a "funhouse mirror" effect where space ripples and deforms, especially obvious if you change direction (especially slight movements side to side, like when tracking a small bird in a bush that is flitting around a lot).
 
Henry - if you get a chance to compare glare between the NL and the SV, if possible, that would be great.
The only fault I regularly find with the SV (although the 8.5x42 is much, much better for me than the 8x32) is glare and that would be the only real improvement that I'd desire, optically. I have no complaints with the ergonomics, and the FoV increase is irrelevant for me. A different focus system (e.g. variable ratio) would be great but is already known to not be a part of these binoculars.

Thanks,
Justin
 
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Hi Canip,

Here I was thinking I had successfully tip toed around making any definite statement beyond something like "the very best are better". Perhaps I should add that "the very worst are worse". ;)

Henry

Henry:
I suspect you are comparing the new NL with your Zeiss Victory FL 8x56.

I suppose they both have some differences, that the other would not have,
due to objective sizes and more.

I recall when you first tested the Swarovision, and the photos of the view.

I agree with Justin you should do a direct comparison with the SV. You have already mentioned a similar distortion profile.

Jerry
 
A Question of Balance?

A quick question now that some NL's are out in the world . . .

Where exactly is the balance point of the NL's in relation to the wasp waist (and therefore the focuser)?
i.e. at the mid-point of the waist, or in front or behind it?


Thanks in advance
John
 

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The ballance point of my 8x42 (without headrest) is approx. the bottom of the dial.
 
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Hi Pepe,

Thanks for that. So it has essentially a neutral/ over the hands balance *

This is of course in contrast with the more pronounced back balance of the Zeiss x42 SF - the 'Ergobalance' concept
see the images from the 60 page brochure ‘The Art Of Precision’ at: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=370530

Along with others, Lee has spoken very favourably of the SF's long term holding ease in relation to its balance
So down the track it would be interesting to see a comparison of the NL and the SF in terms of long term holding comfort

n.b. the comparative Zeiss diagram is slightly misleading as the SF is somewhat longer at 173 mm compared to the HT at 167 mm
see the image from Tobias at: http://www.greatestbinoculars.com/allpages/reviews/shootouts/shootoutpremier8x42s/8x42shootout.html


John


* Having looked at a number of images of those holding an NL in a using position, a typical hold (e.g. see the one from the Swarovski website) has:
- the focusing hand located so that the side of the middle finger is against the front of the bridge
(and the finger would also support the weight of the binocular if it was held vertically in one hand)
- which allows the focusing finger to comfortably contact the front part of the focus knob
Which in turn means that the balance point is over the bone of the ‘drum stick’ of the focusing hand thumb (the metacarpal)
 

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.....
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Perhaps it's a language barrier issue, but "not state of the art" means "not the very best in the world". Or "good but not great".

.....
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.....:

In fact, I understood it to mean „good, but not great“, which I found a surprising result, given my own experience (I did compare side by side with all other „premium“ 8x42s, with which the NL did keep up well, but I so far only checked out in the field and not in the „lab“). But I rest my case and wait for Henry‘s thorough review.
 
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A lot of people are making remarks on the seams on the armour. You can see them indeed. On my 10x42 the seems on the right tube is very smooth but the one the left is more feelable. I agree that seam could be smoothed off more. It doesn't bother me when birding, but on a 2600 Euro bin it could be better.
 
A lot of people are making remarks on the seams on the armour. You can see them indeed. On my 10x42 the seems on the right tube is very smooth but the one the left is more feelable. I agree that seam could be smoothed off more. It doesn't bother me when birding, but on a 2600 Euro bin it could be better.

Nothing an angle grinder and a bit of sandpaper won't fix...

o:D
 
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Nothing an angle grinder and a bit of sandpaper won't fix...

o:D

Yes, but you should not have to do it yourself!

Decades ago, the rib contours on my then new Leica 8x32 "tank" model had irritated me to the point that I tried to smoothen them off. The tough stuff that Leica had used made it impossible for me to achieve a fully smooted surface. Well, while the feel was improved a bit, it definitely did not look very good. Needless to say that this also affected the resale value.
 

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Yes, but you should not have to do it yourself!

Decades ago, the rib contours on my then new Leica 8x32 "tank" model had irritated me to the point that I tried to smoothen them off. The tough stuff that Leica had used made it impossible for me to achieve a fully smooted surface. Well, while the feel was improved a bit, it definitely did not look very good. Needless to say that this also affected the resale value.

I'm impressed, the ribs were solid, rather than just bumps in the covering.
Clearly Leica still has a lot to learn about 'value engineering'.
 
A lot of people are making remarks on the seams on the armour. You can see them indeed. On my 10x42 the seems on the right tube is very smooth but the one the left is more feelable. I agree that seam could be smoothed off more. It doesn't bother me when birding, but on a 2600 Euro bin it could be better.

In my review of the GPO Passion 8x32 ED (price around £335 / €370) I noted the following:

"As already mentioned, the fit and feel of these instruments is well above that indicated by their price. One factor that contributes to this is the lack of any visible seams in the armour".


Lee
 
Did anyone get a NL which is not pre-ordered yet? Not seen a 10x in stock yet.

Haven't seen one, but on Friday the dealer near me said the 10x is going to be a little behind the 8x and 12x. His Swaro rep. was thinking Jan / Feb for the 10x to be released in numbers other than pre-orders.

They also had a single Zeiss SF 8x32 for display only (has to go back to Zeiss in about 30 days). Had a brief look at it. Build quality was excellent with perfect focus wheel IMO. Felt noticeably smaller in-hand than what I expected based on pictures and measurements.

They expect their first NL Pure 8x and 12x models this week, so I'll be dropping in again for an longer visit.
 
Did anyone get a NL which is not pre-ordered yet? Not seen a 10x in stock yet.

Gofoto.se, which is likely the dealer that you tried, has only the 8x in stock. Swaro-SE informed me that the next delivery will be in week 39, maybe then the dealers in SE will also get some 10x. It seems that Swaro has given higher priority to UK and NL dealers, big markets for sure (the NL market not so much, but NLs for NL is common sense...).
 

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