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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Tale of 10x32 comparisons (2 Viewers)

ZDHart

Well-known member
Supporter
Over the last week I have been evaluating and comparing four 10x32 binoculars.

Let me just say up front - all four of these binoculars are of great quality, and are quite worthy of your $$$-$$$$, depending on your own personal preferences.

Swarovski 10x32 NL $2550
Zeiss 10x32 SF $2300
Leica Ultravid HD+ 10x32 $2100
Leica Trinovid HD 10x32 $950

I do not wear eyeglasses when using binoculars, so the eyeglass-wearing aspect of comparison is not a factor for me and is not included in my comparison.

I had and experienced the NLs for the longest - 6 days, testing the bins for a few hours each day.
The others were received close to the end of my 6 days with the NLs.

My comparison is not technical, nor exhaustive, and does not include specifications, nor quantitative analysis. This is purely qualitative; a user's personal impressions.

FORM FACTOR
For me, the biggest and most significant difference across these four binoculars is the form factor (shape of the barrels), which relates directly to feel in-the-hands and handling. Of course, the NL have the pinched wasp-waist shape to the barrels and the other three bins have traditionally shaped barrels.

ARMOR TEXTURE
The second biggest difference, again for me, was the feel and texture of the armor. The NL armor felt slightly slick - just a little too slippery for my liking. The other three all have armor that has more "stiction", for lack of a better term. They just stuck more securely in my hands, when carrying, holding, and viewing with.

SHARPNESS/CLARITY-Trinovid HD vs. Alpha
The next biggest difference, in my perception, is that the Trinovid HD has just a smidgen less "clarity" in the center of the view. The other three had slightly crisper clarity and sharpness in the mostly-used central viewing area.

TRINOVID HD bows out
I eliminated the Trinovid HD early on, simply because I wanted full-on alpha-level clarity and sharpness in the mostly-used central viewing area. While the Trinovid HD were of very high quality, and highly enjoyable binoculars, that slight difference in clarity (not unexpected, given that the Trinovid HD was just $950) was the deal breaker for me. If I had not been carefully comparing the clarity/sharpness of the Trinovid HD to $2100, $2300, and $2550 alpha-grade bins, I would have been thrilled with their performance, and would have loved to keep them!!! Trinovid HD is a great choice for less than $1000.

So, then it was three: NL, SF, and UVHD+.

HAND HOLD/HANDLING/STABILITY
For the six full days that I evaluated the NLs, while I fully enjoyed the optical quality, every time I handled the bins, I was unable to find a hand hold that felt natural and wonderfully comfortable. I continuously re-arranged my grip trying to find one that felt "just right". My hands are slightly on the large side and the NL barrel shape and size never gave me that "just right" naturally comfortable and fully-secure feeling grip. As much as I tried to adapt to the shape and size of the NL barrels, I failed to fully enjoy holding and using them. But I did give this aspect a very prolonged effort!

The SF, on the other hand, had great stiction when I reached to pick them up, and they fell right into my hands, just as if I had been enjoying holding them for a lifetime. Nice, palm-filling feel, with enough stiction to keep them quite securely locked in-place during viewing, carrying, and while holding them down at my side.

The UVHD+ barrels/armor also provides ample stiction and palm-filling when grabbing to pick up, when holding by my side, and when viewing. Their barrels, however, are about 1"+ shorter than the NL and the SF barrels. Still, the barrels are just long enough to provide a good hold.

SHARPNESS & CLARITY
Optically, I found the NL and SF to be so close in quality, that I was perfectly happy with either of them. Alpha level sharpness through and well-beyond the central viewing area. Both gave very enjoyable viewing experiences.

Here, I find the optical sharpness and clarity of the 10x32 UVHD+ to easily be at least as good, in fact I think the UVHD+ may very well be a tiny bit sharper than the SF and NL. Which isn't to say that I find the SF or NL lacking in sharpness and clarity - they're superb in that regard, also. All three of these bins exhibit fabulous alpha-grade sharpness and clarity. But the UVHD+ seems like it possibly edges out the other two, by a little bit. None of these alphas would displease anyone for sharpness/clarity.

COLOR QUALITY
NL to SF, was fairly close, but a slight bit warmer toned in the SF, with the NLs seeming to transmit a bit more blue light, making for a slightly cooler color rendition. I would say the NL was the most "neutral" in color quality. This difference wasn't noticeable when using either binocular on its own, but was slightly apparent when comparing back and forth, in quick succession.

Here, I find the SF and the UVHD+ to be very close to each other - repeated back and forth, side by side comparison shows very little difference. Both are excellent, with a slight hint of warmth to the color quality.

CA
Chromatic aberration wasn't noticeable to me with either NL or SF. When I went looking for it on sharp, high-contrast lines, over at the edges of the view, I could find a very minor bit of CA with the UVHD+, but I don't view through binoculars using the edges, so what little I could find there, when trying to find it, wasn't bothersome to me at all. I admire when manufacturers can reduce edge CA, however that aspect is not one that matters significantly to me. Among these three alpha 10x32s, CA was not a factor to me.

NL bows out
So with the NL, SF, and UVHD+ all being relatively equally pleasing to me in most aspects, the decision between these came down to feel-in-the-hand and handling - a very important aspect to me. And, there being a huge difference in that aspect, between the NL and the others, it was an easy decision for me to return the NL. I really wanted to love the NLs, but I just couldn't get happy with the feel and handling of the barrels.

DOWN TO 10x32 SF and 10x32 UVHD+
These two are both exceptionally pleasing binoculars for me to use. Optical characteristics are fabulous with both, though I might give the smallest of an edge to Leica's glass - the UVHD+ are absolutely razor sharp... and then some. Superb contrast, as well.

To my eyes, the SF may be slightly sharper when you get out toward the edges, but honestly, whatever difference there may be at the edges, between these binoculars, isn't anything I notice in practical use.

The SF have a little wider field-of-view, but this difference is only mildly noticeable at my typical maximum birding distance of 50 yards, or so. Most of my birding is done on my property at less than 50 yards, often at 50 to 100 feet, where the difference in field of view is negligible. If typically birding at 200+ yards, the difference in field of view would be more noticeable, but that's not how I use these binoculars. And 1000 yards? Jeez... it may be to some, but that's not my style of "birding".

I give the nod to the SF over UVHD+ for ease of handling, because there is an extra inch in barrel length to work with, making the balance toward the oculars quite noticeable. The larger size helps gain a bit more stability in use, as well.

I give the nod to the UVHD+ for incredibly compact size and (slightly) lighter weight, and that Leica view.

These two 10x32s are significantly different in size/form factor, though they perform quite comparably to each other in viewing and quality.

As they are so different in size, I am likely to keep them both. That is a bit duplicative and extravagant, but the UVHD+ will be better suited to travel and taking with me in the vehicle, or on a hike. It is amazing that Leica can build a 10x32 of such fantastic quality and optical performance in such a compact and light weight form. I am certainly not the first, nor the last, to recognize how fantastic the UVHD+ 8x32 and 10x32 bins are.

The 10x32 SF is a fantastic general-use binocular, in a medium size. This would be my 10x32 mid-size choice when small-size wasn't desired or important and I don't want the size and weight of 10x42s.

The 10x32 UVHD+ is a stunningly powerful binocular, in an incredibly compact size. This would be my choice in a 10x32, when small size is desired. And, the extra large surface on the focuser is very nice - you can easily lay two fingers on it for focusing.

Lastly, I do have a pair of Zeiss Victory SF 10x42, which fulfill that big-eye, full-size desire when I have it.

Is it reasonable for one to have three 10x binoculars? 10x42 full size, 10x32 mid size, and 10x32 compact size?

I think so, pocket book allowing. We have incredible choices in binoculars these days - these truly are the golden age of binoculars! Life is good.

It probably goes without saying at this point, but I have no problems whatsoever using 10x32 alpha-grade binoculars for general use. I find them to be quite bright, incredibly razor sharp, very enjoyable to use, light weight, and easy to handle. If you're wondering if 10x32 binoculars might be for you, I encourage you to go forth and check them out. I LOVE them!

My 10x32 "keepers":
51362454834_0c2a2b5a43_h.jpg


With the 10x big brother:
51362733085_aa42e7e8e4_h.jpg


Photos made with a Leica Camera lens. :cool:
 
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Lezeiss

Member
United States
That was a fun read. I recently gave the 10x32 SF’s another try and I’m glad I did. With patience I was finally able to adjust them to avoid bad blackouts. I love their ergonomics and view. I also tried the NL 10x32s and didn’t like the way they felt nor did I like the view as it appeared to be a milky view in comparison to the Zeiss. Never tried the Leicas, but I do have the 8x32 UVHD+ and I love their size and view - Yes, they are a little finicky with eye placement, but once I got passed that I love them.
 

ZDHart

Well-known member
Supporter
That was a fun read. I recently gave the 10x32 SF’s another try and I’m glad I did. With patience I was finally able to adjust them to avoid bad blackouts. I love their ergonomics and view. I also tried the NL 10x32s and didn’t like the way they felt nor did I like the view as it appeared to be a milky view in comparison to the Zeiss. Never tried the Leicas, but I do have the 8x32 UVHD+ and I love their size and view - Yes, they are a little finicky with eye placement, but once I got passed that I love them.
What cool glass! Those UVHD+ 8x32s are just as stunning as the 10x32. I had a pair (UVHD+ 8x32) for a short while, and at the time had spent a bunch on alpha glass and I thought it was too extravagant for me to keep the 8x32s. I've regretted letting those 8x32s go; that's why I'm not going to let these UVHD+ 10x32s get away from me.

I can't believe the UVHD+ image quality. Easy view too. I'm not having any blackout issues when eyecups and IP distance are set right!

Every time I try an Ultravid HD+ (10x42, 7x42, 8x32, 10x32) I am blown away by the gorgeous view quality of the image, the color quality, contrast, and the incredible razor-sharp clarity. Leica really know how to make superb glass, and ultra-fine build quality! I'm not surprised that Leica are in no hurry to replace their Ultravid HD line up- they're just stellar binoculars that in my view, compete very well with any other binocular money can buy.
 
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Lezeiss

Member
United States
What cool glass! Those UVHD+ 8x32s are just as stunning as the 10x32. I had a pair (UVHD+ 8x32) for a short while, and at the time had spent a bunch on alpha glass and I thought it was too extravagant for me to keep the 8x32s. I've regretted letting those 8x32s go; that's why I'm not going to let these UVHD+ 10x32s get away from me.

I can't believe the UVHD+ image quality. Easy view too. I'm not having any blackout issues when eyecups and IP distance are set right!

Every time I try an Ultravid HD+ (10x42, 7x42, 8x32, 10x32) I am blown away by the gorgeous view quality of the image, the color quality, contrast, and the incredible razor-sharp clarity. Leica really know how to make superb glass, and ultra-fine build quality! I'm not surprised that Leica are in no hurry to replace their Ultravid HD line up- they're just stellar binoculars that in my view, compete very well with any other binocular money can buy.
Cool! Like you, I also don’t wear glasses so I have no idea how any of these are with glasses. I wanted to also try the SF 8x32s, but my order was messed up and I stayed w the Leicas. Do you feel your SF 8x32s are too similar to your SF 10x32s (other than 2x extra magnification)?
 

ZDHart

Well-known member
Supporter
As I also have the 10x42 SF, if I had to let go of one of these two 10x32s, I would be keeping the UVHD+ 10x32. Not because the 10x32 SF is a slouch, but simply because it makes the most sense to balance the 10x42 with a very compact 10x32. And the UVHD+ 10x32 has stunning image and build quality. It may be the sharpest binocular that I have ever tried!
 

ZDHart

Well-known member
Supporter
Cool! Like you, I also don’t wear glasses so I have no idea how any of these are with glasses. I wanted to also try the SF 8x32s, but my order was messed up and I stayed w the Leicas. Do you feel your SF 8x32s are too similar to your SF 10x32s (other than 2x extra magnification)?
Lezeiss... yes, my 8x32 SF are quite like my 10x32 SF. They're both awesome bins.

My birding is perhaps a bit different than some other folks'. I have a very active birding situation on my home property. Up to six different feeders and two water stations... so, there is a lot of activity, all day long from birds and four legged critters! So, most of my viewing is from different rooms in the home. There is quite an assortment of wildlife that cruise through, day and night.

51242863041_b6be2edee3_h.jpg


So, I keep binoculars in a few different rooms of the house, as several of them look out to this view. At late afternoon, there are at least forty different birds here to view. Plus numerous rabbits and prairie dogs. And lizards and toads. And the once-in-a long while snake. And the coyotes, javelina, and bobcats cruise through here as we approach dusk. Several Harris Hawks live nearby, circle overhead and often sweep through during the day, hoping to find a meal. It's kind of a paradise for a wildlife viewer. The wildlife keep my dogs and myself entertained continuously.

Sometimes, I'm so engaged by watching all this wildlife that I neglect much else! I am putting my binoculars to very extensive use, on and off all day long, pretty much from dawn to dusk.

At my primary viewing position, I keep my favorite binoculars to choose from. And a couple of my other favorite bins are kept in a couple of different rooms. Being retired, I spend a lot of time at my primary viewing location.

So, I can use the 8x32 SF for viewing from my music room. I could live without having two 10x32s, since I have the 10x42 SF and 7x42 UVHD+. Perhaps I may let the 10x32 SF go, in favor of the 10x32 UVHD+. I'm not sure just yet. In any case, I'm keeping the 10x32 UVHD+ as they is just that stellar.
 
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Lezeiss

Member
United States
Lezeiss... yes, my 8x32 SF are quite like my 10x32 SF. They're both awesome bins.

My birding is perhaps a bit different than some other folks'. I have a very active birding situation on my home property. Up to six different feeders and two water stations... so, there is a lot of activity, all day long from birds and four legged critters! So, most of my viewing is from different rooms in the home. There is quite an assortment of wildlife that cruise through, day and night.

51242863041_b6be2edee3_h.jpg


So, I keep binoculars in a few different rooms of the house, as several of them look out to this view. At late afternoon, there are at least forty different birds here to view. Plus numerous rabbits. And the coyotes and javelina cruise through here as we approach dusk. Sometimes I'm so engaged by watching all this wildlife that I neglect much else! I am putting my binoculars to very extensive use, on and off all day, pretty much from dawn to dusk.

At my primary viewing position, I keep my favorite binoculars to choose from. And a couple of my other favorite bins are kept in a couple of different rooms. Being retired, I spend a lot of time at my primary viewing location.

So, I can use the 8x32 SF for viewing from my music room. I could live without having two 10x32s, since I have the 10x42 SF and 7x42 UVHD+. Perhaps I may let the 10x32 SF go, in favor of the 10x32 UVHD+. I'm not sure just yet. In any case, I'm keeping the 10x32 UVHD+ as they is just that stellar.
That is absolutely an amazing view. I’m assuming Arizona?
 

ZDHart

Well-known member
Supporter
The little Leica must one of the prettiest binoculars out there.
James... in my view, the little Leicas (UVHD+ 10x32 and 8x32) are among the very finest "looking glasses" ever created. Stunning clarity, sharpness, color quality, and build quality. One simply has to hold, and look through, a pair to see it.

Not only are they gorgeous to look at, but they're even more beautiful to look through. Leica should be proud. "They done good!" :)
 
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ZDHart

Well-known member
Supporter
That is absolutely an amazing view. I’m assuming Arizona?
Thank you.

Yes, sir. We live on acreage on the edge of the Tonto National Forest, at the NE edge of Scottsdale, AZ.

We draw the birds with mixed seed feeders, thistle seed feeders, black oil sunflower feeders, suet feeders, quail blocks, and two fresh water stations. The wildlife absolutely love the bounty that we lay out for them. And we love watching them enjoy it all! :)
 
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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

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