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Veiling Glare Comparisons (1 Viewer)

Tringa45

Well-known member
Europe
One often reads in birdforum of otherwise excellent binoculars being condemned for veiling glare. It's the killer argument and is, IMO, rather exaggerated.
Firstly, all binoculars will be affected to some extent and secondly, the situations in which it is apparent are fairly infrequent, i.e. backlit with a low sun.
I noticed it recently with my 8x56 SLC and found that it could be virtually eliminated by shielding the objectives with one hand.
There was a marked increase in contrast from the unshielded condition, where there was the appearance of thin fog between the viewed object and the binocular.
At this latitude and time of year the sun only rises about 23° at noon and in an attempt to achieve some sort of consistency I set up those binoculars available to me on a tripod and viewed the shadows of some conifers.
The binoculars used (and their respective vintages) were as follows:

Swarovski 7x42 SLC (2003)
Meopta 7x42 B1 (2016)
Kowa 8x33 Genesis (2012)
Swarovski 8x30 CL Companion 2 (2018)
Swarovski 8x56 SLC (2020)
Swarovski 10x42 EL SV (2011)

My glasses caused disturbing reflections, so I dispensed with these and extended the eyecups on all binoculars. Using a 20 cm square of black card I alternately shielded and exposed the objectives to direct sunlight. There was a marked gain in contrast with all binoculars in the shielded condition and without wishing to overemphasize the differences , I did notice some.
The Kowa Genesis was marginally the best followed by the CL Companion. This rather puts the criticisms of the white "Prominar" lettering on the baffles of the Kowa into perspective ;).
Of the other four, the EL was the worst. This is the most complex design and, although still in prime condition, mine probably lacks the latest 7-layer coatings.

John
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
One often reads in birdforum of otherwise excellent binoculars being condemned for veiling glare. It's the killer argument and is, IMO, rather exaggerated.
Firstly, all binoculars will be affected to some extent and secondly, the situations in which it is apparent are fairly infrequent, i.e. backlit with a low sun.
I noticed it recently with my 8x56 SLC and found that it could be virtually eliminated by shielding the objectives with one hand.
There was a marked increase in contrast from the unshielded condition, where there was the appearance of thin fog between the viewed object and the binocular.
At this latitude and time of year the sun only rises about 23° at noon and in an attempt to achieve some sort of consistency I set up those binoculars available to me on a tripod and viewed the shadows of some conifers.
The binoculars used (and their respective vintages) were as follows:

Swarovski 7x42 SLC (2003)
Meopta 7x42 B1 (2016)
Kowa 8x33 Genesis (2012)
Swarovski 8x30 CL Companion 2 (2018)
Swarovski 8x56 SLC (2020)
Swarovski 10x42 EL SV (2011)

My glasses caused disturbing reflections, so I dispensed with these and extended the eyecups on all binoculars. Using a 20 cm square of black card I alternately shielded and exposed the objectives to direct sunlight. There was a marked gain in contrast with all binoculars in the shielded condition and without wishing to overemphasize the differences , I did notice some.
The Kowa Genesis was marginally the best followed by the CL Companion. This rather puts the criticisms of the white "Prominar" lettering on the baffles of the Kowa into perspective ;).
Of the other four, the EL was the worst. This is the most complex design and, although still in prime condition, mine probably lacks the latest 7-layer coatings.

John
Do you have a picture of the shield and how you performed your test? Some members have said that such a glare shield would have to be prohibitively long to afford any benefit. If it worked you could rig some shields on your binoculars. I am surprised the Kowa 8x33 Genesis was better than the big Swarovski SLC 8x56. I have found the SLC 8x56 and most bigger aperture binoculars to be very good at controlling veiling glare.
 

Tringa45

Well-known member
Europe
Do you have a picture of the shield and how you performed your test?
Sorry, I'm a digital dyslexic! As I mentioned, it was just a 20 cm square sheet of black card which I held horizontally on top of the objectives. Perhaps 15 cm projected in front of them. It was sufficient to shield the binocular objectives from direct sunlight.

John
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Sorry, I'm a digital dyslexic! As I mentioned, it was just a 20 cm square sheet of black card which I held horizontally on top of the objectives. Perhaps 15 cm projected in front of them. It was sufficient to shield the binocular objectives from direct sunlight.

John
Kind of like "Binocular Shades" huh?
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Sorry, I'm a digital dyslexic! As I mentioned, it was just a 20 cm square sheet of black card which I held horizontally on top of the objectives. Perhaps 15 cm projected in front of them. It was sufficient to shield the binocular objectives from direct sunlight.

John
So if you put sunshade around your binoculars that was 6 inches long it would help with veiling glare according to your observations. I think somebody said that an objective sunshade would have to be so long to be effective at stopping veiling glare that it wouldn't be practical, but I really don't agree with that because I notice even with binoculars that have the objective lens inset a 1/2 inch it seems to help with glare.
 
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Kevin Conville

yardbirder
If you are serious about controlling stray light then you might want to consider both "dew" shields for the objectives and using a Thumbs Up grip to mask light from the side at the oculars.
I had a birding buddy who kept short (2") dew shields on his Nikon SEs and they worked great for cutting unwanted light.
I use a thumbs up grip as a matter of course with ALL my bins. It not only cuts stray light but is far more steady and comfortable. The thumbs act as light shields.

This will improved contrast with any and every binocular.
 

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[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
If you are serious about controlling stray light then you might want to consider both "dew" shields for the objectives and using a Thumbs Up grip to mask light from the side at the oculars.
I had a birding buddy who kept short (2") dew shields on his Nikon SEs and they worked great for cutting unwanted light.
I use a thumbs up grip as a matter of course with ALL my bins. It not only cuts stray light but is far more steady and comfortable. The thumbs act as light shields.

This will improved contrast with any and every binocular.
Good tip, Kevin. Where did your friend get the dew shields for the Nikon SE? Did he make them?
 

PeterPS

MEMBER
One often reads in birdforum of otherwise excellent binoculars being condemned for veiling glare. It's the killer argument and is, IMO, rather exaggerated.
Firstly, all binoculars will be affected to some extent and secondly, the situations in which it is apparent are fairly infrequent, i.e. backlit with a low sun.
I noticed it recently with my 8x56 SLC and found that it could be virtually eliminated by shielding the objectives with one hand.
There was a marked increase in contrast from the unshielded condition, where there was the appearance of thin fog between the viewed object and the binocular.
At this latitude and time of year the sun only rises about 23° at noon and in an attempt to achieve some sort of consistency I set up those binoculars available to me on a tripod and viewed the shadows of some conifers.
The binoculars used (and their respective vintages) were as follows:

Swarovski 7x42 SLC (2003)
Meopta 7x42 B1 (2016)
Kowa 8x33 Genesis (2012)
Swarovski 8x30 CL Companion 2 (2018)
Swarovski 8x56 SLC (2020)
Swarovski 10x42 EL SV (2011)

My glasses caused disturbing reflections, so I dispensed with these and extended the eyecups on all binoculars. Using a 20 cm square of black card I alternately shielded and exposed the objectives to direct sunlight. There was a marked gain in contrast with all binoculars in the shielded condition and without wishing to overemphasize the differences , I did notice some.
The Kowa Genesis was marginally the best followed by the CL Companion. This rather puts the criticisms of the white "Prominar" lettering on the baffles of the Kowa into perspective ;).
Of the other four, the EL was the worst. This is the most complex design and, although still in prime condition, mine probably lacks the latest 7-layer coatings.

John
John,
In my experience shielding the objectives with one hand works for some binos, but not for all. It works quite well for binos with shallow objective lenses, such as the Kite IS 42mm, but it does not (at least for me) for binos with deeply recessed objective lenses---in the latter case I have to basically cover part of the lenses to avoid glare caused by a low sun.
Peter
 

Binastro

Well-known member
With the Conquest HD 8x32 I have to cut off (shield) the bottom 4.5mm of both objectves to eliminate glare.

It becomes basically an 8x30 and works well.

Regards,
B.
 

Tringa45

Well-known member
Europe
Perhaps this really belongs on the scope forum, but we had a few minutes of weak sunshine today and I thought I would repeat the tests on both of my scopes.
My Swarovski ATM65 HD (2011 vintage) showed significant veiling glare, which was considerably reduced by shielding with a 40 cm long sheet of black card.
My Kowa 883 (2016/17 production) was virtually immune and there was very little to be gained by additional shielding. Its internals viewed through the objective can be seen better than in any of my other optics, so the anti-reflective coatings are obviously very good. When Gijs tested an 883 in 2010, it had rather mediocre transmission values.
It seems Kowa have since made major leaps in coating technology and that this, in addition to baffling and internal blackening is a major factor in suppressing veiling glare.

John
 

PeterPS

MEMBER

With the Conquest HD 8x32 I have to cut off (shield) the bottom 4.5mm of both objectves to eliminate glare.

It becomes basically an 8x30 and works well.

Regards,
B.
Hi B,
In post #11 I was referring to shielding the lenses with one hand placed above the objectives, but I believe you directly cover/shield the bottom of both objectives, which indeed is what you want to do. How do you do that, do you do the shielding with your hands? Also you might need more than 4.5mm when the sun gets lower and lower?
Peter
 

Binastro

Well-known member
Hi Peter,

I initially used my hands, then black card.
4.5mm covered all cases.

I do this at night using my streetlight, which is a severe test.
I move the binocular over many directions including having the light well outside the field.
I work in circles trying to cover most possibilities.

There are ghosts, streaks, glare and veiling glare.
Binoculars vary enormously in these tests

The 2007 Ultravid 12x50 is very good with a few tiny glints from the front cells.
There are several other good binoculars for glare.
Most binoculars are poor to awful with severe tests.

I also use headlights of cars coming towards me.

If the light source is bright enough I think no binocular is immune.

In the day I use the Sun in a clear sky hidden behind my roof.
The Sun moves its own diameter in two minutes, so one must take great care.
This really shows up poor binoculars.
Some are just not viable close to the Sun.

Regards,
B.
 

brocknroller

A professed porromaniac
United States
One often reads in birdforum of otherwise excellent binoculars being condemned for veiling glare. It's the killer argument and is, IMO, rather exaggerated.
Firstly, all binoculars will be affected to some extent and secondly, the situations in which it is apparent are fairly infrequent, i.e. backlit with a low sun.
I noticed it recently with my 8x56 SLC and found that it could be virtually eliminated by shielding the objectives with one hand.
There was a marked increase in contrast from the unshielded condition, where there was the appearance of thin fog between the viewed object and the binocular.
At this latitude and time of year the sun only rises about 23° at noon and in an attempt to achieve some sort of consistency I set up those binoculars available to me on a tripod and viewed the shadows of some conifers.
The binoculars used (and their respective vintages) were as follows:

Swarovski 7x42 SLC (2003)
Meopta 7x42 B1 (2016)
Kowa 8x33 Genesis (2012)
Swarovski 8x30 CL Companion 2 (2018)
Swarovski 8x56 SLC (2020)
Swarovski 10x42 EL SV (2011)

My glasses caused disturbing reflections, so I dispensed with these and extended the eyecups on all binoculars. Using a 20 cm square of black card I alternately shielded and exposed the objectives to direct sunlight. There was a marked gain in contrast with all binoculars in the shielded condition and without wishing to overemphasize the differences , I did notice some.
The Kowa Genesis was marginally the best followed by the CL Companion. This rather puts the criticisms of the white "Prominar" lettering on the baffles of the Kowa into perspective ;).
Of the other four, the EL was the worst. This is the most complex design and, although still in prime condition, mine probably lacks the latest 7-layer coatings.

John
John,

Add the 8x32 EL (2010) to the list. The veiling glare was very noticeable to me, depending on where the sun was positioned relative to the objectives. It was about on the same level as the veiling glare in my $165 Cabela 8x32 Guide, however, for over $1,000 more, I expected better baffling on the Swarovski. Plus, the Guide's glare was easily remedied by slipping 3-inch sunshades over the end of each barrel. I couldn't do this with the EL because of the double bridge. The horned eyecups from my Nikon 8x42 EDG fit on the end of the EL's barrels, and that helped some, but not as much as longer sunshades on the Guide.

I later found that by putting the 3-inch sunshades over the EDG horned eyecups (basically using them as an adapter) I could control flaring well on the EL, but unlike the Guide where I could slip the sunshades over the barrel, with the EL, they stuck out almost 3-inches, which made them longer than the 8.5x ELs! If that were the only issue, I might have lived with it, because the view was otherwise stunning. But it also had a wonky focuser. So back they went.

I can forgive veiling glare in inexpensive binoculars. but not in alpha class roofs. You pay top dollar, you have the right to get top quality, and that includes adequate baffling.

Here's the modification Tobias Mennle makes to binoculars to combat flaring in the EL and 8x30 Habicht. (scroll 3/4 the way down the page). I'm not sure why he has sunshades on the SE, which handles flaring well.

 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
One often reads in birdforum of otherwise excellent binoculars being condemned for veiling glare. It's the killer argument and is, IMO, rather exaggerated.
Firstly, all binoculars will be affected to some extent and secondly, the situations in which it is apparent are fairly infrequent, i.e. backlit with a low sun.
I noticed it recently with my 8x56 SLC and found that it could be virtually eliminated by shielding the objectives with one hand.
There was a marked increase in contrast from the unshielded condition, where there was the appearance of thin fog between the viewed object and the binocular.
At this latitude and time of year the sun only rises about 23° at noon and in an attempt to achieve some sort of consistency I set up those binoculars available to me on a tripod and viewed the shadows of some conifers.
The binoculars used (and their respective vintages) were as follows:

Swarovski 7x42 SLC (2003)
Meopta 7x42 B1 (2016)
Kowa 8x33 Genesis (2012)
Swarovski 8x30 CL Companion 2 (2018)
Swarovski 8x56 SLC (2020)
Swarovski 10x42 EL SV (2011)

My glasses caused disturbing reflections, so I dispensed with these and extended the eyecups on all binoculars. Using a 20 cm square of black card I alternately shielded and exposed the objectives to direct sunlight. There was a marked gain in contrast with all binoculars in the shielded condition and without wishing to overemphasize the differences , I did notice some.
The Kowa Genesis was marginally the best followed by the CL Companion. This rather puts the criticisms of the white "Prominar" lettering on the baffles of the Kowa into perspective ;).
Of the other four, the EL was the worst. This is the most complex design and, although still in prime condition, mine probably lacks the latest 7-layer coatings.

John
I have had all those binoculars and I found the Swarovski 8x56 SLC to control glare far better than any of the others on your list. Partly due to the design and partly due to the big exit pupil.
 

rob220

Member
Just found this thread because I noticed while doing some tests that my new (used) Victory 8 x 32's had some glare at the bottom of the image from a very strong overhead light which I am assuming will happen from a strong midday sun. Also on my older UVid's but less so. I experimented with my hand as a shade and was able to completely eliminate it. I was a photographer for many years so I put that cap on and came up with what I think will be a cool solution. I ordered some neutral density filter material and non residue duct tape to make a bino shade. If i cut it to the exact length necessary I think I will get a very good result all the way around (don't mean around the binocs altho that might work out too) If anyone is interested I will post the results after I get the stuff.
 

Upland

Well-known member
If you are serious about controlling stray light then you might want to consider both "dew" shields for the objectives and using a Thumbs Up grip to mask light from the side at the oculars.
I had a birding buddy who kept short (2") dew shields on his Nikon SEs and they worked great for cutting unwanted light.
I use a thumbs up grip as a matter of course with ALL my bins. It not only cuts stray light but is far more steady and comfortable. The thumbs act as light shields.

This will improved contrast with any and every binocular.
I like the dew shields but have not found any online. Where might someone find these? Glare is one of my pet peeves with binos and several otherwise nice ones have gone down the road because of it.
 

Maljunulo

Well-known member
I wish manufacturers threaded the inside of the barrels in front of the objectives so we could use screw-in lens shades on our binoculars.

Alas, they do not.
 

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