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Yet another NL mini-review (yawn) (1 Viewer)

tenex

reality-based
Well, I finally got to try the 8x42 NL today, which was rather curious because I don't normally like 8x bins, or 42mm bins, but that's what NL is for now and this was the model (briefly) in stock. Others have reported on it in great detail in various circumstances; I can only give first impressions from a short time outside the store on a sunny morning, looking across a parking lot that didn't even provide a raven, with mountains, trees, buildings with signs, power lines etc in the background.

Swaro doesn't tout the "concept" of balance to the degree Zeiss does, but the NL has it in spades. It feels great in the hand, not just normal sized (which it is) but lighter and even smaller, so I immediately forgot that there's supposed to be a 32mm version out soon. I twisted the eyecups all the way out, adjusted the IPD (with more care than usual, after discussions of this here), and just enjoyed that big 5.25mm pupil without ever having problems with eye positioning, blackouts, etc. No trick to it at all. I'd prefer a dial to a lever diopter but it worked fine, stubby and firm enough that I saw no danger of accidental disturbance. The 8x model at least holds so easily even in one hand that I didn't need or try the headrest. This sample had no noticeable flaw like seams in the armor. (I ignored the FieldPro features that I dislike or would remove.)

The view was brilliant, just lovely rather than mind-blowing, until I remembered what other 8x bins look like; then it started to blow my mind. FOV makes all the difference. 477ft (159m) sounds almost absurd, but the apparent field claimed is only 69°, which Swaro must have measured since it falls in between the ISO formula and simple approximation. That's just about what I'd want (and 10x models often come closer to), not somehow "too much" but very natural, just right. I actually had to put the NL down and look again to appreciate how much it was taking in at once. The balance of distortions is fairly ideal; straight lines stay reasonably straight, with just a bit of AMD to be found at the edges... altogether so natural, even in panning, that I kept forgetting to think about it, which is starting to feel like the theme here. The field seems uniformly sharp[*] from center to edge, to a degree I don't normally demand and might not insist upon here, but this approach doesn't detract from my viewing experience in any way, as in some other bins. I meant to study this further but again somehow forgot and just enjoyed the rather unspectacular view, which means the NL does what it does really well. I had no chance to study glare systematically but the NL handled the high contrast of sun, shadows, snow, and bright shiny metal with elegance.

I usually want something smaller or larger than 42mm, but the NL is somehow just right, at least in 8x. Which I hardly need at all, but it's very interesting after so many years to finally see one that even I could like. And it wouldn't be competing directly with the 10-15x bins I already have and am fond of. The NL offers something genuinely new[**] to me for the first time, shows what an 8x bin really should be, and perhaps I could find some use for it after all. Forest birding, bats at dusk... hmm... (any further goading strongly discouraged)


[* - If I find a suitably detailed target I can see the slight loss of sharpness noted in Roger Vine's review and photo in a band just before the field edge, but wouldn't find this noticeable in normal use.]
[** - OK, so the Zeiss SF came out five years ago, but the NL's FOV beats it so handily in so much smaller a package that I don't feel obliged to go into what else I dislike about it.]
 
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[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
As a former owner of an NL I totally disagree w/tenex. Reviews are pretty much meaningless. The only way you know if a binocular is going to work for you is to try it yourself! A binocular that works great for one person might very well not work for another because of the differences in our facial structure, eye sockets and most importantly our eyes and brain. Most Zeiss SF and Swarovski NL reviews are very positive, but neither one works for me.
 

dwever

Registered User
Supporter
A lot of stuff on Swarovski's is over-engineered. The strap, the case, the attachment system, the objective covers and the rain guard are all over done. I prefer the minimalist approach. I wonder if it is the Austrian mentality to over-engineer stuff?
Every time I use my 8x42 SLC it just makes me "giggle". 1/2 the price of the NL but yet they are a superior binocular! I can hear the SLC whispering to me "aren't you glad you weren't a fool, and you didn't buy that overpriced NL when I have no glare and better 3-D and really who cares about that fancy shape?"
The glare is dependent on if you still own the NL. If you sold it then the truth comes out and the admission of glare and difficult eye placement. If you still have them you want to keep the potential value up by not admitting to any problems.
1A301FA4-C09D-47E5-B797-63598E319D64.jpeg
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
You have switched binoculars more than I have! Realistically a review means nothing. I use the Allbinos reviews as a starting point to try different binoculars, but I would never buy one because of somebodies glowing review. I recently wanted a good 10x42 roof prism at the $1000 price point, so I physically compared the Nikon MHG, Zeiss Conquest HD, Leica Trinovid HD and The Meopta Meopro Air. I found the Nikon MHG had too much CA on the edge for me, so it was out of the running. The Zeiss Conquest HD had bright rings around the FOV, so it was out of the running. The Leica Trinovid HD had black-outs because the eye cups were too short for the ER, so it was out of the running. I finally kept the Meopta Meopro Air as the best of the four for ME. It was the same with the Swarovski NL. I had glare in the bottom of the FOV and difficult eye placement because the eye cups need to be so precisely set to avoid it. The two Zeiss SF 8x42 I tried had orange crescents around the bottom of the FOV. A review is not going to tell you these things because our facial structure, eye socket size and depth and our eyes and brain and our personal preferences are all different. The only way to choose a binocular is to try it YOURSELF!
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter

CharleyBird

Well-known member
England
As a former owner of an NL...Reviews are pretty much meaningless....

I beg to differ. Here's a 3-line summary of an outstanding NL review from 11th September 2020:
"wonderful binocular to hold and use... focuser is way better than any other previous Swarovski... the NL has AMAZING contrast and resolution and the FOV is shart to the edge... glare at the bottom is very slight and only present under certain conditions so it is no big deal... most comfortable eye cup setting was position 5 where I got the biggest FOV with no blackouts"


Just got my NL 8x42 and all I can say is WOW! I agree with Arek from Allbinos. I have had over 100 binoculars and I would say it is the BEST binocular I have ever looked through or used. The ergonomics are really superb on the new NL with the molded tubes conforming to your hands perfectly and in fact the binocular looks small for a 42 mm and coupled with excellent balance it is a wonderful binocular to hold and use. I like the strap and side load case finding them very high quality and it is very easy to get your binoculars in and out of the case when they are on their side. Swarovski must have tightened up the FP attachment screws, so they wouldn't come off unintentionally because I had a heck of a time getting them on because you have to press them down and turn them at the same time and then release the pressure and turn them till they click. I ended up using one of those sticky circular silicone devices used to open stuck jar lids to get them on. There is NO way they will come off! As usual with Swarovski the objective covers and rain guards are perfect. The seams on the armour are no issue at all. It is a small artifact of where they took the armour out of the mold when formed. The armour seems a little different from the EL and almost more SLC like in texture and feel so maybe Swarovski has gone back to a possibly tougher SLC type armour having problems with the longevity of the EL armour. Finally, a Swarovski with a Nikon EDG like smooth focuser. I can't believe it! The focuser on the NL is way better than any other previous Swarovski I have tried. The diopter is IMO better than the old one and has a detent and there is NO way you are going to move it in the location it is in. I compared the NL to my Kowa Genesis 8x33 which isn't exactly too shabby and most consider a very good alpha minus binocular which has an 8 degree FOV. Once you got used to the 9.1 degree FOV of the NL the Kowa's 8 degree FOV felt almost tunnel like in comparison. Even though the Kowa is a very good binocular the Swarovski NL just killed it in contrast and clarity. The NL has AMAZING contrast and resolution and the FOV is sharp to the edge with NO Absam Ring of any kind. Like most Swarovskis it is quite neutral in color. I do see Henry's glare at the bottom of the FOV but it is very slight and only present under certain conditions so it is no big deal. The Kowa Genesis 8x33 had the same type of glare in fact. I tried Canips theory of using 3 to 4 click stops to get rid of the glare but it made no difference. With my shallow eye sockets the most comfortable eye cup setting was position 5 which is where I got the biggest FOV with no blackouts. It is really nice to have 7 different click stops because you can set the eye cups perfect for your eyes. If you are on the fence about the NL don't let the naysayers or the armchair optical engineers talk you out of trying it yourself with their nitpicking. Let your own eyes decide! The NL is probably the most perfect binocular I have ever tried but no binocular is totally perfect. Swarovski says it is the best binocular they have ever made and Allbinos scored the NL 12x42 higher than ANY binocular they have ever tested so it has to be good.
 

CharleyBird

Well-known member
England
That was before I had used the NL in the field extensively. The more I used it the more it showed its true colors. I found out that the glare was there almost all the time when the sun was near the horizon. It must have something to do with the super wide field design. It does have good contrast and resolution, but the glare was the deal killer for me. The more I used it the more I realized how finicky it was especially for a 42 mm. At times, it almost seems like a 25 mm.

It's a shame you couldn't find a pupil position that worked for you.
Never mind, move on.
 

GrampaTom

Well-known member
United States
From the earlier 12 vs 10 NL thread, Bobalob wrote:
"The strange thing was when I locked on a bird with the 10x42 it wasn't as dramatic as my previous 10x42 SV as the FOV was bigger . I now have the field of view I was used to with the 10x42 SV but I now have a bigger bird with easier to see details in all their glory . I've always loved being able to fill the FOV with seeing the bird in all it's splendour and for me the NL12x42 have been a revelation ."

Then from Tenex here, above:
"The view was brilliant, just lovely rather than mind-blowing, until I remembered what other 8x bins look like; then it started to blow my mind. FOV makes all the difference."

For us 10X people, (well this 10X guy), finally words to describe what works for me from Bobalob. And words to suggest, how an 8, this 8, might make a lovely compliment to those from Tenex.

Thanks
GTom
 

james holdsworth

Consulting Biologist
That is because you are turning it into a thread about Dennis. I just commented that the NL didn't work for me because of glare and difficult eye placement and all the "proud papas" of the NL come out of the woodwork to defend their little baby. They probably have to validate spending $3k on a binocular.
Thousands of previous posts (from many years back) from you doing exactly that, many thousands...
 

dries1

Member
All right are we done yet, different strokes for different folks. Additionally we all change our mind on glass as with anything, including power tools, cars etc. However the opinion on why it was changed needs only to be stated once.

Andy W.
 

tenex

reality-based
Someone commented a while back that almost every thread where Dennis posts turns into a thread about Dennis.
And there are few threads where Dennis doesn't post... the sheer repetition does grow tiresome. Like a stream of unconsciousness.

Anyway, where was I? 60° really isn't "wide angle". What I've always said I wanted (more FOV) the NL delivers, and really, really well. It will change the way I think about binoculars, as the WX (for obvious reasons of size and cost) did not.
 
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BabyDov

Well-known member
Supporter
United States
When it comes to the NL and each new positive review, you can count on Dennis to post his same dissenting NL opinion and gloom (maybe I should say glare?)
 

BabyDov

Well-known member
Supporter
United States
The problem is deeper than that. At one early point he seems to state he acquired a pair, “Just got my NL 8X42 and all I can say is WOW!” Posted September 11th. Then last week he brings in to question whether he ever owned a pair at all indicating he avoided buying the NL (“I can hear the SLC whispering to me "aren't you glad you weren't a fool, and you didn't buy that overpriced NL when I have no glare and better 3-D and really who cares about that fancy shape?"”).

This wasn’t merely changing his mind. This was changing the narrative of the underlying events; and maybe, unwittingly telling on himself.
You may be right that the problem is deeper. Perhaps, by repeating himself ,Dennis is trying to convince himself that he made the right choice in optics. In addition to doing this, he seems to need his SLC to whisper to him he made the right choice. If that's true, it is very sad. . Why? There is no question that he has made the right choice for himself. We all do whether we buy the NL or not.

The only other explanation I can come up with for his being so repetitive is that he enjoys trolling for the attention he gets by being contrary. If that's the case, perhaps we are all wrong in shifting the focus of the thread from the NL's to Dennis. We should probably just ignore him when he does this. Having said all of this I do understand his view of the NL, especially the first time he expressed it. Furthermore, he is more knowledgeable about optics than I ever will be. So, I appreciate the contributions he had made to this forum, whether we see alike or not.
 

tenex

reality-based
perhaps we are all wrong in shifting the focus of the thread from the NL's to Dennis.
The really irritating thing is that Dennis made this point himself in a now-deleted post quoted in James's #12 above.
We should probably just ignore him when he does this.
Amen... yet easier said than done. Somehow I keep thinking moderators could help with this, but apparently they didn't sign up to babysit Dennis. So this pattern keeps playing out, ruining thread after thread...

Back to the NL: I really think there's a huge difference between bins with AFOV in the ~60° range, which start to feel like tunnel vision to me although the industry considers them "wide angle", and in the high-60-to-70° range, which feel very satisfying. (This is a principal reason I've always liked Leica 10x32s.) The NL has demonstrated again that this can be achieved in a perfectly normal-sized bin, just a tad on the heavy side by modern alpha standards, though it doesn't feel like it. How hard was that? Is the ocular design really responsible for such a high cost, or is that just marketing? Would it be more easily achieved and affordable without the flat field, which I don't need?

If I primarily used an 8x bin I would have taken this NL home in a heartbeat, because it seems just about perfect. I'm somehow less sure about the 10x42 format, but it certainly is tempting. (I'll pass on the 12, as I already have a good 15x.)
 

dwever

Registered User
Supporter
If I primarily used an 8x bin I would have taken this NL home in a heartbeat, because it seems just about perfect. I'm somehow less sure about the 10x42 format, but it certainly is tempting. (I'll pass on the 12, as I already have a good 15x.)

I may get the 12X b4 going on a 6 day wilderness ride in the Alaskan backcountry in September. I think an 8X and a 12X would be a great combo and I would get the forehead antenna (rest) for the 12X. Problem is, you can only find 10X and 15X in-stock up here. I had the the 8X shipped up here sight-unseen from MidwayUSA and I really don’t like doing that. I guess a shopping trip to Seattle or Portland is forthcoming.
 

SUPPRESSOR

Well-known member
England
You may be right that the problem is deeper. Perhaps, by repeating himself ,Dennis is trying to convince himself that he made the right choice in optics. In addition to doing this, he seems to need his SLC to whisper to him he made the right choice. If that's true, it is very sad. . Why? There is no question that he has made the right choice for himself. We all do whether we buy the NL or not.

The only other explanation I can come up with for his being so repetitive is that he enjoys trolling for the attention he gets by being contrary. If that's the case, perhaps we are all wrong in shifting the focus of the thread from the NL's to Dennis. We should probably just ignore him when he does this. Having said all of this I do understand his view of the NL, especially the first time he expressed it. Furthermore, he is more knowledgeable about optics than I ever will be. So, I appreciate the contributions he had made to this forum, whether we see alike or not.
Dennis ,has been doing this for years winding people up I for one find it very entertaining .
He must go to bed with a nice warm feeling after another successful day's fishing!!
Pete.
 

tenex

reality-based
I think an 8X and a 12X would be a great combo and I would get the forehead antenna (rest) for the 12X. Problem is, you can only find 10X and 15X in-stock up here.
8/12x or 10/15x are great combos depending on whether your preferred basis is 8 or 10x. (Leica Duovids did just this.) For me/us it's 10/15. So I'm not sure what to do with an 8x, or a 12. And we're quite well equipped with 10x bins, so I'm having a very hard time justifying any NL at the moment, however beautiful. It could replace our Trinovid BR 10x42, but that hasn't really seen enough use to warrant such expense. And we're too attached to our Leica 32s for something the size of NL 32 to make sense. It's such a terrible situation, being stuck with very good bins already and missing out on the best ever...
 
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