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Zeiss Harpia 95 - Swarovski ATX 95 - Subjective comparison (1 Viewer)

Apochromat

ZEISS VICTORY SF 8x42 SWAROVSKI EL 8.5x42 WB NL Pu
I didn't see any colour fringes when testing the Harpia on Islay and there were plenty of opportunities with white gulls against dark seas and skies as well as black Jackdaws and Red-billed Choughs against white clouds.

When viewing photos with chromatic aberration how can you be sure the camera/lens was not the source of the fringes?

Lee

Dear All,

I always ask myself such questions before considering a new instrument for purchase, especially as this is the most expensive scope on the market and as such difficult to test at least here in Germany. There are only two knowledgeable and reputable dealers that carry the HARPIA 95 and they are several hundreds of kilometers away from where I live. Although I am a very happy user of a KOWA 883 PROMINAR, the large imaged object field kept over the focus range and the objective diameter of 95 mm is quite impressive.

The more answers we get here the better. Usually the chromatic aberration of the magnification (Farbquerfehler, Farbvergrößerungsfehler, German) -and this was displayed within the quoted picture- is caused by wrong combinations of optical components (e.g. distance between instrument and camera adapter optics, wrong dispersion of camera adapter lens groups), but also can come from misaligned instruments themselves (e.g. wrong distance of lens groups and also missing stops within a beam path etc.).

Thanks
Michael

BTW: Are there any elaborate camera adapters from ZEISS for the HARPIA specifically designed for MFT cameras available yet?
 
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Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
here in Germany. There are only two knowledgeable and reputable dealers that carry the HARPIA 95 and they are several hundreds of kilometers away from where I live.

Michael


Michael
English is a funny old language and I can interpret what you posted above in a few different ways. Could you please clarify the following and forgive me if it sounds like an interrogation:

Do you mean there are only 2 Harpia dealers in the whole of Germany?
Or
That there are more than 2 Harpia dealers but only two of them are knowledgeable and reputable?
Or
There are more than 2 Harpia dealers that are knowledgeable and reputable but only 2 are within a practical traveling distance from where you live?

Cheers Lee
 

Apochromat

ZEISS VICTORY SF 8x42 SWAROVSKI EL 8.5x42 WB NL Pu
Michael
English is a funny old language and I can interpret what you posted above in a few different ways. Could you please clarify the following and forgive me if it sounds like an interrogation:

Do you mean there are only 2 Harpia dealers in the whole of Germany?
Or
That there are more than 2 Harpia dealers but only two of them are knowledgeable and reputable?
Or
There are more than 2 Harpia dealers that are knowledgeable and reputable but only 2 are within a practical traveling distance from where you live?

Cheers Lee

Hello Lee,

It´s the middle option. So, I do not know exactly how many dealers offer the CARL ZEISS HARPIA 95 in Germany. I think quite a few. My home- town optician has it displayed too, but does not allow me to take it out of the shop even for one minute. Maybe this is because they are by far no experts in anything optical except eyeglasses.

No, I meant that I only know of two experienced and reputable dealers that allow for a few hours long outdoor testing of their spotting scopes and also encourage people to do so before buying. Also these two dealers have a good knowledge of all products as both offer the major brands (ZEISS, SWAROVSKI, LEICA and KOWA). Another good thing is that none of the two tries to push you in a specific direction/ brand.

As we all know the choices possible are often highly subjective and as we say one man´s meat is another one´s poison.

And yes they are both too far away from where I live just to go there for curiosity.

Thanks
Michael
 
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Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Hello Lee,

It´s the middle option. So, I do not know exactly how many dealers offer the CARL ZEISS HARPIA 95 in Germany. I think quite a few. My home- town optician has it displayed too, but does not allow me to take it out of the shop even for one minute. Maybe this is because they are by far no experts in anything optical except eyeglasses.

No, I meant that I only know of two experienced and reputable dealers that allow for a few hours long outdoor testing of their spotting scopes and also encourage people to do so before buying. Also these two dealers have a good knowledge of all products as both offer the major brands (ZEISS, SWAROVSKI, LEICA and KOWA). Another good thing is that none of the two tries to push you in a specific direction/ brand.

As we all know the choices possible are often highly subjective and as we say one man´s meat is another one´s poison.

And yes they are both too far away from where I live just to go there for curiosity.

Thanks
Michael

Hi Michael

Thank you for that. Now, alles klar.

Dealers like the ones you describe are very valuable to know about even if they are an uncomfortable distance to travel. My two favourite dealers are 150km and 230km from where I live but they both offer excellent testing conditions.

Lee
 

Buff1ehead

Member
Thank you for the excellent review.

I recently wanted to purchase a second scope, angled, my other scope being a well-used, older, straight Zeiss Diascope 65mm. I had the opportunity to compare the Harpia and ATX scopes side by side for several hours. My findings astonished me, because I expected to walk away with the Harpia, but ended up purchasing the Swaro.

The most significant advantages of the Zeiss scope were:
* better focusing system
* better field of view

The most significant advantages of the Swarovski scope were:
* better resolution at high power
* significantly better eye relief (important to me with eyeglasses)
* brighter in the shadows
* better options (attachments) for digiscoping

The deal was sealed by the fact that Zeiss recently increased its minimum advertised price, which meant that I could purchase the Swaro for about $500 USD less. Additionally, Swarovski recently changed the mount system to Arco-Swiss, which means I can use it on my tripod without a mounting plate. Nice.

I am a writer of natural history and I use optics for my research. Strangely enough, my two primary working binoculars are a Zeiss Victory 7x42, and a Swaro Swarovision EL 8x32. So now I have both Zeiss and Swaro scopes to completely split the optical collection.
 
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OhWeh

Well-known member
Hello Buff1ehead,

* significantly better eye relief (important to me with eyeglasses)
* better options (attachments) for digiscoping


No question about these advantages of the Swaro.

* better resolution at high power
* brighter in the shadows


I can not confirm these points.

But anyway: both are great scopes. We used them yesterday to look after breeding lapwings and, after that, to search and find "our" European stonechat pairs (one pair feeding their already fully fledged hatchlings, one searching for food for their nestlings).

We use Zeiss binos (8x32 FL and 10x32 FL), but I could live with Swarovski without any problem ;-)

8,5x42 EL or 10x42 EL are great Swaro binos, 8x42 SF and 10x42 SF are great Zeiss binos.

Enjoy your equipment! I wish you terrific observations!
 

Blue Bottle

New member
Fantastic Review

Thank you for a really informative review.

I hope that this isn't a silly question (first post) but I have been looking at lots of reviews as trying to determine whether a binocular BTX style eyepiece would be more sensible than a monocular.

I am approaching retirement, don't have a scope and have approval to buy one (but this will definitely be the only one for a very long time), so need to get it right! There are other threads on the use of BTX, but this thread is interesting in that the participants seem particularly expert and very experienced, so interesting that none of the particpants are using BTX or equivalent, which raises the question... why not?

Thanks
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Blue Bottle

One answer is that while BTX is brilliant at a static site overlooking somewhere within range of its magnification that you want to watch continuously for long periods:
It is heavy if you want to move from place to place on foot.
It has a fixed magnification and swapping to a zoom is therefore a fuss, takes time during which your subject may be long gone and swapping in the rain can't be done.

Lee
 

Torview

Registered User
Supporter
Agree with Lee on BTX, also if more than one person is sharing the BTX you may constantly need to alter the IPD between users which could mean missing Birds.
 

lestat

Penguin fan
Not only do you have to change the IPD between users, but if you're different heights you'll have to adjust the tripod as well on the BTX since turning (rotating) the eyepieces doesn't work as well when you want to use both eyes. You could tilt your head but it's not convenient.

So yeah I was in the same boat comparing the swarovski atx 85 to the zeiss harpia 85. For us the swarovski performed better and we ended up going with that. Initially we also considered the BTX but that one fell through after we discovered the 'disadvantages' of size and usage between two people that are different height and have different spaces between their eyes.
So then it was a matter of putting the zeiss versus the swarovski.
Compared to Buff1ehead's points:

The most significant advantages of the Zeiss scope were:
* better field of view
* greater zoom range from 22x to 65x (as opposed to the 25x to 60x at the swarovski 85)
* lower price (by around 200€)

The most significant advantages of the Swarovski scope were:
* significantly better eye relief (important to me with eyeglasses)
* brighter in the shadows
* better options (attachments) for digiscoping
* better color rendition (i hope this is the proper word for it)
* the way the zoom is displayed on the scope
* more options to change if needed, 65 / 95, the BTX or an 1,7 extender as possibilities.

Draw:
* focusing system
* resolution at high power
* arguably the zoom range

Since we both liked the optics of the swarovski a lot better especially the way we saw colors in darker areas (shade) where it would 'pop' when the zeiss felt 'flat' it was a simple choice in the end for us.
 

Swissboy

Sempach, Switzerland
Supporter
Switzerland
………….
Obviously the Swarowski ATX 30-70x95 and the Zeiss Harpia 23-70x95 are the current top models of both competitors. ……………...

Hello OhWeh, I only just discovered this thread as I'm presently occupied with getting a new x32 binocular model. Nevertheless, I'd like to tell you how much I appreciate your review (post #1). It is very well done, covering so many aspects! Thanks a lot.
 

Claude_

Active member
"I do not always see sharp"

Hello

I need your knowledge
I tested separately the two spotting scopes in two different shops: after long hesitations, I chose the Swarovshi ATX 92.
I received it early in the week

I have been trying it Since, and I have a dilemma; I do not always see clearly / sharp.
When I start to look, I sometimes need a certain amount of time to adapt to see sharp - as if my eye had to work.
Sometimes the accuracy falters - becomes a little blurry and then sharp again. As if I had a light veil on the eye.
I wear glasses, and I like to see the whole field of vision and for that I have to touch the rubber eyepiece with the glasses.

In the end to really get to see clear I need to move back a little my eye of the lens.

I wonder if I made the right choice?

Thanx for your help - sorry if my english is not clear

Claude
 

OhWeh

Well-known member
Strange: if the air is not blurry, I never have such or similar problems with the Swarovski 95.

Can you try a second specimen?
 

DRodrigues

Well-known member
Claude,

Did you had a spotting scope before or the X95 is your first?

By your description, it seems to be a problem with you and not the scope...;)
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi Claude,

first of all, at what magnifications do you see those problems with your Swaro ATX95? At the minimal 30x or at 70x? What what the weather like?

Did you test an example of that type in the shop and did you have similar problems? Was it the same example that you got now?

Sorry for asking a lot of questions, but that information would really help us understand the situation.

Joachim
 

Claude_

Active member
Hi Joachim

magnifications : 40 to 70
good weather
I tested another same scope in a store : I didn't have obvious problems
But possible that the conditions had an importance : it was in town, in the street, in front of the store.
I tested a Leica apo televid 82 and I had also some similar problems.
I also test the BTX version : a real pleasure, perfect like a good binoculars. But after reflexion we choice the ATX because of the zoom.

It's possible the problem is from me, my glasses ? : I have myopia, astigmatism and presbyopia.
Or from the rubber cups which are large on the ATX
The seller will send me special rubber cups for people who need glasses -
rubber cup like thoses who are on the binoculars (and the BTX) ....???

Thanx
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi Claude,

if you didn't have problems with another example of the same model at the store, it could be either the scope, or the seeing (aka heat haze). Good weather is unfortunately not always good for using telescopes. And bad seeing will be most visible at higer magnifications.

Your myopia will not be a problem, you can correct that with the focus drive even if you don't wear your glasses. But astigmatism can be visible if it is not corrected by glasses or contacts. So getting the optional eyecup for more eye relief is a good idea if you plan to use it with glasses.

I would recommend to try to do a star test as this is a very sensitive test for optical problems which can be done without further equipment.

Take your scope out during a clear (and preferably cool) night and point it at a bright star - polaris is the usual suspect on the northern sky for this among amateur astronomers as it won't move... but it might be a bit uncomfortable with a 45 degree spotter since it's close to zenit. Any bright star will do, just try not to use Jupiter or Saturn ;-)

You should be able to see pinpoint stars at best focus and the highest magnification (the 70x max magnification is not enough to see Airy discs at best focus). You also want to defocus a tiny bit in each direction and observe what you see. Ideally you should see identical images of concentric circles like in this link in the images for "Diffraction of aberration free aperture - Unobstructed"

https://www.telescope-optics.net/star_testing_telescope.htm

Further down in this link are examples of common defects of optical systems for comparison. You could also try to take an image of the defocused diffraction patterns and post here.

Joachim
 
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Claude_

Active member
Hello

I'm coming back after a while to report some informations about the problem I describe in the post #32.

The conclusion is : "it really seems to be a problem with me ...and not the scope..."

Friends of me tested my Atx 92 and didn't see any problems.

I was at the festival of animal photography of Montier-en-Der in France.
There was ALL the material of ALL thes marks for the observation and photography of wild animals.
It is possible to test and compare them.

I try others Atx 92 and I saw every time the same problem.
I spoke with an Austrian salesman from Swarovski :
he explained me : the problem is that I have the miopie + presbitie + astimatie and the glasses with progressive lenses.

I had the opportunity to test a BTX - and I really like that - a real pleasur.
I think I'll change the ATX for the BTX.

By
Claude
 
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