Swarovski SLC 8x42. NEW REVIEW. My favourite 8x42. (16-12-2020)
The two biggest surprises in 2020: SLC 8x42 and Zeiss Victory 8x25.
It´s heartbreaking. Really. Finally, even a Leica binocular´s images have become flat and boring. Brave new world.
Three 8x42s compared in 2020, and looking back... (16-12-2020)
Shortest review ever. No matter if you read it or not - don´t miss this glass.
When owning binoculars was forbidden under threat of death, why an attempt to assassinate Hitler failed, and scenes from the history of Zeiss... a look at Vintage 8x50mm binoculars from Carl Zeiss Jena and Oberkochen - and a conversation with their owner, Börries von Breitenbuch. Beware the Super Nobilem! (27-5-2019, complete rewrite 27-7-2019)
I bought a Nikon EDG 8x42 because it is an awesome glass with a unique combination of qualities that may soon become unavailable. Unique selling point: best contrast and best colour of all 8x42s with great ease of view in an extremely compact package. Best flat field 8x42.
My favourite binoculars 2020 (11-6-2020)
4 hours, 15 binoculars (15-1-2019)
This was an eyeopener, venturing out with my Leica 8x32HDPlus and having a look through a whole bunch of premium bins. Leica vs Swaro vs Zeiss... with some real surprises.
Why do we need flat glass when it really destroys the rendering of space? I want to watch birds, not cartoons of birds. I want to photograph faces, not sheets of metal...
Leica Noctivid 10x42 review (16-1-2018, last update 15-12-2020)
Impressive. But then, compared to what?
Leica Ultravid 8x32 HD Plus Review and second look 2018 (26-12-2015, last revision 2-7-2018)
This is what a great binocular should be - a door to a new world and a joy for every day. The Ultravid has the perfect ultra sharpness few of the very best 8x42 have. It is incredibly small, light, and beautiful. It has become my everyday bin.
I will be looking at a bunch of completely serviced old glass I own and hopefully have some fun with it - Binuxit 8x30, Zeiss West 8x30B MK2 (!), Optolyth Alpin 8x30, Habicht 8x30 (1961) and throw in the modern Habicht 8x30 (2009) as a reference... unfortunately most of these glasses are still stuck in the service.
First came the Leica - by far the best binocular I ever used and a compelling case for the 7x42s: best view in a glass lighter than 800g. Next, the Nikon EDG, and finally the legendary Zeiss FL.
Colours and brightness in binoculars (1-12-2015)
I really wanted to get to know a few things better by having a closer look and find more evidence to answer some interesting questions: Is the Zeiss SF really too green, is the Nikon EDG really darker than most other 8x42s, and why is the Leica Ultravid so bright and vivid? So, I photographed through the binocular objectives to find out more...
The Magnificent Six - Shootout Premier 8x42s - 15-9-2015, last update 7-12-2017
In April 2015 I started to do a comparative review of the Leica Ultravid 8x42 HD Plus, the Swarovski SLC W B 8x42, the Swarovski EL 8.5x42 Swarovision, the Zeiss Victory HT 8x42 and the Zeiss Victory SF 8x42. Are the crown jewels of the European and Japanese premium manufacturers worth their money, and what is the unique character of each glass?
The Nikon EDG 8x42 joined the party late, surprised me with its excellence and raised a lot of new questions. Including the unique Swarovski Habicht 8x30 as my reference for center performance it´s even "The Magnificent Seven".
An objective ranking of these bins is impossible, each model has its own character with pros and cons, so it really depends on what is most important to you. My personal winner is - well, you really need to read the whole thing.
Zeiss Victory SF 8x42 review - 15-9-2015, last update 24-11-2015
Revolution: will Zeiss successfully challenge the Swarovision with their first flat field design? New shades of grey vs established green...
Leica Ultravid 8x42 HD Plus review - 15-9-2015, last update 27-12-2015
Beauty reloaded: 12 years after the first version, can the latest Ultravid still compete with the rest of the best? Seems HT glass for the prisms and the lastest thunder and lightning plasma coatings were not vain.
Zeiss Victory HT 8x42 review - 15-9-2015, last update 24-11-2015
Evolution? Victory! With high transmission and AK prisms back to the future. Or, to quote Darth Vader: "The force is strong in this one."
It´s a kind of magic...
Great binoculars are not only a tool, but a revelation. Life is too short and magic moments are too precious to use anything but great binoculars. I´m sure you´ll agree - from the moment you have looked through a really great pair of binoculars for the first time. And maybe you will curse that day because a spell has been put on you and suddenly there is no way to be happy with less. Welcome to the quest for the greatest binoculars!
Digging deeper - details matter
It´s the details that make fine binoculars different from each other. That´s what serious testing is about - to DIRECTLY compare binoculars to really find out about their special strengths and weaknesses. About their character. I have been testing optics for two decades as a part of my work as wildlife filmmaker. I´m crazy about good glass. My reviews take weeks to months and grow with regular updates from "first impressions" to hopefully well founded opinions. New models may bring new insights and new evaluations. Also, the prime manufacturers will secretely improve their binoculars. I´m commited to digging deeper by long use in the field, not by counting numbers.
Finally my eyes have the last word. And I will change my opinion if I have learned more.
Swarovski EL 8x32 Swarovision completely revised 8-1-2015
Leitz Binuxit 8x30 NEW: Revised 24-11-2014. An all time favourite.