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Swaro EL (non-Swarovision) vs Zeiss Victory

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2012 at 11:03
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Still trying to figure out how to spend my $2K, but I am leaning toward a semi-compact (nikon 10x25 or Kowa 8x25) and a mid-size 8x32 model.
Looks like new Swaro ELs (non-swarovision/HD) can be had fore $1,600 in the 8x32 model. The swarovisions of this model go for $2100...is there really much of a difference? Debating on the Swaro regular EL versus the Zeiss Victory 8x32 FL LT, which is $150 more. 
Alternatively, I could save some $$ and just get the Kowa Genesis?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2012 at 14:49
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In my opinion, the Victory FL is the top of the pile in the 8X30ish class.
 
I actually prefer the Meopta 8X32 to the other mid-class including the Kowa.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2012 at 15:27
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I think 8X32 is a great tradeoff between acceptable exit pupil for reasonably good low light performance and light and compact enough form factor that it's almost as handy as the 20mm models.  To me, they are the "best of both worlds" for a general purpose hunting binocular.  They approach full size performance in a compact size and don't feel like you're carrying a brick around your neck after a long day of hunting.

I have a Leica Ultravid HD 8X32, and I've been very happy with it.  When I bought it, I compared it to the Zeiss FL 8X32 and the Swaro EL 8X32.  There were things I liked about all 3.  In the end, I chose the Leica because:
- it's the lightest and most compact of the 3, yet it still felt the most robustly built (to me);
- the eyecups felt the most comfortable in my eye sockets;
- it exhibited less flare in challenging light conditions than the Zeiss;
- although the Swaro has the largest center field "sweet spot," the Leica had a larger "sweet spot" than the Zeiss FL;
- I'm a fan of the signature enhanced contrast that Leica is known for.

The Zeiss has the least amount of CA, no doubt. 

Meopta Meostar 8X32 is very nice as well, though CA isn't as well controlled as the others mentioned.  To my eyes, the Meostars have a yellowish color bias.  Nevertheless, they are built like the proverbial tank, they have very wide FOV, and have very good resolution.  The Meostar is considerably less expensive, though, so value-wise it probably represents a better price: performance ratio than the so-called "alpha" glass.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2012 at 16:25
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Originally posted by Bitterroot Bulls Bitterroot Bulls wrote:

In my opinion, the Victory FL is the top of the pile in the 8X30ish class.
 
I actually prefer the Meopta 8X32 to the other mid-class including the Kowa.
 
THANKS AGAIN
 
Looks like they have not come out with the High Density glass for the 8x32 Meopta yet. Do you think there's much to that...I need a compact right away, but could wait for the 8x32s mid-sizes.
 
Alternatively, (and I think I know what you are going to say), I could pick up the used (B) Zeiss Victory 8x32s for $1100 (and there also looks to be one for $1,300, also a B) instead new near-alphas???
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2012 at 16:29
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Originally posted by RifleDude RifleDude wrote:


Meopta Meostar 8X32 is very nice as well, though CA isn't as well controlled as the others mentioned.  To my eyes, the Meostars have a yellowish color bias.  Nevertheless, they are built like the proverbial tank, they have very wide FOV, and have very good resolution.  The Meostar is considerably less expensive, though, so value-wise it probably represents a better price: performance ratio than the so-called "alpha" glass.
Ted,
 
Are your Meostar impressions based on the 8X32 or the rest of the line?  I agree completely on the yellow bias and CA control with most of the line.  I noticed it in my 10X42s, although it wasn't really bad in either area.
 
However, I noticed the 8X32s I have seen (two separate units) both seemed much more neutral with much, much better CA control.  I thought the 8X32 was the best of the Meostar (non-HD) line, and one I will pick up if I get the chance.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2012 at 16:31
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Originally posted by RAG RAG wrote:

Originally posted by Bitterroot Bulls Bitterroot Bulls wrote:

In my opinion, the Victory FL is the top of the pile in the 8X30ish class.
 
I actually prefer the Meopta 8X32 to the other mid-class including the Kowa.
 
THANKS AGAIN
 
Looks like they have not come out with the High Density glass for the 8x32 Meopta yet. Do you think there's much to that...I need a compact right away, but could wait for the 8x32s mid-sizes.
 
Alternatively, (and I think I know what you are going to say), I could pick up the used (B) Zeiss Victory 8x32s for $1100 (and there also looks to be one for $1,300, also a B) instead new near-alphas???
 
Those are great prices on the Victory FLs.
 
See my response to Ted regarding the 8X32 Meopta.  I don't even know if it would benefit much from HD objectives, from the ones I have seen.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2012 at 16:56
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Originally posted by Bitterroot Bulls Bitterroot Bulls wrote:

Ted,
 
Are your Meostar impressions based on the 8X32 or the rest of the line?  I agree completely on the yellow bias and CA control with most of the line.  I noticed it in my 10X42s, although it wasn't really bad in either area.
 
However, I noticed the 8X32s I have seen (two separate units) both seemed much more neutral with much, much better CA control.  I thought the 8X32 was the best of the Meostar (non-HD) line, and one I will pick up if I get the chance.


Based on the 42 - 56mm models.  I haven't sampled very many 32mm Meostars, so my memory may very well be swayed by the optical characteristics of the full sized models.  Truthfully, if I was using even a full size Meostar by itself without other high-end binoculars to compare it side-by-side with, I might not even notice the world looks a touch yellower through them.  I don't find it a huge distraction by any means; just a trait I noticed when comparing against other binoculars that I thought had more neutral color rendition.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2012 at 17:05
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Originally posted by RifleDude RifleDude wrote:


Based on the 42 - 56mm models.  I haven't sampled very many 32mm Meostars, so my memory may very well be swayed by the optical characteristics of the full sized models.  Truthfully, if I was using even a full size Meostar by itself without other high-end binoculars to compare it side-by-side with, I might not even notice the world looks a touch yellower through them.  I don't find it a huge distraction by any means; just a trait I noticed when comparing against other binoculars that I thought had more neutral color rendition.
 
You might be surprised at the 8X32s when you see them.  They are very well corrected.  I also didn't notice the color bias in the full-size at first.  It took other bins side-by-side to see the slight warm bias in the 10X42s.  I have not seen the 10X32s, but that configuration doesn't intererst me that much.
 
The fact is, the entire line is pretty well done, but the 8X32 is a little gem, IMO.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2012 at 17:16
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8X32 is my all-around favorite config in every quality mfg's lineup (who offer that model).  I really like the tradeoffs that a high end 8X32 offers.  To me, you don't sacrifice much optical performance proportional to the significant reduction in size and weight.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2012 at 21:06
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The Leica Ultravid HD series 8x32 is great if you don't wear glasses, if you do the Zeiss has the best eye relief followed by the Swaro EL.
I bought the Swaro 8x32 EL's because of the eye relief issues and might get the Zeiss 8x32 Victories.
Just wish Leica could make the 8x32's with more eye relief, great glass.
The Swaro 8x32 EL's are all Swarovision but some of the older glasses don't have the very latest ED/HD type glass and Swaro keeps improving the coatings each year or two, the glasses on the Sample List still deserve their top end reputation.
I am continually amazed by how much a top end 8x32 allows you to see, how well they handle, how easy they are to use in the field and now understand why they are a European favorite.
Fin Agaard used a pair of 8x30's and then went to a pair of top end 8x32's just before passing away.
The SWFA Sample List has some great buys on the Swaro and Zeiss 8x32's right now and I am tempted to get a pair of the Zeiss. I guess this is why I am cash poor and binocular rich..it is an addiction.
IMHO you can't go wrong starting with a pair of top end 8x32's.
Art
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2012 at 21:26
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Originally posted by gulf1263 gulf1263 wrote:


The Swaro 8x32 EL's are all Swarovision but some of the older glasses don't have the very latest ED/HD type glass and Swaro keeps improving the coatings each year or two, the glasses on the Sample List still deserve their top end reputation.
Art,
 
I think you are mistaken there.  Swarovski named their field-flattening eyepiece "Swarovision," and it currently only applies to the newest ELs.  The 32mm version is the most recent, and was just introduced this year.  The older ELs have a standard eyepiece.  The upcoming modular spotters will also have the "Swarovision" field flattener eyepiece.
 
The older ELs are still great glass.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2012 at 13:33
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Ditto on the comments surrounding the Meoptas and the Zeiss.
 
The little Zeiss are probably my favorite model of that configuration in terms of pure optical performance...though, admittedly, I haven't tried the Nikon EDG or Swarovision yet.
 
The Meopta is an exceptional value. Its optical performance is only a "smidge" behind its European counterparts and, ergonomically, it is only bettered by the the little Swaro. It is more color neutral than the larger objective versions and color fringing is well controlled. I wouldn't call it at the same level as an ED glass version but it is very close.
 
If RAG wasn't only looking at the most expensive models I would feel the need to give a shout out for the inexpensive Sightron SII 8x32s but since price isn't an issue.....
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2012 at 19:00
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Matt, you are right, I should have said Swarobright, thanks for catching the error.
Hope I haven't confused everyone.
The Swaro and Zeiss 8x32's are an investment in great viewing whether for hunting or other activities.
With the prices on the SWFA Sample List they are hard to resist...at least for me with my addiction.
With the Christmas/New Years Bird Count coming up now is the time to buy, before the birders buy them all up.
When I compared the Swaro and Zeiss it was in an area with high industrial pollution that day so my views through the Zeiss didn't give me the color pop I was looking for and the dealer was willing to make me an offer I couldn't refuse on the Swaro.
Looking through a pair of the Zeiss here in Alaska without the industrial pollution I have not noticed a color shift.
Everyone's eyes see things a little differently in terms of color, I moved to a new place here in Anchorage and it seems that my McBeth color checker has disappeared along with my resolution charts so I can't test like I used to.
Now I just enjoy the views which is what it should be all about anyways.
We are blessed with so many choices.
Art

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