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Competitor for the Swaro 8x30 CL Companions?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/29/2017 at 20:51
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What I'm looking for is a pair of high end, small, light weight 6x, or 8x binoculars for hunting.  I want good resolution and contrast.  I want bright enough optics to count antler tines at dark thirty.  I know without a doubt I could get better/optimal optical performance from a larger frame, but I am really strongly trying to balance good optical performance with fantastic size/weight.  I do not want the true compacts or micro compacts as I find them almost too small to hold steady and they seem to fail me in the first and last 30 minutes of hunting lighting conditions.

I am a traditional bowhunter who does a lot of spot and stalk and I hunt hill country a lot.  I simply won't take large format binoculars into the woods as they interfere with my bowstring.  I like to wear binos on a chest harness.  I use them for scouting, punching through brush, identifying sex of various game animals, and general wildlife viewing when the action is slow.  I've looked through a variety of optics locally from Vortex, Leopold, Swarovski, Nikon, Redfield, MeOpta, Zeiss, and Leica.  Again my emphasis is on keeping bulk down and having just enough weight to offer a stable view for hunting use with enough light transmission, resolution, and contrast to not feel like I'm short handing myself by going with a physically smaller binocular.  

Of all that I've test driven in the stores, the Swarovski 8x30 CL Companions seem to be the best I've found.  What else is out there that may be worth looking into?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/29/2017 at 21:09
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I have experience with many of the compact types, and the Swarovski 8x30 CL

is one that will rise to the top.  A small compact size, very bright, and a great choice.

You have presented a list, and those I have experience with that you may want to

consider, is the Nikon 8x30 Monarch 7, or get a Swarovski 8x30 SLC, they all have

their qualities.

Good luck in your search.  It does come down to personal preference, eyeglasses or

none, eye relief and your eyes.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/29/2017 at 21:51
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The Swarovski 8x30 is a great bin indeed. Personally, Leica Ultravid works a little better with my eyes, but both are excellent.

Also consider Kowa Genesis 8x33. Very impressive design.

Try to look through them outdoors. Inside the store is not a good test.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/30/2017 at 22:28
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Maven B3 may fit your bill.   I love mine and I have Swarovski 10x42 EL to compare it to.  I turkey hunt and the swarv was just too big and heavy to crawl around with so I gave these B3 bins a try and love them.   I am amazed at how well they perform a dusk.  They are my go to bins most all of time
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/06/2017 at 18:51
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I own a Swarovski CL 8 x 30 and can attest to its ergonomics, clarity, sharpness and color rendering qualities. Initially purchased for college football, it has become my go to optic for all except hunting, I still use a full sized Trijicon for deer hunting.

If the CL is what you choose you will have no regrets.
Wf
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/06/2017 at 19:42
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We can all see things differently, but maybe this will help some.  My favorite one that I've had field time with is the Cabelas Euro HD.  

http://www.allbinos.com/allbinos_ranking-binoculars_ranking-8x32.html
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2017 at 08:15
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I would like to cast a vote in favour of two models already mentioned: Cabelas Euro HD 8x32 and Kowa Genesis 8x33, these are criminally underrated bins, and I must also mention one of my all-time favourites, Conquest HD 8x32, which despite me having HTs and SFs, often finds its way into my hands.

Good luck

Lee
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2017 at 10:08
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I have a pair of Cabelas/Meopta HD 8x32.  To me they are fantastic.  I can see game and identify antlers well before and after legal shooting times. 

I got them for $530ish when they were on a sale.

I also own a pair of Zeiss Victory binos and the Meopta are not quite as good in low light, but for 1/5 of the cost they are very impressive. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2017 at 15:50
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It is my personal opinion here that you really need to give the Maven B3 a look.  Same exact size and frame as the CL, just as bright and has a poke you in the eye wider fov. They sell for $500 and are the best you can buy for that.  You won't best them much if at all at 2-4x the price.

I had all but decided to go with the 8x30 CL.  That idea died within a few minutes of getting my hands on the B3.

They come in 6x, 8x, and 10x versions, all 30 mm objective.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2017 at 16:13
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Steve, what's your take on the 8x30SLC vs Maven B3?  I'm really wanting to find an 8x30 class glass that fits my weird face, as I've had constant eye relief issues with the one's I've tried.  Can you unscrew the eyepieces from the maven and add gaskets to increase ER?  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2017 at 21:25
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Originally posted by JGRaider JGRaider wrote:

Steve, what's your take on the 8x30SLC vs Maven B3?  I'm really wanting to find an 8x30 class glass that fits my weird face, as I've had constant eye relief issues with the one's I've tried.  Can you unscrew the eyepieces from the maven and add gaskets to increase ER?  


This will probably piss some people off Big Smile.  As far as I am concerned, if Swarovski is supposed to be the house of binocular nirvana, they should have been able to come up with something better than the CL.  The Maven B3 would have been a good thing for them to have come up with.  Don't get me wrong here, the CL is a very good glass, in some ways better than the B3. But there are no flies of much consequence on the B3.

There seems to be some eye relief issues with a lot of 30-32 mm binoculars.  I really don't think it is so much eye relief in and of itself.  I think that is pretty well defined by design geometry.  What is one of my pet peeves with many binocular brands, is that there seems to be little to no attention paid to how the eye cup extension of the eye cup assembly they use actually matches with the stated eye relief specifications.  It does not do a lot of good to have an 18 mm eye relief and use an eye cup that only extends out 15mm. or has an eye cup so thick it stands 4-5 mm away from the ocular lens.  You wind up screwed if you need to get your glasses as close to the ocular as you can, or to get your eyes as far enough away from the ocular to reach the stated eye relief.

The B3 gave me a little bit of an issue with a bit too short of an extension, but I have managed to be able to accommodate it.  But yes, the eye cups on all of the Maven binoculars unscrew.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2017 at 21:40
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I agree with you on the Swaro CL....not my cup of tea, which is why I was asking about the SLCwb from the 2008'ish era.  The SLCneu to be exact.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2017 at 22:58
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Another vote for Kowa Genesis 8x33 if we are talking best for the money.  It has got to be up there.

If money is no object Leica Ultravid HD+.  They just agree with my eyes.

ILya


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/08/2017 at 06:19
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I have an older pair of Steiner that are small in stature but work pretty well. I forget the exact model (maybe peregrine) but they were my go-to ones when I bowhunted a lot.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/08/2017 at 10:02
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+1 on the Kowa's
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/08/2017 at 11:25
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Originally posted by JGRaider JGRaider wrote:

I agree with you on the Swaro CL....not my cup of tea, which is why I was asking about the SLCwb from the 2008'ish era.  The SLCneu to be exact.  


OOPS Big Smile

I just saw Swaro, somehow didn't catch the SLC thing.  I have never had the Maven B3 side by side with the SLC Neu so I can't say.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/10/2017 at 22:30
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Not saying the CL is better than any of the above... I am saying that I have experience with the CL and they are plenty good. Swarovski has made a few improvements since I secured mine in 2011. And I am quite sure other optics vendors have sprung into their own technology during that time, so - by all means, purchase what is most efficient for your needs.

Thankfully, I do not fight the ER battle so I shouldn't comment.

Wf

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/11/2017 at 20:01
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I bet you can find some older Swarovski EL 8X32s (non-swarovision) for similar-to-cl money.

That is a fantastic 8X30 class binocular.

Also the Meopta 8x32 (as mentioned above) is similar optically, and different ergonomically.

I would take either of these ahead of the cl.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/12/2017 at 03:17
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Sometimes it is hard to explain why a certain pair of binos get into your hands more often than the other binos you own. Putting aside specifications for a moment, for some folks, me included, there are some intangible reasons why you take some bins to your heart and love 'em to bits, while other bins you respect for the technical competence or the job they can do, but they don't quite grab you.

My two favourite binos are SF 8x42 and Conquest HD 8x32 but when I take them out, I kind of feel the SF is the best technical companion I can take along with me, but with the little Conquest I feel that I am taking a close friend with me. Don't know if I am expressing this very well, but I bet there are a few hunters out there who have similar feelings about their rifles if not their binos.

Lee
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/12/2017 at 04:35
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/12/2017 at 11:18
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Originally posted by Troubador Troubador wrote:

Sometimes it is hard to explain why a certain pair of binos get into your hands more often than the other binos you own. Putting aside specifications for a moment, for some folks, me included, there are some intangible reasons why you take some bins to your heart and love 'em to bits, while other bins you respect for the technical competence or the job they can do, but they don't quite grab you.

My two favourite binos are SF 8x42 and Conquest HD 8x32 but when I take them out, I kind of feel the SF is the best technical companion I can take along with me, but with the little Conquest I feel that I am taking a close friend with me. Don't know if I am expressing this very well, but I bet there are a few hunters out there who have similar feelings about their rifles if not their binos.

Lee

Right on Lee.  Some binoculars just fit, and it doesn't take long at all to know it.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/05/2017 at 21:13
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Thanks to all who replied.  I tried to get my hands on as many as I could locally and kept coming back to the CL Companions.  They seem a bit expensive for what they are but in all of my comparisons they kept feeling like the pair that seemed to fit best, have better handling, have better optics, etc.  

 I think for my needs as a hunter that tends to prefer small and light gear they hit a sweet spot in performance being just big enough to be steady in the hand, bright/clear/contrasting/high enough resolution to not make me miss a full size pair, and be small enough to tuck into a pocket or ride high/tight on the chest and stay out of my bowstring's way.  I have a feeling these will be with me quite a long time and be a part of many memories in the years to come.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/05/2017 at 22:21
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Good pick... the ergonomics seem to call my name. And as mentioned the CLs you buy now will be a step ahead of mine secured 6 years ago. All the best.
Wf
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/18/2017 at 07:07
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Originally posted by Whitefire Whitefire wrote:

Good pick... the ergonomics seem to call my name. And as mentioned the CLs you buy now will be a step ahead of mine secured 6 years ago. All the best.
Wf

Ergonomics is ultimately what made me jump.  To my eyes, I simply don't see them as $1k glass.  They look more like a ~$750 pair of binoculars to my eyes.  What they do offer though is a very small footprint, are light weight, have excellent handling (which is hard to do on a sub-standard physical size - several other compacts never even made it to my comparisons because they were so awkward to handle), and good optics.  Sure the larger and more expensive glass has superior optics and would be preferable for birding or just playing around with, but for hunting I'm looking to locate/ID animals, signs of animals in the landscape, and scan the land for a path to hike when hunting in back country from dark thirty to dark thirty.  These will do that very well and are about as small as I could find that didn't become fiddly in the hand and unsteady at the eyes.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/19/2017 at 20:56
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I have been using 8x30 and 8x32 binoculars for almost 30 years now on an almost weekly basis and sometimes for many days every day for weeks on end.
Your question about an alternative to 8x30 CL Companion is interesting, the answer is much dependent on the ergonomics of the other models.
You will find better optics in an 8x20/32, but almost all of them will be larger and heavier.
The Kowa 8x33, Meopta 8x32, Zeiss Conquest 8x32, Maven B3, and a few others, will have slightly better optics (mostly wider field of view, but not sharper or brighter), but most of these alternatives are longer and heavier.
The only good binoculars that i can think of that are comparably small and light and also brighter and sharper than the CL 8x30 is the Zeiss FL Victory 8x32 and the Leica Ultravid 8x32,  but they cost twice as much.
The only fault i find with the CL 8x30 is it's slightly reduced field of view compared to the top notch models. The ergonomics are stellar (it really is small, light, handy, and cute) and the optics have 5 stars from me.
I like the CL so much that i hate the engineers who designed the optics with a field of view of about 370 ft/1000 yards, compared to top models which have 420 ft. On the other hand, all of the 370 ft of the CL are tack sharp and distortion free and the view does not feel restrictive at all. 
The CL is also very well protected against glare, important when hunting.
Considering your use and purpose for it, I'd say it's your best choice, unless money is no object. If price is no problem, get the Zeiss FL Victory 8x32 or the Leica Ultravid HD 8x32.
The other 3 models in this class from Swaro, are all at least one inch longer and a few ounces heavier.:
8x30 SLC late model (2005-2010): great optics, rather compact, but the focus is on the wrong end
8x32 EL, older model, can be had for good price, nowhere near as compact as the CL
new model EL SV 8x32, very expensive, not well protected against glare and flare, and more than 1 inch longer and a few ounces heavier than the CL.
 I've used all of th)e above, in the field. 


Edited by anweis - June/19/2017 at 21:04
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