Sunday, 4 September 2016

SWAROVSKI Habicht 8X30

I finally got it. In a good condition, internally clean, perfectly collimated for "reasonable" price. Its full name is Swarovski Habicht-Merkur 8X30 M DV, "Habicht" in script letters, dated in early 60s. I was prepared for only one deliberately chosen "flaw" - yellow image. Everything else supposed to be mechanical and optical masterpiece. Unfortunately, Swarovski was not in alpha class with E. Leitz and Carl Zeiss in 50s and 60s, like it is today. I compared it with both Carl Zeiss, east and west, with Binuxit and many others, three times cheaper binoculars. Central sharpness is not on par with let's say Binuxit, Carl Zeiss west, Zephyr, Porlerim and Pizar, brightness is average, viewing comfort is far from perfect and its greenish yellow tint is very unpleasant in almost any lighting conditions (among the worst in my collection). Paint on the bridge and leatherette are also very low quality and prone to fall off. And focus is pretty stiff due to a kind of weather sealing. As a birdwatcher I would choose Carl Zeiss Deltrintem pre 1978 over Habicht any time, despite some glorious reviews. Hard to believe? Take a chance and try it by yourself : )

Second opinion: Greatest binoculars

Sunday, 13 March 2016

RO RUHNKE OPTIK Noctovist 8X30

Late Noctovist MkI model with larger ocular lenses than MkII Noctovist, obviously an export model with English markings. It was cca 30% cheaper than Carl Zeiss Deltrintem. It is well built, but optically not even close to best German glass, with the exception of center sharpness. Wide Angle, Fully coated is just a marketing trick. Its field of view is much narrower than competition (130 m / 1000 m) and the view is very yellow, almost orange in colours.

Sunday, 5 April 2015


Spindler & Hoyer, another great German brand in fine optics and precision engineering with more than 120 years of history. This little and lightweight instrument proved that very well. It's my smallest 8X30 binoculars, even smaller than KERN Pizar 6X24 and weighs only 360 g. Despite the size it surprises with very good optical performance. It's sharp, bright with good contrast and has very neutral colours. Only field of view is a little bit narrower than in best porro "full size" 8X30 binoculars. Still wide enough, especially for today's standards. Definitely does not deserve to be overlooked among the collectors. It was a budget German binocular. And even today you can get one really cheap.

Note: It has some kind of fabric strips on the sliding ocular tubes which fall apart within the years and are hard to replace.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014


Nikon 8X30 A series (2nd version) is the grandfather of a famous contemporary Nikon 8X30 EII. But I will rather compare it with the last Carl Zeiss 8X30 porro. At a first glance they look very similar, although Nikon is a bit bigger, let's say chunkier, but they weight exactly the same. Also, optically they are pretty close, and Nikon seems marginally brighter than Zeiss. Which surprises me a lot. A big compliment to much cheaper Nikon. Unfortunately, they share the weaknesses, too. Both images have too much yellow tint for my taste. Nikon is very well built, only focus knob is too stiff, but not unusable.

Second opinion: Simon Spiers

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

CARL ZEISS 8X30 (West)

The 8X30 was the first model from a new Zeiss factory in the West - Oberkochen and was announced in 1954. It was produced along with its eastern brothers Deltrintem / Jenoptem and was sold for a double price. Is it worth it? My opinion is that it is not. For this price the view should have more neutral colours and it should be brighter than its cheaper and older rivals. Otherwise, this is a very good pair of binoculars. Simply disappears before your eyes. The view is very wide and sharp almost to the edge. Its optical construction allowed for short and very compact body, built to a very high standards.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

KERN Pizar 6X24 AR

This little and lightweight binoculars will always stand in the shadow of 8X30 Pizar. Although it is not so bright neither has so neutral colours, it offers an amazing view and much better view comfort. Comparable to 6X30 Silvarem, Pizar has much better contrast, better sharpness and more neutral colours. Even if its FOV is declared only 120 m / 1000 m, I can not see any significant difference to Silvarem with 150 m / 1000 m. An interesting observation! There is one not so positive review of 6X24 Pizar. But be careful, I describe the AR (coated) version, which I use as family trips binoculars.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

CARL ZEISS Silvarem 6X30

Silvarem is Deltrintem's older brother,  produced between 1910-1975. Except for lesser magnification they share the same built quality and good optics. They also have the same field of view (150 m / 1000 m). This means that with Silvarem you can see the same image slightly more distant and view circle is smaller. That's why it does not impress as much as 8X30 wide angle binoculars. Silvarem's sharpness goes much further to the edge of the image, and should be a bit brighter at low light. This Silvarem is a newer version, which is much lighter than the original Silvarem and its eyepieces are shaped a little differently.

Second opinion: WpgBinoculars (older version)