8x30 or 8x32 Binoculars...who uses them - opinions

scotsgun

Well-Known Member
Folks,

Most of my woodland stalking is woodland. I'm thinking of downsizing from my mid-priced binoculars (Pentax DCF SP 8x43) to a higher quality 8x30 or 8x32 binocular. My reasons are that i carry a back injury which is agrivated by weight around my neck (strap or chest harness), i've tried similar sized binoculars in the same range and the weight reduction is minimal, i like to stalk light. So, who uses the smaller sized bins, how do they compare and are you loosing out in any way?
 

Z-Plex

Well-Known Member
I've stalked with Swarovski 8x30 SLC and 8x32 EL, on the open hill and in woodland, and they are both outstanding binoculars that will do everything you need. I reckon that they are just about the perfect solution for stalking binos - clarity, light transmission and build quality are all superb, and the 8x magnification is a good choice for all-round use and field of view. I fall in love with my 8x32 ELs every time I use them.

Talking technically, 8x32 gives you a 4mm exit pupil, which is about as much as most adult eyes can dilate anyway, so although 7x50 or 8x42 might give you a bigger exit pupil, chances are you won't get any practical benefit. I've never had a problem in any conditions from first legal light to last legal light.

If you can afford them, I think you'd very quickly reckon they were the best decision you ever made.
 

Glyn 1

Well-Known Member
I've stalked with Swarovski 8x30 SLC and 8x32 EL, on the open hill and in woodland, and they are both outstanding binoculars that will do everything you need. I reckon that they are just about the perfect solution for stalking binos - clarity, light transmission and build quality are all superb, and the 8x magnification is a good choice for all-round use and field of view. I fall in love with my 8x32 ELs every time I use them.

Talking technically, 8x32 gives you a 4mm exit pupil, which is about as much as most adult eyes can dilate anyway, so although 7x50 or 8x42 might give you a bigger exit pupil, chances are you won't get any practical benefit. I've never had a problem in any conditions from first legal light to last legal light.

If you can afford them, I think you'd very quickly reckon they were the best decision you ever made.
I agree with this. I have several pairs of binos and, whilst my favourites are my 7x42SLC's, I am always happy to use my girlfriends 8x30SLC's. For hill use they are ideal. It goes without saying that the reasonably small objective lense is made up for by the quality, I wouldn't recomend going for 8x30 spec from a cheaper brand. Glyn
 

Moray Outfitting

Well-Known Member
Agree with what has been said - but particularly last comment from Holkham - strict sizes are secondary to the quality of the maker!

I have 8x30 SLC - got them for precise reasons you quote - they virtually disappear until you want them. They do suffer marginally at first and last light, but as most of my stalking is guiding others professionally, shots in the last few minutes of light are something 'discouraged' in any event.

Additionally, as my eyes get old ( not the rest of me you understand, just the eyeballs :D) their output is starting to be better than I can actually process anyway.

Macleods have been offerring some cracking pairs of 8x30 SLCs recently under 'used' listing.
 

stag1933

Well-Known Member
I've stalked with Swarovski 8x30 SLC and 8x32 EL, on the open hill and in woodland, and they are both outstanding binoculars that will do everything you need. I reckon that they are just about the perfect solution for stalking binos - clarity, light transmission and build quality are all superb, and the 8x magnification is a good choice for all-round use and field of view. I fall in love with my 8x32 ELs every time I use them.

Talking technically, 8x32 gives you a 4mm exit pupil, which is about as much as most adult eyes can dilate anyway, so although 7x50 or 8x42 might give you a bigger exit pupil, chances are you won't get any practical benefit. I've never had a problem in any conditions from first legal light to last legal light.

If you can afford them, I think you'd very quickly reckon they were the best decision you ever made.
00

Wrong sir !
Under bad light conditions the pupil can accept about 7mm.
That is why many prefer 8X56 for dawn and dusk work. [ Also scope sights with a 56mm objective. ]
For use on the hill I have tried many with similar results as light gathering properties are not an issue whilst extra weight can be.
50 years ago my first ever binoculars were a pair of ex-army 6X30mm then I bought a pair of Swift 7X50s as a compromise for both hill and dawn/dusk forest work.
Finally I ended up with 8X56 for dawn and dusk and 7X42 for general purpose use.
Generally speaking the larger `exit pupil` gives a brighter image and is less critical of eye positioning.

HWH.
 

Z-Plex

Well-Known Member
Under bad light conditions the pupil can accept about 7mm.
That's the figure that's often quoted, but that relates to the maximum pupil dilation in young people. The average pupil dilation size in adults is around 5mm, but as that's an average figure some individuals have more, some less, and it tends to decrease with age. If one has an average pupil of 5mm, the exit pupil of your 8x56 may be 7mm but your pupil gives an effective aperture of only 5mm, so you may as well be using 8x40 binos. Of course, most optics companies will quote the 7mm figure as if it's gospel, but the truth is that if your eye can't dilate that far then you're not only paying for larger objectives that you don't need, you're also carrying around more weight.

There's an interesting discussion on this subject here. It's written from an astronomy viewpoint but the principles are the same.

All of that boils down to the fact that most of us aren't losing out on very much at all - even theoretically - by using slightly smaller objective lenses, especially when talking about top quality optics.
 

Tamus

Well-Known Member
That's the figure that's often quoted, but that relates to the maximum pupil dilation in young people. The average pupil dilation size in adults is around 5mm, but as that's an average figure some individuals have more, some less, and it tends to decrease with age. If one has an average pupil of 5mm, the exit pupil of your 8x56 may be 7mm but your pupil gives an effective aperture of only 5mm, so you may as well be using 8x40 binos. Of course, most optics companies will quote the 7mm figure as if it's gospel, but the truth is that if your eye can't dilate that far then you're not only paying for larger objectives that you don't need, you're also carrying around more weight.

There's an interesting discussion on this subject here. It's written from an astronomy viewpoint but the principles are the same.

All of that boils down to the fact that most of us aren't losing out on very much at all - even theoretically - by using slightly smaller objective lenses, especially when talking about top quality optics.
Excellent link. By quick arithmetic, which I may have got wrong, it seems that if your own eyes have a 5mm maximum poor light pupil dilation, as some of us old fogies probably do... even if we didn't realise it, rather than get the advantage of the full 7mm exit pupil image from say an 6x42 scope we really only have the effective use of 30mm's worth of that scope's objective lens.... and this phenomenon might also be why I don't feel there's any material difference between my 6x42 Swaro and my 3-9x36 Swaro (set at 6 power) in failing light but I do find that cranking the wee scope up to 7 power magnifies without dimming the view and it helps stabilise the image in the centre of the field of view (with no parallax symptoms). I always wondered why this was the case, thanks.
 

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