Wishlist 2018 to Leica, Swarovski and Zeiss...





These AK prisms are so damn bulky compared to SP prisms...


Once you have used good porros and then moved on to use roofs with AK prisms, you wonder why the top bins are mostly made with the technically and visibly much inferior SP prisms. Of course SP prisms allow for smaller designs. But definitely AK prisms can yield so much contrastier and brighter images than their SP prism counterparts. Their images have - as someone on BirdForum put it (in a different context) - a "washed clean" look which is very special and not achievable with SP prisms. An almost hyperrealistic sharpness and glowing brightness. See Victory FL and HT. But there is the unfortunate Swarovisionization of the alpha bin segment. With the Swarovisions being so successful all other manufacturers are now sheepishly following Swarovski in the use of SP prisms (and double bridge designs, and and and). I think the Zeiss Victory FLs are great glasses proving that even in 42mm bins AK prisms can be reasonably used. But not in the fashionable double bridge design. And why did Zeiss then spoil the FL line with the bulky HT designs...

Remember the fat Leica trinovids (BA, BN)? See images above and below. I suspect AK prisms would fit into those bodies. A Trinovid 8x32 BN (see below) is still one of the coolest looking glasses ever. That shape with AK prisms, 96% transmission, and a shell made from carbon or whatever...





To Leica:

I am partial. Because I have a serious weakness for your beautiful bins and their beautiful images. I own Ultravid 8x32 HD Plus and owned Ultravid 7x42 Plus. Plus a 1950s Binuxit 8x30 porro (actually, two). All phenomenal glasses. The Ultravids look a bit outdated on paper, but offer a great balance of the most important qualities in real life. Very mature designs, but also very exciting. The colours are the very best. Glasses for lovers of glass for sure (as someone once wrote about the last Summilux R50/1.4: "A glass so cool it must have been invented for NASA"). Your industrial and graphic design rocks. Even the boxes and manuals are works of art. Or at least truly excellent craftsmanship.

And the Noctivids seem great. Maybe except for ergonomy. You basically made the Swarovision´s shortcomings in focuser position worse. Not quite index finger friendly.

I would love to see state-of-the-art bright glasses from you, either in Perger Porro or AK prism technology, for 50mm at least, but by all means a bright 32mm. You have left behind the compactness paradigm anyway with the Noctivid. Your QC is on the good side but far from perfect.





To Swarovski:

The Habicht 8x30 started it all for me - what great binoculars are about. You have created THE modern binocular with the Swarovisions. And the 56mm SLCs I really want to get to know. Just as the new CL Companion. Your marketing people are professionals and very accessible. And you are still a family run business withstanding the pressures to make it cheaper - and worse. No middle class bins in your portfolio (except maybe the CL Companion). I have no clue if that is a good or bad thing.

I would love to see from Swaroski:

- A premium line of 42mm SLCs for those who - like me - dislike flat field because it destroys the threedimensionality of an image. And will therefore never be really happy with your otherwise awesome Swarovisions. Comparing an 8x42 SLC to the top 8x42s including the Swarovision the SLC lacked behind. As one would expect from the pricing. But I would not like to think about the 42mm SLCs as middle class only.

- State-of-the-art bright binoculars below your 56mm models. That is, 7x42, 8x42, 10x42 in AK prism technology, 95% transmission, with a performance far beyond the Zeiss Victory FLs. And why not try an ultrabright AK 8x32?

- I find the SLC line´s industrial design, colours and textures utterly unattractive. Maybe the taste of the average 75 year old hunter? At least have the EL finish in the SLC line.

- An 8x30 Habicht with better baffling for less flaring.

- All Swarovski focusers were very rough going in my samples. So rough that I would probably not have found them acceptable in a glass I buy.

Your service seems excellent, and so is my QC statistics - but then, all the samples were from the demo pool. Which is very well run.






To Zeiss:

I own a Victory FL 7x42 and it is a reference glass and a reminder of the Zeiss glory of the past. I am sorry for the mess your sport optics are in. But your loss of 15 million euros does not come as a surprise.

Your engineering and your quality control are inadequate. Your customer service in my case too. Slow and confusing and openly admitting he had no clue what had been done in the repair. I recently bought a new Victory FL 8x32 which should never ever have left the factory. Your demo pool was in a state of total neglect. It seemed nobody had felt responsible for a long time.

I remain very doubtful about the 8x42 SF - an overhyped, but underperforming bin - until you have send me a representative MK2 sample for testing and so prove me wrong.The HT line made the compact, beautiful FLs unnecessarily bulky and ugly. Maybe you lack decision makers with a true vision and passion what great binoculars are about. And lost sight of what is really important. It´s not a 148m field of view if users get seasick while panning. It´s not faked contrast in green tinged image to save precision in manufacturing. It´s not hyping a newly designed bin when your manufacturing and quality control is using way to low standards.