I was most interested to read the news from Wolf via Larry about the recently announced "fluoride glass" binoculars from Zeiss.
Reviews I have read in various places from owners of "ED" glass binoculars in the 8x and 9x power range , produced by Swift and Celestron would seem to indicate that the expected increase in image quality due to the more exotic glass content has been somewhat lacking , due in part to opinions that "APO" quality glass properties are to a certain extent being "wasted" on such low power optical instruments.
It would seem that the general consensus is that APO / Fluorite only really comes into it's own at powers above 20x and increasingly so as magnification increases to 100x and above.
Such opinions from low -power ED binocular testers of course could be as much a case of one only getting a single digit percentage increase in performance for a 30 % to 50% PRICE difference !
Given however , the fierce competition of the premium roof prism binos currently vying for the coveted title of " Best of Class" , currently including such fine products as Swarovski EL , Leica Ultravid, Nikon High Grade and modified Zeiss Victories , especially given the often criticised Victory Mark One offering from Zeiss , I am neither surprised nor disappointed to hear this announcement.
Until about 12 years ago the legendary Zeiss 7 x 42 B GA T , now known as "dialyt classic" was virtually unchallenged as THE birding bino to own , but the past decade has seen Zeiss struggle a little to keep pace with the stringent requirements of the modern birder with deeper pockets.
Purely from an optical standpoint , I have personally seen no other 7x binocular to rival the old "classic" even now -- but the trend seems to have been not only toward twist or pull , custom -eye -relief settable ,non -rubber eyecups for eyeglass wearers , broader central focussing wheels , lighter weight , true waterproofing and more modern , sleek , roof prism shape and softer surface coatings , but also toward HIGHER magnification.
As we all know -- even all of these desireable qualities are of little use in a binocular unless they are accompanied by TOP rate optics , and now that the more cosmetic and practical aspects of the front runners have more or less evened themselves out , perhaps the real focus ( no pun intended ) will come back to the optics themselves , which Zeiss have never really fallen behind with anyway in my opinion.
Of course whether or not the product actually delivers as promised remains to be seen.
Some of the promises are hard to live up to indeed !
I am also keen to learn which other two models have been "earmarked" for such release.
Although 8 x 42 and 12 x 56 would seem the most likely of configurations to accompany the stated 10 x 42 into the market place , I for one would have liked to have seen something just a little different for this series for a change -- such as a return to the once popular 7 x 35 size with more interesting new offerings perhaps in the forms of 9 x 45 and 11 x 56.