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Leupold Katmai 6x32

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#1 Swedpat

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 12:05 PM

Excuse me for the long time until this review, but here it is:

The very first impression of the Katmai 6x32 is a quality instrument. And so it is, as well optically and mechanically. The Katmai 6x32 can be described as a small version of a fullsize glass. Or a large compact...

The length is only 105mm, which is about the same as a typical 10x25. The diameter of the eyecups are 41mm, however, which is equal size as fullsized glasses. This means that the Katmai 6x32 provides the viewing comfortability and brightness like an 8x42, but with the portability like a much smaller glass.

The image is clear and sharp and the holding comfortability is much better than compacts due to the thicker barrels. The diameter of the eyelenses is nearly 20mm. The eye relief is great and works well with eyeglasses for me. The focus knob is fullsized and works well without a play.

Well; how it compares to the Yosemite 6x30?

Both of them are in a rubbered waterproof performance with a very equal image as well magnification and FOV.
Though the stated eye relief is 16,6mm for the Katmai it works as good as the Yosemite (with stated ER of 20mm) with eyeglasses on.
Katmai is sharp, but the Yosemite actually provides an even sharper image, as I mentioned before of high-end class.
The TFOV is stated as 8.0 deg for both. When I compare edge sharpness I have problem to decide which is best, I discovered it depends of the distance to the object and where at the field I look at; the edge performance isn't even around the field, which according to my experience also is the usual case for the most binoculars.
Image performance actually is very close between the Katmai and Yosemite. One advantage the Katmai has in comparison to the Yosemite is the inner reflections and ghost images. These come up much stronger in the Yosemite.
Katmai has significantly larger exit pupil, because of as well larger aperture and the fact that the aperture is stopped down to around 28mm of the Yosemite.
At the sky I experience both of them show pinpoint stars.
In my opinion the holding comfortability is better with the Yosemite. The size of the Katmai is a bit too small to provide the holding comfortability of larger roof glasses.

How then compares the Swarovski SLC 7x42 to these? The TFOV of the SLC 7x42 seems to be very equal as the Katmai 6x32. The SLC 7x42 provides the best viewing comfortability and enjoyment of these three. There are two main reasons:
1: the larger AFOV of 56deg in comparison to around 48deg of the other.
2: the sweet spot is also larger

When panning I become aware of the unsharpness of the edges with both the 6x Leupolds. But never with the SLC 7x42. The field appears to be very flat and the slight unsharpness of the edges really becomes noticable if one try to look for it.

One typical property of roof glasses is the "star-filter effect" which comes up across the field when looking at strong light sources, especially with dark background. This effect is significantly stronger with the Katmai 6x32 than the SLC 7x42.


Conclusion:

The Swarovski SLC 7x42 has the best holding comfortability of these three glasses. It has the best total image quality and provides the best viewing enjoyment. When it comes to image sharpness on-axis the Yosemite comes no to short in comparison to the Swarovski. The SLC 7x42 and Katmai 6x32 are very similar when it comes to inner reflections, very good performance and much better than Yosemite in this respect.

The Katmai has the worst holding comfortability of these three, as well as the worst sharpness. But it's probably the binocular I would choose if I had to choose just ONE of these, YES, IF I HAD TO CHOOSE ONE BINOCULAR AT ALL!. It's a great binocular in my opinion, and worth it's price. The Yosemite is surely even more priceworthy. But the porro design has it's strong shortcomings with the outer focusing system, which is a very fragile part of the instrument. Also the porro design in it self is more fragile and more easily get out of collimation. It's not a very suitable glass to bring with you for backpacking or tours in the mountains. For this purpose the Swarovski SLC 7x42 is too large and heavy, in my opinion. Then the Katmai 6x32 is the perfect choice! It's a great compromise between size and brightness, nearly a compact glass providing a very clear image even at low light conditions. Yes, it may fail to unveil some details which is possible with higher power glasses. But it will provide a steady image even when you are tired in your arms after a long way skiing. When the size and weight doesn't matter I take the Swarovski 7x42, but when I really get out in the field or a holiday trip I will bring with me the Katmai 6x32. As a binoholic I love all these three glasses. They all have their charm....

I will post some pictures so you can se the difference between these binoculars, and also the Leica Ultravid 8x20.

Regards, Patric

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#2 Swedpat

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 12:10 PM

A picture showing the exit pupils:

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#3 Swedpat

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 12:12 PM

And a comparison between the Katmai 6x32 and SLC 7x42. Not a huge difference between them when it comes to the magnification and aperture, but a huge difference when it comes to the size and weight! The SLC 7x42 is nearly twice as heavy: 950g to the 512g of the Katmai 6x32.

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#4 KennyJ

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 12:37 PM

Patric ,

Thank you for that very interesting three - way mini - review .

It was worth the little wait , in my opinion !

Kind Regards
Kenny

#5 Swedpat

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 01:03 PM

Thanks Kenny,

I am glad if you enjoy my review - despite my still strongly faulty english!

Regards, Patric

#6 BobinKy

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 01:30 PM

Patric--

Thank you for an excellent review.

As I have said many times at the Binoculars forum, the Leupold Katmai 6x32 is my "go anywhere" binocular. In fact, I am leaving on a business trip today and the mighty Katmai will go with me--riding in the passanger seat, within easy reach, for those quick views by the side of the road. The Katmai is also quite comfortable to take hiking on the trail or observing in the woods. And another favorite--quick views in urban settings.

My favorites of the photos you posted were the photo showing the exit pupils and the photo showing the vertical height comparison.

Patric, once again, thank you for an excellent review.

#7 Mark9473

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 01:35 PM

That was a very interesting report, Patric.
Could you also make a comparison, perhaps in images, of the relative size when folded down to their most compact state. I want to see how easily they would fit in a pocket.

#8 ronharper

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 04:36 PM

Patric,
Thanks for the informative and enjoyable review. I am glad that you discussed the sensitivity to stray light. I must get a good small binocular one of these days.
Ron

#9 brocknroller

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 12:20 AM

Excuse me for the long time until this review, but here it is:


Tack så mycket! I've read so many rave reviews online about this binocular, my expectations were high. But I knew it would be too small for my large mits anyway so I'd probably buy the porro instead, and would have if the ER wasn't sooooooooooooo looooooooooooooooooooooooooong. Longer than the eyecups even!

How then compares the Swarovski SLC 7x42 to these? The TFOV of the SLC 7x42 seems to be very equal as the Katmai 6x32. The SLC 7x42 provides the best viewing comfortability and enjoyment of these three. There are two main reasons:
1: the larger AFOV of 56deg in comparison to around 48deg of the other.
2: the sweet spot is also larger


You left out reason #3: It cost $1,300 so I darn BETTER enjoy it more!

The Katmai has the worst holding comfortability of these three, as well as the worst sharpness. But it's probably the binocular I would choose if I had to choose just ONE of these, YES, IF I HAD TO CHOOSE ONE BINOCULAR AT ALL!.


Okay, so chose the Katmai and send me the 7x42 SLC! I'll pay postage. :-)

Thanks again (for those who don't read Swedish) for that long anticipated review and for the comparisons with the Leupold porro and Swaro SLC.

Computer payments or SLC? Computer payments or SLC? Computer payments or SLC? Computer payments or SLC? Computer payments or SLC? I'm still thinkin....

#10 Swedpat

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 07:23 AM

Thank you all for your comments!

Could you also make a comparison, perhaps in images, of the relative size when folded down to their most compact state. I want to see how easily they would fit in a pocket


Mark, I will post a picture later.


You left out reason #3: It cost $1,300 so I darn BETTER enjoy it more!


Brocknroller,

Yes of course, you are right!

Regards, Patric

#11 mooreorless

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 03:25 PM

Hi Patric, I found this statement by you very interesting:

"The Katmai has the worst holding comfortability of these three, as well as the worst sharpness. But it's probably the binocular I would choose if I had to choose just ONE of these, YES, IF I HAD TO CHOOSE ONE BINOCULAR AT ALL!. It's a great binocular in my opinion, and worth it's price."

I agree with Kenny, worth the wait. I also agree with BobinKy about picture comparison of exit pupils and height and size difference.:-)

#12 sparrow

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 04:22 PM

Hi Patric, I found this statement by you very interesting:

"The Katmai has the worst holding comfortability of these three, as well as the worst sharpness. But it's probably the binocular I would choose if I had to choose just ONE of these, YES, IF I HAD TO CHOOSE ONE BINOCULAR AT ALL!. It's a great binocular in my opinion, and worth it's price


Pat,
What will be interesting is to see in 6 months which of your bins you will instinctively grab when you go out for a day of observing - it may surprise you and us.

#13 Swedpat

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 03:07 PM

mooreorless:

Hi Patric, I found this statement by you very interesting:

"The Katmai has the worst holding comfortability of these three, as well as the worst sharpness. But it's probably the binocular I would choose if I had to choose just ONE of these, YES, IF I HAD TO CHOOSE ONE BINOCULAR AT ALL!. It's a great binocular in my opinion, and worth it's price."


Yes, when I now read my own words it may sounds quite negative, but it isn't. The Katmai 6x32 isn't really as sharp as the SLC 7x42. Which actually means it's very good! And for around 40% of the price of the Swarovski (around 50% of the 8x30) it's a good value.


Sparrow,

Pat,
What will be interesting is to see in 6 months which of your bins you will instinctively grab when you go out for a day of observing - it may surprise you and us.


Yes, I understand that time will tell which is really the best and suitable binocular! There are several factors involved.

Regards, Patric

#14 mooreorless

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 05:10 PM

Patric, I know the Swarovski is an excellent binocular, but to me it is heavy and I can see why you would say what you did. I found the Nikon 8x42 and 10x42 LX [original series not the light wt.] kind of heavy, but the view made up for it. :-)

#15 BobinKy

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 11:34 AM

There are three issues that have surfaced in this thread that I would like to speak to:Cost in U.S. of reviewed models

Hand holding comfort of Katmai 6x32

Role of elegance . . .

Eagle Optics--while not always the cheapest, but certainly a leading distributor of binoculars because of their extensive offering and excellent customer service--has the following prices:$289.00 ($0 shipping in U.S.) Leupold Katmai 6x32 Roof (black or natural body)

$89.99 ($0 shipping in U.S.) Leupold Yosemite 6x30 Porro (black, natural, or red body)

$1379.00 ($0 shipping in U.S.) Swarovski SLCnew 7x42 Binocular with Snap Shot Adapter Roof (Swaro green body)

$699.00 ($0 shippin in U.S.) Leica Ultravid 8x20 BCR Roof (black body; leather body $729.00) . . .

Hand holding the Leupold Katmai 6x32 compact model, as with the 20-25mm pocket models from various vendors, is quite different from handholding larger models. I have found that individuals with smaller hands prefer the Katmai 6x32 over both the smaller pocket models and the larger models, while those users with larger hands prefer larger barrels. Placement of the strap eyelets are also another consideration. If the bumps on a pocket or compact model ride against a bone on the inside of the hand, then the hand holding comfort is diminished greatly. This position varies by model and the hands doing the holding. At the time that I originally tested the Leupold Katmai 6x32, I also tested the Pentax DCF ED 8x30 and the Minox HG BR 8x33 models. I purchased the Katmai and Minox compacts, while returning the Pentax because the eyelet bump rode against one of my bones and was not very comfortable. I later purchased the 10x50 size of the Pentax, which offers both comfortable and optically excellent views--finding the placement of the eyelet bumps in the larger models do not get in the way and allow for the pleasant hand gripping which I also enjoy during observation.

Another thing I have found about the Katmai 6x32 is that they are perfect for finger tip holding. Here again, if you do not like to hold binoculars in your finger tips, but prefer to feel the barrels against the inside of your hands, then you may not find either the compact or pocket models all that comfortable to hold.

However, once you become accustomed to holding smaller sizes, you come to appreciate the convenience they bring to many observing experiences.

. . .

In closing, if you are looking for an elegant pocket binocular with quality optics (considering the small exit pupil size) to occasionally pull out and impress those around you in elegant settings--I recommend you try the Leica Ultravid 8x20 Roof (black leather body). They will add just the thing to that special social setting. And yes, they will fold down to fit nicely in your shirt pocket, vest pocket, and beside the make-up compact in a lady's evening purse. Just remember, we are talking about elegance, not about comfortable long views. Just keep those 20mm pockets moving and their elegance may work magic.

#16 wal.s

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 08:16 AM

Patrick, I enjoyed your review of these three binos, but especially the comments regarding the Yosemite on CN and on birdforum which persuaded me to buy the Yosemite over other 6 x binos. I love them and find the optical value v. price is excellent. I like portability and quiet binoculars. Any thoughts on the 6.5x32 Vortex Fury? I am seriously considering this purchase.

Wal.S

6x30 yosemite, 7x50 WO, 10x42 Ultravid, 15x70 GO Sign.

#17 brocknroller

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 10:00 AM

Patrick, I enjoyed your review of these three binos, but especially the comments regarding the Yosemite on CN and on birdforum which persuaded me to buy the Yosemite over other 6 x binos. I love them and find the optical value v. price is excellent. I like portability and quiet binoculars....

Wal.S


I used my friend Steve's Yosemite, and I can tell you, it was NOT quiet. It wouldn't shut up.

I picked it up and it started yelling furiously:

Stop breathing on me you idiget!
Stevo, that carsarn idiget, darn, dadgum, dadburnit, dingdangit, confoundit moustacheod varmint bit my nose!
Pickins is mighty slim round here. Hardly no reward for a days work!
Why its getting so's a man can't earn a dishonest livin no more!
Say, I like you, Stevo, you're a good Joe.
I paid my four bits to see the high diving act and I'm going to see the high diving act!
So where's the rabbits, dadburnit?!

#18 wal.s

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 05:22 AM

Brock, I love a binocular with a bit of personality and Yosemite Sam certainly has personality LOL, but what I meant by 'quiet' is that it provides handheld views without shake, unlike my 15 x 70 which loud = handheld views ala Whirlpool washing machine with unbalanced wash load or this graemlin :twitch:

Wal.

#19 Swedpat

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 05:22 AM

This week I have been at my yearly vacation in Pajala in northernmost Sweden near the border to Finland. During 4 days I have walked in the nature around the river Torneälven and watched, among other things, the swans who gather in big clouds before the take off to southern countries. Just sorry I don't brought with me the digitalcamera...
At most I counted to more than 100 swans at the same time. Every day I brought with me the Leupold Katmai 6x32. This binocular I like more and more. The sharpness doesn't compete to the high ends and sometimes I could wish a bit higher magnification. But they work well, and just have the right combination of size weight and brightness. The large exit pupil is comfortable and they fit perfect in the side pocket of my winter jacket. Although after long time use and when the shoulders start to tire I don't experience the image to be shaky. It's a binocular which works in the long run!

At a starparty in the village Älvsbyn last weekend I had placed the Katmai above the bed in the cabin. When I gathered my things I accidently pulled the quilt so the Katmai fell down to the floor from about 1,5m height. The sound of the bump didn't feel good...
It was in the bag however, and that may have protected the glass. After a careful investigation (and the vacation in Pajala) I can state that the glass did not damaged at all by the accident.

I think this a situation when a porro design could have been damaged when the roof didn't. A center outer focusing system of a porro like the Yosemite, is sensitive, and the barrels of a porro more easily get out of collimation.

Regards, Patric

#20 mooreorless

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 10:05 AM

Hi Patric, Thanks for your update and links. I noticed on the one link the Star Party there is a picture of a airplane propeller that is broken and also a piece of paper hung up on the wall that says Regulations For Operation of Aircraft and what looks like an Eagle on the right side.I found this interesting. I also noticed a picture of someone testing out your Scopos 66 APO, is that you standing on the other side of the scope?

I am very glad your 6x32 Katmai was OK after the fall. My 6x30 Yosemite had a 3 ft. fall from table onto concrete so don't count it out with some rough use. I think because the Yosemite was so light that this helped some.

Patric, I noticed that you have over 1000 posts and that to me is very impressive, esp. considering you probaly have to use some sort of software to change over to English. :bow:

#21 Swedpat

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 02:37 PM

Many thanks Steve!

.I also noticed a picture of someone testing out your Scopos 66 APO, is that you standing on the other side of the scope?


Yes, It's me.


I am very glad your 6x32 Katmai was OK after the fall. My 6x30 Yosemite had a 3 ft. fall from table onto concrete so don't count it out with some rough use. I think because the Yosemite was so light that this helped some.


Yes, these glasses are quite lightweight and that may have saved them from damage. A 7x50 will surely damage easier.
Also it depends on in which position they hit the floor.


Patric, I noticed that you have over 1000 posts and that to me is very impressive, esp. considering you probaly have to use some sort of software to change over to English. :bow:


Yes, you are right. To such a level I still use this translationservice: http://lexin2.nada.kth.se/sve-eng.html
Though I don't need it as much as in the beginning of my participation at CN!

Regards, Patric

#22 brocknroller

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 03:16 PM

Patric,

Gratulerar ordet 1000 posts finns inte i lexikonet!

Björn Brokholc

P.S. I have absolutely no idea what I just said.

#23 Swedpat

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 03:24 PM

Björn,

You said: Congratulate the word 1000 posts isn't in the dictionary...

Go on with the english-swedish dictionary and you may soon participate swedish forums! :grin:

Regards, Patric

#24 brocknroller

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 08:43 PM

Björn,

You said: Congratulate the word 1000 posts isn't in the dictionary...

Go on with the english-swedish dictionary and you may soon participate swedish forums! :grin:

Regards, Patric


Patric,

I guess some words or phrases do not translate well from English. I wrote "Congratulations on your 1,000 posts!" in the translation window, and the sentence you posted above is what came out! I think Swedish translators' jobs are still safe. :-)

I certainly would like to meet women such as Lena Olin on Swedish forums!

In an earlier incarnation, I attended film school at NYU, and took a course on Ingmar Bergman's films. By the end of the semester, most of the students were taking anti-depressants. :-)

His films didn't deal with cheerful subjects. Even Bergman admitted that his films were depressing:

Bergman interview

Maybe it's those long, dark Swedish winters. :-)

Björn Again

#25 Swedpat

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 01:55 PM

Björn,

Ingmar Bergman is not one of my favourites, his films are quite "heavy"...
By the way, I suppose you are of swedish or scandinavian descent? The name Björn is usual in Sweden and means bear on swedish.

Regards, Patric


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