passing thoughts on swarovski and other binoculars

russ_outdoors

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jul 11, 2013
Messages
114
Location
Utah
I have a problem.... I enjoy high quality binoculars. My second problem is I'm never completely satisfied with what I have.

These two problems have combined to create a "need" to upgrade my binoculars this fall. For the last 8 years a pair of Swarovski 10x42 SLC Neu have been my constant companion in the field. Great binoculars that I have enjoyed very much.

I try and look thru every binocular I can, whether it's from a neighbor, hunting bud or sales rep at the local store. Over the years looking thru as much glass as I could, I have developed a fondness for the Swarovski image. Hard to define, but to my eyes they look the best with Zeiss coming in a close second.

So this fall I started with the likely suspects: the Swarovski EL SV and SLC HD and the Zeiss HT. I never bothered with any Leica products due to their hit or miss customer service. This is too important of a purchase factor IMHO to take a chance with. Here's a few random observations of the three, these are just my thoughts and impressions YMMV.

HD: Great image. Loved the short height, felt great in the hand, large sweet spot, etc.

HT: Great image. Lightest and brightest of the bunch. Felt good in the hand. Seemed a bit long. Couldn't make up my mind whether I liked the large focus nob.

SV: Excellent image, best I've ever seen. Felt best in my hand. Sweet spot is the whole image (well... almost, I do detect a small amount of compression or something right at the edge). I can induce the "rolling ball" effect at close ranges with vertical elements, but it is an non-factor for me and is something I will never notice in the field, birders may find otherwise.

In the end I bought the SV. I eliminated the HD fairly quickly as I preferred the image and ergonomics of the SV. The only overall characteristic I preferred of the HD over the SV was the shorter height. The HT was a tougher call. In the end I settled for image over brightness as the other factors seemed to be about the same. Also, I think the SV and HD have the best diopter adjustment mechanism on the market IMHO.

Now comparing the new SV to my venerable SLC Neu. The SV is better is almost every category, and to me noticeably so. The only 2 things I prefer on the SLC Neu is the shorter height and thumb grooves on the bottom. The SV image is brighter, with better contrast, depth of focus, resolution and edges, colors seem more vibrant, longer eye relief, etc. Even my wife who is a casual glass-er said she could easily tell the improvement.
 

LostArra

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
May 9, 2013
Messages
2,853
Location
Oklahoma
Nice write up.

The HT is lighter than the SLC HD?
Specs are almost identical in wt. I wonder if the SLC just feels more "dense" since it's shorter.
 
OP
R

russ_outdoors

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jul 11, 2013
Messages
114
Location
Utah
weight

The HT did feel lighter, not by much. But as you point out, it could have just been perception on my part as the HD is a more compact package.
 
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