Swarovski NL Pure 12x42 Binocular Review, By Matt Cashell

Justin Crossley

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I have been looking forward to this review since the NL was announced. @Matt Cashell was able to get the Swarovski NL Pure 12x42 into the field to use side by side with the EL SV 12x50. Matt did a great job explaining the differences so we can all decide if the Swarovski NL Pures are worth upgrading to or not. I'll say they're on my wish list now!

Swarovski NL Pure 12x42 Binocular Review
 

MidGAHunter

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Good review and answered a few questions I had. I typically have a very hard time hand-holding anything above 8-8.5 x. The EL 8.5x42 have been fantastic for me. I'm strongly considering some NL 10x42 with the forehead rest though...would give me the same FOV as the 8.5 EL with the added stability of the forehead rest. But the 8s intrigue me too...
 

Ledd Slinger

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I always enjoy your reviews @Matt Cashell and my opinion of the new NL pure basically mimics your own. They are a little better than the EL SV in every regard. I also found the NL to have a slightly more comfortable eye box which I didn’t think could be possible with the EL already being so good. The field of view and hand ergonomics are the biggest improvements. Other improvements are very minimal. Optically the NL might have a very slight edge over the EL SV, but I highly doubt most people would ever be able to see it. Are the NL worth an extra $1k over the EL?....maybe for some, but not for me. I am in the boat Matt mentioned where I think the extra money would be better spent on a high end rangefinding binocular.

I recently sold my Leica Noctivid 10x42 and replaced them with the Leica Geovid HD 3200.com 10x42. The glass in the 3200.com is absolutely stunning (even better than the Noctivid I had), the laser is insanely powerful, and the ergonomics of the Geovids is absolutely perfect for my hand. Balance of the 3200.com is so perfect it makes them feel like they are half the listed weight when glassing. Zeiss Victory RF and Swaro EL range can’t compete with the new Bluetooth capable Leica 3200.com in my opinion.

I know you had been using the Geovid binoculars and wondering if you have completed any reviews on them? I also live in Montana and use my optics in the high country of the northwest Rocky Mountains and eastern plains/breaks so I am curious to hear your thoughts on the Geovid as well. Thanks
 
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elkeaterco

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I been hoping for a good review on the NL. I have the 12x50 fieldpro and love them. However, the weight and fov isnt perfect. Theyre also tough to hand hold for very long. I been tempted to go back to 10s but on a tripod theyre freaking amazing. 1st world problems.



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Matt Cashell

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I always enjoy your reviews @Matt Cashell

I know you had been using the Geovid binoculars and wondering if you have completed any reviews on them? I also live in Montana and use my optics in the high country of the northwest Rocky Mountains and eastern plains/breaks so I am curious to hear your thoughts on the Geovid as well. Thanks

Thanks for reading. I haven’t had a review sample of the Geovid 3200.com.

I have seen them just briefly. I really like the Zeiss RF, though and it is my current favorite binocular overall.

The Swarovski NL Pure though is at the top of the pile for pure optical performance, which was obviously Swarovski’s goal with this super-bino.
 

Ledd Slinger

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Thanks for reading. I haven’t had a review sample of the Geovid 3200.com.

I have seen them just briefly. I really like the Zeiss RF, though and it is my current favorite binocular overall.

The Swarovski NL Pure though is at the top of the pile for pure optical performance, which was obviously Swarovski’s goal with this super-bino.

Thanks Matt.
I couldn’t get over the bad placement of the buttons on the Zeiss and how they upset the view every time you press them. Also do not like how the reticle does not appear before ranging then immediately disappears after range reading is given. No way to hit small targets unless you use scan mode every time.

originally went into the store planning on buying the Zeiss RF based on some rave reviews, including your own, but ended up with the Leica and have no regrets whatsoever. Been using the 3200.com all season in NW Montana this year and I can see so much detail at long range that I haven’t even had to break out my pack spotter yet. Laser blast thru rain as if it’s not even there and can still give shorter returns around 400 +/- yards with decent amount of snow coming down.

I also found better contrast and resolution with the Leica glass. Leica gives richer colors with slightly different shades of the same color standing apart from one another better and extreme detail is slightly more discernible with the Leica. Zeiss has a slightly wider FOV, but Leica has a much nicer and larger sweet spot.

Hand ergonomics of the Geovid is way more comfortable than Zeiss RF as well. Not even a comparison there. Really wasn’t anything I liked better about the Zeiss in comparison to the Leica. Even tho the Zeiss is a lighter weight, you wouldn’t know it because the ergonomics and balance is so good on the Geovid. Only advantage to the Zeiss in my opinion is the warranty coverage. They’ve definitely got the Geovid beat there.
 
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Matt Cashell

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Thanks Matt.
I couldn’t get over the bad placement of the buttons on the Zeiss and how they upset the view every time you press them. Also do not like how the reticle does not appear before ranging then immediately disappears after range reading is given. No way to hit small targets unless you use scan mode every time.

We are going on a tangent from the remarkable NL Pure from Swarovski, but just quickly:

The Zeiss RF ranges on release. You hold the button down which illuminates the reticle. You release when you are over the target. I find this more convenient and more accurate on small targets than the double press of the Leica. I also like the button placement, but both of these are just my opinions.
 

Ledd Slinger

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We are going on a tangent from the remarkable NL Pure from Swarovski, but just quickly:

The Zeiss RF ranges on release. You hold the button down which illuminates the reticle. You release when you are over the target. I find this more convenient and more accurate on small targets than the double press of the Leica. I also like the button placement, but both of these are just my opinions.
Gotcha. That was driving me nuts. Sorry for the sidetrack.
 

eltaco

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I’m a bit relieved to hear you say the 12s were too shaky for you with offhand use, even with the forehead rest, as that mimics my experience with the EL 12s. As bad as I wanted to use the 12s, I just didn’t find the added power to offer me real-world value of higher resolution for my hunting style.

I spent a lot of time behind the NL 8x42 in comparison with my EL 10x50s and can say that FOV on the 8s will knock your socks off, but I did notice I strongly preferred 10x in the field. Still, neither optic is perfect, you’ll find some minor distortions with each if you’re looking for it.

Both pairs of optics were identical to me for low light performance, so I’m intrigued to see if the smaller exit pupil on the NL 10x42 has any negative affect, but I’m doubting it’s significant if so. I ended up ordering a NL 10x42 as I thought the 8s I tested were as good or better than the EL in every aspect which mattered to me. For my eyes, they’re the most impressive binocular on the market. As much as I love my EL 10x50s... they’ve fallen to the #2 seat, for me.
 

Racethesunset

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I’m a bit relieved to hear you say the 12s were too shaky for you with offhand use, even with the forehead rest, as that mimics my experience with the EL 12s. As bad as I wanted to use the 12s, I just didn’t find the added power to offer me real-world value of higher resolution for my hunting style.

I spent a lot of time behind the NL 8x42 in comparison with my EL 10x50s and can say that FOV on the 8s will knock your socks off, but I did notice I strongly preferred 10x in the field. Still, neither optic is perfect, you’ll find some minor distortions with each if you’re looking for it.

Both pairs of optics were identical to me for low light performance, so I’m intrigued to see if the smaller exit pupil on the NL 10x42 has any negative affect, but I’m doubting it’s significant if so. I ended up ordering a NL 10x42 as I thought the 8s I tested were as good or better than the EL in every aspect which mattered to me. For my eyes, they’re the most impressive binocular on the market. As much as I love my EL 10x50s... they’ve fallen to the #2 seat, for me.

I will eventually buy the NL 12's to replace the EL 12's, but not as a primary binocular. The NL's will get 95% tripod use, and 5% freehand use. That head rest does not appeal to me.

Still, wondering how much difference in apparent center resolution there was between the EL 10s and the NL 8s? Sometimes an ultrawide field of view makes it difficult to notice the details around the frame.
 

eltaco

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I will eventually buy the NL 12's to replace the EL 12's, but not as a primary binocular. The NL's will get 95% tripod use, and 5% freehand use. That head rest does not appeal to me.

Still, wondering how much difference in apparent center resolution there was between the EL 10s and the NL 8s? Sometimes an ultrawide field of view makes it difficult to notice the details around the frame.

In my experience the added FOV of the 8x was very impressive, but in offhand use I’m panning often enough that I’m not finding a lot of game at the edge of the glass. As soon as a deer is within sight, I’m looking directly at it through the center of the optic.

I’ve tested 8x, 10x, and 12x at great length and do believe the 10x gave me a perceivable improvement to resolution when viewing an animal at distance. If anything is close it doesn’t matter a lot which optic I have, but 400-500yds+ and I’m seeing greater detail with the 10x in freehand use. When I move to the 12x, that resolution goes back down again due to shakiness. I lose some image resolution at distance and the view makes for an uncomfortable experience. For me, I’d prefer the 10x first, 8x second, and 12x only if I planned to use on a tripod.
 

chutinlead

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I have been using a set of 12x50 Vortex Razors and I really like what Swarovski did here with the 12x42s. I came up with a monopod and a mini ball head attached to my outdoorsman mount that really make for a lightweight compact option over packing a tripod. PXL_20201122_210523167.jpg
 

Sako300

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So, from this review, and what I have looked at thru the 12x42 NL and the 12x50 EL, the older EL has a more clearer image the last minutes or first minutes of light on tripod. And, the EL in the 12xs is easier to hold and glass by free hand probably because of the added weight! I’m glad I got my used ELs this past week. Now I can take the $1900, I saved from a new pair of NLs, and my EL purchase, to buy essentially a good ballistic rangefinder or hell another pair of Swarovskis. Maybe a Swarovski spotter.
 
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