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Binoculars review

Swarovski EL 10x42 Swarovision

Swarovski EL 10x42 Swarovision
2 July 2011
Optyczne.pl 
In 2009 ten years passed since the launch of the most expensive Swarovski series of binoculars, marked by the EL symbol. The series included four roof prismatic models with the following parameters: 8x32, 10x32, 8.5x42 and 10x42.

The Swarovski company decided that a round anniversary of that event was worth launching renewed versions of those well-known instruments. In October 2009 they informed about the release of two new 8.5×42 i 10×42 Swarovski EL Swarovision models. What’s interesting, the next step didn’t consist of refreshing the line of 32 mm objectives series of binoculars but introducing completely new 50 mm devices. In January 2011 new Swarovski EL Swarovision models with the parameters of 10×50 and 12×50 appeared on the market.

The company boasts of using objectives based on fluorite glass, wide-angle eyepieces with flat field, which, in addition, is wider than that of the predecessors, and the highest quality SWAROBRIGHT, SWAROTOP and SWARODUR coatings, which are supposed to maximize the transmission of instruments. What’s more, also SWAROCLEAN anti-stick outer lens coatings are used, covering objectives and eyepieces.

The producer adds that the new pairs of binoculars come with a new focusing system which allows you to get a sharp image up from 1.5 metres (in older models the minimum focus amounted to 2.5 meters).

The buyer gets a case, a strap, caps and an digiscoping adapter in the accessory kit. The binoculars come with a 10-year long guarantee period.

Pictures
  • Lornetka Swarovski EL 10x42 Swarovision
  • Lornetka Swarovski EL 10x42 Swarovision
  • Lornetka Swarovski EL 10x42 Swarovision
  • Lornetka Swarovski EL 10x42 Swarovision
Manufacturer data

Manufacturer:

Swarovski
web site

Distribution / Sales:

Hubertus Pro Hunting
web site

Magnification Lens diameter Angular field of view Prisms Eye relief Weight Price
10 42 112/1000(6.4o) BaK-4/roof 20 mm 800 g 8790 PLN
Results of the review
Real front lens diameter Left:   42.1+/- 0.05 mm
Right:  42.08+/- 0.05 mm
8 / 8.0 pkt
Real magnification 10.16+/- 0.05x 3/3.0
Transmission 90.8+/- 1.5% 13/15.0
Chromatic aberration Better than in the case of the previous EL series but still not perfect. Low in the centre, near medium on the edge. 6.9/10.0
Astigmatism In fact an ideal. 9.5/10.0
Distortion The distance of the first curved line from the field centre compared to the field of view radius: 88% ± 3% 10/10.0
Coma Sensational results. The coma appears only in the distance of 85–90% from the centre of the field and is low on the very edge. 9.6/10.0
Blurring at the edge of the FOV Field perfectly sharp to the very edge. A round of applause! 10/10.0
Darkening at the edge the FOV Practically imperceptible. 4.9/5.0
Whiteness of the image Excellent. Suprisingly high transmission in the blue range of the spectrum. 4.8/5.0
Collimation Perfect. 5/5.0
Internal reflections
Left: Right:
Swarovski EL 10x42 Swarovision - Internal reflections - Left Swarovski EL 10x42 Swarovision - Internal reflections - Right
Weak for this class of equipment. A lot of flares and small false pupils.
2.8/5.0
Housing Solid and very stylish. Fantastic design. Very comfortable to hold and to look through (convenient thumb grooves). The rubber padding is a bit coarse making the grip more secure. It sticks out a bit near objectives. Regulated eyecups. 7.7/8.0
Focusing Comfortable, big central wheel with the full turn amounting to as many as 900 degrees! It moves easily with small resistance. Individual focusing with click-stop system on the central wheel. Nothing moves outside. 4.9/5.0
Tripod You can buy an optional brand-name adapter. 2/3.0
Interpupilary distance from 54.6 to 74.1mm 5/6.0
Closest focusing distance 1.35 m 2/2.0
Eyepieces FOV Apparent field of view of 65.4 degrees 8/10.0
Field of view Measured by us amounted to 6.44 ± 0.04 degrees and it was in accordance with that in specifications. Huge field of view for this class of equipment. 7/8.0
Quality of the interior of the barrels Black, matt, clean – an ideal! 5/5.0
Vignetting
Left: Right:
Swarovski EL 10x42 Swarovision - Vignetting - Left Swarovski EL 10x42 Swarovision - Vignetting - Right
OL: 0.3%, OR: 0.0%
7/8.0
Prisms quality High quality BaK-4. 8/8.0
Antireflection coatings Pink-yellow on objectives. Yellowish on prisms. Green-yellow-pink on eyepieces. Low intensity. 5/5.0
Warranty [years] 10 4.5/6.0
Final result
90.4%
153.6 / 170 pkt
Econo result 0pkt.

Summary


Pros
  • solid workmanship of high quality and a very stylish casing at the same time,
  • high transmission,
  • very well-corrected astigmatism,
  • low distortion,
  • very low coma,
  • perfect image sharpness level kept practically to the very edge of the field,
  • negligible brightness loss on the edge of the field of vision,
  • very good colour rendition,
  • sharp image already from 1.35 metres,
  • wide field of view,
  • perfect blackening inside the tubes,
  • high quality of prisms and coatings.

Cons:
  • area near the exit pupil a bit too light.


Three companies, Leica, Swarovski and Zeiss, are considered absolute equipment stalwarts when it comes to binoculars. In fact it used to be taken for granted that, if you bought a Leica Ultravid, a Swarovski EL or a Zeiss Victory model, you would deal with optics and mechanics of the highest quality for sure. As time went by it turned out that these binoculars weren’t exactly flawless and the competitors didn’t let the grass grow under their feet either. Our test proved that Nikon binoculars from SE and HG series could rival the products from that three companies. Also the most expensive devices produced by such companies as Alpen Optics, Bushnell, Leupold or Kowa could offer similarly good properties. What’s more, manufacturers from Asia haven’t told the last word yet and the EDG series of the Nikon company is a good example of it – its price is as high as that of the most expensive binoculars on the market but the quality of its optics can exceed that of the Leica Ultravid HD, the Zeiss Victory and the old model of Swarovski EL. Taking it all into account we were even more curious about the performance of the new EL Swarovision series.

In order not to beat about the bush too much we can say we weren’t disappointed. The result of the pair of binoculars, tested here, differs in just 0.2 points from that of the Nikon EDG, so praised by us before. What’s interesting, it’s the Swarovski which is a bit cheaper device out of these two!

The Swarovski EL Swarovision 10x42 corrects perfectly well practically all optical aberrations. Only in the case of chromatic aberration on the edge of the field of vision the ideal result was missed by a little bit. The only small slip-up we managed to find concerns a bit too light area near exit pupils.

We were also curious about the new antireflection coatings of Swarovski instruments. Let’s remind here that the EL series had a very flat transmission curve on the level of about 90%, ensuring splendid colour rendition. The problem was that the area of high transmission level remained quite narrow – it decreased very quickly for the wavelengths higher than 670 nm and lower than 440 nm. On the graph below you can see how the new model performs here.


In the centre of the visual spectrum we get a high level of about 90%. What’s interesting, the highest transmission is situated in the blue part of the spectrum, exceeding the value of 93% there, something very rare indeed. The performance for blue and purple light is noticeably better than in the case of the older model. The binoculars also fares slightly better on the border of visible light and infrared. Overall the binoculars are able to deliver more light to your eye than its predecessor.

To sum up you must really pay though the nose for the tested pair of binoculars. However, you get a product of the highest quality when it comes to optics and mechanics, with a very stylish design to boot. You can feast your eyes not only looking through them but also looking at them.