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EL 10x42 casing deterioration.

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Old Thursday 12th September 2019, 16:03   #1
Barred Wobbler
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EL 10x42 casing deterioration.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed when I was using my EL binoculars that the rubber casing on the left barrel felt loose beneath my fingers as if rubber had detached from the barrel. A few days later the rubber at that point developed splits.

The binoculars are only a couple of years old and as far as Iím aware never never received any abuse or exposure to chemicals that might cause the rubber to deteriorate in this way. Iím not in the habit of splashing DEET about near my gear.

Yesterday I was chatting to someone with the same model binoculars and mentioned it to him. He said that the same thing had happened to his, so he sent them in to Swarovski who replaced the casing.

He said that they had given the explanation that they had been forced to change the material used in the rubber to conform with new regulations on biodegradability. Surely not?

A pair of binoculars which have a 10 year warranty (I believe) yet the casing needs to be replaced after only a couple of years?
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Old Thursday 12th September 2019, 16:30   #2
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This is the new Field Pro edition ?
I notice the rubber armor feels a little different on the FP version than the previous version.
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Old Thursday 12th September 2019, 21:57   #3
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Originally Posted by Gilmore Girl View Post
This is the new Field Pro edition ?
I notice the rubber armor feels a little different on the FP version than the previous version.
Havenít a clue, to tell the truth, but could be. I just bought them as a pair of bins and canít remember the model type. Iím on a trip away from home just now, so I donít have the full details.
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Old Sunday 15th September 2019, 16:46   #4
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On a similar note I've long wondered what effect the perceived need for "eco glass" has on the many compromises already inherent in the optical design of binoculars. (Obviously there are many other applications where such choices are more easily implemented...)
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Old Monday 23rd September 2019, 02:53   #5
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Originally Posted by Barred Wobbler View Post
A couple of weeks ago I noticed when I was using my EL binoculars that the rubber casing on the left barrel felt loose beneath my fingers as if rubber had detached from the barrel. A few days later the rubber at that point developed splits.

The binoculars are only a couple of years old and as far as Iím aware never never received any abuse or exposure to chemicals that might cause the rubber to deteriorate in this way. Iím not in the habit of splashing DEET about near my gear.

Yesterday I was chatting to someone with the same model binoculars and mentioned it to him. He said that the same thing had happened to his, so he sent them in to Swarovski who replaced the casing.

He said that they had given the explanation that they had been forced to change the material used in the rubber to conform with new regulations on biodegradability. Surely not?

A pair of binoculars which have a 10 year warranty (I believe) yet the casing needs to be replaced after only a couple of years?
Your issue is not common, so contact Swarovski, the service dept. will be of help. Let us know what you find out.

Jerry
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Old Monday 23rd September 2019, 13:12   #6
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Hmmmm..

I know this birding guide. We have the same binocular, a SV 8.5X42 FP. He doesn't seem to take care of much of anything and he probably uses THAT binocular almost every day. He literally has zip ties and rubber bands holding the armor on his binocular and the armor is visibly buckling. I couldn't believe what I was seeing and I just chalked it up to just him. Maybe not.
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Old Monday 30th September 2019, 19:17   #7
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I finally got around to contacting Swarovski this morning (I've been too busy with photos since I got back from the trip). I said in my first post they were a couple of years old. That was an estimate. In fact after I checked my records I found they are just over three years old (June 2016).

I've just had an email from them asking me to send the bins back to them for repair, allowing up to 4 weeks.

They give this explanation;

.

In accordance with its corporate philosophy, Swarovski Optik is committed to using top-quality, sustainable materials in its products. The armoring on the instruments in question is made of plastic (TPU). This material contains no plasticizers or protective agents, is low in allergens, and is biodegradable. As with all our products, we recommend regularly cleaning the surface of the instrument with a mild detergent and a damp cloth.

The particular properties of this material mean that optical changes such as clear abrasion, tears, and cracks may occur in the armoring when the product is subjected to frequent use
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Old Monday 30th September 2019, 21:05   #8
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If you don't mind me saying so, they don't exactly look in tip-top condition - at least cosmetically - for a three-year old instrument!?

RB
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Old Monday 30th September 2019, 21:50   #9
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That's the deterioration I'm talking about.

They've had a lot of use, in several countries, but no abuse.
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Old Monday 30th September 2019, 22:09   #10
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wow that looks bad and after only 3 years of regular use. If it happened to me I'd probably ask them to just remove the armor and adhesive underneath (if any) and don't bother to replace it since they're saying it's gonna happen again anyway with frequent use. I'd just go with a metal binocular (no armor) and take good care of it ... but that's me.
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Old Monday 30th September 2019, 23:53   #11
John A Roberts
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Hi BW,

That’s an interesting photograph!

From the appearance of the binoculars:
A) The wear to the edges of the exposed magnesium is the same as on other EL’s that have had heavy use
It’s consistent with rubbing/ friction from handling (and perhaps aggravated by wearing coarse textured gloves?)

B) And the smoothing of the texture on parts of the RA is also consistent with this

C) However, other wear on the RA is clearly from sharp edged pressure (and in places it extends from the RA across the magnesium)
And there is also clearly the effects of scratching/ scoring at various places, including on the inboard portion of the left barrel near the torn area

D) Finally, the tearing seems to be the result of an extreme form of C)

Obviously individuals treat their gear with varying degrees of care. However if just shown the photo and told that it was a 3 year old unit,
my first thought would be that it spent much of it’s time in a bag along with other items, sliding and bouncing around in the back of a vehicle

As to ‘They've had a lot of use . . . but no abuse’, will Swarovski see it that way?
- at worst you’ll have to pay for the RA replacement


John

Last edited by John A Roberts : Tuesday 1st October 2019 at 00:36.
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 00:58   #12
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Well, if it's true that new biodegradable materials are mandated, we know one thing for sure. The materials biodegrade!

This reminds me of the water-saving flush toilet that requires two flushes to perform its job. When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn.
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 00:59   #13
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I'd need new coverings about twice a year...
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 08:26   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John A Roberts View Post
Hi BW,

That’s an interesting photograph!

From the appearance of the binoculars:
A) The wear to the edges of the exposed magnesium is the same as on other EL’s that have had heavy use
It’s consistent with rubbing/ friction from handling (and perhaps aggravated by wearing coarse textured gloves?)

B) And the smoothing of the texture on parts of the RA is also consistent with this

C) However, other wear on the RA is clearly from sharp edged pressure (and in places it extends from the RA across the magnesium)
And there is also clearly the effects of scratching/ scoring at various places, including on the inboard portion of the left barrel near the torn area

D) Finally, the tearing seems to be the result of an extreme form of C)

Obviously individuals treat their gear with varying degrees of care. However if just shown the photo and told that it was a 3 year old unit,
my first thought would be that it spent much of it’s time in a bag along with other items, sliding and bouncing around in the back of a vehicle

As to ‘They've had a lot of use . . . but no abuse’, will Swarovski see it that way?
- at worst you’ll have to pay for the RA replacement


John
I agree John. In the region of the damaged armour there are at least 3 impacts of a short and penetrating kind visible. It wouldn't be surprising if the splits in the armour are obscuring similar impacts.

Lee
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 11:27   #15
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Biodegradable is to handle single-use and transient objects, $2500 binoculars are neither. This has completely put me off a pending purchase.
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 11:42   #16
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Originally Posted by John A Roberts View Post
... Obviously individuals treat their gear with varying degrees of care. However if just shown the photo and told that it was a 3 year old unit,
my first thought would be that it spent much of itís time in a bag along with other items, sliding and bouncing around in the back of a vehicle

As to ĎThey've had a lot of use . . . but no abuseí, will Swarovski see it that way?
- at worst youíll have to pay for the RA replacement


John
This is what I was 'hinting' at. It is certainly pretty 'heavy use' for a 3 year-old instrument. I have a 15 year-old 8x32EL which has had heavy use but looks nothing like these!

RB
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 11:57   #17
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Originally Posted by macuaig View Post
Biodegradable is to handle single-use and transient objects, $2500 binoculars are neither. This has completely put me off a pending purchase.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...30bl9_JeLO5XOF
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 13:23   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John A Roberts View Post
Hi BW,

That’s an interesting photograph!

From the appearance of the binoculars:
A) The wear to the edges of the exposed magnesium is the same as on other EL’s that have had heavy use
It’s consistent with rubbing/ friction from handling (and perhaps aggravated by wearing coarse textured gloves?)

B) And the smoothing of the texture on parts of the RA is also consistent with this

C) However, other wear on the RA is clearly from sharp edged pressure (and in places it extends from the RA across the magnesium)
And there is also clearly the effects of scratching/ scoring at various places, including on the inboard portion of the left barrel near the torn area

D) Finally, the tearing seems to be the result of an extreme form of C)

Obviously individuals treat their gear with varying degrees of care. However if just shown the photo and told that it was a 3 year old unit,
my first thought would be that it spent much of it’s time in a bag along with other items, sliding and bouncing around in the back of a vehicle

As to ‘They've had a lot of use . . . but no abuse’, will Swarovski see it that way?
- at worst you’ll have to pay for the RA replacement


John
And you'd be wrong on all counts.

The underside of the binoculars, the side that rubs against clothing and other stuff is almost like new. I've just been photgraphing it. I've noticed also that the right hand barrel is starting to go the same way. One of the cracks on the left barrel is on the inside of the barrel in an area that comes into contact with nothing, yet it's expanded, come loose and cracked. The cracks (or tears) appeared only in early September a few days after I noticed that the plastic was feeling loose under my fingers. During that time I was in Spain on raptor migration. I sat in the side of my vehicle awaiting birds with my camera, the binoculars lay on the adjacent seat, occasionally picked up to identify aprroaching birds, before being put back down. At the end of each day they were carried from the car to the cottage and placed on a table. No impact, no piercing.

The side that routinely faces the sunlight has deteriorated. The side that lies in the shade and rubs against my body has not.

When I'm out with them I'm wearing them, otherwise they lie on the upholstery of the passenger seat alongside me - never 'bouncing about in a bag on the back seat'.

If anything these binoculars have had lighter used than my previous ones.

I've spent the morning doing some statistics.

The binoculars that these replaced were a pair of Opticron DBAs that I bought for myself as a birthday present in 2000. After over 12 years of heavier use than these Swarovskis, the rubber armour was starting to show its age and I had it replaced. It looked a bit like the armour on this pair, but worn on the underside also, and in black rather than green.

I used those binoculars until June 2016 when I bought the Swaros and gave the Opticrons to my son.

I've been looking at my usage over the past years going back to 2015, when I was using the Opticrons, and before the welcome arrival of a grandchild who is partly the reason I have less time birding these days. The other is an incrreasing lack of enthusiasm. I don't keep a record of my birding trips, but I rarely go out without taking photos of the birds, my main aim these days, so I do have a record of every photo.

Some numbers:

In 2015 I was in the UK for 307 days. Of these I was out with my bins (Opticron) and camera on 103 days, ie 33.6% of the available days. I would say that this was fairly representative of the previous years, although maybe on the low side, between 2004 and 2016.

In 2016 I was in the UK for 307 days. I was out taking photos on 62 of them (the grandchild effect), or only 20.2% of the available time. 5 months of that time was spent with the Opticrons 25 days out of 115, at a rate of 21.7% of the available time. I used the Swarovski's on only 37 of the remaining 192 days that year, (19.3%).

In 2017 I was in the UK for 328 days and birded on 78 of them, (23.8%).

In 2018 I was in the UK for 312 days and birded 56 of them (17.9%).

Now we have just completed 9 months of 2019. I've been in the UK 221 days and birded only 31 of them (14.0%).

So all in all I had over 12 years use with my old Opticrons, cost about £550 before they needed new armour and they were in use for something over 33% of the days I was in the UK, based on 2015 usage.

Since I've had the Swarovskis I've been in the UK 1,053 days and used them on 199 of them. Only 18.9 % on average from June 2016 to today.


And I've been treating them like a baby. After all they cost 2,000 quid, a lot of money, not the £550 of the Opticrons whose armour lasted 4 times as long.

Last edited by Barred Wobbler : Tuesday 1st October 2019 at 13:35.
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 16:02   #19
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Originally Posted by Barred Wobbler View Post
In accordance with its corporate philosophy, Swarovski Optik is committed to using top-quality, sustainable materials in its products. The armoring on the instruments in question is made of plastic (TPU). This material contains no plasticizers or protective agents, is low in allergens, and is biodegradable.
I suspect that you're correct in guessing that sunlight is largely responsible for this deterioration, and will be careful with my Swaros in the bright Colorado sun. Plastic armor covering a long-lasting (and expensive) metal binocular from which it won't normally be separated has to be "biodegradable"? That's absurd, and obviously counterproductive.

And still my Swaro box must bear a sticker saying: "This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm." One just can't win.
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 16:11   #20
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It looks like the armor on the Field pros may have had a bad batch/mixture, sort of what happened to the IS Canons a while back ( rubber armor deterioration). I am sure that if replaced and it happened again, then it might need further explaining.
Here is another issue I had a friend who played tennis and his tennis racket handle always deteriorated quicker than his wife's, it turns out his pH of his sweat was slightly more acidic.

Andy W.
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 19:40   #21
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Originally Posted by Barred Wobbler View Post
And you'd be wrong on all counts.

The underside of the binoculars, the side that rubs against clothing and other stuff is almost like new. I've just been photgraphing it. I've noticed also that the right hand barrel is starting to go the same way. One of the cracks on the left barrel is on the inside of the barrel in an area that comes into contact with nothing, yet it's expanded, come loose and cracked. The cracks (or tears) appeared only in early September a few days after I noticed that the plastic was feeling loose under my fingers. During that time I was in Spain on raptor migration. I sat in the side of my vehicle awaiting birds with my camera, the binoculars lay on the adjacent seat, occasionally picked up to identify aprroaching birds, before being put back down. At the end of each day they were carried from the car to the cottage and placed on a table. No impact, no piercing.

The side that routinely faces the sunlight has deteriorated. The side that lies in the shade and rubs against my body has not.

When I'm out with them I'm wearing them, otherwise they lie on the upholstery of the passenger seat alongside me - never 'bouncing about in a bag on the back seat'.

If anything these binoculars have had lighter used than my previous ones.

I've spent the morning doing some statistics.

The binoculars that these replaced were a pair of Opticron DBAs that I bought for myself as a birthday present in 2000. After over 12 years of heavier use than these Swarovskis, the rubber armour was starting to show its age and I had it replaced. It looked a bit like the armour on this pair, but worn on the underside also, and in black rather than green.

I used those binoculars until June 2016 when I bought the Swaros and gave the Opticrons to my son.

I've been looking at my usage over the past years going back to 2015, when I was using the Opticrons, and before the welcome arrival of a grandchild who is partly the reason I have less time birding these days. The other is an incrreasing lack of enthusiasm. I don't keep a record of my birding trips, but I rarely go out without taking photos of the birds, my main aim these days, so I do have a record of every photo.

Some numbers:

In 2015 I was in the UK for 307 days. Of these I was out with my bins (Opticron) and camera on 103 days, ie 33.6% of the available days. I would say that this was fairly representative of the previous years, although maybe on the low side, between 2004 and 2016.

In 2016 I was in the UK for 307 days. I was out taking photos on 62 of them (the grandchild effect), or only 20.2% of the available time. 5 months of that time was spent with the Opticrons 25 days out of 115, at a rate of 21.7% of the available time. I used the Swarovski's on only 37 of the remaining 192 days that year, (19.3%).

In 2017 I was in the UK for 328 days and birded on 78 of them, (23.8%).

In 2018 I was in the UK for 312 days and birded 56 of them (17.9%).

Now we have just completed 9 months of 2019. I've been in the UK 221 days and birded only 31 of them (14.0%).

So all in all I had over 12 years use with my old Opticrons, cost about £550 before they needed new armour and they were in use for something over 33% of the days I was in the UK, based on 2015 usage.

Since I've had the Swarovskis I've been in the UK 1,053 days and used them on 199 of them. Only 18.9 % on average from June 2016 to today.


And I've been treating them like a baby. After all they cost 2,000 quid, a lot of money, not the £550 of the Opticrons whose armour lasted 4 times as long.
It always bothers me when people chime in on a story and tell someone "how it really is" when the story teller has done their honest best to tell their story accurately. This happens a lot on forums I've found.
To me your story with accompanying photograph sounded quite plausible and was reinforced in the wording of the response from Swarovski. No doubt you're using your binoculars a lot (the worn, smoothed off areas back to bare metal alone suggest frequent use) but you said you don't abuse, or subject them to damage. In my view those cracks look more like stress fractures from the degraded rubber rather than impact (I don't suppose you focus with your right hand do you? This may be why the left side is failing before the right as it has been the area of most grip forces. Just a theory.
Anyway speculations aside, I won't be the "armchair foreman" that looks at your job and says it'll only take half an hour. And that said I hope you get a reasonable result from Swarovski.
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 20:35   #22
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A couple of weeks ago I noticed when I was using my EL binoculars that the rubber casing on the left barrel felt loose beneath my fingers as if rubber had detached from the barrel. A few days later the rubber at that point developed splits.

The binoculars are only a couple of years old and as far as Iím aware never never received any abuse or exposure to chemicals that might cause the rubber to deteriorate in this way. Iím not in the habit of splashing DEET about near my gear.

Yesterday I was chatting to someone with the same model binoculars and mentioned it to him. He said that the same thing had happened to his, so he sent them in to Swarovski who replaced the casing.

He said that they had given the explanation that they had been forced to change the material used in the rubber to conform with new regulations on biodegradability. Surely not?

A pair of binoculars which have a 10 year warranty (I believe) yet the casing needs to be replaced after only a couple of years?
A birder I know had a similar problem with a pair of 8x32's. He continued to use his until they were almost naked of any covering, eventually sending them in to Swarovski. They came back looking like new with no problems.
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 23:26   #23
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Hi again BW (post #18),

If I’m wrong on all counts, then I’m wrong - and I have no problem with accepting that

My comments were about what appeared to be the situation, based on observation of other Swarovski EL’s and EL SV's

Since your binocular is demonstrating something not seen before than that is very interesting,
and it would be useful to know if Swarovski provides any more information about the deterioration when they replace the covering

Your photo also appears to show scratch marks on the magnesium which is again not usual,
so if there is an additional issue with the magnesium coating that would also be of interest to many


John

Last edited by John A Roberts : Wednesday 2nd October 2019 at 00:36.
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Old Wednesday 2nd October 2019, 04:18   #24
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I remember reading on a forum that the use of sunscreen (so having that type of chemical residus on hands after application) was deteriorating Binos rubber armor.

Last edited by RobMorane : Wednesday 2nd October 2019 at 04:27.
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Old Wednesday 2nd October 2019, 09:52   #25
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That's absurd, and obviously counterproductive.
Tenex

I am not sure it is quite fair to call this absurd. The armour on a binocular isn't a permanently installed component, it is required to be removable for servicing and repairs. As a result of wear and tear during use of the bino and/or damage resulting from removal from the bino, armour often needs to be disposed of, and therefore it seems quite responsible for it to be biodegradeable.

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