Ground Control to Grampa Tom,
I have the final Swarovski-badged x42 and they actually look fine and well made, including if you look in through the front or objective end. Their contemporary ELs look to me a bit more stylish but I maintain that the SLCs unusually look far better in reality than in photos. (It's usually the other way round for all kinds of products.) My own feeling since purchase is that these SLCs are solid but importantly for me are also light and short — the 10x is actually lighter and shorter than the 8x.
For what it's worth I have had nothing but good surprises from the performance, handling, and image quality from the last Sw 42 WB models and have not noticed anything that I'd count as a significant trade-off. The compact form and comparatively light weight, the good balance, and the snug as a gun grip — for me personally — completely outweigh the more distant closest focus in this model and luckily I like the slower focusing action. In short, of course there are compromises in all binoculars, as we know, but it's nice when the weaker points aren't seen to matter to the user! This user anyway.
That's just me but I get a sense that others who own these bins and post on here mostly seem to feel the same. The image is on the warm side but to my senescent eyes no more so than a Leica Ultravid — only the colour of the warmth is slightly different (I'd say yellower rather than redder).
It was Roger Vine's review of the 10x42 WB model (he called it HD but means the one we are talking about) that swayed me into the purchase in 2020; you can see it at Swarovski 10x42 SLC HD Review. He touches on all the things mentioned here and in retrospect I can say that his report strikes me as honest and fair as far as things I understand go, i.e. I don't know about the stargazing aspect, for example.
But it's true that Planet Earth is bluer through an EL...
No, I'm not sure any manufacturer documents such methods. But (as I should have said) the claimed transmission on the spec sheet is identical, 91% for both HD 42 and WB 42.
As to "degradation" or "downgrading" of certain models, the obvious evidence is the reduced close focus on the SLC 42 and EL 42 "Classic"(!) models, but photos have also been posted here [Edit: by John Roberts, see post #25 below] showing much cruder internal construction on SLC 42 which helps to explain the price drop. (I'm curious whether this happened also with EL.) It's a strange practice I haven't seen from other (alpha) makers.
All the same, SLCs have become my favorites now
Thanks Tom... er.... also. Ha! I know the SLCs have a great reputation among folks who own them. I was reacting to Tenex's pics in #18 (quoted above), of the objective lens hardware and specifically this comment, "but photos have also been posted here [Edit: by John Roberts, see post #25 below] showing much cruder internal construction on SLC 42." Thats all. I did think the presence of that apparent die cast ring and 2 torx head screws was a little crude. Surprised me. Not a knock on optics. In fact was hoping optics quality as distinct from features wasn't effected by this. Seems the case.