• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.

My Swarovski EL 8.5x42 Review (1 Viewer)

Gdavis248

Well-known member
United States
Like Zeiss and Leica, over the years Swarovski has provided a variety of carry bags for their binoculars.
Apart from issues of cost and sourcing, there’s the inevitable problem that no one style will please everyone.

The 5 most recent Swarovski styles, going from the oldest to newest are:
A) a minimal bag that could be used while attached to the binocular; from a 2017 eBay listing by ray8667

B) the Functional Bag, another minimal design that could also be used attached to the binocular; from a 2014 eBay listing by leviandjamie5911

C) the original Field Bag, larger and more padded, and with interior pockets;
the second image shows how an SLC x42 can fit in the x30/ 32 version, from Roger at: Swarovski 10x42 SLC HD Review

D) the newer and still available Field Bag; from: Swarovski Field Bag L Pro

E) the FSB Functional Side Bag, introduced with the NL x42; the last image shows how the binocular is carried on its side,
from: Swarovski NL Pure binoculars, 12x42 - test & review


John
Wow some of these look awesome! Wish they were easier to find or actually came with the binoculars nowadays.
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Expanding on my post from yesterday, Swarovski also provided earlier versions of bags with their roof prism binoculars.
Starting with the original roof prism offering, the SLC 8x30 introduced in 1985 . . .

A) SLC vinyl
While it had a rear slot for carrying on a belt, it seems to have been mainly intended as a storage case.
It had no seperate padding and sealed with a velcro tab.
Unsurprisingly, the vinyl coating often shows considerable deterioration over the years e.g. a bag that came with a 1987 SLC.


B) SLC Cordura
Like some of the designs in the previous post, it was intended to be primarily used attached to a neck strap (though there was also a belt loop).
There were two versions. While most had a velcro closure, for a brief period following the introduction of the SLC x42 in 1992,
a twist toggle was used.


C) Standard Bag (as per Swarovski)
An unpadded case with a zip on 3 sides, and no provision to attach a neck, belt or shoulder strap. So intended as a storage case.
Referred to by some as a shaving bag, it makes the point that no one bag can suit everyone
e.g. contrast it (or the draw string Storage Bag in post #13) to the maximum features Field Bag.

Again there are two versions, an original black polyester one, and a new one with green panels.
The change occurred recently, and is presumedly due to Swarovski’s move to more environmentally friendly materials and practices.
The new one is available in x30 and x40/ 42 sizes specifically for the Habicht Porro prism binoculars.

- - - -
There was also a variation to the minimalist bag shown at A) in my previous post. It had the addition of green trim
and seems to have been briefly provided following the introduction of the original EL x42 in 1999.

- - - -
The images in this and the previous post show bags that have been typically provided with the full size roof prism models.
However, there were most likely variations depending on what could be sourced at a particular time.
In addition, there are models unique to the current and previous CL x30 lines; and also the current and previous Pocket lines.


John


Image Sources:
1) 2016 eBay listing by alafay.6nvjr
2) 2021 eBay listing by quinntrillion
3) 2022 eBay listing by s.c_81
4) 2018 ebay listing by glenshipgm
5) 2020 eBay listing by cristiagheorghit-7
6) & 7) 2016 eBay listing by suburbanpickers
8) 2013 listing by John Moran Auctioneers
9) Swarovski Optik
10) 2014 eBay listing by mactina
11) 2015 listing by karate_shiatsu
 

Attachments

  • SLC Vinyl.jpg
    SLC Vinyl.jpg
    203.5 KB · Views: 29
  • Deteriorated finish.jpg
    Deteriorated finish.jpg
    194.6 KB · Views: 26
  • SLC Cordura.jpg
    SLC Cordura.jpg
    349.7 KB · Views: 26
  • SLC with toggle.jpg
    SLC with toggle.jpg
    246 KB · Views: 24
  • Standard v1 and v2.jpg
    Standard v1 and v2.jpg
    215.7 KB · Views: 25
  • Variation to A) in previous post .jpg
    Variation to A) in previous post .jpg
    233.7 KB · Views: 27
Last edited:

Gdavis248

Well-known member
United States
Expanding on my post from yesterday, Swarovski also provided earlier versions of bags with their roof prism binoculars.
Starting with the original roof prism offering, the SLC 8x30 introduced in 1985 . . .

A) SLC vinyl
While it had a rear slot for carrying on a belt, it seems to have been mainly intended as a storage case.
It had no seperate padding and sealed with a velcro tab.
Unsurprisingly, the vinyl coating often shows considerable deterioration over the years e.g. a bag that came with a 1987 SLC.


B) SLC Cordura
Like some of the designs in the previous post, it was intended to be primarily used attached to a neck strap (though there was also a belt loop).
There were two versions. While most had a velcro closure, for a brief period following the introduction of the SLC x42 in 1992,
a twist toggle was used.


C) Standard Bag (as per Swarovski)
An unpadded case with a zip on 3 sides, and no provision to attach a neck, belt or shoulder strap. So intended as a storage case.
Sometimes referred to as a shaving bag, it makes the point that no one bag can suit everyone
e.g. contrast it (or the draw string Storage Bag in post #13) to the maximum featured Field Bag.

Again there are two versions, an original black polyester one, and a new one with green panels.
The change occurred recently, and is presumedly due to Swarovski’s move to more environmentally friendly materials and practices.
The new one is available in x30 and x40/ 42 sizes specifically for the Habicht Porro prism binoculars.

- - - -
There was also a variation to the minimalist bag shown at A) in my previous post. It had the addition of green trim
and seems to have been briefly provided following the introduction of the original EL x42 in 1999.

- - - -
The images in this and the previous post show bags that have been typically provided with the full size roof prism models.
However, there were most likely variations depending on what could be sourced at a particular time.
In addition, there are models unique to the current and previous CL x30 lines; and also the current and previous Pocket lines.


John


Image Sources:
1) 2016 eBay listing by alafay.6nvjr
2) 2021 eBay listing by quinntrillion
3) 2022 eBay listing by s.c_81
4) 2018 ebay listing by glenshipgm
5) 2020 eBay listing by cristiagheorghit-7
6) & 7) 2016 eBay listing by suburbanpickers
8) 2013 listing by John Moran Auctioneers
9) Swarovski Optik
10) 2014 eBay listing by mactina
11) 2015 listing by karate_shiatsu

Such a thorough write up! I really appreciate the work you put into this! Very thoughtful and researched. I appreciate it.
 
These Swaros are my first pair of "Alpha" level binoculars and just fyi, I am not a professional optics reviewer. Just a regular guys opinion and observations.

I was upgrading from mid-tier level ~$500 binoculars which were good but I just knew there had to be more. Just a quick short history, I've spent time with some Vortex Vipers, Nikon Monarch 7's, and currently own some Kowa BD II XD (all 8x42). But I kept reading about how great top tier binoculars like Swarovski were. I know there are other brands but for whatever reason I was drawn to Swarovski.

Once I got my hands on these I could immediately tell they are a high quality product. I love the fit and finish of the binoculars. The rain guards fit perfectly with a satisfying hold. I love the attachment system of the eye cups, it is very clean and they pop in and out easily but feel secure. I love the unique strap connection system. They include different mounts so you can attach traditional straps other than the unique Swarovski attachment. The only downside here, which I will admit, is baffling given the price- they do not come with a case of any kind, just a bag. Oh well. There are a few other small accessories and paperwork.

Then we get to the view, which is what we all care about right? The first thing I notice is just the overall clarity of the image. It is SO clear and crisp. You may think your current binoculars are sharp that I'm convinced until you look through a top tier binocular, you don't really know sharpness. These are crisp and clear literally all the way to the edge. There is no "sweet spot" because the entire view is sweet. They are wonderfully bright in perfectly lit conditions, however, they really shine in more dim light like at dawn/dusk. I’ve used these binoculars to view birds in my backyard until well after sunset. There is virtually no chromatic aberration visible until the final ~5% of the outer edges and even then you really have to look for it. The depth of focus is also better than all other binoculars I've used and focus wheel feels smooth and light.

Another big point, I am a glasses wearer and some binoculars can be very finnicky when it comes to placement and eye relief. Not so with these! With 20mm of eye relief it is so nice to have a pair that I can use with virtually no hassle while wearing my glasses. I bring them up and every time I have a perfect image.

Lastly, I would say the main thing I have noticed with these is just how easy on my eyes they are. All pairs of binoculars I’ve had in the past would eventually give me some type of eye strain. Some are much better or worse than others, but it seemed like no matter how good, I could only look through them for a while before my eyes started to feel tired. With these Swarovski EL’s, I have not experienced this feeling once! And I have been so captivated by the view that I can hardly stop looking through them when I put them up to my face. To me, this fact alone is almost enough to justify the price tag.

Overall, I highly recommend these binoculars! You will not be disappointed.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top