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New Coatings on NL ? (2 Viewers)

Vespobuteo

Well-known member
Appreciate the main point that Tim was trying to make with this thread as well. The NL Pure was the first device that Swarovski was heralding as completely PTFE free (this was highlighted in their company reports) This of course demanded the implementation of new lens coatings, gaskets, seals, and new materials in high-friction areas such as the focus mechanism. While I’m in favor of controlling significant environmental impacts, the question remained if those newly substituted materials would be equal to PTFE features in field performance or would they result in some degradation of function. I can say that when I was face-to-face with Swarovski reps at multiple trade shows it was a topic they absolutely did not want to discuss.
They dropped SWAROCLEAN as far as I know but I don't think they replaced it with anything?

Do you have a reference to the PTFE-free claims? I find nothing on their "modern" website (it's mess).

Less efficient gaskets + water = sticky focuser reports? Is that what you suggest?
 

AlphaFan

Well-known member
United States
They dropped SWAROCLEAN as far as I know but I don't think they replaced it with anything?
According to their reps, SW did replace it but they didn’t offer a trademarked name for the new coating. After all, it’s pretty hard to best the image a name like “SwaroClean” conveys.

Do you have a reference to the PTFE-free claims? I find nothing on their "modern" website (it's mess).
It was in their published company reports a few years back (you can research and find - it was fairly prominent and not at all hidden), don’t remember it being in consumer marketing materials. The claim was the NL Pure was to be their first completely PTFE-free product, and they were targeting their entire line of optical devices to be PTFE “Teflon” free by some targeted future date.

Less efficient gaskets + water = sticky focuser reports? Is that what you suggest?
There were multiple reports of unexplained dramatic changes to focus mechanism stiction after saturation in early production samples of the NL Pure. Since Teflon is legendary at shedding any negative effects from exposure to water/environmental factors and remaining slick enough to make a Gecko nervous, I’m suggesting that the initial combinations of materials (some replacing Teflon) may not have performed as expected in sustained exposure to field environments, or their initial properties may not have been as durable when subjected to repeated environmental exposure as the PTFE materials they replaced. Regardless, when proven super-slick materials in a device are replaced and reports of dramatic, unexplained changes to stiction follow — hopefully it is just QC and sample variation, but it warrants scrutiny and further testing.
 

dries1

Member
I could see after the initial introduction/rollout of the NL that the focus issues be resolved, however I still have my doubts about the optics, I do not think there have been any tweaks. I think as users who get used to how to use the NL (eye placement), the issue of glare will be discussed less.
 

tenex

reality-based
I can say that when I was face-to-face with Swarovski reps at multiple trade shows it was a topic they absolutely did not want to discuss.
So encouraging... I suppose this is why it's called "Pure". (That marketing reached far fewer buyers than they imagine; there's no hint on shop webpages I've seen.)

I am so enjoying my SLC...
 
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GrampaTom

Well-known member
United States
Appreciate the main point that Tim was trying to make with this thread as well. The NL Pure was the first device that Swarovski was heralding as completely PTFE free (this was highlighted in their company reports) This of course demanded the implementation of new lens coatings, gaskets, seals, and new materials in high-friction areas such as the focus mechanism. While I’m in favor of controlling significant environmental impacts, the question remained if those newly substituted materials would be equal to PTFE features in field performance or would they result in some degradation of function. I can say that when I was face-to-face with Swarovski reps at multiple trade shows it was a topic they absolutely did not want to discuss.

Although I’ve yet to buy one, I’ve spent a good deal of time looking through and comparing the NL Pure to other premium offerings. This is not a comprehensive review and only my personal observations noting a few surprises that may be related to coatings and non-PTFE; and as has been said numerous times “everyone’s eyes are a bit different.“ A few things that stood out to me were - (1) the 8x42 offered the most comfortable view and obviously so to my eyes (although the FOV was far beyond what I could absorb); (2) I did see glare (was looking for it) and in addition did not like how the image handled reflective surfaces - curiously, I found the NL Pure image absolutely stellar and at its best in overcast conditions; (3) handling a number of different samples I did notice a variation in overall resistance, resistance in different focus directions, and overall smoothness of the focus mechanism; (4) I live in a very high humidity area and did notice my friend’s NL Pure tended to externally fog more easily than other binoculars in the group. NOTE: All of my observations were with very early production samples.

Both here and on other internet sites there have been reports of glare, external fogging, and sudden changes in stiction of the focus mechanism after saturation. While these issues may simply be quality control and sample variation (especially with early production samples). Those reporting their experiences were often gaslit and scorched to the point of discouraging anyone else from reporting issues.

Very happy to see Tim’s report of improvements he’s seen in newer samples of the NL Pure. Based on direct experiences with SW reps, if they did recently implement changes/upgrades to manufacturing materials and coatings SW would not likely announce it. But Tim’s report may make me re-visit the line.

Thanks Tim, appreciate your honesty and courage to report your actual observations/preferences. Further evidenced by your public declaration in committing to buy an orange one 😉
Maybe John Roberts can chime in here. re this, "The NL Pure was the first device that Swarovski was heralding as completely PTFE free (this was highlighted in their company reports) This of course demanded the implementation of new lens coatings, gaskets, seals, and new materials in high-friction areas such as the focus mechanism. " I dont remember the list in that last sentence. There was discussion of the PTFE/Swaroclean for sure, see post above. I do think I recall we had here the corporate statement about it, just don't remember that it applied to anything other than Swaroclean. I could be wrong. Was not able to lay my eye on it after a bit of searching. I bet John has that original Swaro announcement?

I dont recall the gaslighting you refer to. I do recall there was a certain amount of individual reporting of what seemed isolated experiences, that then became sort of folklore brought forward as fact, repeated constantly here on BF as if it had been statistically verified.
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Hi AlphaFan,

In post #20 you stated:
'The NL Pure was the first device that Swarovski was heralding as completely PTFE free (this was highlighted in their company reports)'

And you went on to say:
. . .
It was in their published company reports a few years back (you can research and find - it was fairly prominent and not at all hidden), don’t remember it being in consumer marketing materials. The claim was the NL Pure was to be their first completely PTFE-free product, and they were targeting their entire line of optical devices to be PTFE “Teflon” free by some targeted future date.
. . .

So I for one would be very interested in seeing the reports that you are referring to.
Can you provide a link?


The NL’s press release makes no mention of it either being PTFE-free, or not using Swaroclean coating.
It starts by stating that the reliability and long life of Swarovski products reduces their environmental impact.
It then specifically notes that the NL Pure accessories also have a focus on sustainability.
And then later on talks in some detail about them.

And nor are the changes mentioned in other consumer material on or following the NL’s release.


The first that I (and I imagine most others) became aware of the discontinuation of Swaroclean - across all the product lines -
was in July last year.
And it was the result of a conversation that retired2021 had with Swarovski:
Fascinated by the condensation “issue” and possible explanations I approached Swarovski directly and asked the question about SwaroClean and possible changes in condensation properties..
The answer was:
-quote - Swarovski gives top priority to sustainable products and reduction of environmental impact during their manufacture. Therefore the SWAROCLEAN coating is no longer applied to all SWAROVSKI OPTIK products. With this step all coatings become PFC-free. This change does not affect the optical quality of the product or its service life. The NL PURE series has been without SWAROCLEEAN since the beginning of production. For the EL binoculars, the coating was changed over in the course of 2020. – unquote-.

Condensation is obviously not an "optical property", hence I zoomed into the condensation properties in a follow-up question and directly asked to comment on effects from the change on possible condensation .

The answer was
-quote- According to our research and development department, it is assured that there are no optical disadvantages in quality or life time of lenses through this devoid of PFC. There are no consequences of more condensation with proper use and stocking. -unquote-

Anyone can draw their own conclusions from the answers of Swarovski.
PFC are fluorocarbons. This type of chemistry is in industry known amongst others for potentially creating hydrophobic (water repellant) properties to surfaces. The interesting point of Swarovski’s answer: “There are no consequences of more condensation with proper use and stocking” to me is the last part: “with proper use and stocking”…..
Does “proper use” mean “use under conditions when there is no condensation”?

Although I explicitly asked about Lead, there was no comment on that.

We “birders” are all nature lovers that should be concerned about environmental issues that threat our beautiful planet.
Personally I’m more than happy “to possibly pay a small price of some condensation in certain situations” to gain in the environmental area.

So as I said, I’d be very interested in seeing the additional information.


John


p.s. Hi Tom, just the query I was about to make!
 

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AlphaFan

Well-known member
United States
Hi John, I was relating from memory something I'd read in a Swarovski company report (not a press release or marketing material) - but it was well over a year ago. Looked around, but unfortunately didn't save it anywhere. But I have to apologize to all on birdforum as subsequent posts have identified (and reminded me) that it was indeed focused on becoming PFC-free (Flurocarbon) and not PTFE-free (my bad, in front of everyone). The focus of at least that section of the report was on Swarovski's commitment to limit environmental impacts and maximize sustainable use. It also discussed partnerships and their efforts to identify suppliers committed to limiting environmental impacts.

As you point out, and as your embedded NL Pure Press Release clearly demonstrates - although Swarovski provided incredible detail on the environmental purity of provided accessories, there was only an extremely vague general statement on the diminished environmental impact of their optical devices. So, it does beg the question as to why Swarovski was "hush, hush" in their press release about eliminating SWAROCLEAN from the NL Pure and becoming PFC free. It is now fairly widely accepted that SWAROCLEAN is not applied to the NL Pure (even without an accompanying press release). As to SW's commitment to make their optics PFC-free, I would encourage doubters to contact Swarovski and ask them directly to either verify or deny.
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Hi AlphaFan,

In terms of a report, it may have been Swarovski Optik’s 2016 Sustainability Report?

It used to available on the Swarovski site, but I presume that due to it’s age it’s now been removed *
However, a copy can be found at: https://assets.ctfassets.net/pvkenu...9c5d0d4002844/Sustainability_Report_Final.pdf

It contains various general environmental commitment statements, along with some more specific details about sourcing materials.
For an idea of the most specific the report gets, see post #77 at: Why can't Swarovski get a little thing right? NL Objective cover issues.
(The post also links to what we currently know about the TPU plastics used for the current RA coverings.)

And more recently on the Swarovski site, there’s been various information about their increasing environmental commitment.
However, as none went into the level of detail that you indicated, you can understand my interest.


John


* The report is still a source of all sorts of useful information, not found elsewhere.
So hopefully we’ll see a new one soon e.g. the Swarovski Crystal business produces one each two years.
 

GrampaTom

Well-known member
United States
Hi John, I was relating from memory something I'd read in a Swarovski company report (not a press release or marketing material) - but it was well over a year ago. Looked around, but unfortunately didn't save it anywhere. But I have to apologize to all on birdforum as subsequent posts have identified (and reminded me) that it was indeed focused on becoming PFC-free (Flurocarbon) and not PTFE-free (my bad, in front of everyone). The focus of at least that section of the report was on Swarovski's commitment to limit environmental impacts and maximize sustainable use. It also discussed partnerships and their efforts to identify suppliers committed to limiting environmental impacts.

As you point out, and as your embedded NL Pure Press Release clearly demonstrates - although Swarovski provided incredible detail on the environmental purity of provided accessories, there was only an extremely vague general statement on the diminished environmental impact of their optical devices. So, it does beg the question as to why Swarovski was "hush, hush" in their press release about eliminating SWAROCLEAN from the NL Pure and becoming PFC free. It is now fairly widely accepted that SWAROCLEAN is not applied to the NL Pure (even without an accompanying press release). As to SW's commitment to make their optics PFC-free, I would encourage doubters to contact Swarovski and ask them directly to either verify or deny.
"hush, hush"? Was this something they should have announced? They didnt cover it up. Describing what coatings were on the NLs, Swaroclean was missing. Many here caught that. Its why you know about it. I made a guess back then this wasnt about environmental impacts on us, but more likely on workers and the environment from manufacturing plant processes. Discussing this in other than marketing materials seems responsible.
 
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Viraj

Well-known member
Germany
The environment is not only for them but also includes the whole world. Even PFAS are found in arctic glaciers because they are transported there with clouds (see the figure attached). European Union changing legacy PFAS materials to new substitutes so Swarovski is in-line with environmental regulations and sustainability approaches. However as users, sometimes it is not convenient to use binoculars with external fogging. My Habichts are also suffering from this problem. I hope they will soon discover a viable alternative for SwaroClean.
 

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tenex

reality-based
Somehow the recent obsession with PFAS makes people forget the literally thousands of other chemicals of all sorts emitted or deliberately applied for many decades which are actual poisons, or just known to be toxic and to bioaccumulate etc, or (mostly) have never even been identified or had their toxicity investigated. In that context, if someone in Absam (whose own pollution surely contains many others as well) could snap their fingers and eliminate PFAS entirely from the world it would make little ultimate difference. Human industrial activity and population growth are so unimaginably far from sustainable that talk of "sustainability" is self-absorbed nonsense. And it's making your eyepieces fog up.
 
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dries1

Member
The workers who have to work around and be close to these materials are the most important factor IMO for protection and regulations, the rest not so much.
 

AlphaFan

Well-known member
United States
"hush, hush"? Was this something they should have announced?
Yes, as it is certainly not an insignificant departure from the standard (field proven) set of lens coatings applied across its entire line of premium optics, which has the potential to impact field performance and increase the vulnerability of the lenses to environmental factors and other damage. Although the perceived significance of such a change will vary throughout individuals in their targeted customer base, this change should have been of the NL’s press release. After all, they went into exhaustive detail on the environmental virtues of the included accessories. I can only conclude that it wasn’t included in the NL press release or subsequent marketing materials was that SW determined this particular change would not be viewed as positive by a significant segment of their target market. It also generates some doubt as to what other changes SW is making to their optical devices that go unannounced. The public announcement of the elimination of SWAROCLEAN would also tend to create a marketing disadvantage as Zeiss is still applying LotuTech and Leica still applies Aquadura across their premium lines of optics.

This also aligns with Tim’s original theme for this thread. In his view, Swarovski may have indeed made some unannounced updates to the NL Pure after its release. Albeit the changes he noticed were generally all positive and performance enhancing.
 

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