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Slc 8x30 (1 Viewer)

dries1

Well-known member
I have had these for a while, and not really paid attention to them until this week. I did send them to Swarovski to do a service check, since they were not really used much and were in storage for a longtime, former owner.

Anyhow they are a fun 8X30, with almost an 8 degree FOV and surprising me with the excellent resolution. If one can get used to focusing with the ring finger, (the focus knob is at the base), they are a great buy. The close focus is a bit on the long side for those who enjoy looking at insects close up, for my viewing not an issue.

As Roger Vine states in his review of the SLC 8X30 - which I found to be very insightful. Make sure that the one you may be interested in has the latest coatings, otherwise they would provide sort of a dim view.

Nice 8X30 which some would call outdated, for me a nice 8X30 to take on long walks. This is small as I go, no 8X25s for me.

Andy W.
 

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mooreorless

Well-known member
Hi Andy I have that exact same binocular! and the serial number is D773601593. I focus with the middle finger. I traded an older non phase-coated Swarovski 8x30 binocular. I really like mine. I have an old thread about Lost Creek Shoe Shop and this is where I traded the old swaro.
 

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Jason44

Member
Hello Andy
Glad you are enjoying the SLC 8x30. They are a good binocular. I have the earlier version SLC 8x30 MKII I purchased new back in 1994, and I have really enjoyed them thru the years. I am getting close to sending them in to Swarovski for there first service check ever, as I guess they are way over do for that. But in all these years, they have never given me any problems. For me also, 8x30 is as small as I go.

Jason
 

dries1

Well-known member
Yes Steve and Jason, they are a pleasant surprise, a nice 8X30 and for those looking, they are out there. Swarovski still has the parts for them which is a good thing. Once I got used to the focus wheel, it all came together. They seem to be very well built.
Steve, I have to get to Mifflintown to check out that store...by the way the thread is on the web when looking up the store, some funny and informative posts with you Brock, Jerry and others, it was a blast reading it again.

Andy W.
 

mooreorless

Well-known member
Andy I just checked that and was surprised a link to the whole thread. I sure miss going there. The people were very nice and gave me a very good deal.
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
I too have an SLC 8x30 neu along with considerable affection for it. When I again became interested in binoculars around 5 years ago, it was my second purchase after a Nikon EII 8x30
So some observations for those who might be considering a pair . . . .

Front Focuser Operation
When many pick up a binocular they use by default what I think of as a ‘Central, Mirror Image Hold’, i.e.
- the hands are under the point of balance (and the person relies on eyecup contact to correctly position the eyepieces), and
- both hands are in the same relative position (a mirror image about the axle)

However, there are options and combinations including:
- Rear, Central or Front holds, and
- Symmetrical or Asymmetrical hand placement


And the 8x30 SLC’s are one example where I deviate from the default. My basic hold is:
- the left hand at the rear, with my index finger and thumb respectively providing brow and nose contact to index the eyepieces
(see my previous post starting from ‘A No Cost Alternative’, especially regarding index finger and thumb placement: https://www.birdforum.net/showpost.php?p=3849729&postcount=6 ), and

- the right hand slightly forward of a central hold, so that I can comfortably focus with my middle finger, and with my ring and little fingers on the objective housing
(my fingers are relatively thin, so both can rest on the objective housing without obscuring the right objective)
I find the use of the middle finger for focusing considerably easier than the ring finger


Coatings
Swarovski progressively introduced dielectric prism coating aka Swarobright on it’s roof prism models
Units are not marked, but by my observation of box labels, the change on the 8x30’s was between January 2002 and March 2003 (D7204 84805 and D7312 88938)
i.e. with ‘Alpha + 9 digit’ pattern numbering: the first 2 numbers indicate the year - add 1930; the next 2 numbers the week of the year

Additionally, Swarovski introduced it’s low friction external lens coating aka Swaroclean in 2007
Again units are not marked, but by box labels it was between November 2006 and November 2007 (D7646 99630 and D7746 02172)

And like other premium manufacturers, without announcement Swarovski periodically updates it’s lens and prism coatings
So in general later production is incrementally better (with both higher and more even transmission - see the next post)

However, we do know that with the introduction of the EL Swarovision in 2009, Swarovski updated the anti-reflective coatings on all product lines
For more detail see the posts by Dale Forbes of Swarovski, especially #29: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=155446
So SLC production since 2009 has the ‘paper white’ image now associated with current Swarovski optics


Summary - SLC neu Versions
The SLC neu covering was introduced at the start of 2005, and the last 8x30 I’ve seen dates from February 2011 (D8104). So:
- all the neu’s have Swarobright
- those from 2007 also have Swaroclean, and
- those from 2009 have the last significant change to the AR coatings

continued . . .
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Transmission
As usual, Gijs van Ginkel is the go-to source, see: https://www.houseofoutdoor.com/verrekijkers/verrekijkers-testen-en-vergelijken/

I’ve attached a graph showing progression of transmission in the 8x30’s - see ‘Compact kijkers 2005’
It shows:
- a pre-Swarobright version (pre 2002/2003)
- an early Swarobright version (between 2002/2003 and 2005)
- an SLC neu version (from 2005 - so prior to the 2009 AR coating update)

The curve of the neu reflects improved AR coatings, and may also indicate refinement to the prism coatings

And for those interested in seeing how much roof prism transmission has improved since 2005, Gijs also provides graphs of:
- various current 8x32 models - see the Meopta test of May 2016, and
- the original and new versions of the Swarovski CL x30 models - see the December 2017 test


Image Colour
My 8x30 neu dates from mid 2006 (D7621) and has a very slight yellow aspect to it
It’s comparable to both my late 1999 Swarovski Habicht 8x30 Porro (A6944) and also a much more recent Leica Ultravid HD 7x42
(in contrast, my Nikon 8x30 EII #811,134 purchased from Japan in 2014, has subjectively around twice the ‘yellowness’)

While my SLC’s image is not technically as ‘correct’ as current Swarovski’s, it is certainly not objectionable
And for much general viewing I find it preferable - especially in the harsh white light of an Australian summer


Resolution
On axis, my 8x30 neu shows slightly less fine detail than my 2013 8x30 Habicht Porro prism binocular
However, this is only readily noticeable on direct comparison by switching back and forth


As a Second Hand Choice
The 8x30 neu’s may lack the highest levels of detail and transmission to be found on current premium models
However SLC’s are known for their durability and the 8x30’s are no exception
And taking into account Swarovski’s after sales service, they would seem to be a much better long term prospect,
than many new comparably priced generic binoculars from recently established companies


John
 

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mooreorless

Well-known member
John SONA repaired my old non phase-coated 7x30 SLC that I had traded in for the newer model 8x32SLC 9yrs. ago in Feb. I used it for quite some time before I traded it and one of the reasons I bought another Swarovski binocular.
 
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John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
SLC x30 History & Versions

Expanding on my previous posts about the SLC neu 8x30’s, this seems to be a convenient place to include the history of all the SLC x30 variations

The SLC x30’s were made for 27 years from 1985 to 2011:
- the 8x30 was introduced in 1985, and the last I’ve observed is dated February 2011 (D8104)
- the 7x30 was introduced in 1986, and the last I’ve observed is dated May 2001 (D7118)

The 8x30 SLC was replaced in 2011 by the 8x30 and 10x30 CL models
(the 8x32 and 10x32 EL models had been introduced in 2003, with the x32 EL Swarovision models following in 2011)


The SLC x30’s were the first Swarovski binoculars to use roof prisms, specifically Schmidt-Pechan’s
And for some context:
- the first Swarovski product to use roof prisms was the AZF draw tube telescope introduced in 1967, with Abbe-Koenig prisms
- in contrast, both the DT binocular telescopes introduced in 1982, and the fixed tube AT/ ST telescopes introduced in 1991, used Porro prisms, and
- roof prisms were not used in fixed tube telescopes until the ATS/ STS series introduced in 2002, with Schmidt-Pechan prisms


A) Different Marks
During the 27 year production of the SLC x30’s there were a number of changes, some major and others minor
Swarovski specifically identified some - but not all - by designating them as different Marks
And although I’ve seen people group the various changes up to Mark VI, the Marks below are those that I’ve identified as being used by Swarovski


Mark I
The original versions introduced in 1985 and 1986 were respectively the 8x30 W and the 7x30 B, with W indicating a wide angle of view, and B long eye relief

Both were externally focused via a shared tele-objective featuring an air spaced doublet
- see the cross section of a Mark I 7x30 B; per Henry Link: https://www.birdforum.net/showpost.php?p=2215925&postcount=237

The 2 models differed in eyepiece construction, and the longer eye relief 7x30 can be visually recognised by its larger diameter eye lens

From their introduction, the SLC’s had Swarotop multi-coating
A graph showing the transmission performance of 2 early units can be found in Gijs van Ginkel’s presentation on Swarovski Optik
see ‘History and quality development of Swarovski Optik 1935-present time’ at: https://www.houseofoutdoor.com/verrekijkers/verrekijkers-testen-en-vergelijken/

As can be seen by comparison to the graph in my previous post, there was a significant increase in the performance of the SLC’s in the 20 years from 1985


Mark II
In 1989, Swarovski upgraded the original x30 by:
- phase coating the 2 roofed surfaces of the prisms
- sealing the unit with a planar glass at the front of the objective housing, and
- revising the optical design
As the new version was designated Mark II, the original became Mk I

Phase coating was developed and first used by Zeiss in 1988, and then was quickly adopted by other manufacturers
It was a significant advance for roof prisms as it eliminated the inherent slight softness to the image, due to the de-phasing of the light column as it was reflected from the 2 roofed surfaces

The units were sealed by the expedient of placing a flat glass on the front of the previously open objective housings
- see the cross-section of a Mark II 8x30 WB; again per Henry Link: https://www.birdforum.net/showpost.php?p=2215889&postcount=235

The original tele-objective was replaced by a shared conventional cemented doublet which continued to provide the focusing function

And the 8x30 had the new designation of 8x30 WB, indicating longer eye relief - which required a more complex eyepiece

For easy visual distinction:
- the Mk II is readily distinguished by the closed front to the objective housings, and
- the 8x30 WB eye lens is the same diameter as that of the 7x30 B, verses the smaller one of 8x30 W

As can be seen from the image, the x30’s have a complex skeletonised body. And an alternate view can be seen in the image from the 1991 paper ‘Progress in Binocular Design’ by Konrad Seil
- the 2.1 MB paper is at: https://wp.optics.arizona.edu/optomech/wp-content/uploads/sites/53/2016/10/Seil-1991.pdf

From this point on the optical design remained the same, though there were upgrades to the various coatings


continued . . .
 

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John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
- - - -
An Interlude - Early Swarotop Multi-Coating

Swarovski introduced Swarotop multi-coating on its product lines in the early 1980’s

However there were 2 significant exceptions:
- the traditional style Habicht Porro prism binoculars (in contrast to the SL Porros introduced in 1982), and
- the metric pattern telescopic sights (in contrast to the 1” diameter body sights introduced in 1985)
both of which continued to use DV dual layer coating (it was on the Habichts until 1992)

I was initially inclined to the view that the Habichts were not multicoated so as to provide greater product differentiation with the then new SL’s
(However, not multi-coating the telescopic sights that were primarily for the European market was harder to put into such a context)
See my observations here: https://www.birdforum.net/showpost.php?p=3803698&postcount=18

I’d also went on to observe, on the basis of various transmission graphs compiled by Gijs
- that in comparing the multi-coated coated SL Porros to the dual coated Habicht Porros
- at least in the original form, Swarotop was significantly less efficient than the mature form of DV coating
see https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=371675&page=2

And as can again be seen from the SLC data, the 1985 Swarotop coated unit has very low transmission levels, consistent with the SL data
(To enable a quick comparison, I’ve attached a copy of the DV coated Habicht performance from the above post.
Notwithstanding it has the advantage of both less air-to-glass surfaces and Porro prisms, the difference is still striking)

I think on the basis of both the SL and SLC data, it's reasonable to conclude that:
- at least in the early to mid 1980’s, DV coating was the better choice when maximum transmission was required, and therefore
- its continuing use on both the Habicht Porros and the metric sights was for functional reasons
(though of course in the longer term, advances in multi-coating were going to provide both greater transmission and a more neutral coloured image)

I’d be very interested if any of the forum’s German speaking members have access to magazine articles from the 1980’s,
where the performance of Swarovski’s then new multi-coated optics was compared to the DV coated versions
- - - -

continued . . .
 

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John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Mark III
The Mark III version dates from 1994 and has:
- a new style of body covering (see below) and
- the addition of push-pull eyecups (verses the original folding rubber ones)
Both can be fitted to earlier production, and the eyecups can be replaced by users

Following on from the Mk III changes, 2 additional changes were separately introduced:
- twist eyecups replaced the push-pull ones, and
- a locking diopter knob (press to release and rotate) replaced the friction set one
Again both changes can be fitted to earlier production, and again the eyecups can be changed by users

The 2 changes had been introduced earlier on the 7x42 and 10x42 models (which had commenced production in 1992), and by 1997 the x30’s had the twist eyecups

And during this period, hard coating of the external lenses aka Swarodur, was introduced on the Swarovski product lines


Mark IV
The Mark IV dates from 2002. It refers to the addition of dielectric prism coating aka Swarobright of the non-Total Internal Reflection surface of the Schmidt-Pechan prism pair

The multiple layers of the dielectric coatings combined to give an image with more intense colours across the full spectrum
(in contrast, the previous silver coating: produced less intense colours, and; as it was deficient in the blue portion of the spectrum made the image slightly yellow)

And at this point we can link back to my earlier comments about Coatings in post #6 above . . .


B) Body Coverings
The x30 SLC’s used 4 different styles of rubber armour covering:

- the original multi-piece covering in grey, black or green (it echoes the pattern of the SL Porro prism binoculars introduced in 1982) - used from 1985 to the end of 1993

- a simplified version in black or green - from 1994 to mid-2000

- a more streamlined version in black or green (it lacks the distinct ‘shoulders’ of the previous version) - from mid-2000 to the end of 2004

- the neu version in forrest green with black bridge insert - from 2005 to 2011

See the 4 styles in the first 3 images from Gijs van Ginkel’s presentation on Swarovski Optik’s (per my earlier post),
along with a 7x42 SL Porro prism for comparison with the first version

n.b. while the second version was introduced in 1994 along with the Mark III changes, neither of the later RA covering introductions correspond with the Mark IV change


continued . . .


Coverings from left to right: Version 1- in 3 colours; Versions 1 & 2; Versions 2, 3 & 4; and for comparison an SL 7x42
 

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John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
C) Upgraded & Intermediate Units
Swarovski has long provided a generous maintenance programme, and it routinely replaces parts that are considered to be out of specification at no cost
Depending on what needs to be replaced, a unit may either:
- be upgraded with all the features of a later Mark
- or have a mixture of features


Coverings
Especially on older units, rubber armour is often replaced when servicing takes place
Units from prior to mid-2000 (those with either 1st or 2nd version coverings) are frequently fitted with the 3rd version covering
However, I’ve not observed any units dating from prior to 2005 fitted with the neu style covering. This seems to be a deliberate distinction by Swarovski


Mechanical and Optical Parts
One example of intermediate units that I’ve seen several instances of, is Mk I 8x30 W's where as expected:
- the objectives don’t have a cover plate, and
- the eyepieces have the small diameter 8x30 W eye lens
but where they are fitted with a diopter knob marked ‘8x30WB’

It seems that in these instances the diopter knob needed to be replaced but there were no earlier marked ones available
- so the WB marking on the knob used does not correctly indicate the optical construction


In Summary
In attempting to determine a unit’s optical and mechanical components:
- replaceable features (especially the covering) are only ever indicative of when a unit was produced
- serial numbering is definitive in determining when a unit was produced and hence its features - at the time of production
- but a unit may have since been updated to a lesser or greater degree

and then there is the complication of DA numbering . . .


DA Numbering and Dating
When SONA services a unit - and the servicing requires the replacement of the part which has the original serial number - a new number is issued

The number comprises 9 digits in the form of ‘AA + 7’, where:
- the first letter indicates the product line (with SLC's the original ‘D’ designation)
- the second letter ‘A’ indicates a SONA issued number
- the first 2 numerals the year of issue (add 1930)
- the remaining numerals a sequential number

So in such instances the number does not indicate the original date of production, but the year of component replacement

On SLC’s I’ve observed numbers from DA64 00371 to DA87 19016
I’ve also observed a later unit DA89 10275, which may indicate that since 2017 the sequence was reset to a 10000 start
(perhaps when the original sequence reached 20000)


The 7x30 and Swarobright?
Although this has been speculated on in various posts, Swarobright was never applied to the 7x30
Swarobright was progressively introduced on the various SLC models commencing in late 1998
And production of the 7x30 ceased in 2001 before it was updated (the 8x30 was updated in 2002/ 2003)

However, at least at one time Swarovski offered the option of upgrading a pre-Swarobright 7x30 to make it a Swarobright 8x30
This involved replacing all the glass and associated parts, see post #11: https://www.birdforum.net/showpost.php?p=3824199&postcount=6


So enough for now!


John
 
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