• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

SLC 8x42 vs EL SV 8.5x42 (1 Viewer)

Hello, SLC 8x42 or EL 8.5x42? If the difference is only 300 USD between both after revamped prices? Just to mention i have SLC and Monarch HG and love them. Is EL Imagewise really better than SLC?
 

jremmons

Wildlife Biologist
Hi Adael,
I've owned the 8x42 SLC-HD (the original model with two toned armor) and currently own the 8.5x42 EL SV FP. I would say the EL is a bit more color neutral and has a flatter field with true edge to edge sharpness. The SLC is certainly no slouch and honestly if I had not been forced to sell it at the time, I don't know that I would've jumped ship to the EL SV. That said, I also prefer the 8.5x magnification to 8x, and to me it does make an appreciable difference.

Justin
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Hi Adeel,

Brief thoughts from me as I bought an SLC 8x42 online in lockdown but also have some use of an 8.5x42 EL Field Pro (i.e. latest version before they strangled the close focus to downgrade it to 'Legend' status.) The SLC of course has had reduced (=more distant) close focus capability for some time now.

Both to me are top grade and give a fine view. The main difference in effect that I see when looking through them is that the SLC has very great contrast and a more traditional 3D style image with some (but really not much at all) fall-off near the edges. The darker shades are rendered exceptionally well to my eyes at least: good strong blacks while keeping the detail (e.g. blackbird feathers). Nice luxuriant colours and nicely dissolved out of focus background. The EL has flat field all the way with extremely high resolution; this is a big 'wow' but overall personally -- and it depends on your own taste -- I am not the flat field's biggest fan as it makes things look to me more like a picture on a biscuit tin than being in the picture, which is how the SLC grabs me. Both are top flight instruments and if (not saying it definitely is) the EL resolution is higher the gain is cancelled in my opinion by the SLC's contrast. Which ever you get should give you lots of reasons for enjoyment but it depends what you like in terms of the type of view. The only thing that would make me give up one or other would be actually to give up both and later buy an NL Pure, as only this morning by chance I was shown one and it was a beauty to handle and I loved the image and the colours. (Also 8 x 42.)

I absolutely agree with Justin about the colour difference: to me, especially comparing with Leica and Zeiss, the colour of the EL 8.5 is slightly blue-biased but feels more neutral than say the strongly saturated slightly red-biased Leica view; personally I wouldn't notice except in direct comparison with the other makes. And yes the SLC is a bit warmer than neutral, maybe a bit yellower, but please bear in mind that this is my perception, shared by some but not by all.

Tom
 
Last edited:

Gray C

Newbie birder
I have the 8x42 SLC. With the exception of the new NL, do I really need any other 8x42 binocular, or am I really just buying another pair for the sake of it, with no real discernible difference in quality of optics? I accept that the new NL is probably on a new level.

I don't have money to burn.

Thoughts
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Gray, when I tried the new NL (I wasn't planning to; the shop owner brought it out as a surprise when I was buying batteries) I did think it was very very good. But when using my SLC I am very happy with it and its handling is nice and easy, just as with the NL - I mean they are different but both easy to hold.

Personally I enjoy the SLC view more than EL though the EL has the slightly sharper definition (to me). Possibly the SLC has higher contrast and the EL higher definition, and both contrast and definition will presumably have an effect on how sharp a view looks, so as so often it boils down to personal taste.

If I had an NL I wouldn't keep the SLC or the EL. In fact there would still be money needed in part exchange. So nothing's going to happen! I would like to try the 12x just to see how it is handheld with such good ergonomics plus the headrest. But I have no need for one at all!

Tom
 

Gray C

Newbie birder
Tom

Thanks for your comments and thoughts. I feel I am perfectly happy with my SLCs and when I can afford it I may consider the NL 10x as an addition, but not as a replacement

I tried the NL 12x with the headrest and for my wobbly hands it was a bit too shaky but the 10x with the headrest was similar to my 8x, so my preference would be for the NL 10x but only with the headrest
 
Thanks everyone for your views. Seem not much difference between EL and SLC Myself have compared Monarch HG and SLC for months (both amazing) and i too feel that field flattening removes or reduces the 3D effect. With 3D effect one actually feels that he is actually in the Image, However it may be that field flattening is good for viewing Stars.
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Thanks everyone for your views. Seem not much difference between EL and SLC Myself have compared Monarch HG and SLC for months (both amazing) and i too feel that field flattening removes or reduces the 3D effect. With 3D effect one actually feels that he is actually in the Image, However it may be that field flattening is good for viewing Stars.

Adeel, you probably know the site already but Roger Vine has some very good and thorough reviews with comparisons in most cases; these are on his site scopeviews.co.uk His reviews will often go into detail about the characteristics of each instrument and how well it depicts stars. He is a flat field fan but also recognizes the strengths of other glass, including the SLC. As well as the big SLCs (56s) he is a fan of the SLC 10x42 as you will see if you go to his site.

All the best,

Tom
 

bassplayer

New member
Germany
Hi there,

new user here with the same old problem... ;) But during Corona & lockdown times it is impossible for me to try the binoculars for myself within the next 4-8 weeks. I feel like I have read all internet reviews and watched all YouTube videos on those two binos. Nevertheless I find it super hard to decide which one to pick since it is a "buy once, cry once" buying decision and I can't try them out myself.

I am not an experienced birder, I rather like to observe nature in general, go hiking and will obtain my hunting license later this year. This should be my allround, first high quality binoculars and I see two options:

A) Order the EL 8.5x42 SV first, send it back if I notice the rolling ball effect and find it bothering.
B) Order the SLC 8x42 first and hope that I won't feel like I'm missing the better edge-to-edge sharpness or the nicer haptic quality of the EL.

EL 8,5x42 SV are currently 1.734 €, the SLC 8x42 are 1.275 €. What do you guys think is the best strategy given the current situation?

Lucas
 

NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
I would purchase the El 8.5x42, it is clearly a better binocular in many ways, in both construction and optics.

The 42mm SLC is more of a mid-range model, and that is why it is being discontinued in favor of a new CL line.

Swarovski is trying to pare down its offerings to 3 levels, as in the stratosphere priced NL, the main line EL, as in who really needs the NL,
and then the midrange, newly updated CL model line.

Jerry
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Hi there,

new user here with the same old problem... ;) But during Corona & lockdown times it is impossible for me to try the binoculars for myself within the next 4-8 weeks. I feel like I have read all internet reviews and watched all YouTube videos on those two binos. Nevertheless I find it super hard to decide which one to pick since it is a "buy once, cry once" buying decision and I can't try them out myself.

I am not an experienced birder, I rather like to observe nature in general, go hiking and will obtain my hunting license later this year. This should be my allround, first high quality binoculars and I see two options:

A) Order the EL 8.5x42 SV first, send it back if I notice the rolling ball effect and find it bothering.
B) Order the SLC 8x42 first and hope that I won't feel like I'm missing the better edge-to-edge sharpness or the nicer haptic quality of the EL.

EL 8,5x42 SV are currently 1.734 €, the SLC 8x42 are 1.275 €. What do you guys think is the best strategy given the current situation?

Lucas
I have had them both, and I always preferred the EL 8.5x42. It is just better optically in a lot of different ways. Also, with the SLC 8x42 you are at risk of getting a funky focuser. The SLC 8x42 are notorious for funky focusers.
 

Gray C

Newbie birder
I would purchase the El 8.5x42, it is clearly a better binocular in many ways, in both construction and optics.

The 42mm SLC is more of a mid-range model, and that is why it is being discontinued in favor of a new CL line.

Swarovski is trying to pare down its offerings to 3 levels, as in the stratosphere priced NL, the main line EL, as in who really needs the NL,
and then the midrange, newly updated CL model line.

Jerry
I disagree. I think the SLC is on par with the EL optically. The only real difference being the non flat field on the SLC, which is not that much of an issue for many. Construction wise, the SLC is built like a tank. It may not be the prettiest binocular out there but it's certainly one of the best
 

kestrel1

Well-known member
Hello
I was having EL 8,5x42 SV (late 2009 production) for 2012-2015 and later switched to SLC 8x42 HD (2010 production) from 2016 up to now. The price difference between these two was about 250euro back 10 years, and it was well reflecting the Filed flattener,eye relief,little better close focus and focus past infinity as added value of EL. The EL was better than SLC when you compare the picture obtained via smartphone through barrels due flat field, but was not better in terms of fast scanning over landscape and marginally worse in twilight (as well due smaller exit pupil as transmission difference is subtle). These two lines represents different philosophies for different folks, and it worked well for Swarovski I think. With EL I can give only advice, and that you have only EL and not other binoculars. Otherwise you get rolling ball much pronounced. If you have only EL, it will not bother you that much.

EL is very little bit "astro" biased, SLC more terrestrial biased.

Best Regards
Alex
 

Arvaja

New member
Finland
Hi there,

new user here with the same old problem... ;) But during Corona & lockdown times it is impossible for me to try the binoculars for myself within the next 4-8 weeks. I feel like I have read all internet reviews and watched all YouTube videos on those two binos. Nevertheless I find it super hard to decide which one to pick since it is a "buy once, cry once" buying decision and I can't try them out myself.

[...] I am not an experienced birder, I rather like to observe nature in general, go hiking and will obtain
EL 8,5x42 SV are currently 1.734 €, the SLC 8x42 are 1.275 €. What do you guys think is the best strategy given the current situation?

Lucas
Hi there,

new user here with the same old problem... ;) But during Corona & lockdown times it is impossible for me to try the binoculars for myself within the next 4-8 weeks. I feel like I have read all internet reviews and watched all YouTube videos on those two binos. Nevertheless I find it super hard to decide which one to pick since it is a "buy once, cry once" buying decision and I can't try them out myself.

I am not an experienced birder, I rather like to observe nature in general, go hiking and will obtain my hunting license later this year. This should be my allround, first high quality binoculars and I see two options:

A) Order the EL 8.5x42 SV first, send it back if I notice the rolling ball effect and find it bothering.
B) Order the SLC 8x42 first and hope that I won't feel like I'm missing the better edge-to-edge sharpness or the nicer haptic quality of the EL.

EL 8,5x42 SV are currently 1.734 €, the SLC 8x42 are 1.275 €. What do you guys think is the best strategy given the current situation?

Lucas
You described exactly my situation. I’ve narrowed my options down to Swarovski in 8x42, but haven’t decided between SLC, EL and NL yet.

What was your decision? Happy with your choice?
 

etc

Well-known member
There is that option of pre-SV EL. I get it it hasn't been made in a decade. I don't accept the dogma I must have field flatteners. There is nothing wrong with the pre-field-flattener model EL. And no rolling ball. I never did once say, there is something wrong with my EL's picture. It's a solution in search of a problem.
 

tenex

reality-based
You described exactly my situation. I’ve narrowed my options down to Swarovski in 8x42, but haven’t decided between SLC, EL and NL yet.
Welcome to BF, Arvaja. NL (or older models of EL/SLC) offer closer focus. NL/ELSV have flat field, most important for astronomy; the field of SLC or older EL is still lovely and fully usable. EL is 8.5x, and open bridge. NL has wider field of view. SLC has slower focusing... and is rapidly disappearing. All are excellent, so what matters to you, and at what cost?
 
Last edited:

Arvaja

New member
Finland
Welcome to BF, Arvaja. NL (or older models of EL/SLC) offer closer focus. NL/ELSV have flat field, most important for astronomy; the field of SLC or older EL is still lovely and fully usable. EL is 8.5x, and open bridge. NL has wider field of view. SLC has slower focusing... and is rapidly disappearing. All are excellent, so what matters to you, and at what cost?
Thanks! The problem with binos is specs vs. reality. I can check e.g. eye relief on paper, but it’s very difficult to make real-life tests. I tried NL and EL side by side at the retailer and it certainly gave an idea, but only a very shallow idea. SLC I haven’t seen, so don’t know what I’ve missed. I know people who follow simple principle - always the best at any cost. I can do that, but is NL really the best? No astronomy, no close focusing. Eye relief very important. Large FOV ’yes’, good at poor light ’yes’. Physical size and weight, not that important.

Difficult, but fun!
 

casscade

Well-known member
Yeah imo the primary advantage if he NL and possibly the only advantage is FOV, imo the 8x42(19/20) model slc is the best or equal 8x view of any bin currently in regards to resolution, ease of view, wow factor, and color saturation. Some perceive some how the el is sharper, it isn’t m, not in my samples, actually the contrary, the SLC’s seem sharper from my experience.

Maybe it’s just sample to sample variation, it happens more often than I’d like. But comparing what I consider a cherry picked elsv to a cherry slc I prefer the slc view in every way other than the slight apparent fov of the el, it’s just more natural imo.

All that said FOV is huge imo, it gives an image perception that makes the bin or scope just better when all things equal over a lesser more tunneling fov. The older 8x50’s in Leica and Swaro, or the great Leica 7x42 have incredible views but I can’t handle such a small apparent fov, especially in a high end bin. So in that regard the NL or SF reign supreme, is it worth 1000 or so extra is the question.
 
Last edited:

AlphaFan

Member
United States
Been comparing the ELs in just about every deliberate binocular purchase since they first came out over 20 years ago. Always went in with high hopes. The optics generally looked razor sharp and brilliant, but no matter how many times I returned “rolling ball effect” broke the deal for me.

Recently did a thorough side-by-side of NL Pures, ELs, SLC, and SFs. Of the SWs I actually like the SLC the best. In fact, in comparison to the NLs and SFs the ELs view appeared more restrictive than the SLC (likely due to FF) and the ELs gave the most RB effect. The biggest weakness with the SLC has always been the focus wheel, but the optics are fantastic and a very easy view - crystal clear with high contrast and vivid colors. Also, they handle more like a mid-sized glass and I don’t tire from using them, which makes it an easier choice for me. That’s something I don’t hear talked about much with the NL Pures. Although they have spectacular optics and ergonomic engineering for hand positioning, I found they began to feel heavy (30+ oz) after using them for a little while.

Additionally want to report some good fortune. Although they are sold out everywhere I stumbled onto a new pair of 8x42s I noticed buried in the back of a display case. Guy said he wanted to move that discontinued model and sold them to me at unheard of discount. Used them a few hours yesterday and other than some slight skidding with the focus wheel they are fantastic.
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Been comparing the ELs in just about every deliberate binocular purchase since they first came out over 20 years ago. Always went in with high hopes. The optics generally looked razor sharp and brilliant, but no matter how many times I returned “rolling ball effect” broke the deal for me.

Recently did a thorough side-by-side of NL Pures, ELs, SLC, and SFs. Of the SWs I actually like the SLC the best. In fact, in comparison to the NLs and SFs the ELs view appeared more restrictive than the SLC (likely due to FF) and the ELs gave the most RB effect. The biggest weakness with the SLC has always been the focus wheel, but the optics are fantastic and a very easy view - crystal clear with high contrast and vivid colors. Also, they handle more like a mid-sized glass and I don’t tire from using them, which makes it an easier choice for me. That’s something I don’t hear talked about much with the NL Pures. Although they have spectacular optics and ergonomic engineering for hand positioning, I found they began to feel heavy (30+ oz) after using them for a little while.

Additionally want to report some good fortune. Although they are sold out everywhere I stumbled onto a new pair of 8x42s I noticed buried in the back of a display case. Guy said he wanted to move that discontinued model and sold them to me at unheard of discount. Used them a few hours yesterday and other than some slight skidding with the focus wheel they are fantastic.
Glad you found that SLC, Alphafan. Great, aren't they? I discovered the final SLC 42 models last year and to be honest quite like the focus wheel and the low gearing along with all the many pleasing features you mention. I think it is the higher contrast that can make them seem sharper than the ELs but I think the resolution in both cases is going to be better than our eyes can resolve! Personally, like you, it's the colours and easy view that I love — that and the contrast and compact but muscular handling. Enjoy yours!

Just to add that I haven't yet tried an NL outdoors and think I'll resist the temptation. You don't miss what you haven't had!

Tom
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top