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Swarovski 12x50 EL versus 15x56 SLC (2 Viewers)

etc

Well-known member
I already have the most excellent Zeiss 10x54 HT and am debating whether to get the 12x or 15x.

My concern about 12x50 is that 12x is not a good match for the 50m objective in terms of exit pupil size. Making it harder to use. OTOH, both binoculars have an almost identical exit pupil size. I suppose I am really comparing them both versus 10x56 which has a more generous 5.6mm exit pupil size.

I get that the EL line is more Alpha than the SLC line. My concern about the 15x is that it's not hand-holdable. And will be married to a tripod and thus useless most of the time. However I wonder if that's not a bad thing. Meaning for off-hand viewing I can use 10x54 HT and for tripod use, 15x56 SLC.
Or just get the 12x50 EL for a more compact experience. 12x might be overall more useful than 15x, given a wider FOV and lighter weight. My 12x54 HT is already kind of heavy, the SLC has to be even heavier.

I think I would have preferred a 10x50 EL (but it's overdrive past infinity is insufficient for my needs, only 5 diopters versus 7 for 12x50 EL and 8 dioptrs for the SLC line).
A 12x56 configuration would probably appeal to me more than a 15x.

One factor heavily in favor of the SLC is that the 15x56 has a much better twilight factor.
(As a footnote, I went from 8x42 to 10x54 and never regretted it. It resolves more and obviously more vibrant at night. Just the moonlight is enough to make it useful while with the 42x can't see anything at all.)
Bottom line, the bigger objective is more enticing but the 12x power is more enticing as a general purpose power versus a niche 15x which seems to be a great match for astronomy.
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Hi etc,

For what are two specialised binoculars, there’s a surprising amount of discussion both here and elesewhere about the Swarovski 12x50 EL vs 15x56 SLC.

If you’ve not already seen it, a good starting point is: Swarovski slc 15x56 or el 12x50
There's a lot to consider in relation to each.

In addition, since you already have the 10x54 HT, the 15x would seem to be a better pairing than the 12x . . . ?


John


p.s. and see some detailed comments in relation to the two by Patriot222:
in post #4 at: swarovski 15x56 HD vs 12x50 SV fieldpro
and post #24 at: Which model is more advanced?
 
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Richard D

what was that...
Supporter
United Kingdom
I've not tried the 12x50 so can't comment on that's performance.

The 15x56 SLC is probably more hand-holdable than you expect - it balances very well with the mass making it reasonably stable for short viewing periods in the hand, although obviously it's better on a tripod.

Optically the 15x56 doesn't feel dramatically second-class compared to my ELs (yes the edges are slightly different, but the overall performance is pretty similar).

Main issue with the 15x56 is weight on the neck - they're heavy for prolonged carrying.
 

BKoh

Well-known member
Singapore
IMHO 12x is too close to 10x, not really worth the bother.

So get the 15x56 SLC, it will complement the 10x54 HT for the times when you need high power. If you don't want to carry 2 binos (plus a lightweight tripod) then get the 12x50 EL as an in-between/all-rounder but be aware that even at 12x handholding results in significant loss of resolution.

Or... buy an IS bino. No tripod needed. Optics not alpha (except for Canon 10x42L) but IS will show you more than any non-IS bino. Canon 12x36 and 15x50 may suit. Fuji 14x40 also possible. And Kite/Bresser/Sig Sauer 16x42.
 

Gray C

Newbie birder
I already have the most excellent Zeiss 10x54 HT and am debating whether to get the 12x or 15x.

My concern about 12x50 is that 12x is not a good match for the 50m objective in terms of exit pupil size. Making it harder to use. OTOH, both binoculars have an almost identical exit pupil size. I suppose I am really comparing them both versus 10x56 which has a more generous 5.6mm exit pupil size.

I get that the EL line is more Alpha than the SLC line. My concern about the 15x is that it's not hand-holdable. And will be married to a tripod and thus useless most of the time. However I wonder if that's not a bad thing. Meaning for off-hand viewing I can use 10x54 HT and for tripod use, 15x56 SLC.
Or just get the 12x50 EL for a more compact experience. 12x might be overall more useful than 15x, given a wider FOV and lighter weight. My 12x54 HT is already kind of heavy, the SLC has to be even heavier.

I think I would have preferred a 10x50 EL (but it's overdrive past infinity is insufficient for my needs, only 5 diopters versus 7 for 12x50 EL and 8 dioptrs for the SLC line).
A 12x56 configuration would probably appeal to me more than a 15x.

One factor heavily in favor of the SLC is that the 15x56 has a much better twilight factor.
(As a footnote, I went from 8x42 to 10x54 and never regretted it. It resolves more and obviously more vibrant at night. Just the moonlight is enough to make it useful while with the 42x can't see anything at all.)
Bottom line, the bigger objective is more enticing but the 12x power is more enticing as a general purpose power versus a niche 15x which seems to be a great match for astronomy.
I actually disagree with your comment that the EL is more alpha than the SLC. In my opinion they are different in view, but both are alpha, top quality optics in their own right
 

Paultricounty

Well-known member
United States
Gray C is correct, SLC is premium (new word for Alpha) glass.

My opinion ' you have 8’s, you have 10’s and you have no 12’s. Each serves a purpose, and each have there own benefits in certain circumstances that make each one shine.

A 12x50 (EL phenomenal and a usable 300ft FOV) are good for both hand held or tripod/monopod use. The 12x can be used around the neck or harness for a reasonably amount of time.

The 15’s in my opinion are tripod dedicated glass, especially when going 54 of 56mm. Again this is only my opinion, but I feel once you get to 15x and need a tripod , it’s spotting scope territory. A small 60 or 75mm on a lightweight tripod over your shoulder and a nice 832 around the neck is the way to go. You scan with the 8’s and zoom in with the spotter with a nice 20-60X eyepiece.

I might ad the Leica 12x50 UVHD+ would definitely be another option.

Paul
 
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mwhogue

Well Known Member
Supporter
Based on my experience the 12x50 EL is a very useful and enjoyable binocular for either hand held or tripod use as Paul discusses above. While I can sometimes see slightly more image shake in the 12 as opposed to a comparable 10x50, the increased magnification of 12x "cancels out" any additional shake and I can see even more detail as a result. YMMV.

Mike
 

tenex

reality-based
Advice on this dilemma is difficult without knowing your habits of use. Somehow I instantly preferred SLC over EL, although it has the slower focuser. I would highly recommend trying both, and if possible, giving yourself some time to practice holding the SLC at 15x. (I've put it on a tripod only for astronomy.) It works for me, and complements 10x well, whereas I didn't find 12x much of a boost. But the EL is certainly nice too.
 

etc

Well-known member
Apparently 12x50 EL is a more practical choice, 2x is a significant difference versus 10x (same as the 10x is a significant upgrade from 8x)
But 15x is a tripod only territory which both limits and expands its usefulness. At this point 10x is almost at the upper end of what I can hold comfortably off-hand. The SLC's weight does not bother me, I have the 10x54 HT which is almost as heavy.

Seems like the only advantage of the 15x56 SLC is that it sells for a bit cheaper than EL.
 
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chill6x6

Well-known member
So....I either own or recently HAVE owned most of the mentioned Binoculars save the 15X56. Currently I have the 8X54 HT, SLC 10X56, and a FL 10X56. I rarely use the 56mm binoculars, size/weight vs. reward. I HAVE had a Maven B.4 15X56 which I compared to a spotting scope. Consider every consideration and statement I make about binoculars/scopes is with birding in mind. BASICALLY I dismissed a 15X binocular as a useful platform because it's at its best on a tripod and if you have a tripod why not just have a larger objective/higher magnification spotting scope?

Now I haven found that I enjoy birding sometimes with an 8X binocular AND the SV 12X50. I use it a lot from a vehicle and when I know there are some open areas and don't feel like carrying along a scope/tripod. I would have just as likely purchased a UVHD+ 12X50 except for the added ER of the SV that I require. The Leica has the same FOV and weight is about the same.

For sure the SV 12X50 is a practical choice. I didn't find that the SV 10X50 did that much for me than say a quality 10X42 did so I sold IT. Now that the NL 12X42 has come along I have to wonder if IT wouldn't do everything the SV 12X50 does in a smaller, lighter package with even more FOV.


Below is a SV 50mm, HT 54mm, and SLC 56mm...
fullsizeoutput_110b.jpeg
 
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Swedpat

Well-known member
So....I either own or recently HAVE owned most of the mentioned Binoculars save the 15X56. Currently I have the 8X54 HT, SLC 10X56, and a FL 10X56. I rarely use the 56mm binoculars, size/weight vs. reward. I HAVE had a Maven B.4 15X56 which I compared to a spotting scope. Consider every consideration and statement I make about binoculars/scopes is with birding in mind. BASICALLY I dismissed a 15X binocular as a useful platform because it's at its best on a tripod and if you have a tripod why not just have a larger objective/higher magnification spotting scope?

Now I haven found that I enjoy birding sometimes with an 8X binocular AND the SV 12X50. I use it a lot from a vehicle and when I know there are some open areas and don't feel like carrying along a scope/tripod. I would have just as likely purchased a UVHD+ 12X50 except for the added ER of the SV that I require. The Leica has the same FOV and weight is about the same.

For sure the SV 12X50 is a practical choice. I didn't find that the SV 10X50 did that much for me than say a quality 10X42 did so I sold IT. Now that the NL 12X42 has come along I have to wonder if IT wouldn't do everything the SV 12X50 does in a smaller, lighter package with even more FOV.


Below is a SV 50mm, HT 54mm, and SLC 56mm...
fullsizeoutput_110b.jpeg

These 54 and 56mm models look BULKY!
As I can understand based on my experience, I would find them too bulky and heavy for continious handhold use. SV 50mm is big and heavy enough.
 

Paultricounty

Well-known member
United States
These 54 and 56mm models look BULKY!
As I can understand based on my experience, I would find them too bulky and heavy for continious handhold use. SV 50mm is big and heavy enough.
They are very bulky. I feel once you get over 50mm your in another category, your not ( I’m not) doing a 4-5 hour hike, even in level ground with 56mm binoculars. Not mention holding them up for a third of that time. Same when it comes to anything over 12x, to me are in another category. The sweet spot for me in large hand held binos is 10x-12x50mm. And preferably of course the smallest good one’s available, EL, UV.

Not to put them down, but High magnification and large objective lenses fit Into a category and have there place as optics tools. IMHO.
 

Richard D

what was that...
Supporter
United Kingdom
I'm okay with using the 15x56 for 2-2 1/2 hours round my neck - won't say they're exactly comfortable, but not terrible. If I'm doing longer walks then they'll be in a back pack until I really need the reach (my 'patch' is open marshland and esturine mud), with EL 8/10 x32s round the neck. If I had the cash I'd be tempted by the NL 12x42s (tried another birders and was very impressed) or 12x50 ELs.
 

PeterPS

MEMBER
My experience in brief:
-Swaro 10x50 and 12x50 are among my favorite binos (I own the SV versions, which I prefer to the FP---because of the unnecessary (read wrong, imo) changes of the armor, strap, rainguard, strap connectors, integrated objective caps etc of the FP). I do not have any complains about these two binos and I think they form a good pair----the 20% increase in magnification of the 12x is quite useful in open spaces, somewhat similar to having an 8x42 and 10x42 pair.
-I owned the SLC 15x56 for a while but did not keep them: handheld they do not show more details than the 12x50 (using the 15x on a tripod is a completely different story), they are heavier and for me their handling is not as good as 12x50's, they have poorer control of internal reflections and glare, and of course they have a smaller FoV.
 
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tenex

reality-based
56mm are for the manly hands.
Having had a good laugh over that, now I have to say it's really not true. I don't have particularly large hands or strong arms, yet find that the SLC 56s handle very well indeed. (Of course I may be comparing them to the Zeiss 15x60 Porro, which was a bit much...) It's so nice that we have choices like EL 50 vs SLC 56. Make it while we do...
 

Thotmosis

Well-known member
Netherlands
Having had a good laugh over that, now I have to say it's really not true. I don't have particularly large hands or strong arms, yet find that the SLC 56s handle very well indeed. (Of course I may be comparing them to the Zeiss 15x60 Porro, which was a bit much...) It's so nice that we have choices like EL 50 vs SLC 56. Make it while we do...
Well, i also don't have particularly large hands or strong arms but i can handle my Zeiss 15x60 BGAT quite well. For hiking though i would prefer my Leica 8-12 x 42 Duovid. That is if there is no climbing or difficult paths involved because then i take one of my Habicht's GA with me.
 

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