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Swarovski 8x42 SLC ? (1 Viewer)

rfc1

Well-known member
Has the 8x42 SLC model always had HD glass elements or did they the change to NON-HD after 2013?
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Hi rfc1,

This and associated questions crop up with some frequency:

The original x42 SLC was introduced in 1992 in 7x42 and 10x42. Both remained in production until 2010, when the all new x42 SLC was introduced in 8x42 and 10x42

In relation to what’s known about the optics:
• The original design had an objective of 3 elements in 2 groups (1 + 2 focusing); and an eyepiece of 5 elements in 3 groups (2 + 1 + 2)

• The current design has an objective of 4 elements in 3 groups (1 + 2 + 1 focusing); and an eyepiece of 5 elements in 3 groups (2 + 2 + 1)

. . . the new model includes HD glass - it’s the third lens in the objective group
(see Clay Taylor of Swarovski in the post of 9th October 2013 at: http://www.opticstalk.com/differences-between-swarovski-slc-and-el-binocular_topic38579_page1.html )
. . .

The 2010 version is identifiable by the blackened exposed metal in the bridge area (similar to that on the EL line),
and in contrast the 2013 version has an all over two texture RA covering . . .

The 2013 version also has a simplified focuser mechanism, with a greater minimum focusing distance: 3.2 m/ 10.5 ft verses 1.9 m/ 6.2 ft
However, there is no indication that the optical construction was modified

Both the 2010 and 2013 versions have 9 lenses per side, along with 2 prisms. See a cutaway view of the 2010 version,
along with a current specification sheet for the 2013 version
And although the 2013 version is no longer marked HD, it still has one HD lens in each objective

The 2013 modifications seem to have been to provide greater differentiation between the SLC and EL SV lines (both in performance and price)
And a similar change has again occurred with the introduction of NL x42:
the EL x42's focus mechanism has been simplified, with a greater minimum focus distance of 3.3 m verses 1.5 m,
and it's now identified as the Legend version
. . .

The first post includes cutaway views of both the original and 2010 models
And the second includes a comparison image of the 2010 and 2013 models


John
 

elkcub

Silicon Valley, California
United States
Hi John,

For comparison purposes is there a cut-away of the 2013 model so we can see what the simplification amounted to?

Thanks,
Ed
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Hi Ed,

Unfortunately not. The most recent published cutaway images from Swarovski, are now around 10 years old
e.g. included in their 2011 catalogues were:
• the new version of the x42 SLC introduced in 2010, and
• the x42 EL SV, also dating from 2010
And there was also a disassembled x42 EL FP in the 2015 catalogues

. . . so perhaps a hint to Swarovski?


However, I do have a number of interesting images from various on-line listings, that look inside the x42 SLC objective housings
I’ve attached two images of the original 2010 version, and two of the revised 2013 one

As can be seen, the metallic components within the objective housing seem to have been totally redesigned
e.g. the internal baffling and spacers, along with the supports for the fixed objective lenses, and also the carrier for the focusing lens
(presumedly along with the detail of the focuser mechanism)

The 2010 version is conventionally Swarovski, with multiple machined components that have a relatively fine textured finish
The 2013 version appears to use fewer die-cast components with a rougher textured finish

Interestingly, the changes did not seem to have had any obvious adverse effect on optical performance

- - - -
The above also raises the issue of whether similar changes have taken place to the Legend version of the EL FieldPro?
i.e. the revised version of the EL x42 that was introduced last year along with the new NL x42


John
 

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John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
And heading off the inevitable query, also see some images of the new SLC x56 that was introduced in 2013
(it replaced the original pattern SLC neu that continued until 2013)
As can be seen, the 2013 SLC x56’s construction is mainly similar to that conventionally used on Swarovski roof prism models


John
 

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SeldomPerched

Well-known member
And heading off the inevitable query, also see some images of the new SLC x56 that was introduced in 2013
(it replaced the original pattern SLC neu that continued until 2013)
As can be seen, the 2013 SLC x56’s construction is mainly similar to that conventionally used on Swarovski roof prism models


John
John, your posts and 'replies to yourself' if you see what I mean are very interesting, as I have been using my late autumn acquisition — SLC 7x42 Neu from a BirdForum member — during the lockdown and though I like it a lot and don't have the SLC 8x42 with lengthened focus (i.e.2013 'dinosaur skin' version) with me to compare my memory is definitely telling me that the 2013 8x gives a contrastier, richer image in some way.

When the Zeiss HTs and the Leica UVHD Pluses came out the introduction of Schott HT glass was a sales point for each in marketing info. Was the optical upgrade to your knowledge in the 2013 SLC models something comparable with equivalent glass improvements or did it possibly use existing earlier glass specifications and rely mainly on the change in number of elements for optical improvements? I don't find the SLC 7x Neu view as 'full' but what that really means I can't specify without the more modern 8x to hand. It certainly gives an easy view and the weight is something I am now used to.

Tom
 

casscade

Well-known member
Not sure this amounts to much, but I talked with Swarovski yesterday and they claimed the slc has had the same glass since the early to mid 2000’s. They claimed the same coatings today were used then, also said the exact same glass was used then as today in the slc and el’s, even went so far as to say they used hd glass back then but didn’t advertise it.
 

casscade

Well-known member
Another note,..we also talked about coating tweaks and/or differences in coating. I was told they use the same coatings and have for a while. They claimed what gives a same binocular/scope or model/sample, say 10 els/specs of the same year slightly different views ,.. say one has green lenses, one has reddish, one has purple, the other a yellowish, that’s not a change in coating rather different batches of glass and how magnesium fluoride reacts to slightly different batches. In turn this can also have an affect on color hue and/or contrast of the actual instrument.
 

elkcub

Silicon Valley, California
United States
Hi Ed,

Unfortunately not. The most recent published cutaway images from Swarovski, are now around 10 years old
e.g. included in their 2011 catalogues were:
• the new version of the x42 SLC introduced in 2010, and
• the x42 EL SV, also dating from 2010
And there was also a disassembled x42 EL FP in the 2015 catalogues

. . . so perhaps a hint to Swarovski?
Thanks, John. Just thought I'd ask in case I missed something. When it comes to these matters, Swarovski is a house of riddles. :rolleyes:

Ed
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Hi SeldomPerched (post #6),

The 2013 modifications to the SLC were to provide greater visual and price distinction compared to the EL SV
The obvious changes were the use of the all-over RA covering and the increased minimum focus

However, in doing the latter, the engineers also took the opportunity to simplify the construction within the objective housings
(and who knows: there may be similar simplification within the prism and/ or eyepiece cells?)

As I recently noted:
With many products it’s not unusual for engineers to repeatedly revise a design during production, for a variety of reasons
e.g. to address weak points, to use different sourced materials, to incorporate newer production technology
It’s just that typically consumers are not aware of such internal changes

In this instance, the internal changes seem to have been those that Swarovski could most easily make, without any effect on the optical performance
i.e. there is no indication of any optical change between the 2010 and 2013 models, and all the available information indicates that optically
they are the same

- - - -
Your original series 7x42 SLC (a very late production unit from early 2010?) - using an optical design dating from the early 1990’s -
will have a variety of slightly different optical characteristics, compared to the all new SLC design of 2010

Firstly, in terms of the basic optical design the two are significantly different. And secondly, the 2010 design incorporates 20 years of additional
optical experience by Swarovski, including the balance of optical characteristics that they wanted the new model line to have

So notwithstanding that both model lines are called SLC - for continuity of branding - it’s really an apples to oranges comparison
However, the effect of most of the optical differences is likely be of a relatively minor degree, rather than a significant practical difference in use


John
 
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SeldomPerched

Well-known member
In this instance, the internal changes seem to have been those that Swarovski could most easily make, without any effect on the optical performance
i.e. there is no indication of any optical change between the 2010 and 2013 models, and all the available information indicates that optically
they are the same

- - - -
Your original series 7x42 SLC (a very late production unit from early 2010?) - using an optical design dating from the early 1990’s -
will have a variety of slightly different optical characteristics, compared to the all new SLC design of 2010

Firstly, in terms of the basic optical design the two are significantly different. And secondly, the 2010 design incorporates 20 years of additional
optical experience by Swarovski, including the balance of optical characteristics that they wanted the new model line to have
Hi John (your quote in post no.10 from a previous post),

You probably had this in mind when posting, as you have discussed serial numbers from various runs before: my SLC 7x42 unit is the same last one you observed here:

'The original x42 models were discontinued in 2010. The last observed 7x42 is D8013 84600...'

My understanding, perhaps incorrectly, was that 2010 was the last date of production for the SLC 7x42 (Neu on my example's box). Are you saying that in fact there was a further and final version between 2010 and 2013 or does that just apply to 8x and 10x models?

Swarovski model versions give me a headache, even with your very full sharing of your knowledge! For instance, that 8x42 HD was the predecessor of 8x42 - possibly as someone (Roger Vine?) has stated because HD was no big deal by then, having become almost universal.

Tom
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Hi SeldomPerched,

A) Original SLC series
The series spanned 29 years (!) from 1985 to 2013, with a variety of introductions and discontinuations along the way
The discontinuation dates are all based on the last serial numbers that I’ve observed:

8x30 - 1985 to 2011 (with the Mk II update in 1989)
7x30 - 1986 to 2001 (with the Mk II update in 1989)

7x42 - 1992 to 2010
10x42 - 1992 to 2010

7x50 - 1997 to 2009
8x50 - 1997 to 2007
10x50 - 1997 to 2010

8x56 - 1998 to 2013
15x56 - 1999 to 2013

For convenience of visual identification, all production from the start of 2005 had the final form of rubber armour covering
i.e. the Neu version in forest green, with the contrasting black bridge
(and I’ve seen one unit with the Neu covering dating from the second last week of December 2004, a 10x42 #D7451 32440)


B) New SLC series
This series has all new optics, mechanicals, housing and covering:

• In 2010 the 8x42 and 10x42 models were introduced, and they were then modified in 2013 as previously described
(However, they've recently been discontinued, with the last production in December 2020, see at:
https://www.birdforum.net/threads/new-kahles-helia-s-8x42-and-10x42-models.403874/)

• Then in 2013 the 8x56, 10x56 and 15x56 were added, with the same style of dual texture RA as the 2013 version of the x42’s
(They remain in production)

- - - -
HD Glass?
a) Original Series
None of the original production to 2013 was described as having HD glass. And comments on the performance - especially of the 15x56 -
are consistent with this
e.g. see Roger Vine’s reviews of the original and current 15x56's at: http://www.scopeviews.co.uk/BinoReviews.htm
And also see the comparison image from Matt Cashell’s review of the 15x56 Neu and the 15x56 Meopta HD at:
https://www.birdforum.net/threads/meopta-15x56-hd-reviews-and-information.380676/


b) New Series
The new 2010 version of the 8x42 and 10x42 were designated HD, and were so described in Swarovski's literature, on the box labels
and on the focuser of the units
With the 2013 variation, the use of the designation and markings ceased (and similarly the x56 versions are neither designated nor marked as HD)

However, there was no indication of any optical change to the 2013 x42 version, and Swarovski confirmed the continuing use of HD glass
e.g. in the most recent edition of the 'SLC Family' brochure from August 2013, see both pages 6 and 23
The 24 page 2.7 MB brochure can be found at: https://myservice.swarovskioptik.com/s/article/Product-folder-SLC-Family-Nature?language=en_US


So hopefully the above puts everything into context to address your queries


John
 

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brocknroller

A professed porromaniac
United States
Another note,..we also talked about coating tweaks and/or differences in coating. I was told they use the same coatings and have for a while. They claimed what gives a same binocular/scope or model/sample, say 10 els/specs of the same year slightly different views ,.. say one has green lenses, one has reddish, one has purple, the other a yellowish, that’s not a change in coating rather different batches of glass and how magnesium fluoride reacts to slightly different batches. In turn this can also have an affect on color hue and/or contrast of the actual instrument.
If the rep knew what he was talking about, saying that Swaro SLCs are made with different batches of Schott glass that can produce different color hues (biases) and/or contrast in any given sample is a revoltin' development! It's tough enough that it's a crap shoot as to whether or not you will get a sample with a smooth focuser or a real grinder, but then not knowing what the color bias and/or contrast it's going to be before buying it is problematic, particularly if you plan on buying one online. Even if you compare different samples at a store, they might all be from the same glass batch and not be the same as you might see at another store.

I hope this isn't true. Perhaps hunters may not care as much about the difference in color bias (the older SLCs and early ELs had a yellow hue, which I read was done to cut through the din of European winters), but I'm sure birders do. I remember a hunter on the binoculars sub forum of a hunting forum, it might have been 24 hour campfire, write that if you wanted to know about sports optics, check out the binoculars forum on Birdforum, because birders are very particular about their optics. He got that right. :)
 

dries1

Member
I seem to recall a SLC 8X42 neu model, green armor with black color armor along the hinge, looked just like the 10X42. I don't see many of them just the 10X42s.

Andy W.
 

NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
Andy,
You are wrong on that one, there was not an 8x42 SLC Neu or earlier. They came later.

Jerry
 

tenex

reality-based
I seem to recall a SLC 8X42 neu model, green armor with black color armor along the hinge
I think you're talking about the original "SLC HD" model (in both 8 and 10x) from about 2010-12, which had that bicolored armor and also a closer focus, but otherwise the same as the final model with pebbly armor. The "Neu"s were black only on the central bridge itself, had the old style focus/dioter knob as well as lacking the newer glass type.
 

jgraider

Well-known member
I knew Andy was right all along.....I had a pair of those and they were great, right before the green/black trimmed SLC HD came along.
 

casscade

Well-known member
Yeah that kinda sucks in a way, say we buy 5 10x42’s and one just stands out in contrast and resolution while another is bland and leaves you wanting more. It’s like doctors I guess, one can be top of the class while another barely makes it through school, yet at the end of the day they both carry the same MD title.
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
SLC pre-HD 8x42 version?

As previously indicated, the original series 7x42 and 10x42 SLC’s were in production from 1992 until mid-2010,
when they were replaced by the all new SLC HD 8x42 and 10x42 models

And notwithstanding the Allbinos specification page that Andy has located, I’ve not seen any other information
that reliably indicates the production of an original series SLC 8x42


A) Swarovski’s Publications
Starting from 2005, when the two tone 'neu' version of the RA covering was introduced on the original SLC line, I’ve located a couple of spec sheets
The 2005 one is from a catalogue, and the November 2008 one is from the Swarovski site (using the Wayback archive)
Neither lists an 8x42. So any original 8x42 could have only been offered for a year or so at the most


B) Contemporary Comments
However, there's a 7 page thread that commenced in March 2010, with the announcement of the SLC HD x42 series:
It’s an interesting read for a number of reasons, including both: the obvious parallels with the recent thread on the introduction of the NL x42 series,
and; comments from several of the 'usual suspects'

Specifically in relation to whether there was an SLC pre-HD 8x42, the comments in posts #7, 12, 26 and 62 (with the last by Dale Forbes of Swarovski),
make clear that this was not the case


And a slightly earlier thread starting in December 2009, comparing the 7x42 and 10x42 SLC’s also reinforces the point:


So if there's any reliable contrary information I'd be eager to see it


John
 

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