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Swarovski ATX 115 Review (1 Viewer)

dwever

Well-known member
The Swarovski ATX, 115 spotting scope comes with a crystal-clear view. Outstanding snap-to focusing reminiscent of the NL Pure binocular, and very high brightness for this kind of magnification. First time viewers so far have all been pretty awe-struck by the image in this scope.

Loves:
  • Focus. Wow, snaps into place like an NL Pure binocular. You can see the ridiculously good level of detail come in to focus, and that assists fast precise focusing.
  • Image. The 65mm has a great image, The 95mm breath-taking. Canip said on this sub-forum, "I found the difference in contrast and brightness between the 95 and the 115 quite substantial." That not only seems to be the consensus, but it is amazing given the awesome image produced by the 95! From a Swiss reviewer "Apollo", [Begin Quote] Still, in a brief comparative review side-by-side, the difference between the BTX 95 and the BTX 115 is considerable; in fact, the difference is much bigger than expected. Tested with the extender, i.e. using both BTXs at 60x magnification, the image in the 115 is not only clearly brighter, but contrast and apparent sharpness are also much higher. Some surface structures on the moon which are barely or not at all discernible in the 95 become easily visible in the 115. CA is virtually non-existent in both. Using the 95 without the extender side-by-side with the 115 (the latter still with the extender), the image in the 115 at 60x appears virtually as bright as the image in the 95 at 35x. Against the 115, the 95 feels almost a bit "stretched" when both are used with the extender. At 35x, the 95 is great, so the conclusion for me is that I would use the 95 at 35x and the 115 at 60x (I have not tested the 115 with 2 extenders, i.e. at 100x magnification, since I fear the 115 would then feel as "stretched" as the 95 at 60x)." [End Quote]
  • Ease of Image - Just an easy image, remarkably even so at 70X.
  • Industrial Design & Engineering : The design, build, and materials inspire a lot of confidence that this optic was intended and built for a very very long service life. Everything is precise, smooth, robust, even the stay-on case has a precise fit.
  • NL Pure Binocular: Same color temperature and edge to edge focus of the NL. Very much from the same image family.
  • Stay-on Case. Did not expect the stay-on case to be so useful. Sooo many times in the field I'd need to set the optic down whilst I collapsed the tripod legs or whatever. I would not want to set the optic down on it's armor, but with the stay-on case no problem. It fits very well, and the focus and zoom are easy to use with it on. Mine just stays on. The objective cover that is part of the stay-on case system is brilliantly magnet based so your not fussing with snaps.
  • Transport. There's really no set-up. I drop three carbon fiber legs on the tripod, then sit the plate in the receiver and secure in a few turns. Move the eyepiece cover out of the way, overcome the magnetic hold at the objective, and in one minute I'm viewing.
Niggles:
  • Mass. If there is one characteristic that may turn people away it is perceived size and weight. I've made the determination that the extra weight is soundly justified by the image. Some may not agree. Either way, it has not been a big deal for me and it will be going with me in to the remote wilderness of Alaska in September.
  • Zoom ring could be just a little easier to turn. I have checked other samples, and they all seem to have the same stout turn.
  • Mounting. When you mount the eyepiece to the objective, be ready for a firm turn. Not open a Vlassic pickle jar turn firm, but firm.
  • Eye relief. I'd have to check with an eyeglass wearer, but it seem to need a hair more eye relief?
  • Digiscoping - that is much harder than anticipated. I've had very few pictures from my iPhone 11 that have not had motion blur. On the other hand, I need tobuy an adapter and stop hand-holding over the eye-piece as with the eagle below.
  • The barrel of the objective has a built in shade that does not deploy easily with the stay-on case in place.
Not tested:

My kit came with the 1.7X Swarovski magnifier that you mount between the focus and zoom ring (individual street price $400). I have yet to use it. Have yet to think at 70X, "boy, going to 120X would be nice". However, people who've use it on this forum swear by it; and, the commenter above who said the 115 with the 1.7X extender is virtually as bright as the 95 without the extender; if that is true, it is a remarkable achievement by Swarovski. The extender is seen mounted in the picture before the dog. The last picture is from the internet, not taken by me.

Judgement Calls:

I did not buy a tripod with a center column, and I darn sure didn't buy aluminum. I bought a 4.5 lbs. carbon fiber Gitzo GT3533LS with a 55 lbs. capacity. Awesome decision. I just flip out the bottom 1/3 legs and it is perfect for standing, or collapse them if I have seating. Supremely stable and I never miss the center column.
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Last edited:

DRodrigues

Well-known member

...
Niggles:
  • ...
  • Eye relief. I'd have to check with an eyeglass wearer, but it seem to need a hair more eye relief?
  • ...
I use a STX 95 with eye-glasses and have no problems with the eye-relief. Those that have problems can purchase a more eye-glass friendly eye-cup version.
 

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