• 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.

Swarovski - odd business policy - near point (1 Viewer)

RobMorane

Well-known member
Maybe we should ask ourselves the reasons why customers bought the Swarovski EL's.
Because if the reasons are because they were the "Best" in the Swaro range, the NL took over (as the pre-order figures seems to show).
 

Kammerdiner

Well-known member
I actually don't know the close focus distance of most of my binos. I know the SV's, the FL and the Zen Prime go real close. Just for yucks I once closed in on a Timber Rattlesnake with the Prime and it must have been about 4 feet. A truly cool view, but the snake was getting a little pissed off by that time. :t:

Last week I was watching Black-winged Damselflies at about 6 feet. Metallic green abdomens, black wings. Nice!

In general, I think 6 feet would suffice, but the new SV's at around 11 feet is a mistake.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I actually don't know the close focus distance of most of my binos. I know the SV's, the FL and the Zen Prime go real close. Just for yucks I once closed in on a Timber Rattlesnake with the Prime and it must have been about 4 feet. A truly cool view, but the snake was getting a little pissed off by that time. :t:

Last week I was watching Black-winged Damselflies at about 6 feet. Metallic green abdomens, black wings. Nice!

In general, I think 6 feet would suffice, but the new SV's at around 11 feet is a mistake.
I assume the Timber Rattlesnake was less than 4 feet long!;) I think in a case like that I would PREFER a longer focus.
 

etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
I assume the Timber Rattlesnake was less than 4 feet long!;) I think in a case like that I would PREFER a longer focus.

A nice Western Diamondback helped make our birding walks a success while in Arizona.
In fairness, I did not test the close focus on this one, a lovely snake, pinkish beige colored, very chunky and obviously a little peeved. I found viewing it from about 15 feet much more comfortable for both of us. o:D
 
Last edited:

Kammerdiner

Well-known member
I assume the Timber Rattlesnake was less than 4 feet long!;) I think in a case like that I would PREFER a longer focus.

Well, you know how they are: they coil up. Six feet is not uncommon.You have the Western Diamondback I guess. In my limited experience they take no prisoners, they will eat your binoculars. B :)
 

etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
Well, you know how they are: they coil up. Six feet is not uncommon.You have the Western Diamondback I guess. In my limited experience they take no prisoners, they will eat your binoculars. B :)

That snake would have gagged on my Canon 10x42ISL's. ;)
Plus I studiously avoided giving it a chance. o:D
It was really very pretty, coiled at the edge of a narrow dirt road.
We all were concerned for its well being and were happy to see it uncoil and glide off.
Proof perhaps that 3' focus is not always essential for nature observation, but I still think Swaro was wrong to cripple the EL close focus.
 

Kammerdiner

Well-known member
I stand corrected. Western Diamondback probably not in CO?

We may not use close focus all the time, but when you want it, it's there or it's not!
 

Kammerdiner

Well-known member
That snake would have gagged on my Canon 10x42ISL's. ;)
Plus I studiously avoided giving it a chance. o:D
It was really very pretty, coiled at the edge of a narrow dirt road.
We all were concerned for its well being and were happy to see it uncoil and glide off.
Proof perhaps that 3' focus is not always essential for nature observation, but I still think Swaro was wrong to cripple the EL close focus.

Agreed, and Cool!
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
"Colorado is home to about 30 species of snakes. Of these, only three snakes are a risk to humans: the prairie rattlesnake, the Western rattlesnake and the massasauga rattlesnake."

My dad and I while rabbit hunting in Deer Trail Colorado kept hearing this buzzing sound and then suddenly we got into a whole nest of Prairie Rattlesnakes under an overhanging cliff. They were crawling all around us. We were lucky to escape with our lives really. Then while walking back to the car I almost stepped on a baby one. It was a scary day. Here is a Prairie Rattlesnake. He is hissing "Show me your close focus, I dare you."
 

Attachments

  • praire-rattelsnake-in-morgan-county.jpg
    praire-rattelsnake-in-morgan-county.jpg
    225.3 KB · Views: 65
Last edited:

NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
You don't need or want a binocular to view a rattle snake.

Back off........take care. Common sense prevails.

Jerry
 

Kammerdiner

Well-known member
You don't need or want a binocular to view a rattle snake.

Back off........take care. Common sense prevails.

Jerry

Well what's the fun in that! In my neck of the woods you worry about getting bit by a rattler minding its own business in the blueberries. You won't see it. Like the Black Bears, they mostly just don't like us at all. They've been hunted and killed enough. And they know it.

But yes indeed, don't go out of your way.
 

Steve O4B

Optics4Birding.com
Wow, interesting post. I really appreciate you sharing these perspectives. Many interesting points.

If I might ask for an explicit explanation, why doesn't 10' cut it for birding these days? Is it obsession over specs for their own sake, or are these beginning birding instructors concerned that their students get bins that will also serve well for other types of nature appreciation? If the former, we might lament that bino makers are feeling the pressure to spec close focus. If the latter, we might celebrate the increased awareness of how bins can bring us closer to nature in ways that are just as exciting and legitimate as traditional long-range uses (derived from hunting and military purposes). Magnified viewing of very small things at close range is a whole universe (between long-distance surveillance and hand-lens or pocket microscope viewing) that was sadly neglected in the history of optics. I'm glad that the category has finally been "invented". I wish the Papilio had some premium quality competition.

As a birder+butterflyer, I understand the value of close focus. I'm glad more bins are close focus capable, but I wonder why variable-ratio focus hasn't gone hand-in-hand with the close focus revolution. I think it would be revolutionary (in a revolution-reducing way!)!

--AP
As beginning birders spend more time in the field, they begin to notice the other spectacles of nature. Try to study a Pygmy Blue butterfly, Blue Damsel damselfly, or small wildflower from 10'. I've had a MacGillivray's Warbler and a Sedge Wren hop across my feet and a Townsend's Warbler on my knee. You can get very close to birds if you do it right. Cutting that distance in half is a huge advantage. Most of the experienced birders I know study all of these critters. Beginning birding teachers know this and want to get their students into the best optics they can afford. Why would anyone buy an optic that is limiting when less limited optics with similar price and quality are available?

If by variable ratio focus you mean variable speed focus wheels that focus faster as the focusing distance gets shorter, I'm as stumped as you are why everyone isn't using it. Brunton Epochs were the first to have that, followed by Minox HG and APO HG. These have all been discontinued. The new version of the Steiner Peregrine 8x42 and 10x42 does have it and it works great.
 

lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
Why would anyone buy an optic that is limiting when less limited optics with similar price and quality are available?

My thinking exactly.....Bins of quality or mid quality today have excellent optics, but it is the close focus to me that is separating the wheat from the chaff, not the FOV....
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
it is the close focus to me that is separating the wheat from the chaff, not the FOV....


For me both close focus and fov are important criteria. Of course I can 'make-do' with a longer close-focus and a narrower fov if I have to, but I would prefer to not have to.

With regard to fov it seems this is not so important to you and that is absolutely find and dandy, but I would discourage you from thinking that it is not genuinely important for other observers.

Let me give just two examples of when it is important for me. We spend as much time as we can on the islands off the West coast of Scotland and here there are are many birds that dive under the sea as well as whales and dolphins and even otters. When any of these dive, you have no idea where they will re-surface. You can guess with the larger whales, but it is impossible with the birds and otters especially if they are diving amongst rocks and islets and seaweed. Having a wide field of view helps find them again when they re-surface and the wider the fov the easier it is. Using just eyesight to find them and then lifting the binos can work sometimes except that by the time the binos are up to your eyes the e.g. otter will have dived again and you still don't know whether it had 1 cub with it or 2.

The other example would be when near a pond or marsh with low bushes around it and there are dragonflies and small birds flying fast and close to you. A bigger fov can help you get a view before it disappears into or behind a bush. Again the larger the better.

There are all kinds of other circumstances where a larger fov is more convenient than a smaller one but these two examples will do for now. For some of us fov isn't about following a fashion, its about something very useful in the kind of nature observing we do.

Lee
 

Borjam

Registered User
Supporter
My thinking exactly.....Bins of quality or mid quality today have excellent optics, but it is the close focus to me that is separating the wheat from the chaff, not the FOV....

From my own, obviously strictly personal experience, close focus can be a big deal.

When I graduated from the typical cheap Russian 7x50 porros to the Monarch 5 8x42 it was a huge step up in image quality. But acquiring the ability to have a look at a nearby dragonfly (the Monarch 5 8x42 focuses from 3 m according to specs, a bit closer maybe) felt really huge. After all it is an entirely new way of using binoculars for someone who hasn't had close focus capability before.

I also remember the reaction of a friend who is not a birdwatcher but knows a bit or two about optics. "Wow, that thing can focus at 3 m? Remarkable!" I think it really adds to the wow factor.

Now I have just upgraded to the Monarch HG 8x42 (2 m, some report less than 2 m). I considered the EL 8.5x42 but I think that the return of investment, so to speak, is higher in a scope.

And I admit that it was a bit of a letdown to see the specs downgraded. Moreover, I imagined what would happen if I decided to buy an EL in some months. "Hey, is it the new or the old model"? That kind of dialog and its potential for confusing situations with stores and second hand sellers feels frankly annoying.

When making a significant change they should discontinue the old model and release a new, clearly marked model. Otherwise it will only add confusion.

I am not a SV hater or anything of the sort (I own a pocket SV and it's great). But I feel somewhat puzzled at how opaque the whole optics business can be. Not only in binocular manufacturing, but just when ordering a set of prescription lenses and reading sometimes esoteric description of miracle coatings.
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
I agree with the prevailing sentiment that the EL product line will continue to be good binoculars at a fair price and will continue to sell well.

But I also agree that I would not choose such an expensive product with such a limitation in today's market. I also find it a bit disingenuous to keep the model name while reducing the product's specifications/quality - though it appears that there is a slight change to naming on swarovskioptik.com. The x32 models are just called EL 8x32 and EL 10x32, the x42 models appear to now be named EL 8.5x42 W B and EL 10x42 W B. The x50 models are similarly labeled W B. I do not recall details - did they use this naming scheme for the three sizes prior to this product line shakeup?
 

Conndomat

United States of Europe
Europe
Hello,

The people who always call for a short distance from binoculars should always keep in mind that ...
A: The optical performance of the binoculars is reduced, not just at the near point!
B: The focuser becomes more susceptible to defects and is therefore not as robust!
I have had three binoculars recently that have not been able to focus properly at close range.

Swarovski could run on two tracks, which makes the EL with close focus more expensive for a few hundred dollars, but is probably not economical.

A solid focuser and better optics are more important to me than these extreme close points.

Andreas

P.S. With the alphas there are no more possibilities to buy binoculars without these extreme near points, not every binocular needs them there is enough choice.
 
Last edited:

Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
The people who always call for a short distance from binoculars should always keep in mind that ...
A: The optical performance of the binoculars is reduced, not just at the near point!
B: The focuser becomes more susceptible to defects and is therefore not as robust!
I have had three binoculars recently that have not been able to focus properly at close range.

I'd be concerned about your point A if it weren't for the fact that all of the optically best birding binoculars that I own or have tried have quite close focus, e.g. Swarovski 8.5x42 EL SV, Zeiss 8x25 Victory, Zeiss x32 and x42 FL series, Leica 8x20 and 8x32 Ultravids. Even my favorite porros--the Nikon 8x32 SE and Nikon 8x30 EII--get down to about 7 feet, which is close by past standards. Also, please keep in mind that many of us who "always call for" close focus actually use our bins to observe things at short distances, so if the bins don't focus closely, they're useless, regardless of optical quality.

I'd be concerned about your point B if I'd routinely experienced focuser problems with close focus bins in comparison to past not-so-close focuser bins. I haven't. I _have_ noticed that the Chinese often do a poor job with focusers, and many of those bins have close focus. Since other manufacturers have no such problems, I don't think close focus and poor focuser performance necessarily go hand in hand. What bins did you try that had problems?

To your PS, don't many of the larger alphas have poor close focus? And aren't the Leica x42 Ultravids and the Swarovski SLC bins alphas? They have crummy close focus and are still widely available, soon to be joined by the updated version crummy close focus x42 EL! We'll need a name for it, maybe EL SV DFO (for Distant Focus Only).

--AP
 
Last edited:

Conndomat

United States of Europe
Europe
Hello Alexis,

I had two conquest and one noctivid that didn't focus properly at close range!

"Therefore, you should only call for a function like the near point if you really need it and are willing to accept compromises elsewhere (among other things: more complicated, more error-prone mechanics, additional lenses, i.e. heavier and in connection with a light one Loss of contrast, etc."
https://www.juelich-bonn.com/jForum/read.php?9,447974,447990#msg-447990

The Alpha class are the top models, the SLC are excellent, but not the top model from Swarovski, more than the Ultravid the top model from Leica, which would be the Noctivid!

You ignored the optical compromises due to these extreme close-up ranges!

"However, if you carry out an optical calculation, you first have to specify the desired parameters and then get the software to optimize the system within these parameter values. If I optimize uncompromisingly for long-range sharpness, then the optics at 3m is not equally good. So I give up a little in the far range and optimize the 3m with it so that the binoculars show sufficiently well over the entire distance range. If I want the same procedure for the close-up range of 1.5m, then I either lose even more power in the far range, or I add more lenses in order to have more degrees of freedom for optimization. But more glass also means a loss, perhaps a very small, but definitely higher cost and more weight. These are optical laws that cannot even be levered out."
https://www.juelich-bonn.com/jForum/read.php?9,447974,448008#msg-448008

Not all binoculars need such close-up ranges, not all binoculars are suitable for glasses wearers, there is enough choice that everyone can choose their binoculars, it does not always have to be "uniform".

Andreas
 

tenex

reality-based
The x32 models are just called EL 8x32 and EL 10x32, the x42 models appear to now be named EL 8.5x42 W B and EL 10x42 W B. The x50 models are similarly labeled W B. I do not recall details - did they use this naming scheme for the three sizes prior to this product line shakeup?
The "W B" nomenclature (for wide field, eyeglass-friendly) has been around for a long time, often even labeled so, on SLC models as well. When it gets mentioned in the name seems purely arbitrary. The new EL42s are now called "Legend".

You ignored the optical compromises due to these extreme close-up ranges!
This point is of potential interest but there's no indication (and I did ask the Swaro rep here!) that the "Legend" optics have been re-optimized for better performance without the 1.5m close focus. So you still have the same "compromise", now without the close focus. What a deal. A real mistake IMO. (If they had just dropped the FieldPro kit that would have been great.)
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top