• 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)

Sollas

Well-known member
I don't think the close focus on the SLC stopped anybody from buying them nor will it the EL. I don't think too many people buy a $2K binocular for bug's. If you want a bug binocular just buy a Papilio for $129.00. Hunter's and birder's will still buy the EL's because they are priced considerably lower than the NL and they know they are an excellent binocular and a 10 foot close focus is fine for both sport's. If you want the best then you buy the NL. Swarovski will sell a lot of the NL's in 10x42 and 12x42 for the bigger FOV because you can glass faster with it covering more area and with the head rest you can use it one handed holding your bow or gun in the other hand. Birder's will like the 8x42 NL for the huge FOV, head rest and fast focuser. There are 22.5 million birder's and 12.5 million hunter's so together they are a big market compared to the bug watcher's. Swarovski doesn't care about bug watcher's because they are such a small market segment!


Nicely put Dennis. It all comes down to statistics and market potential and of course where the most likely growth will come from over the next 3-5 years.

.....and it sure ain’t bugs!
 

Sollas

Well-known member
To cut a long and (somewhat painful) story short, we really wanted to find a way to be able to keep the EL alive. After all, many of us are still very emotionally attached to the EL. But it arguably could never have survived at its current price position alongside the NL Pure, and simply reducing the selling price just creates losses.

Regardless of how much we did not want to change the performance of the EL, Ed was not too far from the truth in that we we forced to take a cold business decision to save costs - and that is exactly what simplifying the focusing mechanism allows us to do. I never heard a single person mention hamstringing.

Long story short: we were proud of the 1.5m we achieved with the EL. Reducing it to 3.3m was incredibly painful. But it does help to allow us to significantly save costs and sell the EL at a much reduced price.

I’m trying to feel your pain Dale but I’m sorry I just don’t buy that. You already have the machining and production process set up for the existing EL focus mechanism. Now you want to change it all to reduce costs..... you’re pulling our legs methinks.
 

dalat

...
I rarely use a binocular for things nearby, and when I do, I use a Pentax Papilio which lets me go as close as 50cm.

But I appreciate that some members here are using binoculars to observe insects and the like, and maybe they can give me an answer to my question:

If I am not mistaken, when observing with the EL 10x42 at a close focus of 1.5m I see the observed object as if it was only 1/10 of that distance away, i.e. at 15 cm. With the close focus of the EL changing to 3.3m, the apparent distance of the observed object is now 33 cm, i.e. 18 cm more than before.

How much detail recognition do I really lose if my insect is 18 cm further away?

Or what am I missing here?

Canip


I use a Ultravid, which has about 3 m close focus. I mostly look at birds, but there is often enough sth interesting close by, insects, flowers, reptiles etc. I discover these close stuff while walking and want to take a closer look. It frequently happens that I need to take some steps back to get things in focus. Mostly this is just inconvenient, but often enough it results in butterflies or lizards being gone until I'm in the right position.

I can live with the 3 m, but a closer focus is clearly a practical advantage. I guess for dedicated insect watchers its the same adavange: not so much the magnification you can get but mainly the ability to get all close critters in focus.
 
Last edited:

Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
Canip, post 40,
I fully agree with you. I just checked 5 minutes ago with an 8x42 the difference in detail observation between 1,9 m and 3,3 meter close focus and the difference is nothing to be upset about, so I really do not understand the fuss about this change in close focus. If one really needs to come very close a Papillio, that is a good choice.
Gijs van Ginkel
 

OhWeh

Well-known member
I rarely use a binocular for things nearby, and when I do, I use a Pentax Papilio which lets me go as close as 50cm.

But I appreciate that some members here are using binoculars to observe insects and the like, and maybe they can give me an answer to my question:

If I am not mistaken, when observing with the EL 10x42 at a close focus of 1.5m I see the observed object as if it was only 1/10 of that distance away, i.e. at 15 cm. With the close focus of the EL changing to 3.3m, the apparent distance of the observed object is now 33 cm, i.e. 18 cm more than before.

How much detail recognition do I really lose if my insect is 18 cm further away?

Or what am I missing here?

Canip

I use my bins regularly to take closer looks at flowers, insects, etc. I am using the 8x32 FL the 8x42 SF and I also used several Swaro-Bins.

The problem with 3 meters and more are:

If the minimum distance is so large, it is often difficult to step back so far in nature, or you have blades of grass and branches in between. With 2 meters and less you are simply much more flexible.

That the picture is much smaller is clear.

Especially in Corona times I use the binoculars for botanical excursions to have a close look at a plant without getting too close to the other participants.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
 

dalat

...
I fully agree with you. I just checked 5 minutes ago with an 8x42 the difference in detail observation between 1,9 m and 3,3 meter close focus and the difference is nothing to be upset about, so I really do not understand the fuss about this change in close focus.

Well, I think the fuss is about taking away a feature that was already there.

As I just wrote, I think a close focus is a definite advange. Not the most important one, but having a good close focus makes a bin just a bit more of an allrounder.

I don't think its a pertinent argument to say "If one really needs to come very close a Papillio, that is a good choice." If I have a 2000 EUR bin hanging on my neck, I don't want carry an additional papillo for the case I want to watch something close, or a EII for the case I need wide angle. I want this one bin to do as much as possible.
 

OhWeh

Well-known member
Canip, post 40,
I fully agree with you. I just checked 5 minutes ago with an 8x42 the difference in detail observation between 1,9 m and 3,3 meter close focus and the difference is nothing to be upset about, so I really do not understand the fuss about this change in close focus. If one really needs to come very close a Papillio, that is a good choice.
Gijs van Ginkel

The difference is like a enlargement of 6x versus 10x.

For me this difference is big, apart from the problem that I just described below.
 

tenex

reality-based
To cut a long and (somewhat painful) story short, we really wanted to find a way to be able to keep the EL alive. After all, many of us are still very emotionally attached to the EL. But it arguably could never have survived at its current price position alongside the NL Pure, and simply reducing the selling price just creates losses.
Thank you Dale, I appreciate such a direct explanation. Of course we can always second-guess that decision and insist we'd still have bought ELs as they were... and in the end, who really knows.

Was your logic similar for the reduction in close focus of the SLC-HD a few years ago -- not to push buyers to the EL instead, as some have imagined, but to bring the SLC to a price point where you thought they would still sell? (Was the price reduced? I forget!)

And can we assume that all this involves only the mechanics of the focusing, and not changes to the optical design of the SLC or EL?
 

tenex

reality-based
I just checked 5 minutes ago with an 8x42 the difference in detail observation between 1,9 m and 3,3 meter close focus and the difference is nothing to be upset about, so I really do not understand the fuss about this change in close focus.
For those serious about insects etc, the issue could be not so much reduction in magnification, as actually needing to retreat to focus on the target, if possible. (Was it Lee who pointed this out some time ago?)
 

NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
I have a take on the decision about the current EL series. The new NL took a much different approach
in order to distinguish it from the EL. The EL introduced the open frame style and many others copied
the design. Now that Zeiss and Leica copied that, Swaro. then did a completely different decision to go
back to a traditional hinge design. I am wondering if the prism move change and styling excercise is simply
a way for it to distinguish it.

I have a feeling the new NL will be very EL like in its optics, and if they had left the design so similar, it would
have been hard to raise prices to this new level. I have owned EL models for over 15 years, and I really like
the open frame, it makes the handling and ergos very good. The NL, who knows how it will handle, but I like
the fact the focus knob is lower, should be more friendly for position.

The Zeiss Victory SF has done things so very well with balance and ergos. those interested in a binocular at
this level should be sure to check the SF out before purchasing a new binocular.

Jerry
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
They may be negative changes to some people, and to some people they will be positive changes, and I'd guess to 90% of the buying public it is a non issue, doesn't matter whatsoever. I guaranatee the average binocular buyer doesn't know what the close focus specs are on the binoculars they own. In fact they probably don't know most of the specs on the binos they own.


If it matters so much to some here, I'd offer up to sell my pre FP 10x50SV's that are in excellent shape, so you won't have to deal with it if you don't want to.

JG if it wasn't important in the market Swaro wouldn't have bothered making sure that its best close focus is only available on its top, most expensive , model.

Lee
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
I rarely use a binocular for things nearby, and when I do, I use a Pentax Papilio which lets me go as close as 50cm.

But I appreciate that some members here are using binoculars to observe insects and the like, and maybe they can give me an answer to my question:

If I am not mistaken, when observing with the EL 10x42 at a close focus of 1.5m I see the observed object as if it was only 1/10 of that distance away, i.e. at 15 cm. With the close focus of the EL changing to 3.3m, the apparent distance of the observed object is now 33 cm, i.e. 18 cm more than before.

How much detail recognition do I really lose if my insect is 18 cm further away?

Or what am I missing here?

Canip

Thank you for asking a good question. I can only answer for myself and don't claim to speak for others.

For me close focus isn't just about insects. I use binos to examine so many different things, here are some: yes butterflies and dragonflies are on my list as are bush crickets, moths and many others. But I also use them to observe snakes, lizards, newts, fish, crayfish, sea anemones, sea slugs, marine worms, and small mammals. Plus flowers especially those growing in bogs, on crags or on cliffs, as well as fungi and lichens.

For those subjects that might flee such as snakes, lizards, newts, fish and many insects, for much of the time the close focus is important because when you find yourself unexpectedly close to one of them, you don't want to have to step back to focus your binos on them because your movement may scare them off into the undergrowth. This happens so many times. We often move through habitats slowly and carefully, on the look out for something specific like otters in Scotland or dragonflies in France, and when easing your way around a bush or a rock you may find a Field Vole eating some grass or a snake eating a fish, very, very close (see pic below of the snake eating the fish) or a lizard basking in the sun (see second pic below, I hardly dared to move but I got the pic and it looked fabulous through the binos). At this point, there is usually a moment or two when the animal or whatever either flees or stays still, trusting in lack of movement to escape being seen. Getting a close look at stuff through binos at this moment is a fantastic experience and is almost always ruined if you need to step back to use your binos because they don't focus close enough. Your movement scares the animal away.

You ask if it makes much difference whether you lose some detail if you are 18cm further away. As explained above, the distance isn't always your choice and if you need to move to focus the result is no detail at all because the subject flees. But as with birds, the detail you need to identify some subjects can vary. Some butterflies need examination of their markings and some dragonflies might need examination of the wing venation or other clues. And much depends on the size of the insect, some dragonflies are large while some damselflies are very small indeed.

And discussing the difference between a close focus of 1.5m and 3.3m is a bit like discussing why people like 10x magnification vs 8x. The bigger the image, the more pleasurable the experience.

Birds are fascinating and are what got me interested in nature in the first place and to go birding 3.3m close focus is adequate, but if you have any interest in the other 90% of nature and want to make the most of every observing opportunity that nature puts in front of your binos (and the ones we have been talking about are very very expensive) then I for one want those binos to be as versatile as possible and a 3.3m close focus would have made impossible hundreds of wonderful wildlife observations that I have been privileged to have experienced.

Many binos focus as close as 2.0m or even closer today, 1,5m is common and some like Leica's Trinovid HD 8x32 focus to around 1.0m. Bino brands are not doing this because close focus is unimportant in the market, and Swarovski isn't making sure their best close focus is only available on their top, most expensive model because it makes no difference which model has this capability.

BTW take a look at the snake and you can see the tail fins of the fish it is eating sticking out of its mouth. The snake 'froze' when I appeared very close by and by good fortune I already had my camera out and was able to grab a couple of shots. The view through the binos was impressive. Then the snake slowly eased itself back underwater and swam off.
Lee
 

Attachments

  • IMG_1967 -Red.jpg
    IMG_1967 -Red.jpg
    143.5 KB · Views: 123
  • IMG_2983 Red.jpg
    IMG_2983 Red.jpg
    326.9 KB · Views: 99
Last edited:

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
For those serious about insects etc, the issue could be not so much reduction in magnification, as actually needing to retreat to focus on the target, if possible. (Was it Lee who pointed this out some time ago?)

Thanks for remembering!

Lee
 
Last edited:

matt green

Norfolkman gone walkabout
Here's a couple of points I don't think have been covered yet?

Have current close focusing els been devalued due to the recent price slashing, also if for any reason a close focusing gen el42 needed a service which needed parts replacing in the focus mechanism would you recieve your binos back from swarovski service dept with the same close focus capabilities or find you can simply no longer enjoy your insects/butterflies etc?

Out of curiousity I just compared the difference between 1.5m and 3.3m with a tape measure and the difference is shocking!

....I wouldn't be surprised if swaro market the nl32 as the ultimate close focusing/allround naturalists binocular with a close focusing range of 1.2-

Matt

Matt
 
Last edited:

OhWeh

Well-known member
Lee, thanks for the long text #53. This is what I feel, too.

We, my wife and I, are interested in birds (monitoring programs etc.) but in about 60% of the time we use the bins for the other wonders you mentioned.

1.5 to 2 meters means: I can focus at every time without stepping back (because the eyes are already 1,6 meters above the ground).
 

Torview

Registered User
Supporter
If there was`nt a demand for a close focus back in 2009 when the SV hit the market why did Swaro invest so much money in producing it ?, or was it simply so they could charge more even though market research suggested there was actually a low demand.
 

Canip

Well-known member
Thank you, Lee / tenex / OhWeh and others.

I thought much like Gijs (post # 44) that we are making quite a lot of fuss about the issue of the close focus change, but the „not having to retreat to focus“ is a valid point and a useful answer to my question (and one more reason for me to use use a Papilio, with which I almost never have to retreat, to observe things nearby).

Canip
 

OhWeh

Well-known member
Canip, serious question: do you always wear two binos? I know, the Papilio is not too heavy.
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Thank you, Lee / tenex / OhWeh and others.

I thought much like Gijs (post # 44) that we are making quite a lot of fuss about the issue of the close focus change, but the „not having to retreat to focus“ is a valid point and a useful answer to my question (and one more reason for me to use use a Papilio, with which I almost never have to retreat, to observe things nearby).

Canip

Canip
I can imagine Papilio is very useful but I find it convenient to have just one pair of binos and simply use this for subjects at all distances. I am not convinced by the optical performance of Papilio at 'bird distances', especially longer distances, and prefer a larger exit pupil for serious field work.

It is also worth noting that we are all responding to the fuss Swarovski have made by ensuring that their best close focus distance is only available on their most expensive binoculars. This suggests Swarovski thinks this is an important feature as it would not make any sense at all to make sure your most expensive model is equipped with a feature of no importance.

Lee
 
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread

Top