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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Swarovski SLC 10X42 Rubber Casing Fault (1 Viewer)

Mick Sway

Well-known member
Last year I had my 10x42's repaired .
The problem was that the "rubber" outer casing had perished after about 6 years of occasional use on Birding Holidays.
Although the bins were about 6 years old I noticed a significant deterioration after about 4 years of ownership.
I now know of 3 friends who have had the same problem after around 5 years of use.
As I suspect that the problem may be more extensive than the company is letting on,
I wondered if anyone else would like to share their experiences ?
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
I suspect that the "rubber armouring" used by some of these companies was found to have some nasty additives within its formula; combined also with a wish to use a percentage of recycled materials to promote a caring attitude. I know that some of the neck straps were also changed in regard to have unwelcome levels of harmful chemicals. So the old heavy duty recipes have altered and seem not to last as long sas they should. Also, the probability of insect repellent, sun creams etc having an effect on wear.
 

NZbinodude

Well-known member
On the other hand, you can find old military porros with their rubber armor still in-tact - even after 60+ years of abuse.

It doesn't matter how 'environmental friendly' these new rubber recipes are. Any green points won from using more sustainable materials are quickly lost when you take into consideration how many more times over the lifetime of the binocular it must be sent (via airmail) to the manufacturer to be repaired. How much energy is that using? And how much energy is used to manufacture spare rubber armoring that will inevitably have to be used?

Good build quality is surely the most sustainable way of manufacturing anything? It's our throwaway culture that's the biggest problem.

As for the OP's SLC's - good thing Swaro has great customer service. :)
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Probably the crucial point in the 13 page thread about the current EL's covering that Patudo has linked to, is the information that the OP received from Swarovski:
. . . In accordance with its corporate philosophy, Swarovski Optik is committed to using top-quality, sustainable materials in its products. The armoring on the instruments in question is made of plastic (TPU). This material contains no plasticizers or protective agents, is low in allergens, and is biodegradable. As with all our products, we recommend regularly cleaning the surface of the instrument with a mild detergent and a damp cloth.

The particular properties of this material mean that optical changes such as clear abrasion, tears, and cracks may occur in the armoring when the product is subjected to frequent use


And when looking at the Swarovski site this morning, I came across the following:
Q. Is the NL Pure's armoring the same as the EL's?

A. The armoring of the NL Pure - just like the armoring of the EL series - is made of TPU. TPU does not contain any softeners or protective agents, is low in allergens and a sustainable material. As with all our products, we recommend to clean the surface of the device regularly. The NL Pure binoculars come with a dedicated soap & brush kit to clean the housing.
See at: My Service

. . . So presumedly TPU is also used for the RA covering on the more recent SLC’s along with the rest of the current Swarovski production.


And as to the next question:
'Thermoplastic Polyurethane or TPU is referred to as the bridge between rubbers and plastics. The material appears rubber-like, which means it can be extremely flexible, durable and smooth to the touch. All these properties and compound versatility makes TPU widely used in many industries for coatings, components and customer goods. It is often used for 3D printing'.
From: Treatstock

It may be due to it’s nature that TPU is a less durable covering than those previously used. This seems to be implicitly acknowledged in the first quote above: both the reference to biodegradability, and the qualifier in the last sentence. So perhaps someone with expert knowledge in the area may be able to provide further information.

- - - -
Unsurprisingly, Swarovski has had some problems with the long-term durability of various coverings. There was a batch of black vulcanite used on Habicht Porro prism binoculars back in the early 1950’s that’s gradually turned brown over the decades, see an image in post #3 at: https://www.birdforum.net/threads/second-hand-habicht-porro’s-to-use.391231/

And the natural rubber (?) covering used on the early RA Habicht Porro prisms dating from the mid 1970’s, has invariably severely perished, see a typical example fitted with newer eyecups. However, the problem abruptly ceased with later production, presumedly with the introduction of an updated composition to the covering.

Of course, Swarovski is not alone in this regard e.g. one common example mentioned both here and on Cloudy Nights is where the RA on older Canon IS units has become sticky.

However, what’s notably different with the current TPU covered Swarovski’s is how soon in the life of particular units that significant problems are occurring.


John
 

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Viraj

Member
Germany
On the other hand, you can find old military porros with their rubber armor still in-tact - even after 60+ years of abuse.

It doesn't matter how 'environmental friendly' these new rubber recipes are. Any green points won from using more sustainable materials are quickly lost when you take into consideration how many more times over the lifetime of the binocular it must be sent (via airmail) to the manufacturer to be repaired. How much energy is that using? And how much energy is used to manufacture spare rubber armoring that will inevitably have to be used?

Good build quality is surely the most sustainable way of manufacturing anything? It's our throwaway culture that's the biggest problem.

As for the OP's SLC's - good thing Swaro has great customer service. :)
I am fully agreed with your points.

Two weeks ago I got a chance to visit a famous optics store in Europe to buy a pair of 10x42 NL Pure. They strongly recommended me not to buy Swarovski products and go for a Nocivid. Their point was the same problem discussed in this thread as well as following thread-> EL 10x42 casing deterioration. ; the armor of recently manufacturing Swarovs is degrading particularly when use in tropical countries. They said 15 out of 50 NL Pure bins sold have been returned due to a problem with either rubber armoring or the focus knob. Moreover, one of my friends changed his armor in SLC 10x56 less than two years ago and today I saw a recent photo of him with his bins. Check the current condition of it in the pic attached.

The point here is a lot of people are confused with the word sustainability without considering a life cycle assessment. As you mentioned, sending a pair of binoculars a few times to change the armoring costs petroleum, manpower, and new materials that increase the ecological footprint. So, I can't understand why Swarovski still sticks with their new material even with a lot of complaints about it.
 

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Mick Sway

Well-known member
Thanks for that Viraj. I will pass it on to my friend who is still waiting for Swarovski's to be returned from re-armouring after
sending them back more than 3 months ago. He has had a terrible experience with their customer services.
Incidentally his wife had the same problemand had hers repaired , earlier this year.

 

Viraj

Member
Germany
Thanks for that Viraj. I will pass it on to my friend who is still waiting for Swarovski's to be returned from re-armouring after
sending them back more than 3 months ago. He has had a terrible experience with their customer services.
Incidentally his wife had the same problemand had hers repaired , earlier this year.

I am sorry to hear about your friends' issue, Mick. I thought Swarovski has one of the best customer services in the optic industry. That's why even knowing this issue, I have decided to go for NL Pure 8x42 because its optical performance is no doubt. (Un)fortunately, it was out of stock. Now I think that I should think about my decision again.
You didn't mention where did he send his Swarovs to repair. If he sent it to Austria, the delay might be caused by the COVID situation. Austria is locked down these days.
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
That's why even knowing this issue, I have decided to go for NL Pure 8x42 because its optical performance is no doubt. (Un)fortunately, it was out of stock. Now I think that I should think about my decision.
Perhaps that is why the store you visited tried to sway you to purchase a Noctivid, as they had not any stock of the NL Pure but were keen to make a sale.
There are other threads on BF citing issues with Leica Ultravid armouring " cracking " and Zeiss SF armouring having air bubbles or soft areas. Either way, c.30% of sold NL binos returned seems an adventurous figure to me and certainly not an authorised dealers viewpoint that Swarovski Optik would be happy with, either from a retailing or reliability position.
Those SLCs are in a real sorry state and it doesn't look like degradation through insect repellent or sunscreen but who knows the true cause.
 

Mick Sway

Well-known member
For the record my mate received his bins back from Swaro Austria today by UPS this afternoon, without being updated as their status, they should be durable enough
Pyrtle, for the record it's not my intention to have a pop at Swarovski for the sake of it, I am quite happy with the performance of the actual lenses.
There is however something clearly faulty in either their quality control or the composition of the armour for so many customers to be affected.
I know of another 3 people personally ( besides myself) who's armour on their bins have deteriorated to the same extent as the gentleman's in the image.
However when you mention this to their customer services, they react as though you are the first to mention it.
In any case , given their cost and reputation, they should be durable enough to withstand most conditions. I have never used mine outside of
Europe and then only in Spring and Fall. In fact my own were only out of the box for extended periods around four times a year over a 5 years period.
Thanks for responding, good to get another opinion.
 

Viraj

Member
Germany
Perhaps that is why the store you visited tried to sway you to purchase a Noctivid, as they had not any stock of the NL Pure but were keen to make a sale.
There are other threads on BF citing issues with Leica Ultravid armouring " cracking " and Zeiss SF armouring having air bubbles or soft areas. Either way, c.30% of sold NL binos returned seems an adventurous figure to me and certainly not an authorised dealers viewpoint that Swarovski Optik would be happy with, either from a retailing or reliability position.
Those SLCs are in a real sorry state and it doesn't look like degradation through insect repellent or sunscreen but who knows the true cause.
PYRTLE, It was not their intention to sell Noctivid because they don't have it in their stock. I have communicated with them 2 months ago and they recommend me Noctivid at that time as well. Maybe it is their personal preference. I knew the problem with Zeiss armor however, the Leica armor problem was not encountered frequently in BF.

Thank you Mick, for your update. I also suspect that they really have an issue with their new armoring. I hope they would work on it sooner than later. It seems the soap and brush kit that comes with NL is no joke. Maybe regular cleaning with it is the way to protect their armor for a little longer as they mentioned it is biodegradable.
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
Pyrtle, for the record it's not my intention to have a pop at Swarovski for the sake of it, I am quite happy with the performance of the actual lenses.
There is however something clearly faulty in either their quality control or the composition of the armour for so many customers to be affected.

I didn't feel you were Mick, so no need. But I do agree that there is a "fragility" in these modern armoured compositions...very different feel to the older type black rubber that covered my Zeiss Dialyts, even my FLs. Though I can remember a stickiness occurring on a pair of Leica BA Trinovids, but that was down to a concoction of suntan lotion and potent mosquito repellent.

Cheers.




 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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