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

Swarovski slc 15x56 or el 12x50 (1 Viewer)

Marleymac

Member
Hi all,

I am looking at purchasing a new pair of bins to bridge the gap between my hawke frontier edx 10x42 and have narrowed it down between the slc15x56 and the el12x50, I am leaning towards the slc 15x56 for further magnification, I can hold the 10x42 very steady when viewing standing, however I have never held or looked through the glass of any Swarovski bins, the optics on the hawke frontier are very good for the price, if I find the slc 15x56 to heavy I will carry a monopod or tripod when required, I will be using the bins for coastal and inland viewing and astronomy, my question is am I better with the 15x56 in jump up from magnification from my 10x42s. Thanks mac.
 

Samolot

Well-known member
15x56 SLC. Use the savings and invest in a light tripod. You will never be happier with your decision.

Particularly if you are also going for astronomy, the SLC's reign supreme. A 15x will cut through sky glow and show more than the 12x's.

Not that there is anything wrong with the EL's. I had the 8x32 and 10x50. However, if you are going to contemplate astronomy, you will undoubtably need a tripod and unfortunately the EL''s do not have a great tripod adapter situation. In the US, there is a hunting company called Outdoorsmans that presses on an adapter to the front bridge of the binoculars that then mount very nicely to their tripod adapter - an expensive endeavor. Otherwise, you are forced to use Swaro's bino adapter or any other similar rendition (I have the Berlebach adapter - its very nice but you can't adjust IPD once theyre mounted.) The SLC's have a simple adapter under the cap making them a lot more tripod-friendly.

The 15's wowed me.

Im curious to hear other opinions.
 

Attachments

  • 6Z3A4297 copy.jpg
    6Z3A4297 copy.jpg
    162 KB · Views: 186

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I have had the Swarovski SLC 15x56 and the Swarovski 12x50 SV. I would definitely get a 15x56 because it will be a bigger jump in magnification and as Samolot said they will WOW you with the view. Actually if you steady yourself on something you can hold 15x pretty good or you can use a tripod. Now this might surprise you but I wouldn't get the Swarovski SLC 15x56 I would get the Meopta Meostar HD 15x56. 1/2 the price of the Swarovski and just as good. A lot of the hunter's know this and they buy the Meopta.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1zaj5H48f4
 
Last edited:

dries1

Member
Go to ScopeviewsUK, and read the reviews for the 15X56 SLC and the 12X50 EL. They both are great glass, just for slightly different applications.

Andy W.
 

Conndomat

United States of Europe
Europe
I would get the Meopta Meostar HD 15x56. 1/2 the price of the Swarovski and just as good. A lot of the hunter's know this and they buy the Meopta.

Hi,

The questioner comes from Great Britain, here in Germany the Meopta is "only" 500, - cheaper than the Swarovski, as it is in the UK. looks I don't know!

It would also be important whether it should be observed with or without eyeglasses that SLC has 16mm. Interpupillary distance that Meopta 15.2mm.

The Swarovski has a slightly better field of vision and mechanically I also feel it more solid,, optically too.

Whether hunters are always the first address when it comes to assessing optics, I have my doubts ...

Andreas
 

Marleymac

Member
Thanks for all your replys.

I am going to be buying blind due to the covid 19 lockdown, I am more swayed to the slc 15x56 as the jump up in magnification would be more substantial to the 10x42 and12x50 el, I don't wear glasses so that shouldn't be an issue, also the meopta is only £400 pound less than the Swarovski slc 15x56 in the uk, basically I think the slc 15x56 would be a good all rounder and jump over my 10x42, anybody else with any other input in this topic will be much appreciated.
 

Canip

Well-known member
SLC 15x56 is also my recommendation.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the EL SV 12x50 as such, but if you alreday have a 10x42, I would not spend my money on 12x50 but on 15x56, and the SLC is very nice indeed (the MeoStar would also be a very fine binocular, of course).

Canip
 

14Goudvink

Well-known member
In the past I jumped from 8X to 12X and sure there was a difference in the kind of detail I could discern, but I was always comparing and going to and fro.

Then I traded the 12X for a SLC 15X and I didn't have to look for the extra detail anymore; it was clearly there.


George
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Thanks for all your replys.

I am going to be buying blind due to the covid 19 lockdown, I am more swayed to the slc 15x56 as the jump up in magnification would be more substantial to the 10x42 and12x50 el, I don't wear glasses so that shouldn't be an issue, also the meopta is only £400 pound less than the Swarovski slc 15x56 in the uk, basically I think the slc 15x56 would be a good all rounder and jump over my 10x42, anybody else with any other input in this topic will be much appreciated.

I have never tried a 15x binocular but with Swarovski the extra money you pay is in a way a prepayment for subsequent free of charge excellent customer and engineering service should you ever need it; also - correct me, more experienced birders, if I am wrong - but I always get the impression that QC is consistently very good indeed with Swarovski. This could be good at the moment when you have to buy online or by telephone unseen - the chances of poor collimation etc seem to be less with this make. I have just bought a new SLC 10x42 and its view and contrast and colour are breathtaking - and in the 8x and 10x32 and 42 sizes, unlike the larger 56s which are not represented in the EL series, the SLC range is supposedly second string to the flagship EL series. The focused image just snaps into view and I am sure it will be the same or more so with a 15x56.

This is not meant to do down Meopta as I have heard very experienced birders and natural historians sing their praises and they are very well regarded by those who know about the make.

Good luck with your choice; one day I hope to try a 15x myself.

Tom
 
Last edited:

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I have had most of the binoculars in the Meopta Meostar line and they are all good but for some reason the 15x56 HD is the star of the bunch. It is the only one I would say is truly equal to the Swarovski SLC 15x56. The next best after the Meostar 15x56 HD is the 8x42 and then the 10x42 and last but not least is the 8x32. The Meostar 8x42, 10x42, and 8x32 are very good binoculars but not quite equal to the Swarovski SLC or SV or Nikon EDG but the 15x56 Meostar is. I wanted a high power binocular and I tried different 15x56's including the Swarovski SLC and Zeiss Conquest HD and for way less money the Meostar HD is as good as the SLC. If Nikon made a 15x56 EDG I would probably have that since IMO EDG's are overall the best optically. It is amazing the detail you can with a 15x56 especially a good one like the Meostar or the SLC. Here in the states you can get the Meopta Meostar HD 15x56 for about $1200.00 but the Swarovski SLC 15x56 is about $2149.00. So big difference.
 
Last edited:

NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
Hi,

The questioner comes from Great Britain, here in Germany the Meopta is "only" 500, - cheaper than the Swarovski, as it is in the UK. looks I don't know!

It would also be important whether it should be observed with or without eyeglasses that SLC has 16mm. Interpupillary distance that Meopta 15.2mm.

The Swarovski has a slightly better field of vision and mechanically I also feel it more solid,, optically too.

Whether hunters are always the first address when it comes to assessing optics, I have my doubts ...

Andreas

Andreas:
In the US, hunters are by far the largest group that purchases "Big Eyes" binoculars. Quality optics are needed when viewing for hours at a time and that is why the Swarovski 15x56 is so popular. The Swarovski is top of the heap, no surprise, and there are other choices. We all have to budget where we find a need.

I have a Swarovski 15x56 SLC Neu, just before the HD model, and it is very good. My experience with this size includes Zeiss, Minox, Nikon and Docter.

I also have the Zeiss Conquest HD 15x56 and it is very good, just a little behind the Swaro. For a lower priced choice, I recommend the Nikon Monarch 5, 16x56, it has a nice view at a great price point.

So, you don't have to spend mucho money for a 15x56 binocular, chances are you won't be using it as often as you may think. But for shorebird viewing, a big binocular makes viewing very nice, better than a spotting scope. 2 eyes are better than one, depending on your needs. ;)

Jerry
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Hi Marleymac,

The question of which is better, the SLC 15x56 or the EL 12x50, is one that gets a surprising amount of attention
Superficially, since ’more is more’, the 25% increase in magnification of the 15x should decide the issue

However, besides any personal preferences that you might have if you try both side by side, the main consideration is how you are going to use the binocular
While some find that they can use the 15x56 ‘freehand’ for short periods of time, they’ll invariably do better with the 12x50
And in contrast, many will struggle with the 12x50

Realistically if you choose the 15x56 - to gain a significant advantage over the 12x50 - you’ll need to use it on a tripod for the great majority of the time
So you’ll need to factor in the additional bulk, weight and inconvenience, along with less spontaneous use

And while the 12x50 is also best used on a tripod, it does better lend itself to various forms of improvised support
I have a 12x50 EL and it forced me to look into such things in some detail, see posts #3 and 20 at: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=384370

- - - -

As with choosing any other premium product, the journey to your purchase should be part of the enjoyment of the product
There’s a lot of useful comment in the posts on this thread

And as indicated, always a great starting point is Roger Vine at: http://www.scopeviews.co.uk/BinoReviews.htm
Roger has reviewed both the Swarovski’s along with other 15x56’s and 12x50's

A set of links about the Meopta 15x56, including comparisons to the Swarovski, can be found at: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=380676

And information comparing various 12x50’s can be found at: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=380229

- - - -

For a quick summary of some models:

A) 15x56
• the SLC HD (the current version from 2013 on) is the best, but
• the Meopta HD comes close at a cheaper price, though eye relief may be too short for those who wear glasses
- - - -
• the SLC neu (a totally different design, made until 2013) is the best of the non-HD choices
However, as magnification increases HD glass is increasingly important to ensure the sharpest image. So the neu shows it’s age in comparison to the above


B) 12x50
• the EL SV is the best if one insists on a flat field of view, or needs the longest eye relief, but
• the Leica UV HD+ has better glare and flare control and is cheaper, and
• the Meopta HD again comes close at a cheaper price (however, especially if buying secondhand be aware that there is also an earlier non-HD version)


And finally, the specifications and the observations of others can only tell you so much, especially about fit and feel and how the image will look to you
So if at all possible try before you buy


John
 
Last edited:

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
You can't go wrong choosing between Swaro's SLC and Zeiss's Conquest HD. My experience of Meopta's MeoStars is that they are alpha performers but I haven't tried their 15x56. BTW the Conquest comes with a very neat tripod converter..

John is right to remind you that you will need a tripod and the very fact that your observing will be punctuated into walk-set up tripod-view-lift up tripod-walk, repeat, repeat episodes means that it will be a very different kind of day out than a casual walk grabbing views as opportunities arise with just your 10x binos.

You might want to look for a tripod that you can use sitting on the ground or at least something low. Doing this you might enjoy extended viewing periods overlooking a shore, reedbed, heath or do a sea-watch.

Lee
 

Samolot

Well-known member
You can't go wrong choosing between Swaro's SLC and Zeiss's Conquest HD. My experience of Meopta's MeoStars is that they are alpha performers but I haven't tried their 15x56. BTW the Conquest comes with a very neat tripod converter..

John is right to remind you that you will need a tripod and the very fact that your observing will be punctuated into walk-set up tripod-view-lift up tripod-walk, repeat, repeat episodes means that it will be a very different kind of day out than a casual walk grabbing views as opportunities arise with just your 10x binos.

You might want to look for a tripod that you can use sitting on the ground or at least something low. Doing this you might enjoy extended viewing periods overlooking a shore, reedbed, heath or do a sea-watch.

Lee

In the picture above, the tripod legs are not extended, only the center column a little bit. As a result, its easy to "grab and go" after a viewing session while seated. Highly recommended set up for higher power viewing.
 

Conndomat

United States of Europe
Europe
Andreas:
In the US, hunters are by far the largest group that purchases "Big Eyes" binoculars.

Hi Jerry,

yes but what does that mean now? Mass equal class?

Well, I don't know much about American hunters, but I've read a lot in European hunting forums!
Unfortunately, the informative content about the optical properties of binoculars has always been very limited.
Hunters seem to be very concerned with three characteristics of binoculars ...

1.brightness
2.brightness
3.brightness...

The robustness of a pair of binoculars can also be important, since the binocular should also work well after the twelfth fall from the high seat.;)

Andreas
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
What is very impressive about the Meopta Meostar HD 15x56 is the lack of CA in such a high magnification binocular. Usually the higher the magnification the more the CA. Not so with the big Meostar. It has an amazing lack of CA on-axis and even on the edge. Meopta must use very good Schott glass in their HD line.
 

KenSchwarz

New member
15x made more sense to me

Hi all,

I am looking at purchasing a new pair of bins to bridge the gap between my hawke frontier edx 10x42 and have narrowed it down between the slc15x56 and the el12x50, I am leaning towards the slc 15x56 for further magnification, I can hold the 10x42 very steady when viewing standing, however I have never held or looked through the glass of any Swarovski bins, the optics on the hawke frontier are very good for the price, if I find the slc 15x56 to heavy I will carry a monopod or tripod when required, I will be using the bins for coastal and inland viewing and astronomy, my question is am I better with the 15x56 in jump up from magnification from my 10x42s. Thanks mac.

Mac, I pondered the same choice a few weeks ago and without the benefit of a first-hand demo, I picked the 15x because:

1. I knew that even 10x glasses are too hard to hold steady enough to get much more detail handheld than 7x or 8x, so I decided to go big or go home, and tripod mount for high magnification.
2. Years ago, I had 900g+ 7x42 SLCs that were magnificent but the weight was too great for all day around my neck. Won’t make that mistake again.
3. The 12x is a terrific compromise for hunters looking for a single optic over 10x around the next and 15x in the pack. Not my situation.
4. I am familiar with the 8x56 SLC and cannot fault it. Optics, ergonomics and fit and finish are great. I could estimate eye relief from the relative specs and knew I would be fine with my glasses.
5. The SLC Swarovski tripod mount is excellent if expensive. The ELs have a design flaw in my view that they lack this important feature. I didn’t like the idea of modding $2800 binoculars with third-party pins without having at least trying it out first.
6. The AK prisms of the SLC have a bit higher transmission, always welcome.
7. I had concerns about the Field Pro strap connectors being too close to the focuser on the 12x and chafing my hand. SLC doesn’t have that problem for sure.
8. SLC is less money, but I am going broke with all these savings!

The main downsides to the 15x I have found so far are minor:
1. Close focus isn’t as comfortable as the 8x56, probably because the exit pupil isn’t as big. Still good, but not as good as the 8x in that area. 12x might be better there. It can focus closer.
2. Focus is geared a touch too slow for my taste, but Swarovski probably has their reasons and if I tried other gearings I would agree.
3. There is some CA visible if you look for it on high contrast subjects, even in the middle of the field. I find this no worse than other so-called HD lens class glasses. They are not apo. There is more CA off axis. I don’t know if the 12x is any better, however. And in practice—looking at birds—this has not been an issue. Contrast is very high and color is natural...identical balance to the 8x.

Have fun with whatever you choose! They are marvelous binoculars.
 

CharleyBird

Well-known member
England
Mac,

I pondered this very same question for the best part of a decade, 12x or 15x, Zeiss or Swaro or Leica.
And last year was at the point of buying the latest Swaro 15x.
Didn't.

What John and Lee say above about realistically needing to use it on a tripod/monopod much of the time, stopping & setting up while walking, using it less.
15x is not easy to hold steady, and yes in a shop under ideal conditions I can hold them. But I'd be wanting to use them on the coast or esturary where it's windy.
The Swaro are 1228g. In a hide you should be able to use them without problem. My Steiner 10x44 are 866g, they are as heavy as I'd want to carry, and on longer walks I tend to sling them over my right arm.

So last winter, with a two week holiday booked in Craster, I'm guessing you know the area, sea views and dark skies, I bought a pair of...

APM MS 16x70 ED APO

Price was not a factor as I also bought a number of other bins in preparation for retirement (usual birding type 7x42, 8x30, 10x32).
I'd simply realised exactly what John & Lee say. I would use high mag heavier optics close to my car or house, supported or on a tripod.

Good luck with whatever you decide
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Mac,

I pondered this very same question for the best part of a decade, 12x or 15x, Zeiss or Swaro or Leica.
And last year was at the point of buying the latest Swaro 15x.
Didn't.

What John and Lee say above about realistically needing to use it on a tripod/monopod much of the time, stopping & setting up while walking, using it less.
15x is not easy to hold steady, and yes in a shop under ideal conditions I can hold them. But I'd be wanting to use them on the coast or esturary where it's windy.
The Swaro are 1228g. In a hide you should be able to use them without problem. My Steiner 10x44 are 866g, they are as heavy as I'd want to carry, and on longer walks I tend to sling them over my right arm.

So last winter, with a two week holiday booked in Craster, I'm guessing you know the area, sea views and dark skies, I bought a pair of...

APM MS 16x70 ED APO

Price was not a factor as I also bought a number of other bins in preparation for retirement (usual birding type 7x42, 8x30, 10x32).
I'd simply realised exactly what John & Lee say. I would use high mag heavier optics close to my car or house, supported or on a tripod.

Good luck with whatever you decide
Curious why you chose the APM's over the Fujinon 16x70 FMT Polaris Binocular.
 
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 Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Users who are viewing this thread

Top