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

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
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.
"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."

If you get a chance try a pair of the Meopta Meostar HD 15x56. When I compared them to the Swarovski SLC HD 15x56 I saw almost no CA on-axis nor on the edge in the Meostar's. The CA control was better than the newer HD's Swarovski's. These pictures below are a comparison of Meopta Meostar HD 15x56 compared to the older non-HD SLC but it still shows the lack of CA in the Meostar.

"The most notable difference in aberrations was in the familiar color fringing of chromatic aberration. In this area the Meopta was noticeably better from the center field to the edge. While viewing the resolution chart, the resolution elements clearly showed fringing with the Swarovski while the Meopta showed near-perfect correction in this area."
https://www.rokslide.com/review-meopta-meostar-15x56-hd-binocular/

"The MeoStar shows a bright, sharp image with nice contrast and almost zero CA."
https://redirect.viglink.com/?forma...www.cloudynights.com/topic/5...iew/?p=7419055
 

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CharleyBird

Well-known member
England
"Curious why you chose the APM's over the Fujinon 16x70 FMT Polaris Binocular."

I read reviews on Cloudy Nights regarding their optical qualities, ERs, weights, builds.
And then sought opinions of someone here.
 

Marleymac

Member
Thanks for all the replies from everyone, I'm just going to go ahead and purchase a pair of Swarovski slc 15x56s, where is the cheapest place online to purchase them or could offer some discounts as the uk may bank holiday is approaching, cheers mac.
 

Conndomat

United States of Europe
Europe
"Curious why you chose the APM's over the Fujinon 16x70 FMT Polaris Binocular."

I read reviews on Cloudy Nights regarding their optical qualities, ERs, weights, builds.
And then sought opinions of someone here.

Hi Charley,

I think that was a good decision!

I had the entire FMT series and the 16x70 was actually the weakest model in terms of optical performance.
During the day there were already violent chromatic aberrations in brighter objects, even in the night sky.
I sold it relatively quickly.

Have fun with the APM.

Andreas
 

14Goudvink

Well-known member
"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."

If you get a chance try a pair of the Meopta Meostar HD 15x56. When I compared them to the Swarovski SLC HD 15x56 I saw almost no CA on-axis nor on the edge in the Meostar's. The CA control was better than the newer HD's Swarovski's. These pictures below are a comparison of Meopta Meostar HD 15x56 compared to the older non-HD SLC but it still shows the lack of CA in the Meostar.

"The most notable difference in aberrations was in the familiar color fringing of chromatic aberration. In this area the Meopta was noticeably better from the center field to the edge. While viewing the resolution chart, the resolution elements clearly showed fringing with the Swarovski while the Meopta showed near-perfect correction in this area."
https://www.rokslide.com/review-meopta-meostar-15x56-hd-binocular/

"The MeoStar shows a bright, sharp image with nice contrast and almost zero CA."
https://redirect.viglink.com/?forma...www.cloudynights.com/topic/5...iew/?p=7419055

Hi Dennis,

The Rokslide review compares the Meostar 15x56 to the previous version of the Swaro 15x56, not to the latest SLC 15x56. The latest SLC handles CA very well.

George
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Thinking about the points that I made in the first part of post #12, I was reminded of a graph entitled ‘Binocular Efficiency’
It’s from the 1989 paper ‘Binocular Performance and Design’ by Daniel Vukobratovich at: https://wp.optics.arizona.edu/optomech/wp-content/uploads/sites/53/2016/10/Vukobratovich-1989.pdf

Notwithstanding there are a number of reservations as to the data and hence the graph (e.g. see David’s comments at: https://www.birdforum.net/showpost.php?p=3873569&postcount=23 ),
the graph provides a convenient visual representation of the main idea in post #12

The horizontal axis shows the magnification of a binocular, and the vertical axis shows the amount of detail observed when using a binocular
The latter is described as ‘efficiency’ and is expressed as the magnification equivalent
The plot points are for 3.5x, 6x, 7x, 8x, 10x, 15x and 18x binoculars

The graph compares:
A) Theoretical efficiency, showing a direct relationship between the level of magnification and the amount of perceived detail
- presumedly what would be observed when using a stable tripod for support
B) Supported efficiency, when the observer has some form of unspecified support while holding a binocular, and
C) Handheld efficiency, when a binocular is held without any additional support


Looking at the graph afresh, something that had previously tickled the back of my mind became clear
As the Theoretical line shows a 1:1 relationship between magnification and observed detail, it should be at a 45 degree angle
Consequently, I’ve attached a modified version of the graph, having stretched it horizontally to reflect this (it also appropriately alters the two curves)
In relation to the Handheld data, the altered graph makes much clearer the rapidity of the decline to the rate of increase of efficiency as the magnification increases
- a very pronounced flattening of the curve


So in terms of general conclusions:
• Unsurprisingly, while a solid independent support such as a tripod is optimal to seeing maximum possible detail, there are obvious tradeoffs (including bulk, weight and mobility)

• An otherwise unsupported handheld binocular gives the worst outcome. The convenience of offhand use comes at an increasingly high cost as magnification increases
And while both your and my performance may differ in degree from the graph, there will inevitably be a significant decline to the rate of increase of efficiency as the magnification increases

• And in-between the two, the general rule should be: any support is better than none, and; more support is better than less
And two supports can be combined e.g. a brought one such as Finn Stick, along with an environmental one such as using the side of a tree trunk to rest the binocular against


John


p.s. for those wanting to know the precise Handheld values, see the 3rd column in the table
 

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CharleyBird

Well-known member
England
I reckon all you need to do is go out at night, focus on a bright star so it is a pinpoint, and see how much wobble you personally get with 7x compared to a 10x and 15x.

This also shows the ease of finding an object quickly with an instrument.

An attempt at holding a 45x eyepiece on my 85mm Swaro drawscope made me go straight back to 7x
;)
 

cottonbase

Well-known member
Thanks for all the replies from everyone, I'm just going to go ahead and purchase a pair of Swarovski slc 15x56s, where is the cheapest place online to purchase them or could offer some discounts as the uk may bank holiday is approaching, cheers mac.
Tring Astronomy Centre on Amazon has one left at £1,521.00.
£1,575.00 everywhere else (including Tring's web site).
Probably worth speaking verbally to UK suppliers to negotiate a better price.
 

Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
John Roberts, post 26,
We have discussed this topic of handheld versus supported binoculars some time ago on this forum before.
In that light it is also useful to read:
-1- Paul. R. Yoder, jr. and Daniel Vukobratovitch, "Field Guide to binoculars and telescopes", SPIE PRESS, vol FG 19, 2011.
-2- L.P. Osipova and V.V. Politkhonova, Sov. J.. Opt. Technol. 58 ,Feb. 1991, 88-90
-3- L.P. Osipova and V.V. Potikhonova, Sov. J. Opt. Technol., 58, Sept, 1991, 542-544
Both papers were reported by the Optical Society of America.
Papers 1-3 are excellently performed experiments yielding similar curves as shown in your post 26.
Gijs van Ginkel
 

Marleymac

Member
Tring Astronomy Centre on Amazon has one left at £1,521.00.
£1,575.00 everywhere else (including Tring's web site).
Probably worth speaking verbally to UK suppliers to negotiate a better price.

Hi cottonbase,

The ones you are quoting on tring website at £1575 are the 10x56 and not the 15x56, most places have sold out and awaiting stock due to covid19, cheers mac.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Hi Dennis,

The Rokslide review compares the Meostar 15x56 to the previous version of the Swaro 15x56, not to the latest SLC 15x56. The latest SLC handles CA very well.

George
I know the Rockslide review was the older Swaro 15x56. I just wanted to show the pictures of the complete lack of CA in the Meopta Meostar HD 15x56 on the edges. I compared the newer Swaro HD SLC 15x56 to the Meostar HD 15x56 and even though the newer SLC HD 15x56 was much better than the older SLC and exhibited almost no CA on-axis it did have a little CA on the edges. The Meopta Meostar 15x56 had no CA on-axis OR on the edges. That was my point. That was why I chose the Meopta Meostar HD 15x56 over the newer Swaro SLC HD 15x56. I think it is the Schott glass used in the Meostar which eliminates the CA . From Canip's excellent review on Cloudy Night's.
https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/549444-meopta-meostar-15x56-hd-short-review/?p=7419055

"The MeoStar shows a bright, sharp image with nice contrast and almost zero CA. I would consider it quite color neutral; the SLC and the Conquest HD exhibit an even „whiter“ image than the MeoStar, which appears just a tiny bit „warmer“ in tone, not much. The image of the MeoStar is quite „homogenous“ over the entire FOV, so you can let your eyes wander comfortably across the image. I found on-axis and off-axis sharpness to be very good, comparable to the SLC and Conquest HD. Whereas the Conquest HD exhibits significant amounts of CA when the eye is not fully aligned with the exit pupil, and whereas both the the Docter and Monarch show the same effect to a lesser extent (the SLC does it only minimally), the MeoStar is quite „tolerant“ in this respect . Even when your eyes are not well aligned behind the eyepieces, it is not easy to produce significant amounts of CA, the MeoStar in my experience wins this category quite clearly. Distortion in the MeoStar is minimal, but nevertheless I found very little globe effect when panning the binoculars across various backgrounds. When observing the moon, I found no ghost images, also with the moon just outside the field of view. Spikes are visible on bright light sources, but not dominant at all, and flares appeared minimal.Stars are point-shaped across most of the field of view, getting just slightly blurred towards the very periphery of the image.The SLC and in particular the Conquest HD produce an even brighter image than the MeoStar (again, tested e.g. on the moon). However, surface structures and textures appear in my eyes even more distinct and very contrasty in the MeoStar. Testing for stray-light, I chose the „worst observation condition ever“: watching birds on the bank across a river, observing against a low (15 degrees) sun which produces lots of shiny reflections on the river surface (i.e. observing in between the sun and the shiny river surface). This produced lots of stray-light effects in the MeoStar, all sort of glares and reflections, but almost no „veiling glare“ (across the whole field of view). The other 15x56 binos exhibited more or less veiling glare - the Conquest HD the most - and similar amounts of glares and reflections, even the SLC proved not „fail-safe“ in this respect. This was relatively disappointing, and as I was not sure I did something wrong in this test, I performed the same test with my trusted MeoStar 10x42 HD, which I know to be well shielded against stray-light, and the result of the 10x42 was clearly better than in any of the 15x/16x glasses. I am aware that this stray-light performance is more relevant for birders under certain conditions, but less relevant for astro use."
 
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Samolot

Well-known member
"the SLC and the Conquest HD exhibit an even „whiter“ image than the MeoStar, which appears just a tiny bit „warmer“ in tone, not much."

I noticed the warmer image on my 12x50HD. Wasn't a fan of it. The SLC does have a nice white natural image, closest to the Habicht which in my opinion is the benchmark for image "naturalness".
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Hi CharleyBird (post #27),

I certainly agree. A pinpoint light source in a dark field such as a star, is the most effective way that I’ve found to see the degree of wobble when comparing different binoculars
- or when comparing different holds, or different forms of support, when using the same binocular

I’m also able to use street lights some 5km/ 3 miles away, from across a bay (the advantage is a horizontal view, rather than the more elevated one when using stars)

Either very clearly shows a jittering image, so you can easily see both the degree of and any pattern to the wobble


John
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
While looking at information about the Zeiss HT, I came across a photo by Chuck that shows a visual comparison including the EL x50 and the SLC x56
It's at: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=361868

I’ve cut and pasted the photo to better compare the two
As can be seen there's a considerable difference in size between the 1 kg/ 35 oz EL 12x50 and the 1.2 kg/ 42 oz SLC 15x56

As always, such a 2D view necessarily gives a reduced impression of the difference in the 3D volume of the two binoculars
e.g. ignoring the actual diameter of the outer casings, a 56 mm diameter has 25% more area than a 50 mm one
so when you factor in the differences in height x width x depth . . .

And for interest, also see a photo comparing the 15x56 and 12x50 eye lenses. It's from a sales listing at: https://www.coueswhitetail.com/forums/topic/71041-swarovski-12x50-el-and-15x56-slc/


John


p.s. in terms of minimising volume, and so improving the handling for most especially with larger models, as Roger Vine notes in his review of the Vortex Razor UHD 18x56
the design used by Vortex seems to be a significant innovation; at: http://www.scopeviews.co.uk/VortexRazor18x56.htm
 

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Marleymac

Member
Just an update, I have just purchased a new pair of swarovski slc 15x56 binoculars and managed to get a good discount, thank you to everyone who commented in my post, much appreciated, thanks mac.
 

Samolot

Well-known member
While looking at information about the Zeiss HT, I came across a photo by Chuck that shows a visual comparison including the EL x50 and the SLC x56
It's at: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=361868

I’ve cut and pasted the photo to better compare the two
As can be seen there's a considerable difference in size between the 1 kg/ 35 oz EL 12x50 and the 1.2 kg/ 42 oz SLC 15x56

As always, such a 2D view necessarily gives a reduced impression of the difference in the 3D volume of the two binoculars
e.g. ignoring the actual diameter of the outer casings, a 56 mm diameter has 25% more area than a 50 mm one
so when you factor in the differences in height x width x depth . . .

And for interest, also see a photo comparing the 15x56 and 12x50 eye lenses. It's from a sales listing at: https://www.coueswhitetail.com/forums/topic/71041-swarovski-12x50-el-and-15x56-slc/


John


p.s. in terms of minimising volume, and so improving the handling for most especially with larger models, as Roger Vine notes in his review of the Vortex Razor UHD 18x56
the design used by Vortex seems to be a significant innovation; at: http://www.scopeviews.co.uk/VortexRazor18x56.htm


Congrats on your purchase! Be sure to let us know what you think (after all, you may as well be talking about your binoculars when you're not actively using them... its a disease :) ).

Also, I really like the picture comparing the eyecup size of the EL to the SLC. While the eyepiece appears to be smaller (which apparently is not the fad in high-end optics), the SLC's have a huge eyecup! This I think contributes to the ease of view, and makes them more easily appreciated by friends and family who have eyes of all different shapes and sizes.
 

Patudo

Well-known member
Congratulations on a very fine purchase. I've used the 10x56 SLC and looked through the 8x and 15x, and all have been extremely impressive. The only observation I wanted to make re the choice between 15x and 12x was that if using the big binocular as a scope equivalent (ie. for identifying distant birds spotted by a lower magnification binocular), a tripod-mounted or otherwise supported 15x would be ideal, though an actual scope might well be better yet for that specific purpose. For scanning around, however (eg. trying to find raptors in the sky), and especially where hand-holding is necessary, the wider field of view of a 12x compared to a 15x can be a real advantage. I use an old 12x50B for that purpose and, though I acknowledge that gains in magnification yield diminishing returns, I find a good many distant targets easier to find and follow with it than with 8x or even 10x. The increased target size seems, for me anyway, to outweigh image wobble/shake, though even with my elbows braced against my knees or structure (which I do over 90% of the time with this binocular) the latter is still noticeable, distinctly more so than with lower magnifications.
 

RobMorane

Well-known member
For scanning around, however (eg. trying to find raptors in the sky), and especially where hand-holding is necessary, the wider field of view of a 12x compared to a 15x can be a real advantage.

I'm used to watch raptors with my 15x56.
I never scan with these binos.
I watch with my eyes first, try to locate the raptor (to get an idea of his speed and direction), stay focus on him, then bring the 15x to my eyes.

Works almost every time, and some details of the raptors I saw with my 15x56 will remain carved in mind forever (especially seen from above or when they flew few meters above me).

But you can do exactly the same with a 12x

But the Best memory I had with a raptor, was when I left my Binos in my backpack :-O
 
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

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