• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.

Swarovski spotting scope (1 Viewer)

Birdgirl25

New member
United States
I have the chance to buy a 10 to 15 year old Swarovski spotting scope. (Habicht AT80) (20-60 Eyepiece) Maybe slightly older? Buying it from an elderly lady who says she hasn't used it in 10 years. She was kind enough to let me take it home and try it out for a few days. The problem is when you look through the scope the image is a yellowish tinge. The outside lens surfaces look generally clean so I'm wondering if this is worth buying at all?
 

Bill Atwood

Registered User
Supporter
United States
If you get the scope, for future reference, the ATS/STS 20-60 eyepieces fits the old AT/ST scopes and is a marked improvement over the older eyepiece.
 

Bill Atwood

Registered User
Supporter
United States
The image is technically terrible for the price. Should be crystal clear.
What is she asking for it?

There's a very good chance Swaro will fix it for the cost of shipping. I helped a friend with getting her busted AT80 to Swaro. She bought it used and shortly afterwards the focus mechanism quit working. When preparing it for shipping I took a look at the interior and noticed a snowflake type pattern. I sent it in and requested a price for repair. The scope came back rather quickly with new prisms and the focusing fixed, no charge.
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

just yellowish image in old Swaro glass is the old "Blaubelag" coatings. You won't get these fixed, they were that way out of the box...
I would not recommend a non-HD AT80 unless it is a low three-digit amount - which usually does not happen as the name Swaro often makes sellers greedy.

And then I would try to get a 30x wide EP for it - which is not easy... the zoom EP is only reasonably wide at 60x which is more than the non-ed scope can deliver - they're usually fine up to 40x but the zoom is quite narrow at that point.

PS: Welcome to birdforum!

Joachim
 
Last edited:

mbb

Well-known member
If you get the scope, for future reference, the ATS/STS 20-60 eyepieces fits the old AT/ST scopes and is a marked improvement over the older eyepiece.
Interesting info! I didn’t know that.
Does that also mean that all ATM/STM/ATS/STS(HD)-eyepieces fit and work perfectly with the older AT(HD)’s?
(Also the 20x sw, 30x sw, and 25-50x?)

Does this also apply the other way around, using older AT(HD) eyepieces on newer ATS/STS… scopes? (Though that would probably be less interesting to do.)
I guess the eyepiece improvements are more important than the scope body improvements, both with regards to ‘specs’ (fov, eye relief, …) and to brightness (coating improvements, due to more glass-air layers).
 

Birdgirl25

New member
United States
What is she asking for it?

There's a very good chance Swaro will fix it for the cost of shipping. I helped a friend with getting her busted AT80 to Swaro. She bought it used and shortly afterwards the focus mechanism quit working. When preparing it for shipping I took a look at the interior and noticed a snowflake type pattern. I sent it in and requested a price for repair. The scope came back rather quickly with new prisms and the focusing fixed, no charge.
Just found out the woman, (near 90) is giving me the scope for free. Also just found the scope is 28 years old! Hopefully the scope is fixable with the warranty.
 

Bill Atwood

Registered User
Supporter
United States
Interesting info! I didn’t know that.
Does that also mean that all ATM/STM/ATS/STS(HD)-eyepieces fit and work perfectly with the older AT(HD)’s?
(Also the 20x sw, 30x sw, and 25-50x?)

Does this also apply the other way around, using older AT(HD) eyepieces on newer ATS/STS… scopes? (Though that would probably be less interesting to do.)
I guess the eyepiece improvements are more important than the scope body improvements, both with regards to ‘specs’ (fov, eye relief, …) and to brightness (coating improvements, due to more glass-air layers).
I don't see why the other eyepieces wouldn't physically fit, have no idea about the optical results. The AT/ST doesn't have the pin locking mechanism, but the fit was very tight, there shouldn't be an issue with eyepieces coming loose.
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
Agree that her gesture is extremely kind. Back to the scope - what is wrong with the scope that you believe falls under and will be fixed free of charge under warranty which has nearly expired?
I don't see why the other eyepieces wouldn't physically fit, have no idea about the optical results. The AT/ST doesn't have the pin locking mechanism, but the fit was very tight, there shouldn't be an issue with eyepieces coming loose.

Absolutely Bill. When I was retailing these, we found that the newer eyepieces fitted very snugly on the older AT bodies and appeared a slight improvement but only on the HD models.
 
Last edited:

Bill Atwood

Registered User
Supporter
United States
Agree that her gesture is extremely kind. Back to the scope - what is wrong with the scope that you believe falls under and will be fixed free of charge under warranty which has nearly expired?


Absolutely Bill. When I was retailing these, we found that the newer eyepieces fitted very snugly on the older AT bodies and appeared a slighter improvement but only on the HD models.
From memory the newer 20-60 was a significant improvement over the old version in a non-HD AT. Perhaps the old eyepiece was in poor shape.

When my friends old and beat up AT80, which she had paid $500 for, returned from service and repair I did a short backyard comparison with my ATX95. The AT80 did very well in that comparison and, for a little while, made me think twice about my obsession to have the latest and greatest optics.
 

Bill Atwood

Registered User
Supporter
United States
Just found out the woman, (near 90) is giving me the scope for free. Also just found the scope is 28 years old! Hopefully the scope is fixable with the warranty.
Swarovski's North America office is in Rhode Island. Any service/repair items need to be shipped there. In turn they will likely send it to Austria. Expect it to take a few weeks. Swaro's NA service contact info is:

Phone: (800) 426 3089
Mon - Fri 08:00 AM - 05:00 PM EST
Email: [email protected]

I would suggest calling them to discuss your findings and to set up a Service Order number. They will want the serial number which IIRC is on the bottom of the foot.

Even if Swaro charged a few hundred for repairs the scope should be well worth it.
 

slingworks

Well-known member
I think I'd have to disagree with nearly everyone here. The Older Swarovski AT80 scopes are excellent.
Resolution wise they were tops, even the standard non florite models were superbly sharp. There was a time when Swarovski actually claimed the AT80s were so sharp they didnt need a Florite Objective (Even though they offered a florite model). If you do a little research online and find older reviews you'll find they were indeed matching and outclassing florite spotters.

In regards to the amber cast, they were designed that way. The Amber tint has some advantages, but "birders" often demand pure colors. Swarovskis had the amber tint into the 90s I believe. I am not a birder, but enjoy optics and I do prefer a light tint. Contrast is very slightly enhanced and it does appear to cut down on noticeable CA.

About the only change worth mentioning is that the approach to eyepiece designs have changed. Modern eyepieces are overall a little better (Zooms).

Here in the states I often come across the older Swarovskis at shows and they do sell. I've never seen one sell for less than a thousand dollars. Maybe in Europe they bring less, that's often the case over there.
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi Slingworks,

sorry to have to disagree - it might be true that the Swaro marketing folks told the story about not needing fluorite when Kowa brought out the TSN-3, and before Swaro had the AT80HD ready, but physics is physics.
A super fast doublet objective at f5.5 or thereabouts without an ED element will struggle to deliver a sharp image at higher magnifications as any optical designer will quickly show you in a simulation.
This is due to longitudinal chromatic aberration (the different colors coming to focus at slightly different points - resulting in no clear point of best focus but a wider area of least fuzziness).
I tried an example of AT80 with the 20-60 zoom (which is narrow but works ok, unlike the terrible 20-60 Kowa zoom from the early 90s) and it was ok up to 40x or so but a bit narrow due to the zoom and the image degraded visibly when cranking it up to 60x.

As for the story of the yellow tint of old Swaro glass having been designed that way... I thought so too but not sure any more...
On the german Juelich optics forum there is a member now retired in Austria with very good knowlege in optics who lately strongly hinted that this was not the case but rather due to the technical constraints at Swaro in that time.

Joachim
 
Last edited:

Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
...it might be true that the Swaro marketing folks told the story about not needing fluorite when Kowa brought out the TSN-3, and before Swaro had the AT80HD ready, but physics are physics...
Agreed. I remember the claim from Swarovski well, but I chose the Nikon 78ED over the ST80 because it had much better performance due to lower CA, not to mention more neutral color and conveniently shorter length, and at a lower cost.

--AP
 

slingworks

Well-known member
I think you gents have misunderstood my point. Match many florite spotters resolution wise, yes exceed no. I think maybe with that line I did get carried away typing quickly. The AT80s are very sharp for standard glass, and in the old tests you'll find online from the era you'll see they did resolve very very well. I am speaking more of resolution power rather than colors and CA. (not really a birdwatcher).

In it's era the Swarovski was a top scope. Today it would still be a top non florite spotter. The OP, having gotten it for free could have a great piece if they were to purchase a new eyepiece (Perhaps even reducing the "tint" of the view a bit) and have a very good optic for a great price. It sounds like the OP is new to the "sport" and purchasing a higher end florite or ED spotter is likely out of the question?

J Ring I briefly owned a TSN3. It was a good spotter (with modern 30x eyepiece) but while very good I didn't find as superb as reviews praised it. I know they vary somewhat from sample to sample. Maybe yours is better than mine was? At the same time I had a B&L Premier 77mm (ED glass) and using the same Kowa Eyepieces I found it to be slightly sharper, brighter and more to my liking.
 
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread

Top