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The Swarovski My Junior 7x28 (1 Viewer)

MikeRottier

Active member
Netherlands
The Swarovski My Junior 7x28

Many thanks to Jan van Dalen from House of Outdoors in Utrecht for sending me a unit for testing.

What is it ?
Well, it's a blue (or green) pair of binoculars made by Swarovski, aimed at children. I will be testing them as a normal pair of 480 euro binos, because that's what they are.
I tried them out in the Netherlands, open landscapes with rivers and lakes, and my back garden (which has a lot of trees that provide a lot of shade). The skies varied from beautifly blue to nasty white when overcast. I photograph a lot, and when I do I'm mostly hiking or sitting at the water's edge, so these are the situations in which I use binoculars the most.

Looks and feel.
They are a little smaller than a regular pair of 8x32 binoculars, clad in some sort of silky feeling stiff rubber armor, which feels nice. I'm not sure about dirt resistance, but so far so good. The little lines along the sides of the barrels remind me of altitude lines on a map. It has some sort of very shallow thumb grips that go up along the sides.
The blue is kind of a jugendstil blue, and the 'altitude' lines and the darker turquoise stripes reinforce this jugendstil look. I wonder how long it takes for a child to run a ballpoint through the lines to try to make it look better. Even I have to resist the urge to do so :) Over all, I like the looks a lot. It's a beautiful pair of bino's, and the finish is very nice.
A word of warning for the fashionistas among us: especially the blue version (but also the green, to a lesser extent) will clash violently with your cool hunter/outdoors outfit. So beware of this.

No diopter setting !
Yes, indeed. There is no way of setting the bino if your vision requires it. That being said: I usually dial in +1 on the binos I use. With this pair you can't, but the image was good and I didn't feel I needed to set it. So this is good. It almost felt liberating: since you can't set it, you don't bother with it, and you just look. When you wear glasses, you don't need it anyway.

Use with glasses.
I can see the whole image with my glasses on, and placing the binoculars in front of my glasses and aligning them is very easy. Of course this is personal, you have to try them out for yourself to see if it works for you.
I found this a very strong point of these binoculars. Usually I like to look through bino's without glasses, but with these ones (especially when walking) it was trivially easy to raise them to my glasses and look. Very nice !

Ergonomics.
For me, ergonomics were good. I can fold my hands around them nicely, and the adjustment wheel is placed in the right place.
Concerning the adjustment wheel: it is a little bit on the stiff side. Maybe because it is new. But it turns nicely without too much resistance. There is no 'loose play', but when reversing direction, the first few millimeters there is a little less friction and then it engages, although also in this few first millimeters the lenses inside are moving immediately, so it's just a case of getting used to this feeling.

Eyecups.
They have three positions. Retracted, medium, fully extended. Nice tactile clicks. With glasses you don't extend them, and, as said, I can see the whole field of view. Without glasses I used one click out, and for me that looked fine. When you jam the binos right to your eyes you wil see blackouts with the eyecups not extended, some when half way extended, and none when fully extended. When using them without glasses I tend to let the binos rest under my eyebrows, so for me half way out works best. They feel comfortable when I rest the binos against my eyes or my eyebrows.
Concerning the eyecup protection pieces: they have a raised ridge on them that fits the inside of the eyecups, like the front caps on more expensive binoculars. I like this idea, however: you have to press them firmly into place (maybe because they are new and not worn in) and as a result you end up pushing the eyecups back in.

Neckstrap/case/box.
Yes, the binos are packed in a nice Swarovski box. No issues here. The case is nice, but I never use these. The neckstrap is a little different then most: you can adjust the length on one point, with the consequence that it is a double strap. I found it too long, even at its shortest setting. You can take of the strap swiftly if you want which is convenient and a nice design touch.

Finally: the view.
First of all: the immersiveness, which I find the most important. Well, it is not an NL Pure, a Zeiss Conquest, an EL, or a Meopta B1. So no big, great, glorious, and fantastic larger then life sized images in which you can get lost wandering around with your eyes without moving the binoculars. That being said: the view is very nice. Certainly better then a lot of the competion at this price point. And I liked it a lot better then the CL Pocket 8x25 (Latest version) or the Curio (I'm talking immersiveness here, not so much IQ). I just kept picking up this pair of binos just because of the joy of looking through them, and that is always a very good sign.
Swift panning through a landscape with these binoculars is a blast. No dizzyness, you can keep your eyes open while you are looking for whatever you are looking for. It is effortless. In this regard it is a very good binocular.

Colour cast.
And of course, again a warning first: this is higly personal !
I've looked through several Swarovski's, and they all looked the same for me: some sort of very 'green' image with subdued reds and subdued bright colours. I like them, but not as much as I liked a Meostar B1 (Had one, sold it, still regretting it).
This My Junior is a bit more neutral in it's view. It's so neutral in fact that I didn't notice it at first, but it has the most true to life colours in a bino that I have experienced yet, with a little touch for more vivid image pop. But only a very light touch.
Brightnes is nice and good. On a very sunny day it won't burn your eyes out, while when it gets dark, you are still able to see a lot. No problems here.

And then: glare.
Is there glare ? Why, yes, it's a Swaro, what were you thinking ?
The good news here is that you can solve most of it.
Looking away from the sun it's not an issue. Nor is it when you are in the shades. When you're out of the shadows and turning into the the sun and you are not looking straight through the binoculars, you start seeing it. That's the time to straighten out the binos: keep your head upright and look right into the binoculars, and a lot (if not all) of the glare disappears. If it's still there, you can use your hands to form a sunhood over the barrels.
I didn't have much of an issue with it, but this can be higly personal.

Purple fringing.
The thing I hate most in binoculars. Right next to tunnelview.
There is good and bad news here.
The good news: in most of the field you don't see it. Not when looking into the sun at rippling waves, not when looking at a pair of coots with their white foreheads and black fethers, and not when looking at branches against a white sky. Not even in the perifery of your vision. Not even a hint of it. Very, very, very impressive. It really is a joy to look through this pair of binoculars and realizing that there is not even an imagined trace of purple fringing just next to the point where you are looking at.
And then the bad news. Al the fringing that is banned out of your image is banned right to the edge of your image. At the outer edge of the field there is a very small band, sharply aligned, where everything that is banned from the central part of the image lives.
Does it bother me ? Not at all. As said, it is a very small band, and it only shows itself in extreme conditions when I go looking for it. But even when I am in extreme conditions I am looking to the center of the field and the fringing is just too far out of the way to bother me, if I notice it at all. Let me emphasize this: in normal use (and even in extreme use) it really does not bother me because it is non-appearent in the part of the view that counts.

IQ/sharpness.
This one surprised me. It is not the all the way out to the edges optical flawles perfection of an NL pure or a CL pocket. But especially the sharpnes is very good. So good in fact that it was hard to tell the difference in actual use. It's the fringing issue on the edge of the field that gives the lower price of this pair of binoculars away. Along with the different colour look of the image (The last one not being a negative, just an observation).
Another observation: sometimes the image of the Junior seemed sharper then the CL's. Not because it was sharper, but because the image you see with the Junior is bigger.

'Focus pop'.
When using swarovski binoculars I tend to refocus a lot. Is it sharp ? Maybe a little touch of the focus wheel ? No, back a little. Okay, now its good. That kind of feeling. This Junior has it too, but in a lesser extent. Maybe it has to do with the colour science of Swarovski to which my eyes are not sensitive to, or the inner mechanics and build of the lenses inside. When I used the Zeiss Conquest 10x42 there was absolutely no trace of any doubt wether I was in focus. Of course that one is a 10 times magnification bino, which helps I imagine, but with other brands I often have less of an issue in this regard. But the Junior comes into focus nicely, aided by the fact that it is a 7 times magnification bino.

Sturdyness.
Is it sturdy ? Well, it looks and feels sturdy. Only time will tell if it really is. Sadly I have to return this unit so you will have to find out for yourself.

So. There it is. Do I like this pair of binoculars ? Yes I do ! Reading back I realize that this test may almost look like an advertisement, but there is no way around it: I really like them. It's a no frills, not too big and easy to carry, very easy and comfortably to use bino, where my eyes relaxed when looking through them. And that last point about my eyes relaxing is already the best recommendation for me. I don't know if I am lucky with this unit to perform so well or that they are all this good. The made in China thing doesn't bother me, as long as it is well built.
Swarovski may have even shot themselves in the foot by making this bino. Why pay more if this one is so nice already ?
But of course it's light blue. Or light green, depending on your liking.
Would I buy one myself ? There are a lot of very nice binoculars at this price point. But having tried this one out for two weeks the contenders would have to be really, really good. So good in fact that the shortlist (at this time of course) would amount to two choices: this Swaro against the others. And among those others would also be more expensive binoculars. Despite the fact that it's aimed as a childrens binocular (and no doubt adult binoculars fans too) the Junior is a very good choice in my opinion, both in the ergonomics department as well as for the optical qualities it has. This bino scores were it counts. And for me, it scores big time. I just keep picking it up and using it. Just for the fun of it, and because it's so easy to use.
 
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Hi Mike,

Thanks for that.

While the intended users are children (with at least one well off adult in their life), as you indicate in your concluding remarks,
Swarovski may be unintentionally demonstrating that even a relatively low-price/ low-specification modern binocular
largely meets the needs of many adults!


John

- - - -
For us non-Dutch speakers, in the section Looks and Feel, 'jugendstil' translates as art nouveau (per Google Translate).
 
Hi Mike,

Thanks for that.

While the intended users are children (with at least one well off adult in their life), as you indicate in your concluding remarks,
Swarovski may be unintentionally demonstrating that even a relatively low-price/ low-specification modern binocular
largely meets the needs of many adults!


John

- - - -
For us non-Dutch speakers, in the section Looks and Feel, 'jugendstil' translates as art nouveau (per Google Translate).
Imagine what would happen if Swarovski decided to make a low priced 7x35 with the same sized eyepiece lenses as the Pure.... A my Junior+ so to speak. I think that that would clash with their design philosophy to make the best possible binoculars, but then again, they built this Junior too, so who knows. Perfection has a high price. Another option could be to redesign their Habicht line and add decent (big lens) eyepieces to them.
These Juniors are a nice example of a pair of binos with flaws, but with the important things in order. I can live with that, as long as the flaws are not distracting from the qualities I find important. I'd rather have binos that are excelling in the important things, with flaws, than a pair of binos were everything is smoothed out flat so you end up with average.
 
Hi Mike,

A Swarovski 7x35 - one can hope! I too am a big fan of 7x.

Swarovski has a loooong tradition of 7x binoculars . . .

The still in production Porro prism Habicht 7x42 goes all the way back to 1949 - the year when both the Swarovski Optik company
and the Habicht brand were registered - with the 75th anniversary of the company being this year *

There was also the Porro prism SL 7x42 from 1980 to 1992, and the SL 7x50 from 1983 to 1997.

Along with the SLC 7x30 from 1989 to 2001, and the SLC 7x42 from 1992 to 2010.


And Swarovski seems to have been staging a smaller 7x revival lately: with the CL Curio 7x21 in 2021, and now the My Junior 7x28
. . . so next up in size?


John


* The 7x42 was actually introduced in the first year of commercial production in 1948, which was under the much older Swarovski crystal brand.
It joined the 6x30 which was based on Swarovski's WWII production of the standard pattern Dienstglas (service glass).
For more see posts #6 and 11 (and the first link in it) at: Early Swarovski Post War Models
 
One of the failings of many bins supposedly designed for children is not having a really small minimum IPD. I'm pleased to see that Swarovski specs the minimum IPD as 2 inches (50.8 mm), which is superb (and class leading, as far as I know) for a single-hinge roof design. Can you confirm the accuracy of that measure? Adults with small IPD (esp. below 54 mm) may be interested in these.

--AP
 
One of the failings of many bins supposedly designed for children is not having a really small minimum IPD. I'm pleased to see that Swarovski specs the minimum IPD as 2 inches (50.8 mm), which is superb (and class leading, as far as I know) for a single-hinge roof design. Can you confirm the accuracy of that measure? Adults with small IPD (esp. below 54 mm) may be interested in these.

--AP
Yes, it is correct.
 
I don’t see the logic in not having a diopter adjustment. Even a cheapo binocular in a bubble pack from Walmart usually has a twist type diopter. So far it seems most people seem to be able to work around it, but there’s bound to be lots and lots of people that could never use these binoculars without having a less than perfect image, and that would include kids with less than perfect vision.
 
Swarovski may be unintentionally demonstrating that even a relatively low-price/ low-specification modern binocular
largely meets the needs of many adults!
There is a lot of truth in that I reckon. As the C-in-C of Collimation is fond of saying, you can get within 90% of the performance of the so-called alphas at 25% (or whatever figure he likes to cite) the price.

But I always thought the traditional binocular for the SWAROMAN's kids was a battered old Habicht... Tobias had a charming photo of one of his kids looking through one on his old site.
 
I don’t see the logic in not having a diopter adjustment. Even a cheapo binocular in a bubble pack from Walmart usually has a twist type diopter. So far it seems most people seem to be able to work around it, but there’s bound to be lots and lots of people that could never use these binoculars without having a less than perfect image, and that would include kids with less than perfect vision.
Maybe the thinking is that any parents who can afford these bins for their kids will also have their kids to regular eye exams and get up-to-date contacts or glasses for them. The adjustable diopter of super cheap bins functions as much or more to correct for the bins' uncalibrated diopter zero position (or incorrect left-right-side matched focus) than imbalance between the user's eyes. If the Swarovski are properly calibrated during manufacture, they don't need it for that.

The loose and wandering diopter on many cheap bins is one of the things that makes them harder to use. I can't tell you how many kids and inexperienced adults that I've found using their bins with effectively only one eye since their diopter was randomly twisted to its limit in one direction or the other.

Still, like you, I'd like to see a good adjustable diopter on all bins.

--AP
 
But I always thought the traditional binocular for the SWAROMAN's kids was a battered old Habicht... Tobias had a charming photo of one of his kids looking through one on his old site.
This new Junior is in no way comparable to an old battered porro with (most likely) tunnelview. The view is big and bright. It's a thoroughly modern pair of binoculars. If it were black or the normal Swarovski green people would be raving over it.
 
This new Junior is in no way comparable to an old battered porro with (most likely) tunnelview. The view is big and bright. It's a thoroughly modern pair of binoculars. If it were black or the normal Swarovski green people would be raving over it.
Old battered porros can be quite good for kids, and for a long time were the only good choice for having good minimum IPD setting. But these new Swarovski roofs seem very nice. I look forward to handling one in person. The only thing that I am disappointed about, based on specs and photos, is the minimum close focus of 4 m. Many kids like to look at insects etc up close, so it is too bad that they don't get down to 2 m or less, which shouldn't have been hard to accomplish in a 7x28 design.

--AP
 
Old battered porros can be quite good for kids, and for a long time were the only good choice for having good minimum IPD setting. But these new Swarovski roofs seem very nice. I look forward to handling one in person. The only thing that I am disappointed about, based on specs and photos, is the minimum close focus of 4 m. Many kids like to look at insects etc up close, so it is too bad that they don't get down to 2 m or less, which shouldn't have been hard to accomplish in a 7x28 design.

--AP
Yes, indeed. I tried it out with an old porro I still have. And the porro indeed can be set to a smaller distance. Although I couldn't get my nose in between when I tried :)
Indeed you can't look at bugs at two meters. I guess it's just like photographic lenses: the greater zoom factor you want the more difficult and expensive it gets to get a good image.
 
I don’t see the logic in not having a diopter adjustment. Even a cheapo binocular in a bubble pack from Walmart usually has a twist type diopter. So far it seems most people seem to be able to work around it, but there’s bound to be lots and lots of people that could never use these binoculars without having a less than perfect image, and that would include kids with less than perfect vision.
Agreed. And not all kids with less than perfect eyesight necessarily wear contacts or glasses.
This new Junior is in no way comparable to an old battered porro with (most likely) tunnelview. The view is big and bright. It's a thoroughly modern pair of binoculars. If it were black or the normal Swarovski green people would be raving over it.
The Swaro has an AFOV of 50 degrees (128m/1000m). Most "old battered porros" have got a (much) wider field of view than that.

Hermann
 
Agreed. And not all kids with less than perfect eyesight necessarily wear contacts or glasses.

The Swaro has an AFOV of 50 degrees (128m/1000m). Most "old battered porros" have got a (much) wider field of view than that.

Hermann
With all due respect, but the term fov or afov doesn't mean anything. It's the view, the image, and the immersive feeling that you get when you look through the binoculars that counts. What good is a wide fov/afov when it's a small image presented at the end of a black tunnel ? These Juniors have a bigger image then most of these old porros.
 
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With all due respect, but the term fov or afov doesn't mean anything. It's the view, the image, and the immersive feeling that you get when you look through the binoculars that counts.
So it's the "immersive feeling"? And the FOV and the AFOV don't mean anything? Goodness gracious.
What good is a wide fov/afov when it's a small image presented at the end of a black tunnel ?
Can you explain this in a bit more detail? Doesn't make sense to me at all.
These Juniors have a much bigger image then most of these old porros.
So the 7x28 Baby Swaro has a "much bigger image" than, say, an old 8x30 porro? Interesting.

Obviously the laws of physics don't apply to the Baby Swaro.

Hermann
 

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