The following comments are the opinions of the writers. We're publishing
them here with the permission of their authors, with minor edits for
clarity or brevity. If you would like to submit a comment, send me an email.
Recently I purchased a pair of SLC 7X50 binocs and can't say enough good
things about them. Granted, with a 50mm objective lens they're a bit on the
heavy side, but considering the amazingly bright and clear image they produce
those few extra ounces seem well justified.
Gordon Schott, 9 November 1998
I went on a birding trip over the weekend and stayed with some friends in NJ.
The main trip was to Jamaica Bay but while I was there we did a scope
comparison which I think you'll find interesting. He bought a Swarovski at
about the same time that I bought my Televue. He has been telling me how
great the optics on his Swarovski are so I had been very anxious to test his
against mine. We set the scopes up side by side and looked at the exact same
object at different powers. The optical clarity of both seemed to be equal
up to 60 power. From about 55 power and above I felt that mine had a
slight edge in optical clarity. Mine also had the advantage of having twice
the field width and was able to close focus several feet shorter. His was
definitely brighter especially at the higher powers but of course it should
have been since it was an 80mm objective as opposed to my 70mm. We had the
scopes set up in his back yard so I regret not making a long distance
But, as far as I'm concerned, it still gets back to the issue of flexibility.
He is stuck with an angled eyepiece and a limit of 60 power. He can't go to
a straight though, which is what I prefer in almost all cases for birding and
he can't get close up looks at the moon which we can. True he has the
convenience of a zoom, waterproofing and a little more brightness at the
higher powers, but the field widths are half. Our's have every other
I will say this about Swarovski, it's a great scope and If I was going to get
a scope just for birding I would definitely consider a Swarovski. Anyone who
tells you that no one makes a good zoom, doesn't know what they are talking
Gary Felton, 27 Sep 1996
I purchased a pair of Swarovski 7x42 SLC series binoculars at approximately the same time as he examined the lackluster pair at the 1993 SHOT show. With the exception of their blockiness and weight and a slight stiffness in the focus knob, I'm absolutely delighted with them. Even this aggravation is nearly eliminated by the use of a heavy duty OpTech camera-grade strap featuring a slightly wider piece of neoprene than birders commonly use and rubber pebble-grain gripping studs on the side that presses directly upon the user's collar and neck. I ordered it from a company called
L.L. Rue that carries high-quality camera equipment.
As an eyeglass wearer, the TREMENDOUS eye-relief (18mm) is a godsend. There is absolutely no vignetting of the image when I place the oculars up to my eyes, and my eyeglass lenses are extremely thick. The overall image quality is nothing short of revelatory. At a distance of 6 yards, I can discern the species of the ants upon which a Black-and-White Warbler is feeding. Light gathering is excellent. Hunters will greatly appreciate the excellent light-gathering ability of these binoculars. The depth of field is superb, allowing me to focus on warblers flitting through tree branches and discern silhouettes of raptors and seagulls soaring across a distant seashore or
treeline. Edge-to edge image definition is remarkable. If I place the oculars at a somewhat unnatural angle to my eyes and look all around the very edges of the dimensions of the image gathered by the objective lenses, the tiniest trace of fuzziness appears. Bear in mind that to see this minuscule defect requires the user to adopt a thoroughly unnatural perspective when looking through the binoculars.
As I always bird with corrective lenses and hence 20-20 vision, I allowed my sister to test the unit with her nearly 20-20 vision. She found that the diopter adjustment's integration within the central focus wheel allowed for effortless accommodation of her varying eye strengths. The wheel did not slip when she determined the setting that worked best for her.
When I purchased these binoculars in August, 1993, the units were also an exceptional value in comparison to other premium binoculars. The pair I purchased cost $688.00, a full $300.00 less than the $1,000.00 Leica New Generation series 7x42 binoculars of identical optical quality.
In sum, if you are shopping for a top-flight pair of European roof prism binoculars, look no further than a pair of Swarovski 7x42
Chris Ellison, 20 May 1997
I just got back from a birding trip to Chincoteague, Bombay Hook, and
Cape May. I got a chance to compare my new Swarovski ST-80 to several other
scopes side-by side. The other scopes were a Televue Ranger, a couple Kowa
TSN-4's and TSN-2's and Kowa's new 82mm scope, a Nikon Fieldscope 60mm ED,
and a 77mm Leica. Thank you and your readers for all of your help when I
was deciding on a scope. I made the right choice. While all the scopes gave
excellent views, the ST-80 was a little sharper for me at all powers, but
particularly above about 35x. The Televue would probably have been sharper
with a 90 degree eyepiece. (It had a straight-through prism.) I don't
believe anyone would have been unhappy using any of these scopes. I
definitely believe the Swarovski has the best zoom. The waterproof feature
was particularly valuable to me on this trip and several occasions at home.
Jon Benedetti, 28 May 1997