Article in: The New Birder Experience
February 22, 2010
The following is a review of the Swarovski EL Traveler Binoculars. Birdfreak.com has an ongoing partnership with Swarovski Optik. A few years ago I purchased a pair of Swarovski EL bins and would never want to use another brand. Since then, Swarovski has been super generous to us in getting awesome equipment in our hands. Our digiscoping rig is completely Swarovski (minus the camera of course) and more recently we’ve gotten a pair of Swarovski EL Traveler.
As part of The New Birder Experience, the Swarovski EL Traveler is Stacia’s (our new birder). This review is based on her opinions of the optics. Since I “officially” introduced her to birding, she has used only Swarovski bins: my ELs and the Traveler. Her view may be considered bias but consider that her impression is based with some purity: she has never had a crummy pair of binoculars!
As expected, the image quality lived up to Swarovski’s high standards providing clear and amazingly sharp images. Focusing on a bird was extremely easy, especially for a beginner and setting up the alignment was simple.
The 8x32s are light-weight and the “thumb” indentations provide for a perfect fit even while wearing heavy gloves. After a few hours of use they did start to feel a bit heavy around the neck (something that could be improved with a “binocular harness”).
The look of the Travelers is stylish yet not intimidating. From the first time of use Stacia was comfortable operating the bins and could tell they were highly durable.
The magnification and field of view were perfect for quickly finding birds when we were out on the Rock Cut Christmas Bird Count. The technical specs on the EL Travelers are 8x magnification and a field of view of 420 feet/1000 yards with a close focus of 7 feet. This close focus is perfect if you plan on getting into “butterflying” as well as birding.
The bins are 100% waterproof and fogproof and withstood -5 degrees Fahrenheit without any fogging.
Such high quality optics come at a premium price. But if you are serious about birding, getting high-end optics is a great way to go because of their durability and supreme quality. You really will never need another pair as they will last a lifetime.
The EL Travelers come with a Snap Shot adapter which slides over one barrel’s eyepiece and provides a quick and easy way to take a photo with a point-and-shoot camera without a lot of hassle. This added feature is a nice way to capture diagnostic or “proof” shots without carrying a full digiscoping rig or large camera.