Review: New Swarovski EL Binoculars

Swarovski Optik is known for their fine quality and their latest creation stands up to the name. While in Rhode Island, I got the chance to try out a brand new pairs of 8.5×42 and 10×42 ELs. Having owned a pair of Swarovski 10×42 EL for over a year now, I was surprised at the immediate difference in the new version. And despite my lack of previous experience with optics (having only owned three pairs: junky, weak, and Swarovski) the new ones will create quite an uproar when they make it to the U.S. officially.

New Swarovski EL

The new ELs are actually a bit lighter and more ergonomic, although I can carry my current pair for back-to-back Christmas Bird Counts without any discomfort (from the binoculars, that is). Optically speaking, the new EL is a definite upgrade from the “old”, providing a crisper view across the entire field as well as improved eye relief. The close focus is about from your eyes to your feet.

Butterflying and dragonflying just got a whole lot easier!

The new ELs are on top – you can see the obvious difference
Swarovski EL Comparison

With any premium pair of optics, expect to spend quite a bit of cash. Prices will vary due to dollar exchange rates (Swarovskis are made in Austria) but two grand is a good ballpark. Just remember, superb optics are the tool that will enhance your birding more than any other gadget, book, or trick.

Of course the best way to find out how great the new Swarovski ELs are is to go to your nearest dealer and try them out for yourself. But be warned; once you hold these beauties you may just refuse to give them back.

New Swarovski EL

Overall rating: 10 out of 10 feathers Although I am still very happy with my “old” ELs (below)

Swarovski EL 10x42

6 thoughts on “Review: New Swarovski EL Binoculars

  1. The new ELs seems very appaling to me.
    May be time for a change my old SLC 10×42 are very heavy to compare with the ELs.

  2. Appaling doesn’t sound appealing!
    Actually I’m the owner of Swarovski EL 8.5×42 and I just can’t see how I’m ever going to own another pair of binoculars (apart from pocket ones which I’ve just bought at the British Bird Fair) – quality, lifetime guarantee and price all have something to do with it!
    So own up, who has two pairs of Swarovski?

  3. Funny how a typo can change the meaning 🙂

    I don’t think I’d ever own two pairs of ELs… when I upgrade, my current pair will find a new owner

  4. I wish I would have found this review before I just pulled the trigger on a pair of zeiss victory fl 7×42 t which I am very dissapointed with.

  5. Lawrence – so sorry for your disappointment. I know from experience that I have never heard a birder being disappointed with anything Swarovski produces. (They also have super excellent customer service if something isn’t 100% right).

  6. I checked the price on Oct. 5, 2009 with a couple of the overseas commerical outlets. Prices were listed in both Pounds and Euros and when you converted them to dollars the cost was a bit over $2,800.00 for a pair of the new EL’s. Quite pricey!!!

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