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