That would have been the reaction when I first looked through my new Swarovski SLC 10×42 HD binoculars. Except that I was unable to utter a word: I was rendered speechless by the experience.
These binoculars are quite simply sublime.
I’ve been wanting to upgrade to a really good pair of binoculars for… well, all my life really and have been comparing high end models from Leica, Zeiss, Swarovski and Nikon, on and off, for quite a while.
On my mental bins wish list I’d pretty much whittled it down to either Leica Ultravid 10×42 or Swarovski EL 10×42 Swarovision, and I was leaning towards the Leicas mainly because I’ve never really liked the Swarovski EL’s elongated twin-hinge form factor.
I was absolutely amazed when I woke up on the morning of my 40th birthday, just over a week ago, to a pair of Swarovski SLC 10×42 HD binoculars.
Optically outstanding binoculars
That HD is an important new addition to the revamped SLC 42 range. High definition (HD) fluoride glass elements deliver outstanding image clarity and maximum colour fidelity while minimising the chromatic aberration in high contrast subjects you often get with even the highest quality standard binocular lenses.
When you combine that HD glass with Swarovski’s legendary optical coatings (swarodur, swarotop, swarobright and swaroclean), you get binoculars that optically are up there with the class-leading EL Swarovision, but in a form factor that I, for one, find much more comfortable.
In the field they are brilliant… so far ahead of anything I’ve used for any length of time before that it’s difficult to comprehend, let alone put into words. It takes birding and nature-watching to a completely different level.
Every day I’m surprised by just how well they cope with whatever the Irish November climate throws their way. They are great in high contrast, low directional sunlight, and equally at home in the dull, brooding Irish twilight.
The low light performance is a high point, especially for 10X bins. They really seem to drag in every scrap of available light. I tried them side by side with a friend’s Leica Ultravids 10x42s in fading light last week, and optically there was little to choose between them, but the Swarovskis were noticeably brighter, and were at least on a par in every other department.
Perfectly balanced handling
The SLC (Slim, Light, Compact) form-factor is, for me, as close to perfection as binoculars get. They really are incredibly compact and the new, lighter magnesium alloy chassis make the new SLCs a joy to use. Despite being light, there’s a solid ruggedness to the design that leave you in no doubt that they could cope with the most demanding field conditions.
I’ve used Swarovski ELs in the past, and they’re great binoculars, but I always found them a bit “strange” to handle. Perhaps you get used to them… but with the SLC there’s no getting used to anything… they just “fit” seamlessly in your hand, and are incredibly well balanced. They just feel right.
As for build quality… it’s flawless. My Swarovski’s are, quite simply, the best quality item I have ever owned.
|Objective lens Ø (mm)||42|
|Exit pupil (mm)||4.2 / 0.17|
|Exit pupil (mm)||16 / 0.65|
|field of view at m/1000 m / ft/1000 yds||110 / 330|
|field of view (degrees)||6.3|
|field of view with eye glasses (degrees)||6.3|
|Subjective field of view, apparent (degrees)||61|
|Shortest focusing distance (m/ft)||1.9 / 6|
|dioptric compensation (dpt)||±4|
|interpupillary distance (mm/in)||56-74 / 2.2-2.9|
|Twilight factor acc. to DIN 58388||20.5|
|Length approx. (mm/in) [with eyecups twisted in]||144 / 5.65|
|Width approx. (mm/in)||120 / 4.7|
|Height approx. (mm/in)||63 / 2.5|
|Weight approx. (g/oz)||790 / 28.0|
|Snap Shot Adapter model||S4|