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Swarovski in town, but.....

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#1 Andresin150


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Posted 19 December 2012 - 11:47 AM

A couple days ago, finally, after announcing it for some months, a national company who is among the few ones that sell some astro stuff and in that regard specialize in Celestron items, presented their new line of Swarovski binoculars and spotting scopes.
Of course, I immediately went over! :)
To my surprise, all items where priced not as high as we here are used to (taxes, shipping etc, makes almost everything cost twice as much as in the USA), but "just" a 20% to 25% extra. Buying them here is a good option because of the warranties, and because you can test before buying.
I have a very nice 10x42 EL that I find "almost perfect"; in fact I can hardly find a flaw or anything that I dislike about them.
For a while, I've been considering the idea of changing them for an 8x32, because I wanted more portability and because I only use them during the day for terrestrial/birds/etc.. observation. Naturally, after all thats been said, I placed my interests in the Swarovision's.
It is to say that While I've been impressed by the quality I observe when astro viewing with the 10x42 EL's (much better than the BA8 10x50 for example), I hardly need them, I always want to observe with the big ones.
Anyway, I went there to try them with great expectation.
They have exhibited an 8.5x42 swarovision, a 10x42 EL range, a 8x42 SLC HD, a whole line of Habicht including the 8x30, the only I tried, and a 65mm spotting scope.
Unfortunately they didn't have the 8x32 swarovision, but when I tried the 8.5x42 things where not that good. Optics, immaculate, sharp to the edge, even smaller almost unnoticeable CA in the most contrasted objects, not a bit of any geometrical distortion... but.... the rolling ball effect is the strongest I've experienced, I just couldn't get used to it. When staring to an static object those are unbeatable, but when panning, that really hurt my eyes, brain and guts. For the way I observe I think I have to sadly pass on those :(.
The good news is that I just save me a lot of money :).
I tried then the 10x42EL range. I couldn't find any difference with mine with the obvious exception of the range finder. To my surprise, the person that gave them to me didn't know what they do apart from being very expensive binoculars. I ended explaining them how those work, even though that was the first time I used one of those, just with the info I had in mind from their web.... My thoughts where that those binoculars are the way they are (with some added pincushion) because when hunting, hunters will probably pan a lot with their optics, and the Swarovision technology wouldn't help them a lot... of course, I may be wrong, maybe there is a line of new range/Swarovisions coming....
The bottom line of this is that I no longer want to trade my 10x42 El's, I guess I'll have to live longer without the 32mm... maybe later... but definitely a model with some pincushion... or will I ever get used to it?
I didn't try the SLC's; I've read that they where better than the older EL's, but they don't come in 32mm, so no interest there...
Also, the spotting scopes don't interest me, I prefer two eyes, and in that matter I think my Docters are superior than most if not all spotting scopes.
The ones I really didn't like where the Habichts. I tried the 8x30's only, but even though the on axis image was remarkably good, its edges, not so far from the center had too much aberrations, unacceptable for my taste.
Anyway, I had a great time testing some high end Swarovski's, and it is to note that I greatly appreciate that someone made the effort to import them here.

#2 Mark9473


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Posted 19 December 2012 - 01:00 PM

Did you happen to try the little CL 8x30? I thought that would be a pretty neat coat-pocket-size binocular to take on trips. Found the image very good too. Of the Swarovisions I looked through (about half an hour trying several models, in the daytime), the one that stood out by a fair margin was, for me, the 10x50.

#3 Andresin150


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Posted 19 December 2012 - 02:01 PM

No Mark, they didn't have it. :(
I did recommended them to include it along the 32mm Swarovisions in their stock.
Also, I have never looked trough any 50mm or 56mm Swarovski. Considering mine are considerably better than the 10x50 Fuji clones, I bet those are incredible! :)

#4 ronharper



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Posted 19 December 2012 - 04:16 PM

You would not believe all the ranting and raving over the Swarovision's rolling ball effect, over on Birdforum. People's response to it range from not noticing to motion sickness and nausea. I find it only mildly annoying, and think I could get used to it easily enough, but I can't get the SV away from wife long enough to find out for sure.

#5 edwincjones


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Posted 19 December 2012 - 04:55 PM

I have the nonSV SW 8.5x42EL and it is by far the best all around (non-astronomy) binoculars that I have or have ever seen.
I have briefly looked at the SVs, but cannot justify the cost to move "up".


#6 Andresin150


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Posted 19 December 2012 - 05:29 PM

Interesting, I'll give birdforum a visit.

With this particular experience I've learn a lot more from optics, or what may be really the truth: that I don't know really much about optics :crazy:.

A while ago I was intrigued why my Docters have pincushion, something I only noticed when the second pair arrived and I was "forced" to test it in my office when looking at near buildings.
Of course now I know it is there, but to my surprise, in the rural area near my house and when astro observing (what I do most with them) I didn't notice it for almost two months (not to many straight structures to observe there).

In change of that, it was a surprise how I immediately noticed the bad effect that in me causes the absence of any pincushion in the Swarovision's...

Also, even without this "problem", after using them steady without panning and noticing their superb optics, Me too still can't justify the cost for moving up, in that matter my EL's are easily 95% of that good....

Probably I'll end buying an older 8x32EL one of this days...

#7 Lt 26

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 09:31 PM

I have been lusting over the new 8x32's. With any luck I will never get a pair in my hands.


#8 John F

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 01:59 AM


Swarovski is well aware that some observers will experience the "rolling ball" effect when panning with their newer Swarovision version of their EL binoculars. It was a design trade off they made in order to achieve the combination of the wide field and sharpness to the edge which the Swarovision model provides.

From the marketing research they did I doubt if the would have brought out the Swarovsion models at all if a large percentage of users would have trouble with them. I've been using mine for a couple of years now and have never noticed any rolling ball effect with them. If you don't experience the problem then they're a fantastic binocular. But given that some people do have a problem with it I would not buy a pair unless I had the opportunity to return them for a refund in the event they didn't work well for me personnally.

Of all their models I still like the 8.5x42s the best because of their nice combination of size, weight and power. For hand hold-able use 8.5x is about as high as I want to go.

John Finnan

#9 Andresin150


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Posted 20 December 2012 - 08:25 AM

Indeed, I think designers in Swarovski know what they are doing. It is just a shame that I'm in the small percentage of people that felt uncomfortable using them :(
Anyway, having a new dealer close by, I will certainly give them a try again, and again..... Maybe some day I'll get used to them????? :)

#10 Fomalhaut



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Posted 20 December 2012 - 10:01 AM

I recently replaced my Zeiss 7x42 B/GAT Dialyt by the new 8x32 Swarovision EL.
a) At age 65, I couldn't make use of the Zeiss' 6mm exit pupil any more, plus
b) since it's mainly for terrestrial use, the weight difference of half a pound is a clear advantage.

The Swarovision's sum of contrast, fidelity of colour rendition, sharpness to the edge of the field and ergonomic qualities is better than in any binoculars which I have ever looked through.

In my eyes, the advantage of superior sharpness to the edge outweighs the rolling ball effect by far. In fact, this effect seems almost neglectable to me and doesn't bother me at all.


#11 RichD



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Posted 20 December 2012 - 10:16 AM

Hmmm, this rolling ball effect seems a strange thing. I have never noticed it when looking through a bino that has the reputation for it, I think the Fuji 10x50 FMT is meant to have a touch of it but I just don't see anything except a wide, flat field when panning. I wonder what physiological mechanism is responsible for perceiving it?

Seems there is no way round a certain degree of the rolling ball when the designers have strived for a wide and flat field.

#12 Rich V.

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 10:44 AM

The Fuji 16x70FMT has a wide, flat field as well but there is sufficient pincushion designed into them so that there is no globe distortion (rolling ball) to me whatsoever. In comparison, the globe distortion of the SVs was immediately noticeable to me when I panned them. I have other binos that show this globe distortion as well; it's not a deal breaker as I think most users would become acclimated to the effect. It isn't there if you are holding the binos stationary, anyhow.

I do find it interesting that some users don't notice the effect at all; it is quite obvious to me.

The physiological mechanism of RB/globe distortion is described by Holger Merlitz here.


#13 Andresin150


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Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:00 AM

Chris, although I'm younger (36) my reasons to look for a 32mm are almost the same of yours.
a) I cant make use of a larger than 4mm exit pupil. My pupils still dilate well over 6mm at dark, but I plan on using them in daylight and I found the 4.2mm of my 10x42 comfortable enough.
b) same as you, I just want a lighter unit.

At this time I just hope that the RB effect is not as pronounced or that simply doesn't bother me at all in the 8x32, Hopefully I'll try those in January or February when that model arrive to the dealer.

If it doesn't work for me, I guess I'll look for an old 8x32 EL....

#14 Andresin150


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Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:23 AM

Wow, Rich, thats a really professional explanation on the rolling ball effect :)

I liked the end of the article, reminded me of a thread a month ago: 2113 : A Binocular Space Odyssey, where we discussed how we imagine binoculars in the future... this is a great proposition:

"Naturally, the ideal amount of distortion is known only after an accurate determination of the visual distortion 'l'. If the latter does in fact exhibit strong inter-individual fluctuations, then obviously the ideal binocular distortion cannot exist. In this case it might be worth thinking about oculars with tunable amounts of pincushion distortion. Here, each individual user would be able to optimize the binocular to his eye, and, of course, to the application he has got in mind. The tangent condition would be suitable for architecture studies, the circle condition e.g. for horse racing, and the angle condition for astronomy, since it would simulate the natural concave curvature of the night sky through the ocular. Perhaps, one day the binocular manufacturers will offer eye-tests on their websites, similar to the Helmholtz checkerboard test, through which the buyer could test his visual distortion before ordering his individually optimized binocular."

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