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Equipment Discussions >> Binoculars

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pedro
sage


Reged: 09/28/04

Swarovski SLC 15x56 WB - mini review.
      #4514196 - 04/12/11 08:44 PM Attachment (110 downloads)

Hi Folks

Some months ago I got a Swarovski SLC 15x56 WB PRE NEU series (second hand) and I would like to share here in CN my main impressions about these ''big eyes'' with those who have some interest about their general performance (I have posted already my impressions at the Excelsis Ratings website).

Based on it serial number I sent some questions to Swarovski Optik in Austria asking them about their optical differences versus the NEU SLC 15x56's series and they told me that the only one (apart their body shape changes) is the SWAROCLEAN coating present on the NEU series - a kind of optical coating which helps to make an optical surface easier to clean in comparison with the pre NEU - they told me the mine have already the SWARODUR, SWAROTOP and SWAROBRIGHT coating as of the NEU series.

First of all I would like to say that I just found these ''big'' 15x56's truly fantastic! They are the absolute top notch in my opinion in their power class/aperture nowadays!



SWAROVSKI 15X56 GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS:

Lens aperture = 56mm

Magnification = 15X

Linear field of view = 4.4 degrees

Angular field of view = 77mts at 1.000 mts

Apparent field of view = 64 degrees

Eye Relief = 13mm

Exit Pupil = 3,73mm

Shortest focusing distance = 8 meters

Dioptric compensation = ± 5

Interpupillary distance = 59 - 76mm

Brightness = 13.9mm

Twilight factor = 29

Prisms = BAK-4

Prism type = ROOF (Schmidt-Pechan)

Objective lens = 3 elements

Waterproof = Nitrogen filled

Lenght = 215 mm

Width = 128 mm

Height = 71 mm

Weight = 1.290 grams / 45.5 oz



BODY AND CONSTRUCTION - Their body are slim (despite the 56m in aperture) and very well balanced, nice to hands allowing to use them without a tripod for some casual watching,but,to get the best of them a good tripod is needed. They are very well built, very strong but not really heavy, I found these much better (comfortable) to handhold than the Leica Trinovid 12x50 or the Fujinon FMT-SX 10x50. Their focuser system is not as good to my taste (regarding smoothness I mean since it is just a little bit more stiff in comparison) as the Leica Trinovids focuser is but I am not meaning however that it is bad, this is only a personal preference.

ORIGINAL EYECUPS - The original ''rotating eye cups'' are pretty friendly to eye sockets (better than the Trinovids eye cups and much better - to my taste - than that regular fold down rubber eye cups of Fujinons, Nikon SEs, etc) and allow those who wear glasses to get the entire field of view simple rotating they down.

OPTIONAL EYECUPS - A ''winged style'' rubber eye cup is available (sold separately, I just bought a pair), they are really very useful to prevent the entry of ambient light - I recommend these to use day or night if you do NOT wear glasses ***note*** - since their eyepieces are not moveable as they are in many binoculars (their focus system works quite internally and the right eye dioptric compensation is made just rotating a small button located behind the central focus wheel) so these winged rubber eye cup works very well not requiring frequently some extra facial feature adjustment - one time in place and they will remain always fitting your face OK.

INTERPUPILAR ADJUSTMENT - According the Swarovski specifications the interpupilar adjustment is about from 59mm to 76mm BUT I would like to comment that when whit their captives frontal cap's rings ''in place on the tube'' the minimum aperture possible is around 64mm due to their captive ring thickness (2,5mm each) since my IPD is about 66mm then for me this is not a problem at all. For someone bellow than 65mm in IPD they must be off.

TRIPOD ADAPTER - A smart quick-release tripod bracket is supplied - this adapter is very fast to use and it is really strong, a great accessory to long sessions.

OPTICAL PERFORMANCE - They are first of all very bright, sharp and clear even at the extreme edge due to their big prisms set and thanks to the special SWAROBRIGHT coating present on them ***note***: - The SWAROBRIGHT DIELECTRIC PRISM COATING was introduced starting the serial number D68XXXXXXX and this was a big improvement regarding brightness and color correction in comparison with the pre-Swarobright binoculars(they are dimmer and show a yellow cast according some reviews). the collimation is 100% ''spot on'' and I honestly couldn't experience any eye strain (even minimum during a long session) BUT the dioptric compensation ''is very critical'' and it must be always very well balanced.

UNDER THE DAYTIME = As said before the picture is very bright (considering the small exit pupil of 3,73mm) with well saturated and vivid colors. I would say that the overall image cast tends more to a ''very light warm cast'' than to a ''cold cast'' although this is actually almost indistinguishable for many people who claim their color cast as neutral. For me some ''light'' warm cast over the image used to deliver a more calm and comfortable views than a cold cast. They are almost quite free of any visible CA (I am very critical and sensitive about CA) even under some high light condition. The apparent field of view is very good (64 degree) and the field stop is sharp and quite visible around the picture which help to keep the eyes relaxed.

UNDER A STARRY NIGHT SKY = (if possible far from some light pollution) they are simple stunning! Tiny stars seem like millions of ''wonderful sharp pinpoints diamonds'' against a black velvet sky with their different colors easily distinguished and they remain sharp almost to the extreme edge - some bright stars (when high in the sky) seem like shine tiny ''spheres'' free of CA and free of spikes (depending on the sky atmosphere condition of course) and no one glare is sprayed over or around them (they seem almost as through an APO refractor) even Vênus is not a ''challenge'' to these - it's very easy to split double stars mainly those very close. Jupiter is showed with his Moons very sharp and free of CA.

WATCHING THE MOON - The Moon (when well centered in the FOV) seems practically free of some false color and very very sharp showing a good amount of Moon´s surface features. I can't notice any significant light reflection (ghost reflection) over the image even under a full Moon condition, some hint of lateral CA could be noticeable depending on of the ocular eye position (or if the object is closer to the field edge) the more properly aligned the eyes with both of the eyepiece exit pupils axis the less some lateral CA would be noticed.

UNDER LOW LIGHT CONDITION - As they are really ''bright'' they are suitable also under some low light condition allowing to find some hard objects where another some binoculars at this same aperture and power range can fail, this is why these are very popular among the hunters.

ABOUT ME - I have tried and owned several very good binoculars over the years (but NOT at the same time unfortunately to be able to make some direct comparison - so just by memory) in the 12X to 18X range some as the Leica Trinovid 12x50 BA, Docter 15x60, Zeiss 15x60 (the old model pre T* coating) - Canon IS 15x50, Minox 15x58 ED BR, Fujinon 12x60, Fujinon 15x60, Fujinon 14x70, Fujinon 16x70, Nikon Astroluxe 18x70,Takahashi 22x60 and for me the best high powered binoculars to day and night use (all the best in just one package I mean - if I need to choose just one HIGH POWERED pair to keep forever for all purpose) this is The Swarovski 15x56mm no doubt, a true piece of art! The only possible REAL drawback IMO is its price!

*** Please keep in mind - I am just a binocular user and many things above are based on my own binocular experience and personal preferences so they may vary (of course) from person to person.

Hope it help!

Cheers Pedro


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GlennLeDrew
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Reged: 06/18/08

Loc: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Re: Swarovski SLC 15x56 WB - mini review. new [Re: pedro]
      #4514251 - 04/12/11 09:11 PM

Pedro,
Might respectfully suggest that you edit your post so as to break it up into at least several paragraphs? It's hard to read one monolithic block of text of this size. Thanks!


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Rich V.
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Reged: 01/02/05

Loc: Lake Tahoe area, Nevada, USA
Re: Swarovski SLC 15x56 WB - mini review. new [Re: GlennLeDrew]
      #4514257 - 04/12/11 09:15 PM

Thanks for the report, Pedro. I've always wanted to look through a pair of these Swaros. I'm glad you're happy! Maybe someday I'll have a chance to look through one.

Rich V


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edwincjones
Close Enough
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Reged: 04/10/04

Re: Swarovski SLC 15x56 WB - mini review. new [Re: Rich V.]
      #4514276 - 04/12/11 09:23 PM

I would love to see a side by side review of these and the Tak 22x60s

edj


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pedro
sage


Reged: 09/28/04

Re: Swarovski SLC 15x56 WB - mini review. new [Re: GlennLeDrew]
      #4514398 - 04/12/11 10:26 PM

Quote:

Pedro,
Might respectfully suggest that you edit your post so as to break it up into at least several paragraphs? It's hard to read one monolithic block of text of this size. Thanks!




Hi

Thank you for the suggestion! Done!

cheers Pedro


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pedro
sage


Reged: 09/28/04

Re: Swarovski SLC 15x56 WB - mini review. new [Re: edwincjones]
      #4514530 - 04/12/11 11:58 PM

Hi Edj

Maybe someday someone could do it! Would be a very interesting review despite their different power and design.

I can tell you that (for me - you as a Takahasi owner may think different in some points) the Takahashi 22x60 deliver to a 22X the best image quality I ever seem in any binoculars at this power range, extremely sharp, bright and clean, it's almost impossible to believe that they have ''only'' 60mm in aperture mainly at the nigh time!

I was able to compare (at least the Takahashi) side by side with the Fujinon 16x70mm and I found it much better (despite their power difference which in a ''normal condition in a real world optical rules'' would play against the 22X - but this is not true with the Takahashi) regarding the image quality (pinpoint stars, free of CA, better contrast, etc) they blow away the Fuji 16x70 by a good margin - no doubt that they really rock! For me the big REAL drawback with these are their narrow FOV and AFOV...It's a pit such very good binocular optical APO set in a so tight FOV !

The Swaroviski 15x56 in other hand have a much pleasant FOV and AFOV in a small and light package with central focusing and friendly eyecups - it's easier to connect the eyes with the exit pupils Axis with the Swarovski and a bit critical with the Takahashi (I mean, to avoid some lateral color error coming from the eyepieces borders) anyway optical performance X optical performance I believe the Takahashi could gets an little advantage here (in overall color correction) since they are a truly APO system while These 15x56's are not - but I can say that for a 15X binoculars NON APO these 15x56's are really extremely good in almost all optical respect (sharpness, pinpoint-ness,etc, etc).

Last Night I was watching Saturn and it seems to me as a perfectly elliptical object and yellow/cream in color but, of course I was unable to notice any gap there between the ring and the planet since 15X is not enough (I believe) and the night condition was not the best -anyway it shape was really very well discernible and clean agaisnt the black sky just as seem ''clean and sharp'' through the Takahashi - with Jupiter I got also some very good views already - with the Fujinon 16x70 the things were quite different when watching some Planets - so I mean that the Swaro 15x56's images seem closer to the Takahashi's images standard than the Fujinon 16x70's images in any respect -and they are not APO.


cheers Pedro


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Mark9473
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Reged: 07/21/05

Loc: 51°N 4°E
Re: Swarovski SLC 15x56 WB - mini review. new [Re: pedro]
      #4514720 - 04/13/11 03:47 AM

Very nice review, Pedro. I enjoyed reading that. With a few pictures added it would make a nice submission for the CN reviews.

Your line-up of previously owned binoculars is quite impressive too.


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ronharper
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 02/14/06

Re: Swarovski SLC 15x56 WB - mini review. new [Re: Mark9473]
      #4515349 - 04/13/11 11:48 AM

Pedro,
Thanks for the detailed review and comparisons. This binocular isn't very common, but this is not the first review of it here. The others have been similarly positive.

I would like to see a comparison with the 15x60 Docter if anybody ever gets the chance.


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RHoward42
super member


Reged: 01/13/08

Loc: Jacksonville, Florida
Re: Swarovski SLC 15x56 WB - mini review. new [Re: pedro]
      #4515442 - 04/13/11 12:19 PM

Pedro,
Congratulations on these. I have drooled over a pair of these for some time. I was close to buying a pair but opted for the 10x50 SLC instead. These too are fabulous. I have wondered recently if Swaro would be discontinuing these with the advent of the new EL and SLC HD lines. If they are replaced by perhaps a 15x56 SLC HD or EL Swarovision, they will be even more unaffordable. Enjoy!
Rick


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pedro
sage


Reged: 09/28/04

Re: Swarovski SLC 15x56 WB - mini review. new [Re: ronharper]
      #4515806 - 04/13/11 03:12 PM

Quote:


I would like to see a comparison with the 15x60 Docter if anybody ever gets the chance.




Hi Ron

I used to own some years ago a Docter 15x60mm (those model with that old black rubber style armour) with magenta coating on the objectives and eyepiece lenses instead the improved greenish coating available today (if I am not mistaken about these new model) but I can't remember that much about some minimal details to tell you unfortunately - what I can say with no doubt is that the Swaro 15x56 is sharper, using a most effective baffling system against stray light and with a nice large field of view (4.4 X 4.1), and with a better edge performance (I mean sharpness near the field border) over the Docter - maybe you could get a much better opinion than the mine taking a look on these 2 very good reviews about both - they are in Polish however.

http://optyczne.pl/11-Test_lornetki-Docter_Nobilem_15x60_B_GA.html

http://optyczne.pl/25-Test_lornetki-Swarovski_SLC_15x56_WB.html

cheers Pedro


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pedro
sage


Reged: 09/28/04

Re: Swarovski SLC 15x56 WB - mini review. new [Re: RHoward42]
      #4516411 - 04/13/11 08:01 PM

Quote:

Pedro,
Congratulations on these. I have drooled over a pair of these for some time. I was close to buying a pair but opted for the 10x50 SLC instead. These too are fabulous. I have wondered recently if Swaro would be discontinuing these with the advent of the new EL and SLC HD lines. If they are replaced by perhaps a 15x56 SLC HD or EL Swarovision, they will be even more unaffordable. Enjoy!
Rick




Hi Thanks Rick!

cheers Pedro


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pedro
sage


Reged: 09/28/04

Re: Swarovski SLC 15x56 WB - mini review. new [Re: Rich V.]
      #4516418 - 04/13/11 08:04 PM

Quote:

Thanks for the report, Pedro. I've always wanted to look through a pair of these Swaros. I'm glad you're happy! Maybe someday I'll have a chance to look through one.

Rich V




Hello Rich V

You are welcome - I hope you get a chance to try one some day - I believe you will enjoy them!

cheers Pedro


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Man in a Tub
Postmaster
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Reged: 10/28/08

Loc: Fogpatch, CA
Re: Swarovski SLC 15x56 WB - mini review. new [Re: pedro]
      #4516774 - 04/13/11 11:23 PM

Welcome back, Pedro. And this is indeed a GRAND RE-ENTRANCE!

I posted a link to this binocular (current model) in Vondragonnoggin's post "Nothing New Here..." at the end of March. He said he was open to a binocular costing more than $1,000!

At the moment, I don't know if I would ever spend that much money for a binocular.

The Swarovski EL Swarovision 12x50 also recently caught my attention.

Enjoy! (No doubt about that!)

Edited by Man in a Tub (04/13/11 11:26 PM)


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ronharper
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Reged: 02/14/06

Re: Swarovski SLC 15x56 WB - mini review. new [Re: Man in a Tub]
      #4516908 - 04/14/11 12:53 AM

Pedro,
With your review so nicely reformatted, and photographs of the WB, it is a first class piece of what passes for literature around here. Buy more very expensive binoculars, and give us more nice reports please!

Thanks for the comparison to your older Docter, and also the links. I will put the Polish reviews through the computerized meat grinder.
Ron


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Mark9473
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Loc: 51°N 4°E
Re: Swarovski SLC 15x56 WB - mini review. new [Re: ronharper]
      #4517029 - 04/14/11 03:23 AM

With the general specifications that Pedro now added to his first post, there are two things that surprise me a bit:
- the smallest IPD is only 59 mm
- the closest focus distance is 8 m
Especially the close focus distance I'd have thought would be closer than the 7.2-7.3 m I get in my Nobilem 15x60, given that in a roof prism binocular the objectives are closer together.

Not that it really matters much - my 15x60 are pretty well set to infinity for life, and for close up work I'd select any other binocular first.


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medinabrit
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 10/27/04

Loc: medina ohio USA.
Re: Swarovski SLC 15x56 WB - mini review. new [Re: Mark9473]
      #4524933 - 04/17/11 07:50 PM



XPedro I agree with everything you say except I call my astoluxe and my swaro a draw.l luv them both.


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pedro
sage


Reged: 09/28/04

Re: Swarovski SLC 15x56 WB - mini review. new [Re: medinabrit]
      #4525232 - 04/17/11 10:25 PM

Quote:



XPedro I agree with everything you say except I call my astoluxe and my swaro a draw.l luv them both.




Hi Brian

Just out of curiosity - Are your Swaro serial number higher than D68XXXXXXXXX(Swarobright)?
The Astroluxes are one of the finest astronomical binoculars I ever tried (better than the Fuji 16x70 in some respect like friendly eyepieces, optical coating, etc) but I found them (just my personal opinion of course) a bit prone to CA under the daytime than the 15x56 (despite they are PORRO and the Swaro ROOF and the ROOFs used normally to show more CA than the PORROs) and also the Swaro a bit sharper too (on some bright stars for example in a comparison - they seem smaller in the Swaro IMO) due to (I believe) their better overall controled optical aberrations - some people claim the Swaro to use some kind of ED glass in their objectives but I can't confirm this - but anyway, of course they can deliver to you side by side a whole different experience. BTW both are very good and a lot pleasant to play with! You are lucky to own both!

cheers Pedro

Edited by pedro (04/18/11 07:01 AM)


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medinabrit
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 10/27/04

Loc: medina ohio USA.
Re: Swarovski SLC 15x56 WB - mini review. new [Re: pedro]
      #4539066 - 04/23/11 03:42 PM

Sorry im late to reply Pedro but just got back from Florida vacation .The Swaros went with me.
My serial number is D73XXXXXXX.
I did have the Fuji 16x70 But I found the eye cups didnt suit my eyes.
Brian.


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