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The new Swarovski SLC 56's under the stars

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#51 ianatcn

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 12:13 PM

Hi Eric,

Thanks to your comprehensive report I am now the proud owner of the new 15x56. Collected it from dealer today. Weather appalling, heavy rain and dark but the binocular managed to suck light out of the gloomy landscape. The flat, wide and bright field with excellent eye relief gives an immense feeling of immersion.

Can't wait to test under the night sky!
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#52 Mark9473

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 12:59 PM

Congratulations Ian, I hope you're planning a shoot-out?

#53 Erik Bakker

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 06:52 PM

Congratulations Ian! You've made an excellent choice. Under the night sky these new 15x56 SLC's will reward you immensely.
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#54 ianatcn

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 09:44 AM

Thanks Eric,

You may be interested to know that I have had a problem with the objective lens covers. As soon as I had installed them they would pop up of the own accord even when the objectives where pointing upward. They appear either to be slightly too small or not deep enough.

I e-mailed Swarovski Austria with the problem and within fifteen minutes got a comprehensive reply to say they knew of the problem and were engineering a replacement set. They are sending me a pair as soon as available.

If anyone else is buying a pair it is worth taking note. I have always found Swarovski support to be first class.

I had forty minutes or so in between clouds last night. It was beautifully transparent and the binoculars exceeded my expectations which were already high. The star images were completely free of any flare or imperfection and reminded me of the view through a good fluorite refractor. The flame nebulae was easily visible so proving excellent elimination of scatter. The andromeda galaxy stretched right across the 4.5 degree field with M32 and M110 also visible. M33 was easy with a good deal of dark sky around it. I then swept up the two open clusters in Taurus featured in this month's Binocular Highlights by Gary Seronik. After that lying flat on my back I rambled through Auriga, Perseus, cassiopeia and ursa major and finished back at M33. A wonderful evening cut short by cloud.

The thing that really struck me was how easy they are to hand hold and as a result how much more I was seeing compared to what I have been used to with my Zeiss 15x60.
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#55 Erik Bakker

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 11:34 AM

The thing that really struck me was how easy they are to hand hold and as a result how much more I was seeing compared to what I have been used to with my Zeiss 15x60.


Great first starlight report Ian.

And you just described the stargazers' essence of the new SLC 15x56's. Glad you enjoy them!

#56 ianatcn

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 03:38 PM

Well, I got in an hour's observing tonight before clouds returned. Using the 15x56 SLC, 20x60s Zeiss and 40x80 Docter. I saw both M81 and M82 in the Swarovski very nicely but no sign of the supernova in these or the Zeiss. The 40x80 showed the supernova with averted vision, with direct vision it was seen maybe 25% of the time. It was only slightly fainter than the foreground star next to the galaxy.

One thing that I noticed tonight when I got distracted in sweeping with the 15x60 was how well it renders star colours.

I was able to see M1 with the Swarovski tonight. Knowing exactly where to look and using averted vision were the key to success with this one. If you ever get the chance to look through one of these binoculars under a dark sky do not pass it up. It is the only way for you to know that I am being conservative in my descriptions.
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#57 cw00

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 01:57 PM

Just talked to a sales rep from Adorama. He said the 15x56 SLC will not be available in the US until sometime in March based on the shipping estimate provided by Swarovski. Guess we will just have to "see" through your eyes for another two months.

#58 Jae

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 01:35 PM

Well, a limited number of the new 15x56's seem to have arrived in the US. We'll have to check it out from this side of the ocean now.....

#59 ianatcn

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 04:09 AM

I was out for a couple of hours binocular sweeping last night. Although a lot of time was spent with my 40x80 Docter the greatest revelation of the night was with my 15x56 Swarovski.

With UMa well placed I started with M81/2 which are easily seen from my home, the pair look wonderful at 15x and with the wide flat field of the Swaro looked really three dimensional in a rich starfield.

M51 and M101 also easy to see. At my location M101 can be a challenge in lower power glasses but the contrast and transmission of the Swaro helped pull it out of the background.

I then tried M97 and M106 not expecting too much as I generally need the 20x60 Zeiss to show these. However, good transparent skies allowed me to see both. M97 was relatively easy and although M108 require averted vision the axis of orientation was obvious.

I then hopped over to Cygnus and checked the field correction using Albario. In the center of the field it is a beautifully resolved jewel. Moving it to the field edge and it is still resolved - amazing. When Swarovski say flat field they mean it!

A quick scan around some favourites, M13, M3, M57, M65/66 pair in Leo, then M10/12 in Ophiuchus. Earlier I had swept up IC4665 and IC4756 in Serpens with 6x42 Sard and returned to IC4756 with the Swaro. The 15x showed this superb open cluster in all its glory. The contrast of a black background around it in the wide field of the Swaro really makes it stand out. If you haven't seen this cluster in binoculars yet do yourself a favour and next clear night grab your binoculars and sweep it up.

Wow! What an instrument
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#60 Sgt

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 10:38 AM

Very nice, what sort of skies do you have? What do you reckon was the limiting mag at zenith?

Thanks

#61 Erik Bakker

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 11:11 AM

Ian ,

Thanks for a great and illustrative report on what the new SLC 15x56's can do. A phenomenal pair of handheld deep-sky cruisers indeed.
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#62 ianatcn

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 01:09 PM

Very nice, what sort of skies do you have? What do you reckon was the limiting mag at zenith?

Thanks


Limiting mag was 5.3/4 at zenith and transparency was excellent between drifting contrails and patchy cloud. So in areas where the sky was clear of contrails it was pretty good. I wandered down to Scorpius but it was pretty hazy down near the horizon. Despite that M4 was easily visible through the murk.
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#63 ianatcn

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 01:20 PM

Ian ,

Thanks for a great and illustrative report on what the new SLC 15x56's can do. A phenomenal pair of handheld deep-sky cruisers indeed.


Thanks Erik, it is always good to discover a new instrument that in some way transforms the observing experience. Among the newer offerings the Zeiss 20x60s and Vixen SG 2.1x42 together with the Swarovski 10x50 EL and now the SLC 15x56 have together reinvigorated my interest in open clusters and dark nebulae. All these are unencumbered by the baggage of tripods, mounts and cases of accessories. Last night a waterproof sheet on the ground, the glasses and that was it.

The perfect star images and contrast in these modern instruments is wonderful.
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#64 Sgt

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 06:41 AM

OT but RE the vixen 2.1x42: I'm hoping to look through one at the IAS in lemingtom spa in a few weeks, I've read other people say it's almost like observing naked eye but with an extra magnitude's reach. Is your experience similar?

#65 Mark9473

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 08:36 AM

Surely that's a question worthy of its own thread.

#66 ianatcn

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 02:22 AM

OT but RE the vixen 2.1x42: I'm hoping to look through one at the IAS in lemingtom spa in a few weeks, I've read other people say it's almost like observing naked eye but with an extra magnitude's reach. Is your experience similar?


Yes, the Vixen is a very interesting instrument. I have taken photos comparing it with the Widebino from Kasai and will start a new thread when I have had more time under the stars. The weather is just not cooperating at the moment.

#67 Stellarfire

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Posted 08 March 2015 - 11:01 AM

Hi Erik,

 

A question on the glass used in the new 15x56 SLC's. A reviewer states on http://scopeviews.co.uk/SLC15x56.htm (see under "Design and Build") that the new HD-glass is used on the smaller 42's SLC models only, but not in the 56 SLC's. Is this true?

 

The Swarovski Austria webpage states that HD glass is used on their SLC models, without giving more detailed infos if this is valid for the entire SLC family, or just for single SLC models.

 

Stephan


Edited by Stellarfire, 08 March 2015 - 11:04 AM.


#68 Erik Bakker

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Posted 08 March 2015 - 11:26 AM

Hi Stefan,

 

The Swaro's shown in your link are the old 15x56 and the reviewer refers to their design, the pair in my review is the new SLC 15x56. 


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#69 Erik Bakker

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Posted 08 March 2015 - 11:27 AM

The new SLC 15x56 are essentially apochromatic hand-held binoculars, the old version had a bit of CA that was most annoying during daytime observing. The new version cleans that up.


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#70 Stellarfire

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Posted 08 March 2015 - 01:07 PM

Ok, thanks Erik for jumping in again into this great thread. So the new 15x56 SLC uses the new HD glass, right?

 

Stephan



#71 Erik Bakker

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Posted 08 March 2015 - 02:13 PM

Hi Stephan,

 

HD glass is no glass type, just marketing words. You cannot buy it in any glass catalog from any glass manufacturer. They are just trying to lift on the HD TV marketing efforts  ;)

 

The new Swarovski SLC 56mm are made using the finest objective-designs available, comparable in output to the Zeiss FL's. Forget about HD, it doesn't matter. What matters is how the design performs: magnificently in the case of the new SLC 15x56. There is no finer 15x56 binocular  available on the planet at any price.

 

For your comfort: the optics and mechanics of the new SLC 56mm binos are better than those used in the new SLC 42's.

 

If you were able to try them side-side and compare them, you could easily see that for yourself. I did and the 56's are a notch up from the 42's in every respect. Even if they look similar.


Edited by Erik Bakker, 08 March 2015 - 02:14 PM.

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#72 hallelujah

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Posted 08 March 2015 - 03:09 PM

http://www.birdforum...ad.php?t=192599

 

Stan



#73 Milos1977

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 12:15 PM

Im a big fan of large roof prism binoculars, and a proud owner of Nikon Monarch 5 16x56. It was a big financial stretch for me, but i will never regret getting it. It gives me immense pleasure looking at such crystal clear image that i could not see in many lower class highly recommended models i tested.

 

I found this short comparison review of the five big 56mm 15x and 16x Roofs, just to spice things up. 

 

Swarovski SLC 56

Oculus 5.0 15x56

Vortex Vulture HD 15x56

Zeiss Conquest HD 15x56

Nikon Monarch 5 16x56.

 

Interestingly, Zeiss did not score too well. Swarovski took the 1st prize!


Edited by Milos1977, 09 March 2015 - 01:17 PM.


#74 Milos1977

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 01:40 PM

Hi btr209, 

 

I'm not sure how you had trouble getting close enough to see full FOV. Makes no sense to me. I extend the eye piece one step up for best view personally (no eyeglasses) Did I understand you right? 

 

It was a surprise to me as well to read such review on Zeiss Conquest HD, and I don't know how reliable this review/source is. I'm still very new to the stargazing world. I did say "to spice things up" though :-) meaning, I expected some comments specially about Zeiss. Who knows, though, it might have been not a consistent test. It certainly lacks technical backing of any kind. 

 

Author also wrote something weird about Monarch stating that focus knob is small and imprecise. I don't see that in any way.  Im not an expert, but I can compare. So far I don't have anything at all to complain about the unit. 

 

Anyhow, 

Thanks for the list of objects to look for. Now I have a goal :-) As I said, I'm still very new (about 3 months) into this hobby, and slowly learning how to get around sky with help of software I use on my laptop. I also live in ver light polluted area (only 3 miles from Manhattan in NY)

 

When i get better at this, I will write a better review, than I can now for everyones sake :-) 

I'm collecting measurements and photos of optics, exit pupil diameter, effective objective lens, and AFOV. 

 

P.S.

So we don't pollute the thread with off-topic stuff too much, you can respond over message if you wish.

 

best regards, 

Milos


Edited by Milos1977, 09 March 2015 - 02:07 PM.


#75 Swedpat

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 02:11 PM

Oh, the Conquest HD 15x56 is attractive... :gotpopcorn:




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