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A bright new look for birds
Will D. from Portland, OR
I work with a research group doing surveys of west coast raptors. Many of my colleagues have Swarovski binocs or scopes. It seemed that they were always able to identify birds quicker and more accurately than I was. When my Swarovski binocs arrived, I was startled at the colors, clarity and light that I was able to see! Wow! Little brown blurs became astonishingly clear and identifiable species. They are relatively light and have a wonderful finish that allows for a safe and comfortable grip. I love the quality aspect of every feature. I have always heard that they were the best. A few hours with them in the field confirms that convincingly.
David S from Texas
Purchased these in June, and have now had over three months of field use. They have taken some getting used to (I've been using the same pair of Zeiss 10x40s for over 25 years), but I have really come to love these binocs. Incredible image clarity, great light gathering, and nice ergonomics. Since I was spending so much, I ordered these, a pair of Zeiss Victory 8x42s, and a pair of Leica Ultravid 8x42s, with the idea that I would live with the 3 of them for a month, and send two pairs back. It was not, frankly, an easy decision. I didn't care so much for the Zeiss, I found them to be clunky, didn't care for the focus wheel, and thought the image quality was inferior to the other two. Binocular preference is highly subjective, but I am kind of surprised at all the superlative reviews I've seen for these binoculars. I loved the Ultravids, clear image, and their compact size fit my rather small hands very nicely. In many ways I preferred them, however I went with the Swarovskis for several reasons. First, I just slightly preferred the image. There is something about it that just makes the bird pop out at you, it is incredibly crisp. Second, Leica has a reputation for poor customer service, which made me feel nervous. If I'm spending that much on a pair of binoculars, I expect excellent service should anything go wrong. Swarovski has a reputation for just such excellent customer service. As I've mentioned, I've now been using these for a number of months, and I like them better and better. I was worried about going from a 10 power to an 8.5, but this was a very good decision, I much prefer the lower power. I will add my voice to all those who have praised Eagle Optics excellent service, incredibly good advice, helpful and knowledgeable personnel, and a great return policy. I recommend them without reservation.
Robert P. from Ann Arbor, MI
Binocs arrived with a defective eye-cup. After a call to Eagle Optics,
and in just a couple days I received a replacement binocs, they came
just before Eagle Optics received the returned pair. Great service,
and we were able to see fine birds in Arizona just a couple days later!
EL 8.5x42 binocs appear sharper than my old pair of 10x42m
and I appreciate the wider field of view of 8.5x42, makes it so much easier
to find the bird.
Thank you EO
Anne from Chalfont, PA
The binoculars are very good, feeling sturdy and reliable. They are very easy to focus and give such clear and dimensional views. I know I will be using them in a long-term way, for appreciation and discovery of nature's small denizens, notably the birds, so they can be celebrated for their uniqueness, and not shot as mere targets. Thank you Eagle Optics for compiling a super newsletter, for your competitive prices, and most expeditious & trackable delivery!
Swarovski EL 8.5 x 42 Binoculars
James J. from Westchester, NY
The optics are simply stunning. The color rendition in difficult lighting is impressive. The thought and craftsmanship that has gone into almost every detail from the focus wheel to the neck strap is obvious. One flaw so far is that the rubber eyepiece covers inadvertently come off the eyepieces too easily, especially after removing them from the case repeatedly.
Peter F. from Bend, Oregon
This pair of Binoculars are the best I've ever owned and used. I've been an avid birder for 20+ years and have had many high end binoculars NONE COMPARE to these. In low light and color resolution are where they truly shine.
Lynn C. from United States
Product was great.
Right decision to buy these
Andrew H. from Dauphin Island Albama
I have been looking for a pair of binoculars to replace my 15yo 10x Bausch & Lomb Elites, which had finally seen their better days. For some months I had been going between 8 & 10 x Leica Ultravids and 8.5 and 10 x Swaros. I’ve always used 10x bins. Lots or review reading, and the price difference was significant as well. In the end I went for the Swaros, in large part due to their close focus, which I thought would also add to the depth of field. And, for the extra light and field off view I got the 8.5s. I don’t know how significant either are at the usual birding range, but thought it could hurt, especially as I’ve noticed that 8x users seem often to get on a bird more quickly than me, which is a relatively recent phenomenon. Getting older I guess.
On arrival – overnight, thank you Eagle Optics – I saw how much longer they were than my old B&L, something I didn’t realize. I also noticed that the thumb depressions in the case didn’t fall where my thumbs do, whereas it was perfect with the B&Ls. I was told I would get used to it, and I have – but obviously others have the same experience. It is well placed if you are carrying the bins though, which I do more than wear them around my neck (I don’t like the 4-way carrying strap so popular these days). The length and the thumb placements are the main negatives (but see end of review for another one), although as mentioned elsewhere it’s a long way from extremes of focus with the wheel, so remembering to pre-focus for your likely distance is more important than with some other bins. However, the depth of field is superb, and I find myself IDing birds without adjusting the general focus quite often, a useful thing with flighty birds where a couple of seconds can count. And, surprisingly, though a few ounces heavier than my B&Ls the Swaros feel lighter in the hand when carrying, and less pull on my neck – I can wear them for much longer than the B&Ls, and actually notice how light they are when I pick them up. Perhaps being able to curl fingers through the body means less muscle action, and so an easier carry.
As far as the view goes, I can’t praise it too much. Clear and crisp, I immediately saw things in birds I know that I hadn’t seen before, but then any high end pair should do this cf my 15 year old + B&Ls. But I don’t believe any others could be sharper, and I’ve looked through a few competitors. Light gathering is more than superb. Things often seem brighter than with the naked eye! So I am very happy with these bins, and feel the right decision was made. I can’t judge the quality of build yet as I haven’t had them long enough, but hopefully they will stand up to normal birding wear and tear, given the final comment below.
I'm also very impressed with the warranty. As I understand it, there is an unwritten lifetime warranty. I keep hearing stories of people sending theirs in, and having them cleaned, reset, some things replaced, at no cost after 10 years and more.
You can't beat them!
Teresa S. from Middleton, WI
These binoculars are second to none for their quality. I knew it the 1st time I looked through them. AWESOME! In every situation, low light to bad weather and everything in between. Why buy 5 or 6 sets of the cheaper brands when you can but these once and have them for a lifetime? The warranty is hard to beat as well. I had a friend gouge the back lens so bad after dropping them off a rock ledge that they were not usable. He sent them in & Swarovski totally replaced the lens & damaged focusing knob, free of charge!
Jeff from IL
I have been looking to upgrade my Leica 7x42 Trinovid BA binoculars the last couple of years. I got a chance to go birding with the Swarovski 8.5x42 EL Swarovisions for an hour. It soon became apparent that these binoculars are the major improvement I have been looking for. This was not apparent to me when looking through them at the display counter at EO or at the festival tables.
They are so well balanced that I can hold these 8.5s as steady as my Leica 7x42s. The ergonomics are the best of any binocular I have used. I am getting the ease of view of my 7x42s with the extra detail that the 8.5x42 provides. They have better eye relief for my eye glasses, excellent depth of field, a wide field of view, excellent focus ergonomics, and the best view of any binocular that I have looked through. I do not have any rolling ball problems when panning as I am looking through the center of the lens when panning. As I look through the center of the lens most of the time, I do not find the edge flatteners a major advantage, but it helps when locating birds.
When I had gotten to bird with the Leica 7x42 Ultravid HDs, I said that these are an improvement over my Leica 7x42 Trinovid BAs but questioned whether to buy them. When I got the chance to bird with these Swarovski 8.5x42 EL Swarovisions, I smiled to myself that this is what I have been looking for and that I wished that I had these two years ago.
I purchased the Swarovski 8.5x42 EL Swarovisions that day. I bird with them almost every day.
Mark L. from Fort Lauderdale
I kept saying to myself that one day I would bite the bullet and by a set of Swarovskis when someone said if you intend to buy them one day, you should do it now as they last a lifetime and they will dramatically improve your birding enjoyment. That they did. I love using my 8.5 x42s and could not have asked for anything better. I can't wait to take them on my first trip.
Manfred K. from Winters, California
After wearing out my excellent Leitz 8x42 over a period of nearly 40 years of bird and wildlife watching I was ready for a new and, most likely, final pair of top performing binocs. After trying out a few models I settled on the Swarovski EL Swarovision 8.5x42 despite its exorbitant price. I was persuaded by its stunning light gathering capabilities and its feel in the hand. While my Leitz had served me well and was clearly the equivalent of binocs one price level beneath this one, like the Zeiss Victory series, the Swarovski delivers detail and resolution in low light conditions I had never experienced before. Watching birds in dim underbrush or late in the day gives one at first the impression of looking through night vision goggles. Pretty impressive. The close focus is also a bonus in many situations my Leitz had to pass up. Of great importance to me was also the feel and balance of these binoculars.I like to wrap my hands around the barrels of the binocs to steady and point them accurately. I tried, for example, a pair of Zeiss Victory binocs but found them uncomfortably chunky and difficult to steady.The rubberized textured surface is perfect, the indentations for the thumbs, while not essential, serve as a nice tactile reference point. The focusing wheel works extremely smoothly, without free play,and focusing is quick and accurate. The adjustable eye cups work well and are comfortable. One little quibble. When I received the binocs one of the eye cups became unscrewed when I tried to twist it into the proper position. I was able to fix this, but it probably should not happen with an expensive item such as this. Overall, however, despite having hesitated for a while because of its steep price, I am very happy to have taken the plunge. I use it every day around my place in the country and am looking forward to taking it on my next trip into the South-American rainforest. It delivers what I had hoped for.
Couldn't be happier!
Linda from Albuquerque, NM
I am new to the birding community and originally purchased Nikon Monarch 5's which I was quite pleased with. When my husband started joining me, I quickly realized that sharing a pair of binoculars might end a 25 year marriage. The focusing knob on the Nikon's felt a bit smoother to the touch, however I have noticed that my Swarovision's need much less adjustment. Despite the criticisms I have read, I have no issues with the focus knob. I did not have an opportunity to try out various binocular's since there are no high end optic stores in my area. After searching online, I found Eagle Optics and opted for buying online. I received my binocular's within two days as promised and couldn't be happier with them. The main advantage for me is I now see colors much better particularly in low light. The field of view is fantastic. I am so pleased with these binocular's.
Just do it!
Laurie D. from United States
This is the best birthday present I ever bought myself. It has increased my enjoyment of birding immensely. There is no comparison to all my other binos. The comfort of holding the Swarovskis, the clarity and brightness are striking. If even considering purchasing expensive binos like these, JUST DO IT! You will never regret the decision when you are out in the field.
Sraddha from Nevada City, CA
My husband bought these binoculars for me for my birthday from Eagle Optics a couple of years ago. I love everything about them, and have enjoyed birding even more now that I can see even minute details in the magnificent creatures that we share this earth with. These binoculars offer exceptional clarity, ease of focus, great in low light situations. The one small thing I would change if I could is the focus in close situations, I'd like that range to be closer. You will never need another pair of optics if you go with Swarovski. It is an investment in a lifetime of birding enjoyment. I do highly recommend a harness with these.
Bucket list item
Robert S. from Bloomington, Illinois
As long as I can remember I wanted these world class binoculars. Now retired I am at awe with the quality that I can watch birds.
Swarovision 8.5x42 Binocular
Ned B. from MS
It took a bit of soul-searching to spend so much. But these, my third pair of Swarovski's, are certainly the best binoculars I have owned in my seventy+ years of birding. They are a delight for aging eyes and highly recommended. Most particularly appreciated is the much improved speed of focus.
One quibble. After spending more than I did for the first new automobile I ever bought, I would have expected a lens cover system better than something one might find on a child's cheap toy. Certainly Swarovski could come up with some sort of positive lock system particularly for the objective lens.
J Johnson from Northern, CA
You need these binoculars. They are BRIGHT, CLEAR and have a huge Depth of Field. The birds will have no chance of escaping you. I have played with the various high end brands for hours and these are the best for me. Try them and buy them. Eagle Optics is a terrific company to buy from. They are not always perfect.. The snap shot adapter is not listed as part of the EL package and I was told on the phone that it was not included. It is included (it came with the binoculars).
Linda M. from Sherburn Mn
I love the Bins. They are the best I have ever looked through.
Eagle Optics is the best! Two days for them to get here.
I never write reviews.....
Anthony from Australia
but here goes......
These are the first binoculars I have owned since the ones my grandpa gave to me when I was 10 (his ex-army WW2 field glasses). As such I am no expert in comparing these to other brands and models. I do however have many years shooting wildlife/sports with Canon’s 400 + 500 + 600mm primes and so have an appreciation for great optics. The Swarovski 8.5 x 42 Swarovision clearly fall into the same elite glass category as the high quality lenses mentioned.
First up I should say that these binoculars are not heavy. They are sturdy but they are easy to use for extended periods. Construction is first rate and they fall into the hands nicely. The thumb indentations make them very comfortable. I assume that all high end binocs have similar ergonomics but even so I wanted to make this point as they just feel so nice to hold.
The quality of the image is spectacular! I have never seen anything like it. I had read a lot about them before deciding to spring for them and they exceed everything I had read and come to expect in the IQ department. Sharp, sharp, sharp. In fact what I attributed to edge fall of was actually only noticeable when things on a different plane where in the edge of the frame. Sharpness is actually excellent edge to edge if looking at something on the same plane/distance.
Depth of field was impressive and they are very bright. One of the first things I did with them was glass a canyon wall (recent trip to Yellowstone National park) and the light gathering capabilities were highlighted by the fact that it made it possible to see deeply into rock overhangs; way back there in the shadows! Within a short while I had spotted a coyote in deep cover under some low bushes.
Even tonight (back here at home) I used them to watch trout and small birds (swallows) feasting on a chironomid hatch in the failing light. Like I said at the beginning, maybe all x42 binocs are as bright, I don’t know. But these were exceptional at gathering whatever light was available.
Focusing is very fast and I have no trouble tracking most birds or my sheep dogs on the run. The only thing I would suggest is that the focusing mechanism could be smoother. This is something noticeably different from my big white Canon lenses. However as I am not an enthusiast and in real terms it makes no difference to my enjoyment of using them; it doesn’t bother me. If there was an area they could improve on it would be this.
I read all I could on both this site (reviews) and everywhere else I could find courtesy of google. I was a skeptic as the reviews all seemed to be overly positive and the price of these binoculars is significantly more than that of the competition. So purchasing them sight unseen had risks. I knew of Eagle Optics guarantee but wanted to make the right choice off the bat as I needed them for a three week trip and getting the wrong ones, even if they could be swapped, would have been a problem as they had to be shipped to Montana in the first place.
I just want to say that I couldn’t be happier with these Swarovskis. This pair will go everywhere with me be it in the car or on the river for work every day. I still have to pinch myself when I look through them as the IQ is stunning. Several of my friends are hunters and they all have fallen in love with them. They are simply superb.
Lastly I want to mention something I wasted many hours reading up on. The rolling ball effect. I did initially see this phenomenon when I put them to my eyes without any adjustment and panned! To me it looked like there was mercury moving about in the frame. I immediately adjusted them and I have never noticed it again. I really sweated on this oft heard complaint but luckily for me and the people I was traveling with, this was not a problem.
I can highly recommend these binocs for their amazing IQ, great ergonomics, robust build quality and relatively small size. Coming from high end telephoto photography I was shocked by the IQ, depth of field and light gathering abilities of the 8.5x42 and cannot recommend them highly enough.
Even though this is a glowing review I hope this helps others to make the appropriate decision. I am not a salesman’s dream as I am unlikely to spring for some 10x and something more compact down the track. These are a one off for me. But I wanted to write something to express just how impressed I am by them.
Most Excellent Compromise
Ted from Arizona
My old 8X32 Nikon Premiers were my all-time favorites, but when I sent them in for warranty service Nikon replaced them with their new-at-the-time EDG 8X32s. Those never quite caught my fancy. Though they are light weight, small, sharp and clear, they have problems with diopter adjustment and what I perceive to be very shallow/narrow depth-of-field. Their objective covers were the worst I've ever seen and were unusable. So I've been in search of my last pair of binoculars... and get them in time for my next birding trip. Enter the SWAROVISIONS. These are lightweight for their size, trim, very sharp and bright and the eye relief is perfect for me as a glasses-wearer. I get no "rolling-ball effect" that some have reported. I just a sharp view from edge-to-edge and very good depth of field. Additionally, the diopter adjustment is excellent. The only slight downside I've found is with the focus ring which is not real smooth throughout its long journey from near to far. I intend to send it to Swarovski for tweaking when I return from Costa Rica. The icing on the cake was paying a bit less by getting a Demo model from Eagle Optics. Other than a little wear on the box, there wasn't a mark, blemish, or smudge on these pristine-looking binocs.
a love affair
Amy from long island
My old bins broke just before a birding trip to Belize, so I needed to buy fast without a lot of agonized weighing of pros and cons. The easiest and smartest purchase (though a bit painful in the pocketbook) was these guys and I have to say I'm thrilled. It took a day or so to get friendly with them in the field, and then I was hooked. They feel so good in my hands--they lay easily and well balanced and do not seem heavy in the least. So friendly--such a fast, easy, sharp focus. Big, light filled image. Especially good for scanning through foliage for obscured birds, and for birding at dusk. I'm looking to create a tether arrangement for the objective lens covers--one has already fallen off but I noticed and recovered it. That's the only mildly critical thing I can come up with. I love these bins and hope to have them at my side for years to come.
Gerald from Chesterfield, Mo.
Excellent service from Eagle Optics, ordered 8:30 AM, delivered before noon next day.
Outstanding optics, bright, crisp, clear with great color. The birds seem to pop out of the background. Improved ergonomics, smoother focus wheel, full field of view with glasses, easy to hold steady. Protective covers actually fit and stay on to protect lenses. Neck strap is easy to adjust with new locking system that works great.
MP Day from Corrales, NM
My new bins arrived yesterday afternoon in time to take a late afternoon walk in the Bosque along the Rio Grande, what a difference in the sharpness and clarity of my sight (especially on sparrows) in late afternoon light on a gray day!! I have been having difficulty with my early morning and late afternoon birding due to light, everything appeared to have a gray wash, then again I have been birding with my 12 year old 8 x 42 Bausch & Lomb Elites. That is, until yesterday!
The the binoculars fit well in my hand, setting the diopiter a breeze, eye cups comfortable, the focusing smooth, but it really is the optics that make these stellar! Even better, I was able to purchase a demo pair at a reduced price, and other than the seal on the box being broken, they are brand new, not a scratch or blemish.
I had planned on purchasing the Leica Ultravids. The last 4 years I have been looking through fellow birders optics trying to decide if I wanted the Ultravids or Zeiss Victory FL LT's, and was certain I wanted Ultravids after a week birding with them in Brazil. When I talked with Mike, he recommended I also consider the 8.5 x 42 Swarovision, so I earnestly began my research. I am truly thankful he steered me in the right direction! I am so excited, it is a treat to have such excellent optics! The service at Eagle Optics is outstanding. It is always pleasure to do business with you, Thank you.
The Swarovision is spectacular
CJ from St. Petersburg, FL
I love my new binoculars. I can see so much better.
Easy to find the birds...lots of light even in low light as the sun comes down. Really the best binoculars I have ever used.
Paul from Greenville, SC
I have absolutely NO complaints about the new bins.
The brightness, sharpness, definition, field of view are excellent and I find no image distortion. Depth of field is also very good and I find adjustment with the central knob to be easy and "natural".
These bins replace my 1997 vintage Zeiss 10X40 and the improvement is immediately obvious in every area, but particularly in short distance focus (one area where the older Zeiss were unacceptable).
Shipping time was only 32 hours - great service!
Nice but heavy
Steve from San Ramon CA
I have had these about six months now. They are really sharp but I find myself just about always going to my 8 x 32 ones as these are extremely heavy and you get tired of holding them up to your eyes after awhile. Also the eye cup settings are not as smooth working as in many cheaper models. Swarovski can do better. If I had the opportunity I would trade these in for something else which is lighter. The weight kills them for me.
Swarovski EL 8.5X42 bins
Bob from Marietta, GA
Amazing! I did not think that I would notice that big a difference between my older 10X42 Swarovski bins and the new 8.5 Swarovision bins. I was wrong! I just got back from a trip to Florida and must say that this is the best pair of binoculars I have ever owned! The close focus is a big plus compared to my old EL's and the new coatings make images extremely bright in low light. I love the new bins!
karen from redwood city, ca 94062
Tried many brands of binoculars. Also, reviewed many online. Swarovski are the absolute best!
Could not figure out neck strap that came with binoculars. Took to sport shop that sells Swarovski, and they could not figure out the strap. Had to purchase another type of Swarovski strap. Not too pleased about that.
J.B. from Austin, TX
I purchased the EL 8.5 X 42 prior to a Spring gig in the East doing a Breeding Bird Survey for the U.S. National Park Service. Used every working day for 3 months (which started at 0430) I was especially impressed with the low-light capabilities, clarity, resolution and relative light weight. I was using the Nikon Premier and not unhappy with it; however the Swaro EL is simply better quality in my experience. Teamed with the Swaro scope it was a great resource in my volunteer work with the NPS. The CS team @ EO has always been a joy to work with.