Since February, WildNature.no has been sponsored by Swarovski Optik. High quality has always been a trade mark of WildNature, and one of the most important piece of my gear when out doing photography or guiding other photographers is my pair of binoculars. I use binoculars virtually every day, so trust me when I say that I have tried quite a few over the years. I have now had the time to test one of the top models of Swarovski's binoculars for some months. I have been in very different climates and habitats, from the hot and humid rain forest of Soth East Asia, to blizzards and minus 15 degrees celsius in winterly northern Norway.
I am not going to bore you with technicals details, as this you can read on Swarovski's own website.
But, as a keen birder and wildlife photographer, quality in my optical "instruments" are a great part of my success or not success when out in nature. Especially many photographers tend to forget taking a pair of binoculars when going out in the field, but for me, it is just as important as the camera itself. To photograph an animal or bird, you need to find it first. Knowledge about the species is of course important so you know what general area to search in, but after that, to spot the bird in the forest, in the kelp or in the thick grass or on a mountain ridge far away can sometimes be demanding. With a good pair of binoculars, your chances will improve a lot. How much, you will understand the day you change your "medium" binoculars with a pair of one the top models out on the market.
EL 10x42 Swarovision is one of the very finest top model binoculars out on the market from Swarovski. First impression is a light, compact and easy to hold pair of binos. It is resting very well in my hands, fitting to my grip - something which makes it easy to hold still, even for longer period for instance when studying an eagle soaring over my head. The light weight and easy grip also helps a lot when using them from a boat platform, where waves make some rocking and shaking impossible to avoid.
Sharpness. This pair of binos is razor sharp. I have never tried any binos before with such sharpness. It is pin sharp all the way out to the edges of the field of view. Together with the neutral colours, this makes it a joy to look through. Contrast and sharpness are very important parts in how comfortable a pair of binos is to look through. In the EL 10x42 Swarovision, the contrast is very good. Looking for birds in late evenings in kelp and seaweed or getting minor details in colours inside a dark rain forest makes you understand how good the contrast really is. The easyness of seeing small details crucial for identification of look alike partidges in the rain forest or to actually discover the brown wader against the brown kelp washed up on the beach convinces me about the quality of these binos. Another important part, especially when birding in forest or thick bush, is that the EL 10x42 Swarovision is able to focus as close as 1.5 meters!
I dont want to make my review too long, but just want to mention one last thing which often is very important when out in the field. With these pair of binoculars, you can look at birds with light almost directly against you and still get details of the birds. No flares or reflections. This is however a trait that often decreseases in quality with wear and tear of the coating on the lenses, so it will be interesting to see if it is still as good after some more time out in the field.
In short, the contrast, sharpness and colour reflections make it a joy to use these binoculars. You get a real high definitions view, where details of plumage, colours of fur or just shapes against other shapes stands out very nicely. The high quality of this pair of binoculars will, undoubtly, help me discover birds and other wildlife that I otherwise would have missed. The only negative thing I have to say about this binoculars is that the price (about EUR2000) might be a bit too steep for enthusiasts. But for those that use binoculars often, or professionally like myself, I am in no doubt that putting a little bit extra money into good quality optics will be well worth it. For photographers, these binoculars will without doubt lead you to photography oppurtunities that you otherwise will miss.
This review might seem a bit biased, where no negative things are shown. The fact is, that the EL 10x42 Swarovision is the very best pair of binoculars I have ever tried, and so far I havent found one single negative thing to say about it. If I do in the future, I will certainly tell you about it.