Swarovski - Swarovision EL 10x50 binoculars
Swarovski kindly lent me these binoculars for review and I have been using then on-and-off for a while now, trying to test them in the field, in good and bad light conditions and also having them round my neck for a while. I am traditionally an 8x person, and have never used a larger magnification binocular for any length of time, so I was interested in how much more detail I would gain with the extra magnification, and whether the gain in magnification would be countered by having to hold them steady to minimize image shake.
The EL 10x50s are made, as you would expect of Swarovski (and for a £1800+ pair of binoculars), to a very high quality. They are quite a bit bulkier than the 8x32s, weighing 998g compared with 610g for the 32s), and again as you may expect for a 50mm objective lens, have the centre of gravity a touch further forwards - just ahead of the ergonomic thumb ‘slots’, in fact. They feel nice in the hand and focus down to just under 3m, though the focusing wheel on the review pair was a touch ‘jerky on occasions. After a long day in the field, you certainly knew you had been wearing them, and I just wonder if the ‘Bino Suspender Strap’ made by Swarovski might be offered instead of the normal neck strap.
However, as with all expensive optics the quality is largely ‘all in the glass’, and there is very little, if anything, to fault the EL 10x50s on. They have a fantastically sharp image, with lovely light transmission meaning no internal reflections, and it is brighter than the EL 8x32s, most noticeable in lower light conditions. The accuracy of colour rendition is excellent, with nice crisp colours, even in shadow areas, where the light transmission helps over the smaller exit-pupil of the 8x32s. Optically, these are a class act and for those who prefer the slightly higher magnification.
In the long term, I found the EL 10x50s to be a superb piece of kit. I enjoyed the greater pulling power, mostly when I could keep my hands resting on something steady. Whilst seawatching, I would rest the binoculars on my ‘scope and it was in this situation when I found them at their best; also when standing and checking for raptors over the local fields they were very good. For general birding (checking bushes and so on) some might find the weight a touch too much. Whilst in Shetland and on Fair Isle, one of the group I was with had only just bought a pair (preferring the 10x) and he was absolutely bowled over with them and had no issues at all with them, despite wearing them all day, every day for a week.
Excellent optics and lovely design, make these another fine Swarovski product to be considered when buying a new pair of binoculars. Further technical details can be found on the Swarovski Optik website - http://www.swarovskioptik.us/en_us/p...50-swarovision