Swarovski Binoculars – Start Saving Your C-Notes

I’ve written before about the Swarovski CL Pocket binoculars and the popular EL 8.5×42 binoculars. Apparently back then the manufacturer was more forthcoming with details about the construction of Swarovski binoculars. For the price you’ll pay for any of their binoculars models, you should expect that they have the best lenses, prisms, tubes, coatings, mechanisms, and so on.

And they do. It’s just that Swarovski no longer tells you this on their website – at least, not where I could find it today in 2023. You can assume that (as far as I know) they all have the following features – and possibly more.

  • ED glass
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Field flattener lenses (Swarovision)
  • Dielectric coatings on the prisms (Swarobright)
  • Non-stick coating (Swaroclean)
  • Waterproofing / fogproofing via tubes filled with an inert gas (probably nitrogen)

So in this lineup of Swarovski binoculars, I’ll simply concentrate on the technical specs of these instruments.

Swarovski Compact Binoculars – Curio and Pocket

If you have less than a grand to spend on Swarovski binoculars, you’ll be limited to either the CL Curio 7×21 or the CL Pocket 8×25 or 10×25.

Swarovski binoculars - CL Curio 7x21
CL Curio 7×21
Swarovski CL Pocket 10x25 binoculars
CL Pocket 10×25

Being compact models, each of these is significantly smaller and lighter than any of its cousins. The Curio measures just 3.6 by 2.4 inches. The Pocket is 4.3 by 2.6 for both the 8x and 10x power models. As the name of the latter suggests, you should be able to tuck these into your pocket when not in use, as opposed to having them dangle from your neck all day.

The Curio weighs about 8.9 ounces, and the Pocket is around 12 1/4 ounces. Holding on to any of these, even for several hours (say, at a football game) isn’t going to tire you out very quickly.

Note that all Swarovski binoculars have roof prisms systems, so the tubes are all straight from front to back.

The close focus for all three models is 8.2 feet, and the interpupillary distance of each ranges from 50 to 74 millimeters, the widest range of any Swarovski binoculars.

The field of view (FOV) is decent, as shown below.

ModelFOV (ft. @ 1000 yds.)
CL Curio 7×21405
CL Pocket 8×25357
CL Pocket 10×25294

You can get the Curios in basic black (technically, anthracite) or burnt orange and the Pockets in black or green.

Swarovski CL Curio 7×21 Binoculars

Check the pricing and availability of the Swarovski CL Curio 7×21 binoculars at Amazon.

Swarovski CL Pocket 8×25 Binoculars

Check the pricing and availability of the Swarovski CL Pocket 8×25 binoculars at Amazon.

Swarovski CL Companion Binoculars – Including NOMADs

Consisting of 8×30 and 10×30 sizes, Swarovski CL Companion binoculars fall in between compacts and what I would consider full size models. I guess Swarovski considers them compacts – note the “CL” designation – but it doesn’t really matter what you call them.

Swarovski CL Companion 8x30 binoculars
CL Companion 8×30

Companion binoculars are just a bit larger than Pocket binos, which is the main difference between the two lines. Of course, right along with the size difference, you get an increase in weight (5.0 by 4.6 inches) and price (just over 17 ounces).

All other differences in specs are barely worth mentioning, so I’m not going to.

What I will mention before leaving this line is the NOMAD variation. Actually, it’s not so much a variation as an expansion. There is nothing special about a Companion NOMAD model compared to a basic Companion as far as specifications and features. Even the sizes are the same.

What is unique to the NOMADs is the packaging and a few of the trimmings, like deep brown textured surfaces on the tubes. These are basically made for some one who doesn’t know what else to spend their money on. They are more a show piece than a tool, though you certainly can take them out of the box and use look through them if you want.

Swarovski CL Companion NOMAD binoculars in the box
CL Companion NOMAD in its box

Swarovski CL Companion 8×30 Binoculars

Check the pricing and availability of the Swarovski CL Companion 8×30 binoculars at Amazon.

Swarovski CL Companion NOMAD 8×30 Binoculars

Check the pricing and availability of the Swarovski CL Companion NOMAD 8×30 binoculars at Amazon.

Swarovski SLC Binoculars – Heavy Duty Models

If you need a larger pair of binoculars, perhaps for night sky gazing, Swarovski has the SLC line – 8×56, 10×56, and 15×56 sizes. You’ll most likely want a tripod to go with these large objective lenses. If so, you’ll have to purchase an adapter separately.

Swarovski SLC 8x56 binoculars
SLC 8×56

These Swarovski SLC models each weigh over 42 ounces (2 1/2 pounds) and measure 7.6 by 5.5 inches. This is why I call them “heavy duty”. If you forgo the tripod, you probably won’t want to use them for hours at a time.

FOV for the SLCs is pretty good, even comparable to the compact models.

SLC 8×56400
SLC 10×56330
SLC 15×56234

Swarovski SLC 15×56 Binoculars

Check the pricing and availability of the Swarovski SLC 15×56 binoculars at Amazon.

Swarovski EL Binoculars – The Ones They Rave About

Some years ago, Audubon gave the Swarovski EL 8.5×42 binoculars top honors in top-of-the-line category of their review/survey. They probably deserved it, as all the EL models really are worth raving about.

Swarovski EL 10x42 binoculars
EL 10×42

Note: These are not the EL Range (rangefinder) binoculars. I’m not reviewing those here.

Besides the 8.5×42 and 10×42 Swarovski binoculars, you can get the larger 10×50 and 12×50 sizes. Those bigger models each weigh over 2 pounds.

FOV ranges from just shy of 400 feet for the smallest model down to 300 feet for the 12x50s. That’s okay, but there are better numbers below.

Swarovski EL 10×42 Binoculars

Check the pricing and availability of the Swarovski EL 10×42 binoculars at Amazon.

Swarovski NL Pure Binoculars – The Best, So Far

Until some new technology comes along, the Swarovski NL Pure binoculars have about everything you could ask for, including the proverbial kitchen sink.

Swarovski NL Pure 10x32 burnt orange binoculars
NL Pure 10×32, burnt orange

The model pictured just above shows that burnt orange color that is an option for the Curio compacts that I mentioned at the top.

NL Pure binoculars come as these models: 8×32, 10×32, 8×42, 10×42, and 12×42 – all the most popular sizes. I’m going to look specifically at the 10×42 here because it’s easy to compare it to the EL 10×42. That way you can more easily tell if the extra cash needed for a pair of NLs is worth it or not.

I’d say there are 6 categories worth comparing for the 10×42 models. See how each line fares in the table below. In each category, I bolded the model I consider the winner.

SpecEL 10×42NL Pure 10×42
FOV (Ft. @ 1000 yds.)336399
Exit Pupil (mm)2018
Close Focus (ft.)10.86.6
Size (in.)6.3 x 5.26.2 x 5.1
Weight (oz.)29.630
Cost (~MSRP)$2660$3750

The NL has significantly better FOV and close focus. If you think smaller is better, it also wins for overall size.

The EL model technically wins for exit pupil and weight, but if you can tell the difference between 18 and 20 millimeters and notice a difference of 0.4 ounces, you’re a better judge than I am. The only place the EL really wins is price.

From an aesthetic viewpoint, also consider the overall style of each. You may simply prefer the look and feel of one over the other.

For these reasons, you get to judge whether or not the extra ~$1000 is worth it for the NL Pure 10×42 (and by extension, the other sizes in the NL line).

Swarovski NL Pure 10×42 Binoculars

Check the pricing and availability of the Swarovski NL Pure 10×42 binoculars at Amazon.

If you’re in the market for high end binoculars, but none of these Swarovski binoculars tickled your fancy, try looking at the Leica lines of binoculars here.

Gary Sonnenberg

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