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.
- 1 Swarovski Compact Binoculars – Curio and Pocket
- 2 Swarovski CL Companion Binoculars – Including NOMADs
- 3 Swarovski SLC Binoculars – Heavy Duty Models
- 4 Swarovski EL Binoculars – The Ones They Rave About
- 5 Swarovski NL Pure Binoculars – The Best, So Far
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.
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.
|Model||FOV (ft. @ 1000 yds.)|
|CL Curio 7×21||405|
|CL Pocket 8×25||357|
|CL Pocket 10×25||294|
You can get the Curios in basic black (technically, anthracite) or burnt orange and the Pockets in black or green.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
|Spec||EL 10×42||NL Pure 10×42|
|FOV (Ft. @ 1000 yds.)||336||399|
|Exit Pupil (mm)||20||18|
|Close Focus (ft.)||10.8||6.6|
|Size (in.)||6.3 x 5.2||6.2 x 5.1|
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).
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.