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With Swarovski, it’s usually all about the glass. That is, Swarovski is known for optics with exceptionally good lenses and prisms. Are the Swarovski EL Range 8×42 W B rangefinder binoculars any different?
I’ll take a look at them with you in this review to try to answer that question and more.
Note: Don’t confuse these EL Range rangefinders with the “plain” EL binoculars. They are two different pieces of equipment.
If you want, you can click a link in the box below to skip directly to that section of the review. Otherwise, you can just scroll and read as usual.
What Are the Main Features of the EL Range 8×42 W B Rangefinders?
You might first be wondering, as I am, what the “W” and the “B” stand for in the name of these rangefinders. I haven’t found anything specific in print, but I think those letters might stand for “Waterproof” and “Binoculars”. That would make sense anyway.
There isn’t anything I can see that especially stands out about the Swarovski EL Range – nothing that shouts, “Look at me! This is why you should buy me!”
And maybe that’s a good thing.
These are a pair of rangefinding glasses that do everything they are supposed to and do it well.
As I mentioned briefly above, Swarovski is known for great glass. The lenses and prisms, with all their special coatings and so on, do give up to 91% light transmission. That is, virtually all the light that comes into the 42 millimeter objective lenses exits through the eyepiece lenses to your eyes. The more light, the better, especially when you use your binoculars in low light conditions, such as at dusk and dawn.
An owner who did his research said this about the glass. (I corrected a few items here for clarity.)
“I spent a few hours at Cabela’s looking at the Leicas, Nikons, [and] Zeiss, and it was very clear that the Swarovski had a much better glass.”
On the rangefinding side, Swarovski claims the EL Range will give you readings that are accurate within ±1 yard from 33 to 1500 yards and that they will produce these readings in less than 1 second.
This may be the exception to the rule (I hope it’s not.), but one owner says this about the amazing ranging distances he got.
“They consistently range dirt, grass, or trees out to 1600 yards.”
Even if you don’t get the same results, knowing that those measurements are possible for someone should give you confidence that you will at least be able to range 1000 yards and most of the time even more.
You should also expect to get about 1000 measurements per CR2 battery. You can take those figures in either yards or meters, switching from one to the other at the press of a button.
You can calculate angular measurement to ±90 degrees. Most of the time, you won’t need anywhere near that range. 90 degrees up is straight up, and 90 degrees down is straight down. Usually you’ll be well under 45 degrees either way.
Check out this video that shows the Swarovski EL Range in action.
You might want to see the EL Range 8x42s at the Swarovski website too.
They have a very nice graphic demonstration that shows all the features. Go to this page (a new tab or window will open) and then click the “EL Range Microsite” button for the full demonstration.
UPDATE: Sorry, but the Swarovski site no longer has that demo in that location.
Included in your purchase (of a new pair of EL Range binoculars) is what Swarovski calls their FieldPro package. This is a set of accessories that you will find very useful.
You get an “enhanced” strap connector that you can attach in two different ways. (See the demonstration mentioned above for exactly how this works.) In addition, you get objective lens and eyepiece covers to keep the lenses clean at both ends.
A feature that is often overlooked, because you can’t easily see it or measure it, is how the binoculars are balanced. The EL Range are virtually perfectly balanced, front to back, so that you can easily hold them steady. This is very important, of course, for getting accurate ranging measurements.
What Are the Specifications of the EL Range 8x42s?
Here is a list of the major specs for the EL Range 8×42 rangefinder.
- Eye relief – 19.2 millimeters – That is very generous and welcome if you wear glasses.
- Field of View (FOV) – 411 feet at 1000 yards – This is wider than most 8×42 binoculars and will help you spot your targets more easily.
- Close Focus – 16.4 feet (5 meters) – If your target is closer than that, you probably don’t need any pair of binoculars anyway.
- Diopter Compensation – -7/+5 – You can adjust the eyepiece up to 12 clicks to suit your individual eye strength.
- Interpupillary Distance – 2.2 to 2.9 inches (56 to 74 millimeters) – This is the distance between your eyes. You can “bend” the binoculars to make this adjustment so they fit well against your face.
- Dimensions: Length – 6.5 inches; width – 5.4 inches; height – 3.2 inches – The length is measured with eyecups twisted in. The width and height are measured at an interpupillary distance of 2.5 inches.
- Weight – 31.6 ounces without the battery.
- Functional Temperature: Mechanical is -13 to +131 degrees (Fahrenheit); electronic is +14 to +131 degrees. You can use these all year around, except in the coldest of weather.
What Is the Verdict on the Swarovski EL Range?
If you want the best view and decent ranging, the EL Range will deliver. You will pay for what you get, but it’s probably going to be worth it in the long run.
As I mentioned at the top of this review, there’s nothing that really stands out about these binoculars. They do everything well. They look and feel good. They will last a good long time.
You can use them as regular binoculars. You can use them as a rangefinder.
What else could you ask for?
However, if you have determined that these rangefinder binoculars just aren’t what you’re looking for, check out this article that reviews several others. Most likely you’ll find a pair that suits your wants and needs.
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