Friday, May 1, 2015

Swarovski CL Pocket 8x25 Green Binocular

From Scott in L.A.:

5/5 Rating

At last!

I'm amazed by these Swarovskis.  The FOV is impressive for pockets.  Its greater weight is due to its solid build quality and larger 25mm objective size, but it's still a true compact.  Diopter dial is easy and out of the way.  The optics are insanely good, and CA is not disturbing.  And the view is crystal clear.  Truly brilliant!

But these models excel for two other, far more important reasons: the added 2 or 3mm's of eye relief that these pocket Swarovskis afford over other alpha pocket models (and 4mm more than their old pocket model) may not seem like much but it has made all the difference for some eyeglass wearers like me.  Secondly, the new, lower magnification option for the 25mm model (8x) is a super smart move, and about time, too, for the alpha pocket group.  The lower power-to-objective-lens ratio means wider, brighter FOV and better eye relief with less shakiness.  I hope this becomes a trend.

For me, the 7x binocular that once ruled as the birding standard still makes the most sense and I would love to see more elite 7x models again.  Despite what people have been led to believe, the binocular's power isn't everything.  Clarity is.  Elite binoculars mean nothing if you can't see well out the other side.  Birders, especially, need to re-think their priorities in this regard, and opt for bright, clear glass over murky power.

A few petty cons: The close focus distance on the 8x25 is not great; the case, never a Swarovski strongpoint IMO, is overly fiddly and, for the money, it ought to be a hardshell case; and there really is no convincing reason not to provide a rain guard and objective lens covers for glass that costs this much; lastly, the black you see on the front of the binoculars is metal, not rubber coating or plastic, and even on a cool California morning they were quite cold to the touch.  Can't imagine what they feel like in cold weather without gloves.   But these are small concerns and don't take away at all from the overall 5-star quality.

I'm happy to say that after twenty years of making various, sometimes expensive pocket binocular purchases, I've finally found truly first-rate, really enjoyable compacts.  Such a treat!  Highly recommended.

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