The integration of LRF (Laser Rangefinder) technology into compact binoculars began as an innovative shift, first initiated by Leica in early 2022. Joining the competition, Swarovski has unveiled their compact version of the EL range. In this review, we'll explore the attributes of the two newly released binoculars in detail, assessing if they hold their own against the legacy of their "bigger brothers" from the same series.
Swarovski expanded their EL Range series with two models – the 8x32 and the 10x32.
The main advantage of compact LRF binoculars
Compact LRF binoculars offer a considerable advantage in terms of weight and size when compared to their larger counterparts. Their reduced dimensions make them particularly apt for hunts that require extensive walking, especially in challenging terrains like mountains. In such environments, every additional gram matters, making these binoculars a preferred choice for mountain hunters eager to minimize their load. To provide a clearer perspective through statistics, the EL Range 8x32 and 10x32 models are 26 mm shorter and 5 mm narrower than the 8x42 and 10x42 variants. Furthermore, they are 255 grams lighter, further emphasizing their compactness and convenience.
Simple yet elegant
The Swarovski EL-Range 8x32 and 10x32 binoculars mirror their 42mm counterparts in numerous respects. These models boast a lightweight magnesium housing, wrapped in high-quality rubber that showcases Swarovski's iconic green colour. The focus wheel, accommodating a CR2 battery, can be rotated for one and a half turns. In line with Swarovski’s latest binocular designs, these binoculars come equipped with quick-detachable notches for strap attachment. They feature six eye-cup positions to ensure optimal eye relief settings, enhancing user comfort. Additionally, users have the option of pairing the binoculars with a forehead rest, providing an added point of contact with the face for greater support.
These models also exhibit some distinctive differences from their larger siblings, beyond mere dimensions and weight. Notably, Swarovski ingeniously integrated the LRF department under a single barrel – there is now just one bulb instead of the usual two. This design move suggests that Swarovski is working on minimizing the visibility of the LRF compartment – a development we are looking forward to. Furthermore, in contrast to the open bridge found on the bigger version, the compact models utilize a single bridge design. This decision aligns with the device's reduced size, making the single bridge configuration apt and practical.
Consistent with other models in the series, the compact EL-range binoculars provide the equivalent horizontal component of linear distance. They're equipped with an advanced ballistics computer that pairs with a smartphone app. By entering ammunition data and transferring it to the device, users receive corrections in terms of clicks (MOA/MRAD) or turret turns, which proves beneficial for mountain stalking and long-range hunting where understanding ballistics is essential. The binoculars also consider atmospheric variables like air temperature, pressure, and humidity when providing corrections, with the sensor located on the left barrel's underside. A notable feature is the tracking assistant, which helps hunters locate harvested game, especially in mountainous or challenging terrains. This function, which uses an electronic compass, can be used with or without a smartphone.
The Compact EL-range binoculars incorporate the esteemed Swarovision technology, which utilizes a field-flattening lens system. This results in outstanding color fidelity, intricate detail resolution, and consistent edge-to-edge clarity. Swarovski's proprietary coatings further amplify the quality of the visual experience. They offer a field of view of 110 m at 1000 m. Given their smaller lens size, these binoculars are not optimized for dusk usage. Those seeking improved performance in low light settings should consider the 42mm version.
Other useful information
Manufactured in Austria, these binoculars come with a 5-year warranty for the electronics and a 10-year warranty for other components. Swarovski boasts exemplary customer service in the industry, ensuring the availability of spare parts long after the warranty has lapsed. Priced at 3270 € for the 8x32 variant and 3370 € for the 10x32, they stand as the priciest offerings in their category (compact LRF binoculars).
Mountain hunter's indispensable piece of equipment
Swarovski's unveiling of the 8x32 and 10x32 models represents a welcome expansion of the famous EL-Range series. These binoculars are designed for long-range hunts, especially in the mountains where hunters typically face extensive walking to reach their hunting spots. As of September 2023, both are available exclusively in green colour, but we anticipate that Swarovski is going to introduce an orange version in the foreseeable future. Currently, the Leica Geovid PRO 8x32 and 10x32 models are the primary contenders in this niche market – we are looking forward to doing a detailed comparison.