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Thread: Decision: Swaroski EL or Zeiss binoculars?

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    Default Decision: Swaroski EL or Zeiss binoculars?

    Which one would you choose and why, main purpose is hunting?

    Swarovski EL 8.5x42 or a Zeiss Victory FL 8x42

    the Zeiss lacks the lotutec (hydrophobic) coating.

    Thanks for your input.

  2. #2
    Member BrettAKSCI's Avatar
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    Leica if you can afford them, then Swarovski, then Zeiss. Based on relative brightness/clarity.

    Brett

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    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Default I'm not that great a fan of the Swarovskis

    I'm honestly not all that impressed with the EL's. They're great, no doubt... But, when I've used them side by side with leicas or zeiss, they're not really all that superior to my eyes (if even at all superior) The leica and zeiss are more compact and lighter so far as carrying them goes. I'd never turn them down mind you (mine were a gift and I'll never part with them) but I doubt I'd set out to purchase them now that I've had the chance to compare them in the field to others in that same catagory. If I were paying the same price for them, I'd go for the leicas, then I'd have to look hard at the zeisses (aint that a cool word!) Where are you located at? If you're around anchorage and want to try out my EL's up on the hill or something to see how you like them we could work something out...

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    Default Swarovski ELs all the way!

    MattX,

    I did my research and visited a couple of the big stores in Anchorage. To my eyes, the Swarovski EL's were the best. I bought a set of the 10 x 42 binoculars and think they are fantastic.

    I compared them to Leica Ultravids, Leica Duovids, Zeiss Victory, and Zeiss Conquests.

    Naturally, YMMV.

    Kirk out.

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    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capt. James T. Kirk View Post
    MattX, I did my research and visited a couple of the big stores in Anchorage. To my eyes, the Swarovski EL's were the best. I bought a set of the 10 x 42 binoculars and think they are fantastic.

    I compared them to Leica Ultravids, Leica Duovids, Zeiss Victory, and Zeiss Conquests.

    Naturally, YMMV.
    Kirk out.
    So if I understand you correctly, you haven't used the Leicas or Zeiss in the field though? I agree the EL's are "fantastic", I just haven't found them to outperform the others by any noticable factor when glassing in the field in the evenings (the "True" test correct?) or just generally for that matter. (personal opinions and experiences of myself and several other hunting partners over the past few years)


    The others have some great features to offer that arent often mentioned in discussions like this. Size and weight come to mind most readily. (esp in the case of the Leicas)


    If you are into birding as compared to hunting, the EL's were specifically designed for the abiliity to focus at very close ranges to observe every tiny aspect of the feathers and such, so I guess thats an advange not often mentioned either. But, the Leica and Zeiss focus at pretty close distance also... seems like its the difference between 6 foot compared to 9 foot if memory serves me. It was inconsequential for my purposes, but I still brag on that aspect of my Swaros when we're arguing around the campfire which pair is best! "Yeah, but when it got dark and you couldnt glass anymore, I was still counting the feathers on that camp-robber at 2 paces!" (try glassing "That" trophy at that range with your Leicas and Zeisses!)

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    I've tried Leica. I own Zeiss Victory. I later tried a friend's Swarovskis on a hunt. I've had the opportunity to try the Leica and Swarovskis next to mine a few times since.

    My next pair of binocs will be Swarovski. I still prefer my Victorys over Leica. That's the honest truth.

  7. #7

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    I'd go with either Leica or Swarovski, i've been using a pair of 10x40 Habichts for about 12 years now and absolutely love them but I did happent o look through a pair of Leica 8x32's and they were fantastic looking glass. I will say this, Swarovski customer service is second to none, have used them 3 times, all for cleaning and check ups and they always come back looking like new.

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    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Pid View Post
    I've tried Leica. I own Zeiss Victory. I later tried a friend's Swarovskis on a hunt. I've had the opportunity to try the Leica and Swarovskis next to mine a few times since.

    My next pair of binocs will be Swarovski. I still prefer my Victorys over Leica. That's the honest truth.
    Which Leica's did you use Pid? I wont go so far as to claim I'd trade or sell my El's to get a pair of Ultravids but... I'd be strongly tempted. I love my buddies Victorys. Both of them are a more compact package than my EL's, the Leicas significantly so. I value that and tend to have them closer to hand more regularly than the EL's which usually only come out of my pack when we're going to sit down and glass for an extended period of time.

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    I'm not one to remember model names, especially the goofy ones, but I know all the three models I've tried were 10 power and the Leica and Swarovskis were both more expensive than my Zeiss. With Google's help I guess that would mean the Leicas were Ultravid 10x42. They didn't have range finding and they looked like the ultravid's picture. They were nice enough. Like I said I liked my Zeiss better. The Swarovskis were hard to give back.

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    Chriso,

    No, I did not use any of the binocs out in the field. I went to GNG and the big guy stood me on the porch with several types of binocs. He had me look at several dark areas, under vehicles, etc. I also checked out binocs at SW and at Mt. View, but I can't remember all the details.

    To my eyes, the ELs were the best, with the Ultravids in a VERY close 2nd place. I also liked how the ELs fit my hand.

    I try not to be a borrower/lender, so I didn't have a way to borrow high end optics for field trials.

    Everyone's eyes sees thinks a bit differently. No one is "right" or "wrong", it's just a personal choice.

    Kirk out.

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    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capt. James T. Kirk View Post
    Chriso,

    No, I did not use any of the binocs out in the field. I went to GNG and the big guy stood me on the porch with several types of binocs. He had me look at several dark areas, under vehicles, etc. I also checked out binocs at SW and at Mt. View, but I can't remember all the details.

    To my eyes, the ELs were the best, with the Ultravids in a VERY close 2nd place. I also liked how the ELs fit my hand.

    I try not to be a borrower/lender, so I didn't have a way to borrow high end optics for field trials.

    Everyone's eyes sees thinks a bit differently. No one is "right" or "wrong", it's just a personal choice. Kirk out.
    You're not the first person I've heard say that about how the EL's fit the hand James. I've got to admit they are comfortable to hold for extended periods of time. Like you said about personal choice, my priorities may be different than those of others out there, but for clarification this is the order I value things in a good binocular:

    1) Durability: I dont think anyone can say much bad about any of there brands being discussed here. And, all 3 of these brands have a stellar reputation for customer service.

    2) Low light performance and clear vision at all times of the day and night: Like I said, from extensive personal comparison in the field, none of these brands mentioned noticably stood out over the others IMHO. Yes, in controlled circumstances like peering intently under a car, or at letters on a street sign in a shadow and switching back and forth rapidly and repeatedly, I've been able to detect (I think) subtle differences between the best of the best as we are discussing here, but in the field its been a toss up as to who spotted the last animal seen before we packed it in for the night, or when it came to keeping an eye on that moose hoping to get the best chance of finding it come morning I've never had one of my buddies give up becasue I could still see it in my Swarovskis and they couldnt see it in their Leica or Zeiss glass. And I have experienced this exact complaint in comparing Leupold, Bushnell, B & L, Nikon, and Burris glasses with any of these "top three" (again, "tops" IMHO)

    3) Field of view: Again, if one was significantly lacking compared to the others it could be an issue for me, however, the difference between these three makes and models was insignificant for my use glassing bear, moose, caribou and sheep.

    4) Weight and size: The smaller and lighter, the better in my book, as I prefer to save some weight in the optics I carry vs loose some weight from my "hump"! I also really find it handy if I can fit my binocs in my shirt pocket to keep them from swinging around and smacking my pack frame, trees and brush, etc. They are far too expensive to chance ruining them and I feel they are safer in my pocket in addition to around my neck. Also, I like haveing them handy rather than digging for them in my pack, which is where the larger pairs wind up residing when I carry them. My buddies Zeiss and Untravids both fit in the chest pocket of my hunting shirts, my Swarovskis wont. (neither will the swaro 10x32s for that matter, but the Leica Ultravid 10 x 32's are way impressive when it comes to weight and size, and perform nearly like the other guys 42mm glass from what Ive seen in the field)

    5) Comfort on the eyes when glassing for extended periods of time: My buddy's Victorys have eyecups that twist to offer shade on the sides of my eyes and keep the light from reflecting inside the occulars. It makes it far more comfortable to glass with. I purchased angled rubber eyepiece cones for my Swarovski's and that makes the same effect, long periods of glassing are made far more comfortable. I have not seen such a thing for the Leica Ultravids yet but maybe there are some out there if a guy looks specifically for them. Of course, if you wear glasses and dont take them off when using your binocs this little feature is of no meaning to you as the angled eyepieces on the occular end will only serve to let more light in if smashed against your eyeglasses rather than cupping around your eyes as they will without eyeglasses in the way.

    7) Ease of adjustment / focus / correction: If this process is too painful or awkward I'd find a different pair, however, in comparision for these three makes and models the adjustments are so similarly made and with comfort and ease I'd say its not a factor.

    8) Comfort in the hand when glassing: While I have to admit the Swarovskis are comfortable to hold and adjust, the others arent "uncomfortable" to my taste.

    9) Versatility: I'm working my way up to this issue, especially with my Swaro's. I bought a doubler for them, if I could convince myself they would replace the spotting scope in my pack, I'd leave it at home and start packing the Swaro's. However, so long as I'm packing a spotter, I'll always go for the smaller, lighter package of my buddies Zeiss, or Leica over my EL's any time I'm carrying the weight on my own two feet, or if weight and bulk are ever an issue as in a fly out hunt for example.

    10) Close focus ability for birdwatching: Well... I think I explained how important that was to me in my previous post!

    Anyway, no disrespect meant to Swarovski, or any other brand for that matter, I'm just saying that in some respects one could make a case that some other attributes cause certain other glasses to become very competitive with them and ought to be mentioned when folks are considering their options. I also know there are a few other brands out there that I've heard highly of which I've not had my hands on, a few certain models of Nikon come to mind, Kowa, Minox, Khales, Meopta to name a couple of them.

    No disrespect to your lending/borrowing principles, but if you want to I can borrow my buddies Zeiss and Leica and meet you on the hill up at powerline pass one afternoon and we can swap them back and forth until it gets dark if that'd help you.

    Bottom line for me is I dont think a guy could go wrong with any of these three makes and models being discussed here, and more specifically the two brands he opened the thread and asked for feedback about.

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    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Pid View Post
    I'm not one to remember model names, especially the goofy ones, but I know all the three models I've tried were 10 power and the Leica and Swarovskis were both more expensive than my Zeiss. With Google's help I guess that would mean the Leicas were Ultravid 10x42. They didn't have range finding and they looked like the ultravid's picture. They were nice enough. Like I said I liked my Zeiss better. The Swarovskis were hard to give back.
    If your Zeiss are the ones I'm thinking of, I like them better too! Funny thing is though, when my buddy trades me the Leicas for my Swaro's and we take off, I've been known to shove his Leicas in my pocket and get going before he hits me up for them back! (then at the next stop I notice he stowed them in his pack like I do rather than have them heavy things hanging around my neck!) guess you could say I find the Leicas "hard to give back" too, huh!

  13. #13

    Default ELs and optical acuity

    The big three(Nikon Edges will make it four) all have different areas that they do well in. This is my personal opinion but I have tested nearly every make an model of binoc and I base my views on my personal research.

    Durability and neutrality- The Leica Ultravid is the most durable and is the most color neutral with less flaring than the others. This is important if you are hunting in rugged upland environments.

    Resolution-The resolution of ELs(10X42) are not really brought out unless you do the dollar test. Take a dollar bill to a store that you can compare different brands. Move the dollar bill out 30 yards from the counter(if possible or take it out side to do this) Figure out which 10X or 8X binocular you have the best resolution(look at the serial number and treasury secretary signature) with. My guess is that the Swaro ELs win this test for 80% of people. Some people have different eyes.

    ranging eye relief- This is where the zeiss does best. It has the biggest sweet spot in my opinion and went you are trying to find stuff while you are flying, driving or boating the zeiss FL will allow you to look the longest without getting headaches.

    I haven't looked at the Edges yet. They might beat any one of the big three in these important catagories.

    Sincerely,
    Thomas

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    the swaro's don't fishbowl to me, all the others do. i've long been a huge fan of the swaro glass and ergonimics and weight. none of the others were very comfy to use and the fishbowl gives me headaches.
    i'm savin' up for 10x32 ELs when the piggy bank gets full...
    Www.blackriverhunting.com
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    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    the swaro's don't fishbowl to me, all the others do. i've long been a huge fan of the swaro glass and ergonimics and weight. none of the others were very comfy to use and the fishbowl gives me headaches.
    i'm savin' up for 10x32 ELs when the piggy bank gets full...
    Well... like I said earlier, if you want to get together up on the hillside and pin some dollar bills to a tree and look through two or three different pairs with me to see if they have better resolution, fishbowl, or are uncomfortable to hold, or if they truly give better low light performance and to what degree in some real world conditions just shoot me a pm. All's I know is I own and love my EL's, but have had a chance to use some Leicas and Zeiss extensively and I cant really tell any significant difference in real world hunting conditions. I dont think you can go wrong with any of these three, and probably several others out there not as often mentioned.

  16. #16

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    I have a pair of EL's that I think are great. This is a plug for their customer service. My pair fell out of a bag on our AATV (Mudd-OX) and hung by the strap over the side and next to the exhaust for i don't know how long but long enough to melt the lens caps and the armor on the bino's and generally beat them up badly. The optics still worked great and we got two moose with their help but they were in sad shape. I took them into the retailer (WW guns) and they sent them back for me. They came back in one week completely redone and looked new and the charge to me was nothing. They have me for a customer for my next pair becuase of this. My bino and Swar scope now ride in the pelican case unless they are around my neck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by akexpress34 View Post
    I have a pair of EL's that I think are great. This is a plug for their customer service. My pair fell out of a bag on our AATV (Mudd-OX) and hung by the strap over the side and next to the exhaust for i don't know how long but long enough to melt the lens caps and the armor on the bino's and generally beat them up badly. The optics still worked great and we got two moose with their help but they were in sad shape. I took them into the retailer (WW guns) and they sent them back for me. They came back in one week completely redone and looked new and the charge to me was nothing. They have me for a customer for my next pair becuase of this. My bino and Swar scope now ride in the pelican case unless they are around my neck.
    Well, now that you know thery're good for it, why dont you just drag them behind on a tow chain!

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    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Hi Mr AK Express, I got to reading my smart-alek post there and realised I dont know you well enough to give you a hard time like that, I hope you wont hold it against me for playing around.


    I agree with you 100% about the durability of the Swarovski's, and the customer service they offer, and with WWG and the way they stand behind their customers as well.


    I love my swaros and they are not for sale, or trade... I just think folks are a little quick jump on the bandwagon and discount these other great models as well, when most of us havn't ever actually had the chance to compare them in real world conditions. (I know, I've looked at my share of street signs and license plates out in the parking lots over the years too)


    I've loved Swarovski's from before they were well known over here and have owned 3 different pairs of their binoculars, 3 riflescopes, and a spotter over the years. Excepting the pair of binocs I lost 10 years ago, (still in the Talkeetna Mountains and most likely functioning just fine if anyone finds them) and the pair I traded when I got the spotter, I still own, use, and love them all. But, having had a chance to use them in the field, I sure like them Ultravids and Zeiss for a fact.

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    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Default Some food for thought...

    This pic of my 10x42 EL's and some of my buddies glasses: a pair of Zeiss Victory 10x40's, some tan 10x32 EL's and a pair of 10x32 Leica Ultravids side by side to better illustrate my point about size.

    I've not noticed that significant a difference in clarity or low light performance when using them side by side in the field, but clearly there is a difference in size...


  20. #20

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    Wow, thats a nice collection of glass there. Can you say CHA-CHING!!!

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