24 Mar Which Binoculars Should You Own?
Which Binoculars Should You Own?
I know what your thinking, “Oh, here comes a sales pitch!” Well, you’re not wrong.
We don’t want you to buy a binocular you won’t use and which binoculars will work best for you may be different that what works best for me. However, I recently discovered that I was missing a binocular that could really make a difference in how I experience and enjoy my time in the outdoors. The venerable Swarovski SLC 10X42 is the first Swarovski binocular I ever purchased. It is still my favorite. I have large hands and really like the design of the SLC body. It allows me to hold the binoculars steadily with little to no shake and the image quality, of course, outstanding.
Then I purchased the SLC 15X56. Here again, the SLC body makes holding these 15X binoculars steady a breeze. Low light performance is amazingly good for a 15X binocular. The 15X56 SLC’s are heavy at 42.3 ounces which is just over 2.5 pounds. The 15X56 SLC’s are a great dash board and deer blind binocular. They are also great as a long-range observation optic that you can carry in your pack and substitute for a spotting scope. Swarovski even sells a 2X doubler that screws into the eyepiece to give you 30X magnification. These are the two binoculars that I have used for many years and I have been extremely happy with both of them.
So, what am I missing?
I just booked my first Cape Buffalo hunt. I have been to Africa a couple of times and one of my favorite things about being in Africa is observing all the different animals and birds you get to see there. I’m not taking my 15X56’s since I don’t want to carry 2.5 pounds around my neck while we walk mile after mile on Buffalo tracks. Even my 10X42’s will start to feel heavy after spending hours on even the best of bino-suspenders. I also don’t want a full-sized binocular on my chest that might interfere with my shooting should a quick shot becomes necessary. This has prompted me to purchase the new Swarovski 8X30 Companion binocular. The 8X30 Companion only weighs about 17 ounces. It is wonderfully compact at 4.7” long X 4.5” wide, and a mere 2.3” tall. Field of view is an extremely generous 7.1 degrees so I can easily pick up close objects in cover and keep an eye on moving animals. Folded up with the two main tubes closer together the Companion is only 3.75” wide. I can easily fit them in a cargo pant pocket if I don’t want them around my neck. The eye box of the 8×30 Companion is much larger than most compact binoculars. It actually feels like a full sized bino when you look through it. The exit pupil is also extended making use with or without glasses very comfortable with no tunneling (where the edges go black). Image quality and edge to edge sharpness are exceptional.
One of the many things I appreciate about Swarovski binoculars is their toughness. It is one thing to find a binocular that is nice to look through. It is quite another to have one that will stand up to decades of use, drops, bumps, rain, sleet (you get the idea). The Swarovski Companion is protected by a magnesium housing and extremely strong spine. You don’t have to baby it. The Companion also comes in a 10X30 model and it is great as well. I chose the 8X30 for the following reasons:
• I already have a 10X42 SLC.
• The 8X30 has a significantly wider field of view.
• The exit pupil diameter is larger (30/8=3.75mm) on the 8X30 vs 3.0mm on the 10X30. So, the low light performance is a bit better on the 8X30.
We actually sell more of the 10X30 as some people just prefer the 10X. Binoculars are a personal choice so choose what suits your hunting and viewing habits best. You may not be going on a Cape Buffalo hunt, but these same features and benefits will come in handy on most hunts, most hikes, or on your next vacation. I believe a combination of compact, lightweight Companion 8X30 binocular, midsized SLC or EL 10X42, and the 12X50 EL or 15X56 SLC cover almost every observation scenario very well. Of course, now I am thinking I might need the new Pocket Mountain 8X25 as well!
For a complete list of the Swarovski binoculars we stock and sell please check the following link: https://www.hillcountryrifles.com/product-category/optics/binoculars/
Shipping is always free in the US, excluding Hawaii and Alaska. If you ever have a warranty issue on a binocular you purchased from us, we will gladly take care of it for you and will even loan you a replacement if you need one, until yours are returned.