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View Full Version : Swaro vs. Others



labman
03-19-2012, 08:51 PM
I am sure this has been posted before and for that I am sorry. I am a deer hunter from Oklahoma so a lot of my time is in stands and scouting fields. I am doing my first DIY archery elk hunt in CO this year and I was wanting people's opinions. This is not a questions can I afford the 10x42 Swaro but are they truly worth the money? Are there any other brands people would recommend? Or are the Swaro's just head and shoulders above the others its a no brainer? Thanks in advance for your help!!

cali_hornhunter
03-19-2012, 09:03 PM
This is always a good question and i own two pairs of swaros the 8x30 and want to get 10x42 and there a swaro spotting scope and to me in ym experience they cant be beat and IMO there totally worth the money and im sure BB will be on here to post on this subject also

Drhorsepower
03-19-2012, 10:44 PM
Haha. Yes bb will! How often do you plan on hunting out west? That is a consideration. Swaro are def top of the line. Swaro, zeiss and leica are the big three. I personally like swaro better for binos, zeiss just came out with a new pair though, I think they are called ht's? I would like to check them out as well. If you are looking for a cheap alternative I would highly recommend zen ray ed3 10x43s. Dollar for dollar I think they go the farthest.

Jon Boy
03-19-2012, 11:59 PM
Haha. Yes bb will! How often do you plan on hunting out west? That is a consideration. Swaro are def top of the line. Swaro, zeiss and leica are the big three. I personally like swaro better for binos, zeiss just came out with a new pair though, I think they are called ht's? I would like to check them out as well. If you are looking for a cheap alternative I would highly recommend zen ray ed3 10x43s. Dollar for dollar I think they go the farthest.

Zen Ray is coming out with the prime HD in May I believe. If you pre-order them now they are 25% off and come out to $555. If not there $740. Wish they would have came out with them when I got my ED3s, oh well the ED3s are still good enough for me.

Graylight
03-20-2012, 12:23 AM
The short "IN FIELD CONDITIONS" answer is YES, they are worth the money... See if you can find a Cabelas or Bass pro that'll let you use them right at sunset... That should put your concerns to rest...

Shaun
03-20-2012, 07:18 AM
I have a set of swaro 8x30 and a pair of 10x42 recently purchased the cabelas euro 12x50 glass and I might get hammered on but I will put them up against my swaro's any day the lenses for the euro series is by the same company who swarovski has make there's I am sure they have different cuts but amazing glass with the same warranty as swaro. Just my .02$

RUTTIN
03-20-2012, 07:21 AM
I'm with Graylight on this, go to a sporting goods store that carries the big 3 (Swarovski, Leica, Zeiss) take all them out on seperate tripods (so there is no shaking going on) just when the sun has set (if a sporting goods store really wants to make a sale, they will take them out for you) Look through all of them and see which ones are the best. To me the Zeiss Victory FL was the clearest Bino, but I didn't have quite enough for them so I went with the Swarovski, and have never regretted it since. The only porblem I have with them is when I go hunting with friends that don't have good bino's they are always wanting to look through them. Good luck.

hvfd21walker
03-20-2012, 07:33 AM
Last year I was in the market for new binds. I went to my local sporting goods store for about a week trying the big three companies out. They were all awesome. But I went with the ones that fit me the best. I bought the leica ultravids. I can't say exactly how much better the swaros were but the eye cups didn't fit me the best. Another great set is the vortex Hd glass for the money.

brooks
03-20-2012, 07:34 AM
I have the Swarovski 8.5 x 42 EL and they are a great bino but they are not magic !! If I am hunting from a tree stand for deer they work great if I'm hunting elk or antelope and trying to see a real long distance I always wish I had a spotter to really see the animal good. I'm not putting Swaro's down at all as far as binos go they are the best, it's just they have there limits.

Bitterroot Bulls
03-20-2012, 10:27 AM
As predicted, here I am.

There are a lot of different whether or not the "Big Three" are worth their premium price tags. I have posted about this before, but here is my take:

The "Best" is still the best. The high-end offerings from these companies are the cutting edge of optics, and they always push each other. Every time I have taken a peek through the SLC HD, or Zeiss FL, I had a "Wow" moment. It is hard to imagine the Zeiss HT improving on the FL, but you never know, and I really want to try them.

However, the gains are tiny with each "improvement"," and often come with a huge price tag (Are we up to $2500 for binoculars now?).

Chinese OEM companies have closed the performance gap substantially. I have taken Graylight's advice quite often and compared optics at dawn dusk over and over. The difference in image between the Swarovski SLC neu and the Zen Ray offerings (I own both) are little. Is the Swarovski better overall? Sure. Does the Zen beat it out in some areas? Yes it does.

If pure optical performance value is your goal, it is hard to beat the Chinese ED stuff.

The Euro companies have a lot of things going for them: Longevity, build quality, finish, fit, feel, and prestige (this is their biggest seller I am certain).

The truth is that the game you can spot through the best you can spot through the quality imported Chinese ED stuff.

The other thing that doesn't get much press is there are products that give up nothing to the Euro's coming out of Japan including Nikon EDG, and Kowa's top offerings.

The individual buyer has to make up their own mind on whether the premium for the best is worth it. If you want the very best, you have to pay for it. Do you need it to be an effective hunter? No.

Also Shaun mentioned the Cabelas Euro. The Cabelas Euro is a rebadged Meopta Meostar. Meopta is a Czech Republic OEM that has been making quality optics for a long, long time. I don't know if they made any Swarovski products, but all of the Swaro products I have were made in Austria (Swarovski's own facility) or assembled in the good ol' USA (Meopta may have manufactured some parts for those, I don't know).

I do know that Meopta has manufactured a lot of Zeiss products, including most of the lenses for the Conquest riflescope lines (which are manufactured in the USA), and Zeiss' top of the line Diascopes. (If they are labelled made in Germany they were made at Zeiss' own facility, if they are labelled made in Czech Republic, they were made by Meopta. It doesn't really matter, Meopta can make products to whatever spec the seller wants.

Meopta has only recently been releasing their own branded line of top-end optics in the USA, and they have some really nice products. I owned a Meopta Meostar 10X42 binocular, and it was very similar to a Swarovski SLC (pre neu). They are releasing a new super-spotter this year that is getting rave reviews from birders. They are also releasing an HD (ED glass) version of their Meostar binocular to similar fanfair (already available in the US as the Cabelas Euro HD).

There are a lot of great optics options available. What is worth what is going to be different to different people.

Many people are steadfast in their brand loyalty, often because they have had good experiences with that brand's products. However, just because something is labelled "Swarovski" doesn't automatically mean it has a meaningful performance advantage over another brand. Swarovski does take a lot of pride in its optics, and most Swarovski products I have seen had little to no weaknesses in fit, finish, durability or performance.

For the record, the two finest binocular images I have seen were through the Swarovski SLC HD and Zeiss FL. Still the best.

jenbickel
03-20-2012, 10:35 AM
Oh bitterroot.. You definitely always make me laugh.

I have the Zeiss victory FLs and used them the other night as the sun was setting. They were amazing. I honestly was like speechless. Which says a lot because I am a woman who loves to talk and it definitely takes a lot to shut me up. Looking with my naked eye, it was dark to where I could hardly see anything, but when I looked through my binos, I could see a whole herd of elk with no problem and was even able to tell which ones were spike elk. I always wondered if the price tag on binos were worth it and now I can say without a doubt that they are!!!

Jon Boy
03-20-2012, 10:52 AM
One thing to remember with optics is their quality does not increase at the same rate as their price. Undoubtedly the likes of swaro, leica, and zeiss are the best. But to say a $2500 pair of swaros is 5 times better than my $500 Zens is far from the truth. IMO spotting technique is more important to a certain extent. If you think you can go out and buy the best there is and automatically become eagle eyes, you will be very disappointed.

HuskyMusky
03-20-2012, 01:32 PM
IMO swaro's are more expensive 1 major factor is the euro exchange rate.

currently isn't it down around 1.35? it use to be more, so essentially 1000 binos in the US would cost you 1350 if they were made in europe... for the same exact bino! not include shipping rates and import fees etc... so apples to apples you'd be paying an extra 350 just because they were made in europe!

they may be the best, but are they that much better? some other factors skilled workers making this stuff in europe vs. japan/china etc...

are $2k binos twice as good as $1000 binos, no!

essentially if you want the best, you pay for it and get it. but at over $1000 binos you're paying alot more for a slight increase in quality.

the difference from 200 to 300 to 400 to 600 to 800 are much more significant jumps than from 1500 to 1600 etc...

I have some pentax dcf-sp 10x43 for $500 'ish? best for the money IMO, although of late I want some vortex 15x56 for around $1200??

until money is no object or I win a pair I'll be buying the best value binos...

labman
03-31-2012, 05:41 PM
Well I pulled the trigger on the Swaro SLC HD they fit me better than the EL's!! Thanks for all the help!!

Bitterroot Bulls
03-31-2012, 06:03 PM
SLC HD?????

I am jealous, Labman. That instrument is the absolute tops.

BKC
03-31-2012, 06:56 PM
The difference between binoculars that are mid range price ( 800-1200 dollars ) and high end price binoculars ( 1800-2500 dollars) is definition. If you just want to see the trees where the animals are bedded buy the mid range, never buy the cheap stuff, you will never use them . If you want to see inbetween, under and in the shadows of the trees where the animals are bedded then spend as much as you can afford and then some. As hvfd21walker said " buy the ones that fit your eyes". This may be the most important, you want to use them as much as possible, make sure they are comfortable.

Musket Man
03-31-2012, 07:53 PM
I have swaro EL 10x42 that I got when the EL first came out. I have put alot of hard miles on them and they are still good as the day I bought them. I could not be happier!

Bitterroot Bulls
03-31-2012, 08:03 PM
The difference between binoculars that are mid range price ( 800-1200 dollars ) and high end price binoculars ( 1800-2500 dollars) is definition. If you just want to see the trees where the animals are bedded buy the mid range, never buy the cheap stuff, you will never use them . If you want to see inbetween, under and in the shadows of the trees where the animals are bedded then spend as much as you can afford and then some. As hvfd21walker said " buy the ones that fit your eyes". This may be the most important, you want to use them as much as possible, make sure they are comfortable.

I respectfully disagree, BKC.

The difference between a 1200 pair of binoculars and a 2500 pair of binoculars is not what they will show you in the field.

IMO, there are four main differences:

1. Optical luxuries like a perfect field edge and flawless CA control.
2. Top of the line fit and finish.
3. Bragging rights.
4. About $1300.

BKC
03-31-2012, 08:11 PM
BB, Except for the bragging rights, you are correct

Musket Man
03-31-2012, 08:46 PM
Isnt some of the price tag on the high end glass the service and warranty that comes with them?

Bitterroot Bulls
03-31-2012, 08:55 PM
Isnt some of the price tag on the high end glass the service and warranty that comes with them?

Sure, the warranty gets paid for somehow. Yet, the best warranty in the business is Vortex' warranty, and their products are priced much lower than the "Big Three". Leica's Customer Service has been suspect at times. In my experience, Swarovski and Zeiss have excellent US-based service centers.

Musket Man
03-31-2012, 09:18 PM
I hear if you ever have a problem you can send Swarovski's in and they will fix them no questions asked and can send them in for free cleaning too. I own all 3. Swarovski binos, Ziess spotter and Leica range finder. Have never sent anything in but I did hit the focus knob in my spotting scope and now it turns harder but it doesnt cause a problem and the little covers on top and bottom of the hinge/focus on my binos now live in utah or montana I think. lol

JNDEER
06-01-2012, 09:40 AM
Zen Ray is coming out with the prime HD in May I believe. If you pre-order them now they are 25% off and come out to $555. If not there $740. Wish they would have came out with them when I got my ED3s, oh well the ED3s are still good enough for me.

I just ordered them. Hope they are good stuff.