Kindermann (Canada) Incorporated
361 Steelcase Road West, Unit #3
L3R 3V8
tel (905) 940-9262
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See the SWAROVSKI  8x20 Compact  Review

This is a first part on a review that will be continued during/after hunting season when I have had the opportunity to use the EL 8.5 X 42 Binocular and 2xDoubler in extreme cold and severe weather conditions..

A true review takes more than a look across a field. Because of this I have been using the EL's and the Doubler for several weeks before writing this review. My experience with binoculars in the past has taught me that all are not the same. Swarovski takes that thought to another level. The clarity is incredible. I have been using another top brand of European binoculars for about 15 years so I am familiar with quality optics and the extra detail they provide whether I am hunting, bird watching or just exploring the country side.

To date I have been using the Swarovski 8.5 x 42 binoculars on spotting trips and general use over the past four weeks. The test binoculars that I received from Kindermann Canada also came with the optional 2 x doubler.

The first thing I noticed when I picked up the EL’s was the lightweight and how comfortable they were to hold. The sculptured thumb rests are ergonomically designed to facilitate long periods of glassing in comfort. The one-piece lens cap for the eyecups easily flips off and is attached to the padded neck strap. The objective lens covers are attached individually to the body eliminating the posibility of losing them and are suspended below the lenses when not in use. The lightweight magnesium body is fully rubber armored in a shade of forest green.

The solid eyecups on both the EL's and the 2xDoubler twist out to allow those of us that wear glasses to easily have a full field of view. This is a superior system to the fold down eyecups that are found on most other Binoculars. It has been my experience that fold down eyecups eventually crack and fall off. This can not happen with the Swarovski EL 8.5 X 42. or the Doubler.

The center wheel focusing is precise and smooth . By pulling the center wheel towards you the right eye individual focus is made with audible click adjustments and then by returning the wheel to its normal position the right eye focus is secured from accidental movement.

I have been trying the EL’s in different conditions and at various times of the day, from dawn till dark. The brightness is superb at low light and even dark when glassing a deer field. I found that they are brighter than my old 7 x 50 ‘s. I did not expect this as I have not seen another binocular until now that allowed me to glass a field after dark and count the deer in it . The Swarovski’ s outperformed my other high-end European Binoculars easily.

When in the woods the detail was sharp, crystal clear, and focusing could be as close as 8 feet for bird watching details. Even at dusk the Swarovski’ s allowed me to distinguish objects that were not visible to the naked eye as darkness closed in. I also took some run of the mill economy binoculars along to make a comparison, there is no comparing Swarovski to the models from the store shelves. In the world to top quality optics these are the "Bentley’s".

The "DOUBLER" is a small eyepiece attachment that attaches to the eyepiece by screwing it in place. With the Doubler installed one lens is now a 17-power telescope that is easily hand held for longer distance viewing, eliminating the need to carry a bulky spotting scope. Its clarity is excellent and the convenience of having this accessory is a must for those of us that want the extra magnification of a scope without the bulk. The beauty of the Doubler is that there is no light loss whatsoever, the only loss experienced is in the field of view (of course) and the close focus remains the same as when the doubler is not in use. The doubler comes in a secure belt attachment and weighs only ounces.

I have not used a better Binocular than the SWAROVSKI, EL 8.5 X 42.They excell in clarity, ergonomics and with the Doubler they also excell in versatility. They are in a class by themselves and I recommend them as the finest quality Binocular available.


Now that I have had the wonderful opportunity to use the EL 8.5 X 42 for a full season in the outdoors in my quest for big game I am about to finish this review. I have had the opportunity to use these binoculars in open prairie land as well as in heavy timber and bush. During this falls hunting season I had many opportunities to test the EL’s in every type of weather that Alberta could offer.

The comfort of the EL is something that is appreciated after hours of glassing, whether it is open ground plains or scanning into the hardwoods in search of what the naked eye cannot reveal. These are the most comfortable to hold binoculars that I have seen. The ergonomics are without a doubt the best in the market. Eyestrain was non-existent, even when glassing over sunlit snow. The 8.5x magnification was easily held by hand and the focusing is precise .I did not have to reset the individual eye focus one time during this evaluation period.

During the testing I had several opportunities to take advantage of the 2 x doubler’s extra magnification. This was a great asset when scanning at extreme distances and when close up detail was needed. At the shooting Range the 17 power magnification provided what amounted to a spotting scope when groups were to be looked at. On hunting trips the Doubler allowed me to see distant animals and determine exactly what they were and if they were a target species or not when the Binoculars alone did not have enough magnification for this task. After glassing some open areas we sometimes recognize a feature that warrants a closer look, the doubler with its light weight and compact size is quickly attached to the EL’s and a long walk is eliminated. It does not completely replace a spotting scope, however the Doubler weighs ounces, and not pounds and does not require a heavy tripod to support it.

I used this system during rain snow and cold, without any trouble. The attached lens protectors were easily flipped out of the way and never lost or misplaced. The ability to peer into the bush and open hardwoods was almost unbelievable. These have a clarity that has to be seen to be appreciated. Details that any other Binocular seem to miss are sharp and clear. Taking the Swarovski’ s from warm to cold and back to warm over many outings proved their worthiness as an all weather Binocular. As for cold weather operation we have all used Binoculars that became nearly impossible to focus at temperatures well below freezing. This is not the case with the EL’s. They still functioned like a precision instrument. Turning the focus was smooth and easy. During my evaluation period I also inadvertently tested the rubber armoring on 2 unfortunate occasions. It worked flawlessly and the El’s are still like new.

On overnight trips I would go outside to scan the surrounding country under the cover of darkness. The brightness of the EL is superior to any other binocular I have tested, including a 7 X 50 pair I have owned for many years that are from another famous European Maker. Those 7x 50’s should have been brighter, however they are not.

To sum up this review I must say that these are definitely an Ideal hunters package. Clarity is beyond belief, the focal range is incredible with close up focusing that I have not seen before, Distance viewing is good with the 8.5x magnification and with the optional Doubler installed, you have the best of 2 worlds, portable light weight and high magnification without any light loss.

After having the privilege to use these for the last 6 months I can honestly say that I feel spoiled. I don’t think I will ever pick up a pair of binoculars without comparing them to the Swarovski’s. Many friends and acquaintances had the opportunity to use these during the time I was reviewing them and without exception they all stated that they were the most impressive binocular that they had used.The most impressive quality I found was the clarity.It is the best there is.

Pete Ward
“Welcome to my outdoor world”

Copyright © 2002 PETER WARD