If you really want to buy just one high quality pocket binocular, and you've already decided that it's going to be a Swarovski, it should be easy, shouldn't it? Not so fast! At least 10 models are available and you're struggling to see and understand the difference, so which one should you choose?
The optics are as good as it comes and there's no need to discuss this + and that goes for every pair of binoculars from Swarovski, these pocket ones included. Not only the optics, but also the total product are of the highest quality. A lifetime warranty goes with everyone.
The Swarovski Optiks pocket binoculars are in the true sense of the word "pocket binoculars". They are compact enough to fit in any pocket (even of a shirt) and so lightweight that you'll hardly notice them. Their weight vary from 6.7 ounces to 8.1 ounces, which is about as perfect as can get. As a matter of fact, Swarovski claims that one of the models are indeed the smallest pocket binocular ever made!
So how in the world are you going to choose between the different models? I will try to help you decide which one to choose by pointing out the few differences there are.
Some of these pocket binoculars magnify by 8 times and some by 10 times.
The "standard" 8x ones:
Swarovski Optiks Pocket Binocular (8x20B-P, green and black)
Traveler pocket binocular:
Swarovski Optik Pocket Traveler Binocular, 8x20 mm
Swarovski Optiks Pocket Binocular Tyrol 8x20
and Swarovski Optiks Pocket Binocular Crystal Tosca, Nabucco and Idomeneo 8x20
There are two B-P 10x25 ones, one black and one green:
Swarovski Optiks Pocket Binocular (10x25B-P, Black, Green), as well as a "Traveler":
Swarovski Optik Pocket Traveler Binocular, 10x25 mm
Eight times magnification is probably the ideal power on any pair of binoculars big or small. If you go smaller (less power), you might feel it's not that effective; if you go bigger you get more detail, but it's not as easy as it seems. The more powerful a binocular, the more difficult it becomes to view an object. The reason is that any movement is amplified + whether the slight tremble of your hands, or the object your watching. However, this need not be a problem, but be aware of the situation. As long as you bear this in mind, you could consider the more powerful Swarovski's (10x), but I suggest elderly people should rather go for the 8x.
Another problem is that the higher magnification means a smaller exit pupil if the objective lenses stay the same. Fortunately Swarovski Optiks compensated for this by making the apertures bigger in the case of the 10x magnification binoculars, so the exit pupil is the same (2.5 mm) in both the 8x20 and 10x25.
Objective lens size:
All of the 8x power binoculars have apertures of 20 mm, whereas the 10x power binoculars have apertures of 25 mm. As argued above, the main reason being to compensate for the loss of exit pupil diameter.
An advantage of the wider objective lenses (25 mm) above the 20 mm is the fact that wider lenses gather more light than smaller lenses. This means that the 25 mm lenses binoculars will be more effective in dim light than the 20 mm aperture binoculars.
There's a marginal difference between the two groups based on objective lens size: Bigger objective lenses always weigh more and that accounts for 0.5 ounces difference: The 8x20's weigh 7.6 ounces and the 10x25's 8.1 ounces.
The bigger 10x25's have the same dimensions as the smaller 8x20's in terms of height (1.5 inches) and width (2.3 inches), but their barrels are slightly longer (4.57 inches vs 3.98 inches). Clearly this difference is of no importance.
Field of view (FOV):
One of the technical features that usually gets affected by higher magnification is the field of view (FOV) of the instrument. The higher the magnification, the narrower the field of view, which contributes to the difficulty of spotting an object and following it. The FOV of the 10x25's is 285 feet at 1,000 yards, which is considerably narrower than the 345 feet at 1,000 yards of the 8x20's; to put it another way + 5.4 degrees of the 10x25's vs the 6.6 degrees of the 8x20's.
A shorter binocular can focus closer than a longer binocular. The 8x20's have a close focus ability of 13 feet, whereas its 16 feet in the case of the 10x25's. You won't even see the difference. However, if you really want to focus on small things like insects, you should consider the Pentax Papilio, which can focus as close as 18 inches. Unfortunately this instrument is overall not in the same class as the Swarovski's.
Even though the specifications are, generally speaking, quite the same, there's actually a huge difference in price from the lowest priced to the most expensive. At the low end of the price range you get the "standard" 8x20's and the Traveler 8x20, going for $679 at the moment. Then you get the 10x25's at $769. Then there's quite a jump to the luxury group, with the Tyrol 8x20 going for $840 and the glamorous ones with the lustrous housing studded with world famous Swarovski crystals, the Nabucco, Tosca and Idomeneo, topping the list at $899. This represents a difference of 32% between the lowest priced and the highest priced ones. This is quite a difference, considering the fact that the only difference is really the housing. On the other hand, a crystal pocket binocular from Swarovski will probably regarded as a piece of jewelry at the same time!
Swarovski pocket binoculars are all top of the range as far as quality is concerned. There are basically two different ones, the 8x20's and the 10x25's, All of them are pocket binoculars in the true sense of the word, being very lightweight and small enough to fit in any pocket. The prices differ considerably, primarily due to crystals being used in the housing of the most expensive ones.
For more information on pocket binoculars (including a selection of fine pocket binoculars in different price ranges, reviews, comparisons, discussions,etc.) please visit http://www.pocketbinoculars.net.
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