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Differences between Swarovski SLC and EL Binocular

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2013 at 10:07
Skylar McMahon View Drop Down
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The main thing is that the ELs have enhanced coatings relative to the SLCs.

This translates into better resolution (like an HD tv with a higher pixel count). The sharper resolution provides for better contrast – a birder can tell the differences between feathers easier. Colors are more true to nature in an EL and they pop out better.

The ELs all have “field flattening” lenses in them. The field flattener provides for true edge to edge distinction. For example, if you grab any pair of ELs, and put an object that goes straight up and down in the periphery of your field of view (such as a telephone or fence pole) you will see that it goes straight up and down. Only glass in the world to do this. SLCs don’t. While it’s nice that field flattening shows things they way they are (other glass bows or curves at the edges) it’s more important that the viewer’s eyes don’t constantly try and focus the periphery of your field of view, over and over and over again. Less eye strain with field flattening. ELs have more eye relief. That is, the 10x42 ELs have 20mm and the 10x42 SLCs have 16mm. ELs have open bridge design which makes them easier to grip (i.e. two hinges instead of one).

Now the SLCs beat the EL in one place, light transmission. ELs = 90%. SLCs = 91%. That’s because of the extra field flattening lenses in the Els.

I am comparing the new ELs versus the new SLCs. Over the years, there have been different versions of the ELs and SLCs with features constantly changing.

All ELs have HD glass. All new SLCs have or will have HD glass.

Edited by Skylar McMahon - September/29/2015 at 08:18
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2013 at 13:23
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We have a big birders show here every year.  Swarovski is always there.  I specifically asked the SONA regional rep there (I'll PM you his name, you likely know him) what the difference between the new Swarovision EL and the new SLC-HD was.  What he told me differs somewhat from your post.  So it interests me to figure out which is right.  

His response was that the glass and coatings was the same quality.  They can't be the exact same because of minute differences in the optical design due to eye piece differences.  The SLC-HD (according to the SONA guy) is coated to be brighter in twilight (both coatings and with less glass as you point out).  It also has a slower focus rate.  These two features were specific to Swarovski's perception that the SLC-HD is their hunters binocular and that these two features were specifically aimed at hunters.  Another feature, and the big difference in cost between the two binoculars is the simpler and less expensive eye piece (as you get into in your post).  The SLC-HD has less glass due to no expensive extra (very expensive glass) HD lens in the field flattener eye piece of the SV.  What this usage of HD means is high density.  This is usually glass with some rare earth element such an Lanthanum, ans is opposed to the marketers erroneous usage of HD as high definition.  What they should be saying I think is ED for extra low dispersion glass.    This also makes it easier to manufacture.  This also gives the SLC-HD a less sharp edge.  The edge sharpness is viewed to be a more critical factor in the birding hobby, so the aimed the SV at birders and the SLC-HD at hunters.  

I personally think you could go birding or hunting with either one.  I also think that the edges on the SLC-HD are good enough to avoid complaint from 95% of users.

Another thing he said was that Swarovski full well knew there would be some rolling ball issues with the no distortion edges of the new SV and that the SLC-HD offered a Swarovski level alternative

He also said that the technical resolution specs were the same.

So, not to be argumentative here, but what is the deal. Big Smile


Edited by Klamath - October/01/2013 at 13:30
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I might as well complicate it a bit more as far as Swaro goes........The 2006 and newer SLCneu (a great bino in itself) has the same lens treatments/coatings that the pre SV EL has...Swarobright, Swarodura, Swaroclean, etc.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2013 at 01:22
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I have also read from a trusted source that the Swarovision has different/better prism coatings than the SLC HD. My eyes lead me to believe that it is true. The Swarovision has bettter contrast in low light over the SLC HD of the same power. The Swarovision also put my Zeiss Victory FL to shame in low light .
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2013 at 11:52
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When Clay answered you, he was talking about the old SLC.
 
Not the new SLC HD. He didn't mis-speak persay, but was talking about older technology.
 
My answer is for the new SLC.  I can have him call you, pm me you telephone number and I will foward it to him.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2013 at 18:07
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As I remember my conversation with Clay the old SLC never entered the discussion.  When I asked him I was holding an SLC-HD in my hand and the question I posed was..."so just what is the difference between this new SLC and the Swarovision?".  As nearly as I remember what he said, is what I posted.

So I've been wrong before, realize I'll be wrong again and maybe as soon as here Smile.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2013 at 18:23
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Skylar:
I think you should go back and start over on this thread.  Swarovski has
several models, and they all go back several years. 
 
The EL started in 2000, and the EL Swarovision was introduced in 2010.
The SLC goes back much further, with the SLC Neu in 2006 with improvements
and the SLC HD in 2011.
 
The only EL's that offer flat field, are the SV, the older EL does not.  As far as pixel
count, that does not apply here.  As a seller, why would you mention that.
 
You need to distinguish all of them, when offering any comparison advice.
 
Jerry 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2013 at 18:39
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2013 at 18:41
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2013 at 18:58
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Edited by NDhunter - October/03/2013 at 06:03
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2013 at 21:08
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I was just teasing Skylar. Big Smile  For what it's worth I have the old EL's and old SLC Neu (both with swaro-bright) and love 'em. To my eyes, the color pop slightly more viewing though my SLC's, love the large sweet spot on both sets. For the newest models to be better in all areas is almost unbelievable but what else do you expect from Swarovski.
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Skylar,
The Nikon EDG roof prism and SE porro prism (the latter discontinued several years ago) use field flattener elements in their optical design like the Swaro SV EL does to reduce or eliminate distortions. There are probably other examples I'm not thinking of at the moment.

In static viewing, the lack of linear distortion and huge sweet spot is a good thing. But, "there ain't no free lunch." Just about every enhancement of one optical attribute comes with design tradeoffs. In this case, it's the oft discussed "rolling ball" or "globe effect" when panning, an unavoidable byproduct of an optic designed to eliminate field curvature. For this reason, optical designers usually intentionally incorporate some pincushion distortion (horizontal and vertical straight lines curve inward, toward the center of the field, as you move the object toward the field edge) in the view to counteract the globe effect. Not everyone likes or wants a completely "flat" image because they find the globe effect distracting if they do a lot of panning. It even makes some people dizzy.

It's a design decision. You gain one positive attribute, you usually have to sacrifice something else. This is why Swaro or any other optics manufacturer is unlikely to ever make a flat field a design goal across the board in all their optics. They want to satisfy different tastes.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/03/2013 at 13:54
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Since I more or less started this I feel the need to correct some things.  I try pretty hard to get things straight before I post them, and I got off track a little here.  After some research and communications, I need to correct a couple of things.

I'm still not real sure what the differences in the new SV EL and the new SLC-HD are, but here is what I now understand.  It is largely the same, but with some mistakes I made too, regarding my first post in this thread.  We'll never get the scoop from Swarovski about glass quality.  That's proprietary and known to few, who won't threaten the secret recipe.  Suffice it to say the glass is of the best quality Swarovski can get inside the tubes.  Ditto the coatings.

Yes the SLC-HD has a simpler and less expensive eye piece.  The edges are not as sharp as the field curvature is not eliminated with the SLC-HD eye piece as it is in the SV.  I was wrong about the HD glass in the eye piece.  I fell into a trap of my own design here.  Usually when we see the term HD is is in reference (or can be in reference to) HD glass.  It is not used here in spite of the HD in the model designation.  The different eye piece design also has somewhat less fov and less eye relief.  That includes no HD glass in the eye piece of the SV either.

Also Swarovski's idea is to give hunters better contrast in low light with the SLC-HD and birders better color fidelity in the SV, so the coatings (while secret) will be different).

While the focus rate on the SLC-HD feels slower it's main difference is that it does not focus as closely as the EL SV, 10.5' vs 7".

As to rolling ball in the SV, Swarovski is pretty adamant it is a non issue.  It seems now I was also wrong as to their offering the SLC-HD as a non rolling ball alternative.  It is a continuation of the old SLC, the optical path is the same.  At this point I am not sure how the optical design, other than a unique to the Swarovision eye piece, differs from the non SV original EL models.  I'll do a little more looking, but field flatteners are nothing new.  Swarovski's may be patently (as in having a patent) different from the predecessors, but it is not an original concept, not that Swarovski is claiming that is is.

So my bad with some things here Shocked.


Edited by Klamath - October/03/2013 at 14:00
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/09/2013 at 15:20
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[quote=Clay Taylor]

As for the newest version of the SLC vs. the SLC HD binocular, the optical path is unchanged. Period. The change in the focusing mechanism from 7’ minimum to 10.5’ minimum costs less to manufacture and assemble, and Quality Control is easier to manage. That saves money, too. There are cosmetic changes and a new style of rubber armoring. That’s it.

We have a big birders show here every year. Swarovski is always there. I specifically asked the SONA regional rep there (I'll PM you his name, you likely know him) what the difference between the new Swarovision EL and the new SLC-HD was. What he told me differs somewhat from your post. So it interests me to figure out which is right.

His response was that the glass and coatings was the same quality.

Quality is always top-shelf. However, the exact glass type used and the exact coatings used on any given piece of glass are probably different between EL vs. SLC. We will never get a full accounting of that from Swarovski Optik (the “secret sauce”).

They can't be the exact same because of minute differences in the optical design due to eye piece differences.

Obviously.

The SLC-HD (according to the SONA guy) is coated to be brighter in twilight (both coatings and with less glass as you point out).

There is also a different coating formulation aimed at letting through specific light frequencies. Birders want color fidelity, hunters want better contrast in low light.

It also has a slower focus rate. These two features were specific to Swarovski's perception that the SLC-HD is their hunters binocular and that these two features were specifically aimed at hunters. Another feature, and the big difference in cost between the two binoculars is the simpler and less expensive eye piece (as you get into in your post).
Specifically, the shorter eye relief, smaller FOV, and no Field Flatteners.

The SLC-HD has less glass due to no expensive extra (very expensive glass) HD lens in the field flattener eye piece of the SV.

Wrong! There never has been HD glass in ANY of our eyepieces – only the 3rd Objective Lens uses the Fluorine-infused HD formulation. Same goes for the spotting scopes. The SLC HD eyepieces do not have the Field Flattener lenses, and yes, that makes them less expensive to make. I think he is getting mixed up with using Aspheric lenses in the Wide-angle Zoom eyepiece for the spotting scopes. There is no reason to use aspherics in binocular eyepieces.

What this usage of HD means is high density. This is usually glass with some rare earth element such an Lanthanum, and is opposed to the marketers erroneous usage of HD as high definition. What they should be saying I think is ED for extra low dispersion glass. Potato, Potahto. The label is not important, the performance is.

This also makes it easier to manufacture. This also gives the SLC-HD a less sharp edge. No, the lack of the two Field Flattener lenses makes the edge sharpness differ from the center, as the field of sharpness follows a curve. This is true of ALL binoculars that do not have FF lenses.

The edge sharpness is viewed to be a more critical factor in the birding hobby, so the aimed the SV at birders and the SLC-HD at hunters.Basically true.

I personally think you could go birding or hunting with either one. I also think that the edges on the SLC-HD are good enough to avoid complaint from 95% of usersAlso true.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/09/2013 at 16:39
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Originally posted by Skylar McMahon Skylar McMahon wrote:

Funny how the Rolling Ball Doomsayers all faded away when consumers got the EL SVs in their hands and said“where’s that rolling thing everybody was complaining about?”

Oooh– funny story – I am now so used to looking through an EL SV binocular with FF lenses that when I look through the SLC or any of our competition, I now NOTICE that straight lines bend at the edges of the field as I pan across trees or fence posts. Funny how your brain and eyes adapt to new stuff.



If Clay said that...well, I don't want to say he's wrong...but if he's saying the viewer doesn't get the "rolling ball" (globe effect) while panning and that nobody notices it when they have one in their hands, he's simply incorrect. That is always the byproduct of an optic designed to be distortion-free. Optics designers wouldn't incorporate some pincushion distortion in their designs on purpose to counteract the globe effect and accept the field curvature and softer field edge in their flagship optics if globe effect wasn't an issue to some viewers. Zeiss was the first company to incorporate pincushion distortion in their optics on purpose for this very reason.

Here's a good explanation of globe effect, complete with graphic depictions:
http://www.holgermerlitz.de/globe/distortion.html

I was at SWFA about 2 years ago while the Swarovski rep was visiting, and I looked at the SV binoculars for awhile outside your store during his visit. No doubt they are superb, and I'd love to have one. But, I did see the globe effect. I did hear the rep saying it wasn't present, and I didn't want to argue with him, so I didn't say anything. No, it's not a huge issue to me, but I do notice it. When you get into the SV price range, people start getting really picky about small things that may not bother them so much if they'd spent $300.

Granted, some people are more bothered by the globe effect than others just as some people are very annoyed by CA and others can't see it at all. That may have been what he meant.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/09/2013 at 17:27
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I saw it too in the 10x42 SV's, hence I chose the SLC HD"s.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/11/2013 at 22:56
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I have to take some issue with the high level denial of the existence of rolling ball in the Swarovision. Despite Clay and everyone else linked to Swarovski claiming it is not there, sorry there are some folks who DO SEE ROLLING BALL.  They can deny its existence all they want, but that does not make it go away.  I want to be clear here, because I do happen to see rolling ball, to a nauseating degree, in the 8.5x42 SV, that does not mean I am bashing or belittling the Swarovision.  Aside from that (and how much they cost) there is not much to pick with.

I further think that the design team at Swarovski had to know that a flat field with a no distortion edge would let some people see rolling ball.  They have to know that..., this is not some new found phenomena that suddenly popped up with the Swarovision.

I don't see it in the 8x32, the 10x42 or in the x50 SV's,at least it does not jump out and hit me with these like the 8,5 does.  Why the 8.5 affects me I have no idea Smile.  How much of an issue it is I also have no idea, but I have always been of the opinion that if you do see RB in the SV, than you don't give up anything with the SLC-HD.  Just look the SV over before you plunk out that kind of $$$.  If you don't see it enjoy the binocular and be happy.  I for one am not spending $2,300 on a binocular that I might (or might not) get used to the effect.


Edited by Klamath - October/11/2013 at 23:09
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Just for clarification on my globe effect comments--
I'm not implying there's anything "wrong" with the Swarovision EL binoculars. It's superb, and in static viewing, it provides an amazing image that's tough to trump. The "rolling ball" effect isn't a flaw per se. It's simply the biproduct of conscious design choices. As with any other product, when you optimize one feature/characteristic or a series of characteristics to achieve a goal, you give up other characteristics some people may prefer. The Swaro designers who developed the SV had to know the inevitable tradeoffs, otherwise, the remainder of their binoculars wouldn't be designed with pincushion distortion. They were reacting to consumer demand from a segment of the high end optics market who wanted a flat field and the largest possible "sweet spot" with max resolution out to the edge of the field above all else.

The nature of sales people is they tend to tout the best features of the products they represent and understate any negative aspects of those products, so it's not surprising that Swaro sales reps would say the rolling ball effect is no big deal. They're trying to sell product after all. And...they're not necessarily wrong, as it really is no big deal to some people, depending on one's perspective. A lot depends on how you use your binoculars.

If you're a birder who wants to get a detailed look at something you've already spotted, you're willing to pay top dollar for your optics, and you either don't spend a lot of time rapidly panning with your binos or you're not bothered by the spinning globe effect you get, the SV would be considered a "reference" optic. If, however, you're a hunter who keeps binos glued to your face, scouring the countryside for hours on end looking for the slightest hint of an animal hiding behind foliage, the globe effect might make you dizzy after awhile, and you may prefer giving up some field edge performance in exchange for the world looking "normal" when panning.

Different people have different tastes and priorities. Baskin Robbins offers 31 flavors and rifle manufacturers chamber for more than just .30-06 for this reason.


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Ted, I really appreciate your input.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2014 at 19:21
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Quote Here's a good explanation of globe effect, complete with graphic depictions:
http://www.holgermerlitz.de/globe/distortion.html


Great info Ted...Thanks for the URL!

#3 Globe effect, fig 6 (K=0, angle condition) displays what I observed with my Vipers while panning...strong pincushion effects (concave curvature) on the outer FOV. Except to my eyes, the  distortion effect was even greater (creating dizziness, on the verge of motion sickness)!

This info really helped me understand what I really saw...Thanks Again! Thunbs Up

Ted
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Hi to All!  I am new to the forum and just wanted to say Hi and confirm the difference between the EL and SLC binoculars. I just bought a new pair of 8x42 SLC Swarovski binoculars from Competitor Removed and can state the new SLC binoculars have ED glass and ALL the same coatings as the EL binoculars. The main difference is the field flattener lens in the EL and the shape of the binoculars due to the dual hinges. Wow, the SLC binoculars are bright, sharp and clear. The focus knob is smooth as silk! Are the field flattener lens and dual hinges worth the extra $$$$? I couldn't see the difference in views!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/14/2014 at 16:18
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Originally posted by KBP KBP wrote:

Hi to All!  I am new to the forum and just wanted to say Hi and confirm the difference between the EL and SLC binoculars. I just bought a new pair of 8x42 SLC Swarovski binoculars from Competitor Removed and can state the new SLC binoculars have ED glass and ALL the same coatings as the EL binoculars. The main difference is the field flattener lens in the EL and the shape of the binoculars due to the dual hinges. Wow, the SLC binoculars are bright, sharp and clear. The focus knob is smooth as silk! Are the field flattener lens and dual hinges worth the extra $$$$? I couldn't see the difference in views!
 
Please remember to follow the rules that you agreed to when signing up for OpticsTalk
 
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Just want to apologize to everyone for my mistake. I did not intend to violate the rules of use. I now have learned about who sponsors this excellent web site and will direct my business in their direction. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/15/2014 at 09:42
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No problem.

Welcome to optics talk.
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Originally posted by KBP KBP wrote:

Hi to All!  I am new to the forum and just wanted to say Hi and confirm the difference between the EL and SLC binoculars. I just bought a new pair of 8x42 SLC Swarovski binoculars from Competitor Removed and can state the new SLC binoculars have ED glass and ALL the same coatings as the EL binoculars. The main difference is the field flattener lens in the EL and the shape of the binoculars due to the dual hinges. Wow, the SLC binoculars are bright, sharp and clear. The focus knob is smooth as silk! Are the field flattener lens and dual hinges worth the extra $$$$? I couldn't see the difference in views!


After re-reading your post, I have some input.

Yes, both the El & SLC have the same German glass. However the coatings on the EL's are better. This supplies better performance, I.E. truer color fidelity, better resolution, and ect...

The light transmission is similar in both. But the EL's have an additional field flattening lens in each barrel.
Field flattening lens simply defined are, when looking at something that is plumb, I.E. a tree or telephone pole, you are not subconsciously straining your eyes to see it as straight. The binos correct for this automatically.
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