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Vortex Kaibab 15x56 and Swarovski SLCneu 15x56

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/07/2009 at 04:11
koshkin View Drop Down
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Vortex Kaibab 15x56 and Swarovski SLC 15x56 Binoculars

Technically speaking, this started a while back when Vortex asked me if I am interested in reviewing their new Kaibab 15x56 binoculars and I politely declined.  The reasoning for that was simple: I like to compare products to their competition, rather than review standalone products.  "Big Eyes" are generally not my cup of tea, so I really had nothing to compare it to.  The bad part was that I really liked this binocular when I looked at it during SHOT show and wanted a chance to play with it. Now, if I were to compare the Kaibab to something, it would have to be the current "king of the hill" in the world of Big Eyes: a similarly configured Swaro SLC, which was the design target for the Kaibab.  Luckily, SWFA has stepped up and allowed me to borrow a Swaro SLC 15x56 from the Samplelist.

Here is the short version: 
Both are exceptionally nice binoculars.  Swaro has a slight edge as far as pure image quality.  However, the Vortex is more user friendly owing to its longer eye relief and, arguable, better eyecups.  Once price comes into the conversation (and Swaro is appreciably more expensive), this becomes a difficult choice.  Unless you wear glasses, that is.  Then the choice is easy, go awith the Vortex.  When wearing contacts I preferred the Swaro.  When wearing glasses I opted for the Vortex every time.

Now for the long version.

Just about any 15x56 binocular is going to be fairly massive. It has to be.  Here are some basic specs:


Vortex Kaibab 15x56Swarovski SLC Neu 15x56
Weight, ounces4445.5
Height, inches7.78.47
Width, inches5.75.04
Field of View, ft @1000 yards225231
Close focus, ft2326
Interpupillary Distance, mm60 - 7459 - 76
Eye Relief, mm17.413


Both are massive binoculars.  Based on the numbers, there isn't much to differentiate the two: Swaro has a touch more field of view, while Vortex has more eyerelief.  Visually, Vortex looks a bit slimmer, but overall design is quite different between the two.  Swaro has the diopter adjustment on the center knob, while Vortex has one on the right barrel.  Also, the eyecups on the Vortex looks positively massive next to the Swar
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/07/2009 at 16:15
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Very nice, thorough review, Ilya!  Thanks for posting!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/07/2009 at 16:36
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/07/2009 at 22:16
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Thanks for that very detailed review, Ilya.

And for posting the pix. Wow! The Swaro is the size of Texas. :-)

One thing I would like to know is if the low-dispersion HD glass in the Vortex made a noticeable difference in controlling the amount of chromatic aberration, particularly on targets set against a high contrast background.

At 15x, I would expect the HD glass to make a difference. Unless you happen to be one of those lucky guys who doesn't see chromatic aberration!

Thanks.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/07/2009 at 23:25
koshkin View Drop Down
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Originally posted by brocknroller brocknroller wrote:

Thanks for that very detailed review, Ilya.

And for posting the pix. Wow! The Swaro is the size of Texas. :-)

One thing I would like to know is if the low-dispersion HD glass in the Vortex made a noticeable difference in controlling the amount of chromatic aberration, particularly on targets set against a high contrast background.

At 15x, I would expect the HD glass to make a difference. Unless you happen to be one of those lucky guys who doesn't see chromatic aberration!

Thanks.

There was a little Chromatic Aberration in both binoculars.  I did not see a whole lot of practical difference between them in that regard.  I suspect that both use some sort of extra low dispersion glass in their objective lens systems.

As a general comment, if you are talking about minimizing CA, "HD glass" is a misnomer. 

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/21/2009 at 13:18
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Great info Ilya, always welcome your great reviews.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/22/2009 at 09:30
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Excellent info Ilya (as usual).  Thanks for your time and effort.  Are the Kaibab's Japanese, Chinese, or what?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/22/2009 at 13:00
koshkin View Drop Down
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Originally posted by JGRaider JGRaider wrote:

Excellent info Ilya (as usual).  Thanks for your time and effort.  Are the Kaibab's Japanese, Chinese, or what?

Japanese, to the best of my knowledge.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/30/2009 at 18:22
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Very happy to read your review. It brought a little bit of light in some areas that were still dark and reinforces once again an old opinion about the value of a Vortex.
It's always good when the germans get some competition.Excellent
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/30/2009 at 18:48
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Did you try the "kicking around the parking lot" test???
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/30/2009 at 18:51
koshkin View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Kickboxer Kickboxer wrote:

Did you try the "kicking around the parking lot" test???

That is something I generally try not to do with $1k+ binoculars.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/04/2011 at 17:49
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Here's something that I came across recently, so I thought that I would pass it along to anyone who might find it interesting reading.
 
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