Are the Swarovski SLC 10x 42 and 8x42 Binoculars worth the cash?

Moose

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#1
Learned my lesson long ago on buy once cry once with optics.Im just wondering if these are as good as they claim.
 

Hollywood 6mm

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#2
Personally, I bought a set of the Bushnell Forge 10x42s after having spent a lot of time behind the Swaro 10 and 15x binos, and I don't regret it one bit. There's no way I could justify the price different for the Swaros given how damn good the Bushnells are. I'm probably going to add a set of the 15s to the stable at some point this year, too.
 

KYAggie

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#3
I have had a pair of SLC 10x42’s for 18 years; I bought them used off eBay. They have been worth every dollar I spent. I’ll never forget how essential they were on an elk hunt in Idaho years ago. It was the 5th day of the hunt and a friend and I had just topped a ridge that gave us a huge view of the surrounding area. I spotted a herd immediately, on my first sweep. My buddy could not see them even when I pointed them out. I handed my SLC’s to him and I thought his head was going to explode; he could not believe the difference. Later that day I filled my tag. Over the years, I have spotted animals with that glass I do not believe I would have seen with lesser quality stuff.
 

myronman3

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#4
and it is those kind of experiences (and someone selling a pair of ELs in the px) that caused me to pull the trigger.

when they got here, the diopter wouldnt adjust for my eye. i called swaro, and explained it to the very helpful lady on the other end. she assured me they would go over them to make sure everything was the way it was supposed to be. i dont have them back yet, thank goodness it is winter or i’d be going nuts.

my pocket swaros are impressive as well.

i doubt i will ever regret spending the money on them.
 

abn31c

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#6
I have carried 10x42 EL's since they came out. Where they pay for themselves is first and last light and much easier on the eyes on extended glassing sessions. Yes, to me they are worth every penny.
 

VP47PPC

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#7
If pricing is an issue consider Cabela's Instinct Euro HD's. Try them out and see if they are good for your needs.
 
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ToddM

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#11
One of the best things about swarovski is their customer service, and it keeps me buying their products. I've seen/had/heard problems dealing with Leica/Zeiss, but swarovski always goes out of their way to take care of their customers. I haven't sent anything into them for awhile but a few years ago they were even encouraging people to send their gear every few years for a cleaning/inspection. People I know that took advantage of it had their stuff repaired when they didn't know anything wasn't quite up to snuff, etc.

That said we all have budgets, and unfortunately here guys default to "yes you must buy the most expensive or your life will suck". It's not that you don't usually get more when you pay more, but it does get old. It's like telling someone looking at a $100,000 corvette that unless they spend the $1.5 million for the mclaren they are just wasting their money. There are some great lower priced options out there now in both scopes and binoculars. Are they as good as $3000 options, no, but they are a lot better than what we had 15 years ago. I'd say buy the best you can afford, I've never seen anyone unhappy they bought $2000-$3000 binoculars once their wallet recovered.

Also people tend to think that great glass is always great glass, but improvements are still made. I've compared my 15 year old EL's to what they put out now, and there is a noticeable improvement. So the idea that you can buy the best glass today and they will still be the best in 30 years is just not true. They will still be great, but the companies are still making improvements. The optic gaps are also coming down the same as scopes, but prices have sky rocketed. When I bought my 10x42 EL's in 03' they were $1250 out the door with tax, and there was a massive optical quality gap pair of binoculars costing half as much. Today they are $2700, but the optic difference to a pair costing half as much is much smaller today.
 
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KYAggie

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#12
Yeah they have gotten much more costly. My SLC’s cost me $800 used about 18 years ago. A year after I bought them, I picked up a 20-60x80 Swarovski spotting scope for $1200 used. Both are now considerably more. I would only buy some other brand if I was able to view them side by side with Swarovski’s and I was happy with the clarity and resolution.

Another story involving my SLC’s and elk. I was glassing a vast partially open area about 30 miles south of Salmon, Idaho called the Allison Creek area. I saw movement in an area shaded by trees. I sat down with my elbows on my knees to steady myself and stared into that shade. I saw movement again that I was able to make out as the head of a bedded cow elk. Once I could see her head I was able to make out her body and the forms of about a dozen other elk. Took me an hour to get to them where I was again, able to make a kill. I do not regret spending the money on my Swarovski products.
 

Jmcmath

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#13
My hunting partner spotted my 17’ elk @1300 with his swaros. I could not see it with my nocs. Looking through his and seeing the bull was the moment I realized they were worth the money.

Granted having a partner with them is the best of both worlds, still got the bull and he spent the cash (y)
 
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ToddM

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Yeah they have gotten much more costly. My SLC’s cost me $800 used about 18 years ago. A year after I bought them, I picked up a 20-60x80 Swarovski spotting scope for $1200 used. Both are now considerably more. I would only buy some other brand if I was able to view them side by side with Swarovski’s and I was happy with the clarity and resolution.
Exactly later in 03' I bought my 20-60x80mm HD swaro for about $1450 out the door, and I still have/use it. I've compared it with some of the top offerings today and they are a bit better, and there are times I wouldn't mind having a reticle, or the ability to go from 65mm to 95mm objectives, but now that "same" option from Swarovski is $3000, and the new fancy offerings are way over $4000

Funny part is back then, just 15 years ago, people thought you were INSANE for spending even $1200 on an optic, you'd rarely ever see another swarovski/leica/zeiss binocular/spotter around most stores only had maybe a couple in stock at any one time. Now you go to the range and you see $3000 binoculars and $4000 spotters everywhere. $1500 is the new "cheap" higher end optics price. It's too bad salaries have not kept up with that trend I'd happily take 2+ times the salary I was making 15 years ago.
 

4cDragon

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I was mule deer hunting near Big Bend (far south Texas) maybe 15 years ago with a pair of Leupold binos. My guide had a pair of Swar 10x42's and talked highly of them. Several days into the hunt he we were glassing from a ridge and he spotted a very nice mule deer and pointed him out to me. I could not find the animal, I kept looking and looking with my binos and could not see it. He got frustrated and handed me his Swar 10x42's, and bingo I could see the animal with them. Great animal, so the next step was trying to shoot using my Leupold optic on my rifle. I was able to make the shot, but when I got home I replaced the binos and all hunting optics with Swarovski gear. I have Swarovski range finder, spotting scope, 8x42, 10x42 and 12x50 and use them often. For me the Swar products help define the objects and gather more light than other brands. If it is a full moon and clear skies I can see better with my Swar binos than a PVS14. Yes, they are worth the money!

I would not recommend a bino stronger than 12x because of the weight and being able to hold them without support. IMHO anything past 12x needs a tripod, but if you are using a tripod then get a spotting scope with more and variable power.
 
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ToddM

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#19
I agree on the power, even 12x is hard to hold unless you can get some support. One thing I wish we'd see the big optic companies do is put stabilization into more binoculars. I've used many of the top optics over the years, and I also have a $600 pair of Canon 12x36 IS binoculars. I love taking them to Archery shoots where guys are trying to spot arrows cutting scoring lines. They will be using high end 12x binocs and struggling to see and I'll hand them these IS binoculars they press the button and their face just goes into total shock.

It's simply amazing what the stabilization can do. It's like having the best most expensive rifle/scope etc. shooting groups offhand compared to a cheaper rifle shooting off a bipod prone. The higher dollar unit is way more quality and performance, but if you can't hold it still, it's not as good as a cheaper unit you can.

I've had my 10x EL's and handheld found say a car license plate I could just barely make out, and used the 12x IS binoculars and it's amazing how much more detail you can make out because the shaking is not there. Not only could I read the license plate, but I could read the car dealer sticker, phone number and year/month on the plate tag. The opposite is true if you tripod mount them because there's no denying the EL's have WAY better optics. But the reality is if you told me I needed a binocular that I could make out the most detail with and I could not tripod mount them the stabilization simply wins. Even using something like a sitting position and elbows/knees the IS lets me make out more detail than without.

The problem is everything else with them. Most are not waterproof, the optics are not nearly as good in low light (or let's face it any light), no way they are as durable, the ergonomics are not as nice as zeiss/leica/swaro. They do make a 15x50 weather proof and 10x42 L waterproof version and at the range those might be fine, but hunting I'm not sure I'd want to trust them. Also it seems sooner or later most people have issues with them 10-15 years down the road with the electronics, and Canon basically charges as much to repair a set as it costs to just buy new ones.

I'd love to see zeiss, leica, swaro try to put something like that into the high end offerings with their quality level. I've used the 20x60 Zeiss stabilized binos for work before and they are amazing, but you can't hand hold them very long, and they are $10k+.
 
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VP47PPC

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I have hunted in SW AZ all my life. The Coues white tail hunting is done with bins at long distance. I started with a pair of Zeiss Classic 10X42's and they served me well for years. A little while back I added a light CF tripod with the Swaro universal tripod adapter. It was easy, bins on my neck and tripod on the side of my pack and when you get to a good spot deploy tripod and strap the glass to the mount. Wow the tripod was a big improvement like having more power or having glass couple grades better. Last OCT just before our hunt upgraded glass and ended up getting Cabela's Euro HD"s/Meopta 12X50 after comparing them to the similar Swaro EL's. Euro HD's were close enough to Swaro's that spending twice the money was not for me. In the field the Euro/Meopta's would pick out deer on the farthest ridge almost 3/4 mi away. Or pick up ear tips of deer bedded in deep grass in the shade of a tree at 400yds. At distance maybe the Swaro could pick out a little buck from a doe or if a big buck tell me how big. Hell if I see a buck so little that I can't see antlers 3/4 mile away who cares. If i see a big buck at distance I don't need to know exactly how big just that its bigger than most anything else. Last PRS match was calling hits next to a spotter with Vortex Razor 12X50 HD's. They were close enough to the Euro HD's but after a couple stages you could begin to pick out differences. So I could have saved $200 getting the Razor's and having a subtle loss of quality or spent double on Swaro's and gotten slightly better than subtle improvement. It all depends on what you need for the job, what is the make or break quality line. Yes Swaro's are about as good as you can get, maybe Leica or Zeiss would suite an individual better but definitely the top tier. For your needs/uses is the improvement in optics worth twice as much? BTW are there any good option's between Meopta's/Razors vs Leica/Zeiss/Swaro?
 
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ZiaHunter

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#22
I hunt in NM and the most important piece of kit is my bino's and use SLC 10x42's. The ability to distinguish color differences is the key to locating animals. While guiding my friend on an elk hunt a few years ago in Black Range I was able to locate a nice bull at over 520 yards. The elk was bedded under a pinon and the only reason I was able to see it was due to picking up the color of the hide since no bodily features where visible at first. It took my friend over 20 minutes to see the bull with his binos and only after much frustration. We were able to harvest that bull about 45 minutes later.
 
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hotload

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I run the 10x42 slc hd (one gen removed from current). They are fantastic. I like the slc over the el simply because there are easier to set up for a tripod stud. Are they good? Yes they are amazing. BUT, let’s be honest, it’s a luxury item.

The mid range gets better every year. I could do 99% with Nikon monarch 7, meopta, or Leica trinivod (and others I’m sure) and have cash left over. Kinda like a custom hunting rifle, you want it but you could do the same with a tikka.
 

gr8fuldoug

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My brother bought a pair years ago and I thought he was crazy. I came over to his house one day and he was sitting on his porch watching something in the field through the 10x42 slc binocular. It turns out he was watching Yellow Jacket Bees, he was tracking them back to the nest so he could eradicate them. I went out and got a pair right after that. Awesome Glass
 

ingraham

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#31
The issue for me 10x vs 8x is holding it steady. No problem if you have a stable spot for support. A couple years ago I ordered a 10x 42 Trijicon (Meopta Meapro) HD. Very bright and crisp, however, the stability factor was, as stated, an issue.
Swapped for 8x x 42. A bit brighter and stability not an issue at all.
I should also submit that I was and am accustomed to 8x, therefore a predetermined bias.
 

tlsmith22

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#32
The Swarovski 10x42 SLC's are an excellent binocular and are the ones that most folks compare against........
Is the Meopta MeoStar 10x42, Leica Trinovid 10x42, Kowa Genesis 10.5x44, Zeiss Conquest HD 10x42, etc. as good as the Swarovski 10x42 SLC's?
There's a good reason why this is the one all others are compared to.

Glad to discuss it with you if you'd like to give a call, 516-217-1000


Exactly what Doug said. there is a reason all the others compare to them. Had my SLCs a long time, best money on glass I believe I have ever spent.
 
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abn31c

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If you want the best, buy em. Learn to use them and how to break down your field of vision into brackets. You'll see more game. But dont let the cost keep you from shooting or hunting.
 

generalzip

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#36
If you're running on a tripod all the time get the 15x. 10x is the limit for me to be able to hold steady enough. If I was always looking offhand get the 8x. 10x is a good compromise if offhand and often have something to rest against (treestand rifle rest), branch, etc. The 15x off a tripod will let you see way more detail. I compared the 15x SLC to the Meostar 15x. Only difference was that the SLC had more color pop. Resolution was identical. SLC had slightly more FOV. So if double the price is worth a little more FOV and brighter colors get the SLC. You'll be able to see exactly the same things otherwise.
 
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SEMO Shooter

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#37
I bought a new pair of 15x56 that is almost always used on a tripod, and works great for spotting. I found a good deal on a pair of 10x42 SLC that I bought used. They are about 10 years old and are exceptional. I use the 10x42 more than the 15x56. With the 10x42 handheld I can spot hits to 800 yards on steel.
 

generalzip

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#38
I bought a new pair of 15x56 that is almost always used on a tripod, and works great for spotting. I found a good deal on a pair of 10x42 SLC that I bought used. They are about 10 years old and are exceptional. I use the 10x42 more than the 15x56. With the 10x42 handheld I can spot hits to 800 yards on steel.
Spotting the hits is easy. It's spotting the misses that's tough ;)

The extra 5x really helps when shooting into a wet berm at 1000+ with .223-6mm cartridges.