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The Scopes Advisor

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Swarovski ATM-80 HD Scope

This scope has been replaced by Swarovski's new ATX models.
However, the ATMs are still among the best scopes ever made
... if you can find one still in stock
.

Swarovski ATM
Copyright Michael and Diane Porter

We still have the 65mm model in stock, at a much reduced price.
The features described here also apply to the 65mm.
See it here.

The scope is fully clothed with a dark green, rubberized armor, leaving no exposed metal to freeze your hands in cold weather. The dark green color is an attractive hue that blends in well with natural scenes. The scope surface looks smooth, but it's lightly textured, pleasant to the touch and remarkably grippy in the hand.

A stunningly beautiful scope.

And as Grandma used to say, "Pretty is as pretty does."

The new Swarovski ATM-80 HD provides a beautiful image, and the scope itself is beautiful to look at and beautiful to use. In April 2009, Swarovski introduced new ATM-HD (angled) and STM-HD (straight) scopes in the US. They're the same size and shape as the previous ATS-HD and STS-HD models, but with new magnesium housing they weigh a couple of ounces less. The new models resemble their predecessors except for subtle color changes--a black lens hood and green focus band.

The new "M" scopes are streamlined There are no knobs to stick up or catch on anything, no corners to collect dirt. The focus mechanism, a ribbed band around the middle section, is flush with the surface of the scope barrel.

Swarovski Focus BandTo focus, you turn a ribbed band around the middle section of the scope. The challenge to this kind of focusing is that it must offer precise resistance, with absolutely no slack. Otherwise the act of turning the band will disturb the image and make focusing difficult. And the Swarovski engineers have met the challenge. The tolerances on the focus band are impeccable, with slack nonexistent. It is a pleasure to the sense of touch to focus a Swarovski using this hand-or-glove-friendly, three-fingers-wide band.

The scope is fully clothed with a dark green, rubberized armor, leaving no exposed metal to freeze your hands in cold weather. The dark green color is an attractive hue that blends in well with natural scenes. The scope surface looks smooth, but it's lightly textured, pleasant to the touch and remarkably grippy in the hand.

A delicate balance

Swarovski ATM ScopeThe scope balances neatly on the ring where it attaches to the tripod, making it neither front-heavy nor back-heavy, and easing the task of aiming at the object.

Swarovski shows their new scopes with a wide-angled 25-50x zoom eyepiece. The eyepiece attaches by means of a bayonet mount, which clicks into place when installed. To remove the eyepiece, you press a small button at the base to unlock it. If you've ever had an eyepiece fall out because you inadvertently loosened it when you meant to change the magnification of the zoom, you'll appreciate the security that this lock provides.

The Swarovski zooms operate silently, with smoothness and precision. No grinding or scraping of metal on metal. Just a smooth, precise turn. The older 20-60x Swarovski zoom also fits the new scope. Both the 20-60x and the new 25-50x eyepieces fit older Swarovski scopes as well. And all of Swarovski's digital camera adapters work with the new scope.

Details, details

In the design of this scope, Swarovski has paid great attention to detail. For example, consider the way the scope rotates to the side. This is an important function, particularly in the angled version of the scope, because it allows people of differing heights to see through the scope without disturbing the aim. There's a detent that clicks when the eyepiece is returned to the upright position, offering tactile and faintly audible feedback.

There's also a narrow, recessed line, an attractive design element with a subtle function. When the eyepiece is in the upright position, the recessed line is continuous along the length of the scope, another sensory clue that you are "home." The line itself also adds a modicum of additional texture and grippiness to the surface.

The aim in sight

Swarovski ATM SightWe especially appreciate the Swarovski's sighting mechanism, which we found useful and accurate. The peep sight does protrude from the streamlined surface. However, you can take it off by removing the eyepiece and popping out the sight module.

The eyepiece cap comes with a tether to the eyepiece. Again, Swarovski gives a useful feature with great functionality but doesn't force it on a user who doesn't want it. The tether can be neatly removed.

Swarovski's aim seems to be to execute the most perfect optics possible, while maintaining the compactness, lightness, and slim-waisted, ergonomic sleekness of the scope. Even though they could doubtless squeeze out a sliver more resolution by making the objective lens larger, they choose to keep their scope compact, svelte, and imminently portable.

Although this line of scopes has now been replaced by the ATX models, the ATM 65 is still available in the 65mm model.

Give us a call (800-779-7256) if you have questions.

 

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Birdwatching Dot Com

Please call us toll free 800-779-7256 for advice on choosing binoculars or other birding products.
FAX 641-472-7256
Email: dporter@lisco.com
Birdwatching Dot Com Store
2197 236th Blvd.
Fairfield, IA 52556

Images and text are copyright 2009 Michael and Diane Porter.