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The Binocular Advisor

Swarovski EL Binocular

A great and vanishing binocular

A review by Michael and Diane Porter
of Birdwatching Dot Com

Michael Porter         Diane Porter

The revered EL binocular has been discontinued in late 2009 by Swarovski. A new binocular will replace the 42mm models in 2010 (at a higher price). The 8.5x42 EL is now out of stock at Swarovski, and there will be no more. There are still a few 10x42s in the pipeline.

The 32mm sizes are still being made by Swarovski, although they will also be replaced, but not until 2011. We like the 8x32 because it works well with eyeglasses. (The 10x32? Not so much.)

Read more about the 8x32 model here.

Here is the review we wrote in 2007.

The ELs show what Swarovski can do when it sets out to capture the top of the mountain.

With the EL binocular, Swarovski created a lighter weight binocular while maintaining superb optical quality. Part of their breakthrough was the design leap of eliminating the bridge. Other optical manufacturers have since imitated this design, but the Swarovski continues to stand out for the build quality. The EL feels good in the hand.

ISwarovski ELnstead of a solid central shaft like other binoculars, the EL has an empty space between the two barrels. Reach out and pick up your EL by one slim barrel: your hand slides easily down into the hollow, for an easy, secure grip. You can effortlessly hold the EL to your eyes with one hand and focus, leaving your other hand free to close the door behind you or silently motion your companion to come see the great bird you're observing.


Some binoculars have a remarkable qualtity we describe as transparency. When you put them to your eyes, the binoculars almost seem to disappear. You get the feeling that you have been magically transported up close to what you're looking at. The EL has this quality.

Among the top binoculars, no 10x42 has a wider field of view than the Swarovski EL (330 ft. at 1000 yd.). That contributes to the sense of transparency, because you don't feel confined by the edge of the binocular. You're just there.

Baltimore OrioleThe extraordinary color fidelity, contrast, and brightness also contribute to the experience of looking through an EL. When we compared how well binoculars performed in bright and in dim light, we found the EL's high-resolution image held up exceptionally well. It was good at dusk and in dark forest understory.

Fine details

Tethered objective lens covers, a locking diopter adjustment that won't get accidentally knocked out of place, and twist-up eyecups that are removable for cleaning are a few more details that make EL owners such advocates of their chosen binocular.

Serious waterproofing

Trust that superb Austrian engineering. Of course the EL is waterproof and nitrogen purged. But not all binoculars that call themselves waterproof are as sound as the EL. The Swarovski EL is guaranteed watertight to a depth of 13 ft.

The EL is available in 10x42, 10x32, and 8x32. It is manufactured in Austria.


See price info


Snap Shot Adapter
for Swarovski EL

Tripod Adapter

Swarovski Doubler

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