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The Binocular Advisor

Binoculars of Note

Swarovski EL
High-end Binocular Round-up, 2008

by Michael and Diane Porter

Swarovski ELJoys of the open bridge

The Swarovski EL pioneered the open-bridge design that saves weight and makes the binocular easy to grasp and focus with only one hand.

Although several other manufacturers have since adopted the open bridge, Swarovski still has the most elegant and ergonomic execution of it. The hinge by the focus knob is narrower than in other open-bridge binoculars.

Swarovski One HandedWith the EL, you can wrap your three last fingers and your thumb around one barrel, and your index finger will naturally position itself on the focus knob. With other open-bridge designs, although you can reach the focus knob, your index finger has to be more at an angle.

Several other manufacturers have since adopted the open bridge, but Swarovski still has the most elegant and ergonomic execution of the design.

Michael's fave

Swarovski EL 8x32 In HandThe mid-sized 8x32 EL is a wonderful example of the design. We have never picked up a binocular that more perfectly fits in the hand. Compact and lightweight, it feels like an extension of the hand and is a natural at instinctive pointing. See more details on the 8x32 Swarovski EL.

Keeping it clean — easy!

Swarovski has made two modifications since it introduced the EL design. First was a change in the gear ratio, to give the binocular a faster focus. The second, this year, was the addition of Easy to Clean™ coatings on external lenses. The effect is that the lenses stay cleaner and are therefore less likely to suffer damage from overzealous scrubbing and rubbing.

The ELs' optics are unsurpassed. On optical quality, no binocular in our survey beat the Swarovskis. Only its slightly better close focus scores allowed Zeiss to edge them out in overall score. See Ratings Chart.


Swarovski extends a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects and workmanship in the optical system. Other parts are warranted against manufacturing defects and workmanship for ten years. To ensure that your Swarovski ELs carry a US warranty (if you're in the United States) make sure that you purchase your ELs from an authorized Swarovski dealer.

The Swarovski EL is available in 8.5x42, 10x42, 8x32, and 10x32.

See price

Bird Watcher's Digest

Copyright 2008 by Michael and Diane Porter.

This article appears as part of the High-end Binoculars Round Up in the September, 2008, issue of Bird Watcher's Digest.

Photo of magazine copyright 2008 Bird Watcher's Digest. Tilted image of the Swarovski EL 8x32 courtesy of the manufacturer.


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Snap Shot Adapter
for Swarovski EL

Swarovski Doubler

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